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Jamie (England)

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Destination Unknown
Destination Unknown
Price: £10.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Balearic Bliss, 21 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Destination Unknown (Audio CD)
This is destined to be an absolute classic. It is so cool, so chilled, so relaxed, so smooth and oh so enjoyable.

If you are reading this then you probably know something about the release, either through the artist or via other reviews, recommendations, etc. Well, if you are hesitating and wondering whether it's as good as made out, then I can confirm it is not only as good, it is better!

This is far removed from Pig and Dan's usual fare, so if you're fans then don't expect their usual hard, dark prog influenced techno beats. This is relaxed, Balearic, diverse, funky and deeply melodic.

Track 1 CD1 sets the tone immediately. "I Feel Love" is just pure Balearic melody. So funky, so cool. I defy you not to love this immediately.

Other highlights from CD1 are "Urban Armchair" - it continues the cool, relaxed vibe - "Dub In It" - deeper beats continued in the same emotively relaxed vibe - "China Doll" - this has a dense fragility that you won't fail to love - and finally "Windchime".

CD2 is just as good, if not better. It picks up the pace and has a few more vocal tracks - the best of those is definitely "Onetwoseven" featuring Aqeel. Fantastic groovy raps with a tremendous beat. Other highlights for me on this CD are "Tokyo Twilight", "Rimshot Shuffle" and "Rasta Blasta".

Bedrock have scored an absolute winner with this. It really is worth your investment, I can't believe you would be disappointed.


026 Various Artists
026 Various Artists
Price: £13.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely one for the collection, 1 Nov 2014
This review is from: 026 Various Artists (Audio CD)
Hernan Cattaneo has been around for a good while and, for me, his releases have always been consistently good but never exceptional, until now. For example, I really liked CD1 of his most recent Masters Series release for Renaissance, but not as keen on CD2.

This release however, is quality throughout. CD1 starts strongly with the Boards of Canada, then progresses through a few nice tracks before a standout from Silinder - who always seems to deliver - with slightly tougher developed beats to bring the mix out of a meander. Derek Howell provides some real quality with his track "Happy to be Sad" and I absolutely adore the John Tejada mix of The Field's "No. No...." - brilliant, melodic, uptempo and relaxed house.

Next highlight is Weval's fantastic "Out of the Game", which has some welcome vocals, subtly inserted, and which are definitely not overbearing or out of place. More outstanding tracks flow straight after this with Mike Griego's "Sponges", a real gem of a track and Mr Cattaneo's own track "Ginga". Great stuff.

The only track I struggle with on this first CD is Yews's "Believe. Belong" - I just don't like the vocals but who's to say you won't. I find them a little grating, cheesy and, to be honest out of place. After this though we have the 4 tracks of this disc, especially the astonishingly good Guy J track last of all. They are all mixed impeccably into each other and provide, not only a delightful end to the disk but also a great phasing into CD2.

CD2 starts strongly with another track from Hernan and his muscial partners Soundexile, followed by some lovely subtle, calm vocals on the track "Changes". Then we get a second track from Chaim, this one is even better that the one used on CD1. I simply love the break down in the middle and the sudden impressive beat dropped in around 4 minutes. Wow.

Hernan and Soundexile's "Fugazzi" is a shimmering synth masterpiece which has a lovely uplifting melody, it really helps pick up the pace in the middle of CD2. Then follows 3 cracking tracks to match the tempo, energy and dynamism, with a special mention to We Need Cracks's "Joran" track - outstanding stuff.

I am slightly disappointed with Santi Mossman's reworking of Guy J's classic "Esperanza", but it's only a short excerpt from that track and we've swiftly moved on to a gloriously uplifting end to the album, with highlights from Hernan himself but especially Guy J's brilliant "Lonely Colour". (If you haven't got Guy's "1000 Words" album then you should really check it out)

This is another exceptional entry into the Balance series. Almost all the one's I own raise the standards of the mix album. Their quality doesn't seem to subside and I love the way they can vary their releases from tough old-school Techno one month (Danny Tenaglia) to shimmering prog house almost the next.


Sirens
Sirens
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get on the Gorgon Gravy Train, 19 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sirens (Audio CD)
This album just gets better and better the more I listen to it.

I'd heard the two main singles prior to buying it and loved them both, especially the bass line dropped into "Real" - classic!

Gorgon City start the album strongly, "Coming Home" should be a single, it has a lovely relaxed vibe with another killer bass line and great lyrics, sung really well by Maverick Sabre. This is the kind of track now typifying Gorgon City.

On to track 3 - "Lover like you". I'm loving Katie B at the moment. She seems to have so many hot tracks, which shows that she's not only picking great collaborators but she really is a fantastic vocalist and talent. This track is uptempo but still with a nice relaxed feeling.

Track 4 is "Here for You" and another good female vocal performance. This track took me a little longer to get into. It feels a little more poppy at first but give it a few listens and you'll soon start to appreciate it. What does remain consistent is the deep bass line dropped in.

"FTPA" is one of my favourites on the album. It slows the pace down and has quite a somber feel, again another great bass line - so deep but this time incredibly relaxed and slow. The track however, is made by Erik Hassle and the lyrics. Love it!

Next up are a couple of good solid upbeat tracks, "Unmissable" probably being the one I enjoy more. Then it's the class act of the album "Real", an absolutely stunning track. You probably know that though if you are reading this as it's probably one of the tracks that has brought you to this album.

The second half of the album is just as strong as the first. "Imagination" is catchy, cool and continues those deep throbbing bass lines. It feels upbeat but continues a nice relaxed feel. "6AM" then follows in a similar vein. 2 very very good tracks.

Nothing about Gorgon City ever seems rushed, it all just flows and that is a really great thing. I just hope that they continue with this kind of quality output for many years to come as it's exciting the potential these guys have.


Strut
Strut
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed, 5 Oct 2014
This review is from: Strut (Audio CD)
I was looking forward to this for quite a while. After his outstanding "Black & White America" album I really hoped this would continue Lenny's renaissance. Sadly, this is definitely nowhere near that standard. Whereas that album was definitely a 5 star album this is 3.5 - 4 at best.

I heard "The Chamber" about 3 months before the album came out and I wasn't immediately taken by it. However, repeated listens have really drawn me to the song and now I love it. It's got a great '80's sounding vibe to it. I little like "Black Velveteen" but more poppy and fluid.

First track on the album is "Sex" and it's definitely a great start. Funky, rocking and suggestive. Typical Lenny.

After "The Chamber", is "Dirty White Boots". This track feels like Lenny was a little on autopilot. It's ok. It's got his trademark funk along with rocking guitar work and I would admit that it's definitely not one of the filler tracks but it is one that promises so much but just doesn't deliver. A real shame, maybe live though this track will come to life.

Next up is the absolute gem on the album. An ode to the city that Lenny obviously loves. "New York City" is classic Kravitz, it has great electric guitars, great brass work and is so catchy. Definitely the track that makes sure the album is elevated from 3 out of 5 to 4. Well done, Lenny, this is it.

A quick mention for "Strut". This is a funky rocker that does quite literally strut in the middle of the album! I can just see Lenny strutting across the stage now as he plays this one. I can see this being a crowd pleaser, but, again it's big BUT, it's not quite a good as it could be.

Final highlights are "Frankenstein" and "I'm a Believer". Both good solid tracks, with good strong lyrics, vocals, funky guitars and will please his fans. However, again, I'd have to say they are not his best tracks.

Unfortunately the album ends weakly. "Happy Birthday", I can only assume he wanted to sing happy birthday to someone close and needed an extra track on the album. Not for me, I'm afraid. I might play it during a kids birthday party though!

"I Never Want to Let You Down"& "Ooo Baby Baby" are so twee it's unbelievable. They are both chugging pop, with paint by numbers lyrics. They represent a really disappointing end to the album. Such a shame.

All in all, Lenny fans will love it for the really strong tracks. I have my tickets for Wembley and can't wait to see him. However, if you're new to Lenny, then there are definitely stronger, more consistent albums out there.


Caustic Love
Caustic Love
Price: £5.00

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progression reaches it's peak, 30 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Caustic Love (Audio CD)
This is a truly outstanding album, well worthy of 5 stars and more. It is probably going to be the pinnacle of Paolo's career and without a doubt it's his current pinnacle.

The first track "Scream (Funk up my life)" is a great funky rocker. Catchy, tuneful and above all else a superb start to the album - it really sets the tone of what is to come.

Next up is "Let me down easy" - this is a really good soulful number and this shows that Paolo has really developed as an artist. It's a great track with lots of layers and great vocal male versus female dialogues portions.

After the first of the interludes (the only downside to this album) is the track "One Day", currently I'm struggling to get into this track. It continues the soulful layers but it slows the tempo down considerably. It seems to be popular though so it's probably just me!

Jumping forward, tracks 7 ("Better Man") and 8 ("Iron Sky") are fantastic. The former is a slow builder which tells a tale of self improvement. A really nice gentle soulful track at the right point in the album. The latter is an absolute belter, this builds and builds into a true arena stopping crescendo. Paolo's vocals are coarse, gritty and passionate. I absolutely love it!

Next is "Diana" - not sure why but I keep thinking of MJ's Dirty Diana! This doesn't bear any relation to that track though. This is another highlight for me. A really slow, catchy and soulful number, there's elements of Bill Withers and Lenny Kravitz in there. It's essentially just a love song, but it captivates and holds the listener during it's short 3 and a bit minutes.

Finally, a mention for "Looking for Something". I always appreciate when an album maintains a high level of quality and interest through to the closing tracks. Too many fade after the first half dozen tracks. The sign of a great album is to continue to capture and keep the listener all the way through to the very end. Another great soulful number from Paolo, demonstrating, what for me, is an outstanding accomplishment. This definitely crowns off this glorious album.

You would do yourself a disservice if you didn't get this. Paolo is definitely worthy of all the plaudits he receives for this effort. Enjoy.


King Rat (The Asian Saga)
King Rat (The Asian Saga)
by James Clavell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is probably James Clavell's finest achievement and made all the more interesting considering his own experiences in Changi. Although by all accounts he publicly denied this being autobiographical.

Not only does this story give you a tremendous insight into what it was like to be a prisoner of war to the Japanese in Singapore but it's also a riveting read that would suit almost any age. Clavell made his name with epic asian or pan-asian tales, some of these can be quite difficult to read though - especially Shogun - but this is extremely easy. The characters work well and are developed enough to draw you in to their world.

I really can't recommend this more highly to you. It is an absolute classic from an epic master story teller.


Balance 023
Balance 023
Price: £12.05

3.0 out of 5 stars Like another reviewer - "Hmmmmm....", 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Balance 023 (Audio CD)
This really is a hard one to get into. I'm still trying now.

I've given it a generous 3 but only as I think 2 stars seems unfair. I must admit though I am trying to find redeeming features and I would say the 2nd disc is better, this is only because this one is a little bit more varied and has some nice obscurities on it.

Other than this, it's definitely the most disappointing of the Balance series that I have bought. A real shame as I have a great respect for Radio Slave and constantly find myself enjoying his tracks or remixes on other albums.


Watergate 15
Watergate 15
Price: £12.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurprisingly good, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Watergate 15 (Audio CD)
So, firstly, this album has received some pretty mediocre reviews from some of the online music press - especially RA.

Why, I ask myself as I have now been listening to this for nearly 3 weeks? Well, to be honest I don't really know. I am really enjoying it, there are some lovely vocal tracks like the off kilter vocal on the opener from Detroit Swindle or the upbeat funk of the No Artificial Colours track.

There are also a couple of tracks from Kerri himself and and I am loving the mechanical but fun Italoboyz track - they normally deliver and have yet again.

There is one low point. For me, I can't get the Johnny D track. There's nothing essentially wrong but I'm glad that it's buried in the middle of the mix as it means you don't notice it too much.

Other sites' reviews have criticised the Nu track - "Who loves the Sun" but I find it's nice to bring back the vocals again and it has a dreamy kind of feel to it.

Finally, I absolutely love the Tom Demac track "Crewcuts and Curls" - not one I heard before but it really is a highlight.

This isn't really traditional Kerri Chandler fare but it's very very good and I have absolutely no issue with him playing these kind of tracks live in club - I would definitely go back again and again and.... well you get the point!


Samson & Delilah [CD]
Samson & Delilah [CD]
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressed, 21 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Samson & Delilah [CD] (Audio CD)
Really impressed with this album. I'd seen VV Brown on Jools Holland a few years ago and didn't really find much that appealed so I didn't listen to much more. This time around though my wife and I both sat up and took notice. "Faith" was the track that really hooked us in.

Consequently I went and bought this and I'm pleased I did. The whole album is really impressive throughout.

Others have commented about the operatic sounds. Well, for me and when listened to on a good system, the sound definitely comes across as grandiose and all encompassing - this is a good thing. You feel involved in the tracks and it doesn't really sound like pop at all. Many of the tracks have an almost avant garde sound to them - for example "Igneous" with it's pulsing, dark and throbbing beat, quite unlike anything else on the album or "Samson" with it's apparently off kilter rhythms but which hooks you in via the engaging lyrics.

A special mention as well to the opening track "Substitute for love". This is delightful. It's slow but detailed and demands your attention. This is a real gem.

Judging by a couple of conflicting reviews this album seems to have divided opinion so I guess you need to decide whether you think this for you or not. Personally I really like it and I guess that as you're reading these reviews you've probably been inspired enough to look VV Brown up. If that's the case then I suggest it might be worth your while investing a little cash.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2013 12:25 AM BST


Masterpiece
Masterpiece
Price: £11.63

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than I had hoped it would be!, 29 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Masterpiece (Audio CD)
As soon as I heard about this I ordered it on pre-release.

This really is 3 different CD's all in the 1 package.

CD1 - Is what you'd normally expect from Carl Craig's live sets. Actually, there is a subtle difference, it's slightly more upbeat and funky than the usual hard driving techno beats. Only slightly, mind you!

Highlights from CD1 are hard to put forward but I've always loved Tom Trago's "Use me again" and Carl's remix is spot on. Ben Sims is another class act and his track "Straight from Bolivia" follows delightfully on from the Egyptian Lover track.

A mention too for Kyle Hall's opening track "Zug Island". Carl picks this out in the liner notes as a new Detroit producer who's starting to make an impact on the scene. It's not someone I've heard of before but the scratchy, dark and brooding start is great but I feel it lasts about a minute too long before the proper beat kicks in with Macronism's "Beat from Barcelona"

CD2 - Is even better than I could have expected. It's billed as Carl's "Inspiration" but I was concerned when I read that the first track, "In the Jungle" was one he'd only recently discovered and therefore couldn't really be classed as inspiration. However, I have to say that this is a brilliant start to the CD and I absolutely love it. I've already started looking up more by "The Messengers".

Also on this disc is a complete range if differing tracks, from Jazz (Melody Gardot & Tribe), to techno (E-Dancer & Derrick May) to R&B (Erykah Badu & DeBarge) & old school blues musician Muddy Waters.

CD3 - This is the real oddity and potentially the main attraction for many.

I haven't given this that much attention. It's very definitely on the Ambient side of things, (well it would be when it's named "Meditation"!) and therefore not my cup of tea.

I've listened to it once so far and my main comments are the tension and dynamics of the slow rhythms work well together to bring an almost cinematic landscape to your stereo (reminds me a little of Disc 1 0n Hybrid's "Soundsystem 01" album, only even more downbeat). It's very calming but also tensely dramatic in places. You do feel there is an untold story behind each track. The one I preferred most was Meditation 2 but I'm sure each listener will end up with their own "Meditation" preference.

So, why should you get this? In my opinion the variety on display here is outstanding. You get your expected techno mix and an interesting ambient selection of new tracks but the real key to why you should get this is CD2. I've been playing this on repeat from the day it arrived. Love it! Well done Carl, your inspiration is inspiring!


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