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Reviews Written by
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol)
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Crystal Axis [Ltd. Edition]
Crystal Axis [Ltd. Edition]
Offered by nagiry
Price: £13.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Very different beast to their debut - less up-front electronics but still some great tunes and ideas. Gets better later listens., 26 April 2015
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Not as sparse electro driven as most of their debut, Crystal Axis at times sounds a bit cluttered and grandiose, but still has its charms! I found the production was clearer through headphones, as sometimes the vocals got lost in the mix through speakers.

There are some good songs on this second album, and a slightly more prog-rock nod than its predecessor. Album 3, Uncanny Valley, was more 4:4 and vocally focussed, so its a good idea to buy all three to see how the boys try out different styles, whilst retaining their particular sound.

This Aussie ltd double CD features a few extras, includinga demo and a cover version by a different band (!), but I got it for the Emporer Machine Remix of "New Technology", which is a very good reworking of the song.


The Violet Flame Remixes
The Violet Flame Remixes

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some exclusive mixes - not a dance 12" as a few challenging versions included. More a 'companion' to the original LP., 26 April 2015
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This review is from: The Violet Flame Remixes (Vinyl)
Eclectic mix of 6 remixed tracks (many previously unreleased commercially) on stunning looking red vinyl. Also comes with a download code sticker on the black inner-sleeve, which is itself poly-lined to help protect the vinyl. Some songs, such as Paul Hunphrey's (OMD) remix of "Be The One" and the remix of "Under The Wave" are very close in feel/arrangement to the originals, but tweaked very nicely. Other tracks are slightly less obvious new treatments, the most controversial (on forums) being the overlong Factory Floor Remix of "Smoke and Mirrors". It's a glitch, sparse dub affair that features tiny vocal snippets and only slowly develops, and far less than it arguably should have! Whilst its good to see the band/label choose at least one difficult reinterpretation on the limited 12", this is not a very good example of the genre, and could've easily been reduced to around the 5min mark for a better mix overall (or had a few extra keyboards added along the way to retain interest).

As I only have the album, and the Reason CD single, all 6 mixes here were new to me. The pressing was generally very good, not always the case with coloured vinyl. My only reason for reducing to 4 stars is most of the mixes could've been a bit longer (bar one exception!). Nice, tho!


Frequency 7
Frequency 7

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging (and the best) original version on pressed CD at last!, 18 April 2015
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This review is from: Frequency 7 (Audio CD)
Most casual fans will have only heard the Dance Mix/Version, as it has appeared as bonus tracks on reissue CDs and various compilations - being the mix that got club play (and was included on b-side of Mind of a Toy 12"). For those who can't fork out for the original Tar 7", this is a great way to hear the original version, although it may jolt a few due to its harsh sound and sci-fi leanings. The Radome reinterpretation uses some original samples and then adds a new track, so whilst an interesting diversion is definitely not for purists!

These 3 mixes, mastered/remastered by the same engineer/studio were released a couple of years back on Blitz as a printed CD-r, and they sound the same to me. Its nice to get an official pressed CD, and it comes in a unique and slightly spooky twist on the original artwork - I only hope the rest of the original band get recognition for any sales (as no specific writers are credited on the release).

One small point - Amazon incorrectly mention the Dance Version is based on a later remix by John Luongo, but in fact any additional production/mixing is credited to Andy Meecham, and I gather a while before John got involved in assisting the band with any 12" mixes/dubs.

It's a really nice posthumous release though, and essential in any Visage/Ultravox collection. Steve RIP.... and here's hoping that the rest of the band keep rocking!


Reduction/Seduction of Claude
Reduction/Seduction of Claude
Offered by johnny8640
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Art Of Noise as I remember - Seduction is good in places/Reduction is not so good!, 11 April 2015
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Sorry, the clatterings and noise-bursts that make up most of Reduction EP are not to my taste atall, and that is why I'd hunted down this package. The original Seduction album has its moments though, but doesn't really feel like an Art Of Noise release. Great cameo segments from John Hurt though, and a few semi-operatic tracks are a brave inclusion. Check out samples before you hunt down either version!


Evidence [12" VINYL]
Evidence [12" VINYL]

3.0 out of 5 stars 7", not 12", limited (and deleted) vinyl, 11 April 2015
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This review is from: Evidence [12" VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is actually a 7" clear vinyl release only (and was originally listed as 7"). It is one-sided and features a slightly different take on the later album track by Foxx and co. One for the completists only, really, but its quite a good tune.


The Next Day Extra (Collector's Edition)
The Next Day Extra (Collector's Edition)
Price: £16.24

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 albums really, and most of the tracks on both are essential Bowie listening., 11 April 2015
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I deliberately held back when hearing the first release, as it sounded a bit of a career-summary, almost a pastiche, from the samples. However when this box set turned up quite cheap (and new) I checked out the DFA Remix of "Love Is Lost" and then revisited the samples. I'm so glad I did as this is a great album, and in fact is effectively 2 albums!

I totally sympathise with the fans who had already bought the standard deluxe, as there are only a few extras here, plus the enticement of a short DVD with single videos on it, but for the ditherers like me this version was well worth the wait. I am amazed at how he's cleverly reproduced the vibe/spirit of so many aspects of his career, particularly the 70s/early 80s, with such aplomb, and the occasional break in his vocals actually adds to the poignancy of some of the slower tracks. He can still rock it, and snarl/twist lyrics that recollect so much of his past, yet sound perfect in their own right on this album. For me the highlight is the bonus "Extras" CD is almost as good as the album, and works perfectly in its own right, a rare feat in today's special deluxe bonanza!


Orchestral
Orchestral
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars All the classics get a new twist, with some real surprises!, 11 April 2015
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This review is from: Orchestral (Audio CD)
Whilst some tracks throughout their back-catalogue work better under this new treatment than others, the concept is quite inspired, and allows some tracks to acquire brand new arrangements, whilst others show off elements previously held lower in the original New Romantic arrangements. If you liked Hearts and Knives then you must get this (it includes an alternative Orchestral take of "Never Enough" from the, equally excellent, John Bryan remix on the CD single), and similarly most fans of their old sound/original line-up will find surprises here.

A fitting swan-song for the late Mr Strange, including a rather telling bonus track "The Silence", the lyrics of which now make you wonder......
Great artwork too, even if their new label still didn't spot Billie 'Curry' in the credits/thank-you's that has appeared in all H&K related releases!
Thanks to everyone involved in this project, from writers to performers and producers, its a very brave and interesting take on the 'remix best of'.


3 x Fluval U3 Poly Carbon Cartridge 2 pack
3 x Fluval U3 Poly Carbon Cartridge 2 pack
Offered by Pet-Bliss - Delivering WORLDWIDE
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy swimming critters!, 11 April 2015
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These do a very good job as part of the U3 filter system, and typically each side will last you 4weeks before rinsing alone is not enough! In this bulk-buy format the value is better than buying a single 2-pack.


Megarama
Megarama
Price: £9.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great track selection and sound quality., 11 April 2015
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This review is from: Megarama (Audio CD)
Though not the hugest fan, a collection of 3 CDs of 80s/early 90s single-artist toe-tapping remixes seemed too good a chance to miss!
Each CD can effectively be played as an entire album (only one disc has a song on it twice), and the re-mastering/compiling is excellent. Not too loud, yet punchy and crystal clear - this is a benchmark that many other re-master compilations should aspire to.
I quite liked hearing the quirky '88 remixes, though they are not a patch on the originals, and also so many other mixes I had never heard. The PWL classics are the standouts, but the slightly later tracks, with their more indie-tinged production, sit well along side them, and make for a very enjoyable listening experience.
The only slight drawback is the book-style packaging means you need to be ubder careful moving the CDs, to minimise scratching, but that seems to be the way with these great-value Best Of sets these days (and in my case the discs have all started out pristine).

Even if you haven't bought the deluxe reissues recently, or you really liked just a few of their hits, I would highly recommend this collection.


Dystopia
Dystopia
Price: £6.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Electro-rock debut is a great debut, 11 April 2015
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This review is from: Dystopia (Audio CD)
Australian 3-piece first came to my attention when I found a brand new copy of "UV" in a local indie record store, and risked it after hearing some samples. They have recorded 3 albums so far and each has a different take on electro-pop/rock combination - which shows they are still developing (but may slightly frustrate those who prefer one album's style to the others).

This debut is quite sparse, and a few tracks do sound like demos, but after a few listens I am now hooked. "Shadows", "So Many Frequencies" and "Worlds Converged" are some of my personal favourites, but the whole album works very well, with the Dystopian theme present throughout. Quite trippy in places, with a variety of vocal delivery styles and some interesting harmonies/key-changes, this album is a real find.


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