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Price: £0.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Anthemic, 30 July 2013
This review is from: Scar (MP3 Download)
It has been over two years since Cloud Control released their debut album Bliss Release which propelled the band to win the Australian equivalent of the Mercury Prize, the Australian Music Prize.

This is the first single from their second album Dream Cave which comes out on September 16 this year.

In itself, it is a stunningly anthemic track that evokes blissful imagery and cascades beautifully into nostalgic 60's territory. If this is anything to go by, their new album is going to be simply fantastic. Cloud control have a sunny disposition.

Body Music
Body Music
Price: £15.36

4.0 out of 5 stars This is pop-step, 29 July 2013
This review is from: Body Music (Audio CD)
'Body Music' is the début album from electronic duo AlunaGeorge.

What happened to pop music? Is it just regurgitated boy-bands? Hyperbole ridden talent-show wasteproduct and their resultant fairytale-cover-albums? Specimen A and Specimen B.

Fortunately not! Here is a fantastic pop album - complete and fulfilling.

Body Music is the genius pop-product of the not so genius pseudonym AlunaGeorge, the colloboration of Aluna Francis and George Reid. Without having made the cut to win the BBC Sound of 2013, Francis and Reid will still be one of the most successful of the long-list. Body Music doesn't necessarily possess the originality of Chvrches but what it does do, it does very very well.

Unable to get enough traction from 'Your Drums Your Love', it was their work with in-vogue Disclosure that brought this duo back into the spotlight. The key to this collboartion was to set AlunaGeorge into a sphere away from the obvious similarities of Ellie Goulding and Katy B and into the post-dubstep realms of SBTRKT.

Aside from the more forgettable moments of the album i.e. the awkward 'This Is How We Do It' re-hash, 'Body Music' is a recipe for success. Each track is lusciously layered by Reid who manifests the foundations for Aluna's cute yet affirmative vocals; in an album rich of relationship anxiety it is the marriage of Aluna's voice and George's production that sets this record on the path of success into what may be the actual sound of 2013.

Listen To: Outlines, Lost & Found, Just A Touch

The Spinning Heart
The Spinning Heart
by Donal Ryan
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Honesty & Transparency, 27 July 2013
This review is from: The Spinning Heart (Hardcover)
This is Donal Ryan's debut novel which he wrote "in the long summer evenings of 2010". He lives with his wife and two children just outside of Limerick City and was born in north Tipperary.

Whilst it was released in October 2012 I have only recently picked up this book after seeing it make the longlist of the Man Booker Prize 2013.

This is a short novel (160 pages) that documents the monologues of 21 interwoven characters (no less!) following the aftermath of the recent financial crisis in Ireland. It is ambitious for a debut to shed classical form (i.e. proper punctuation and a linear narrative) in favour of a more honest and colloquial style but this modernity actually helps to enhance the necessary feeling of empathy that glues these chapters together. The book is instantly engaging but does become slightly weighed down in the middle by its colloquialism that at times is almost gossipy; to follow from this I also think a couple of the characters were not necessarily relevant. Aside from this heaviness in the middle it is a book that does eventually reward and stays with the reader for a while after too.

The delusion and greed that propelled the Irish property bubble (and every other such Financial bubble) is not so apparent at the time - indeed if you ask anyone in financial markets, its only with the benefit of hindsight that we can see the error of our ways - ironically its a tragedy of human evolution that we continually repeat the errors of the past. But without going off on too much of a tangent the key wisdom is that "its only when the tide goes out that you discover who's been swimming naked". This novel is an arresting tale of the hopes and promises that propel a society into an unsustainable state and then the subsequent truth and insight that is learnt when the proverbial hits the fan.

As each character retrospectively looks back on their lives there is an ongoing sense of sadness and regret about the way "nature overpowers" and deceives them; this tragedy is persistent throughout the novel. But perhaps the most moving passages of the book focus more on the revelations of how each character perceives one another. It is heartbreaking that despite all of our hopes and fears, reality is inevitably so far removed from our perception.

This is not just 21 separate stories - there is an interlinking plot that materialises towards the end that provides a backbone for the anthropological wisdom and amidst the chitter-chatter there are some wonderfully poetic phrases that resonate with you for long after you put the book down.

Donal Ryan's powerful debut is not fuelled with optimism but serves as a pragmatic reminder that "where light shines, a shadow is cast".

Luther - Series 1-3 [DVD] [2010]
Luther - Series 1-3 [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Idris Elba
Price: £12.00

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great BBC Entertainment, 25 July 2013
Say what you want about the 'Beeb', this is a truly great TV show. Whilst some of the scenes became often grotesque and/or peverted, Luther has maintained interest and a following like no other BBC detective thriller for a while. Without Idris Elba (DCI John Luther) this show would not be what it is. But that's not to take away from excellent performances from Dermot Crowley and Michael Smiley; I also have a soft spot for Ruth Wilson, who is just plain evil!

Once all these episodes drop off the iPlayer this boxset is going to be invaluable. With the third series now over, I know plenty of people (including myself) that will be rewatching series 1, episode 1 on July 29 when this comes out! And for those who haven't had the pleasure of watching, this would be a great present to introduce someone to John Luther.

But this may not be the end of course. Luther, the movie? In a recent interview with Ms Wilson : ""It depends if you go to the origin story of Luther. Alice may be involved, but she may come in at the end. It's that thing of do you go backwards, forwards or sideways?""

Either way - this Boxset is the only natural way to deal with the Luther finale comedown.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2013 8:54 PM BST

Price: £10.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Tried and Tested Label, 23 July 2013
This review is from: IOTDXI (Audio CD)
While retaining their seal--a gorgeous Cavallino Rampante sampled from Ferrari--Renaat and Sabine, the founders of R&S Records, have had their roots infused with the gritty attitude of London dub. The catalyst? Their relocation to the UK from the label's founding home of Ghent, Belgium.

Having kept a low profile of late, R&S have been championing forward-thinking electronica since the 1980s. With the revival of the label's classic In Order to Dance compilation series, we're happy to welcome them back.

The smorgasbord on offer in the first CD, which showcases the talent cultivated by the label over the last 18 months, should satisfy most appetites. But if the feast leaves you desperate for more, the second disc is filled with some sweet, unheard delights.

DJ's familiar to R&S' new breed will skip the main for the dessert to sample the exclusives and pick out some choice tracks to debut on the weekend. Most of the songs on this CD have a techno/old-school undercurrent and will sit nicely in the basement raves.

A select few harness a deeper atmosphere rendering them preferable to the solitary confinement of your bedroom for a more cinematic effect. Heads will no doubt bop to the industrial rhythms of Blawan's `Shader' and Untold's nostalgic `U-29′, but it is the more alternative meddling that stands out. Bullion's `Ralph' is an intriguing addiction in its slightly off-kilter approach; the techniques employed very much what is on showcase in the first highlight CD.

And it is the first CD that underlines the eclecticism that shapes Renaat & Sabine's outlook. Spearheaded by the likes of James Blake, Lone, Blawan, Untold, Pariah, and The Chain, the record label houses some of the most cutting edge and pioneering young talents of today whilst still drawing on the sounds of the pre-2000 rave culture. An introspective and intelligent approach to dub, minimal and electronic is on display here, each artist very much doing their own thing; their uniting element: a reminiscent approach to forward-thinking electronic music.

Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource for Financial Market Technicians
Technical Analysis: The Complete Resource for Financial Market Technicians
by Charles D. Kirkpatrick II
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technically Complete / Fundamentally Inferior, 23 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Because of the amount of money that flows around the financial markets these days a lot of publishers and/or writers have seen the opportunity to try and sell the secret or reveal the truth. Trying to find a decent book in the field of finance really is like searching for a needle in a haystack; perhaps this is because the best wisdom in the industry is generally found on the job and not in the book!

There is an exception though: Technical Analysis - this is an academic discipline in its own right and deserves your attention if you cared at all about the financial markets and why/how they move. There are two general approaches to financial markets: (1) Fundamental (2) Technical - the tricky bit is that they are not both independent of each other. These books on technical analysis draw out the distinctions and then home in on why technical analysis is king.

In a nutshell: The price is the price!....

It doesn't matter how much all your models tell you that Gold (or whatever asset is/isn't should/shouldn't be in vogue now) if the market is buying/selling then you have to respect the flow of the river - and that is what technical analysis does; look at the flow, or more appropriately look for the TRENDS. It's just like following fashion. One key thing to learn about financial markets is that markets are not rational beings and the market does not follow the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) - this is great news though, because with Technical Analysis you are armed with a toolbox to identify the flow of the river, jump in at the right time and then get out before the water runs dry. This book gives you the toolbox - experience and wisdom will only help you with identifying which tools to use in which places.

Kirkpatrick & Dahlquist is layed out as follows:

Part I (Introduction) (1) Introduction to Technical Analysis (2) The Basis Principle of Technical Analysis - The Trend (3) History of Technical Analysis (4) The Technical Analysis Controversy

Part II (Markets and Market Indicators) (5) An Overview of Markets (6) Dow Theory (7) Sentiment (8) Measuring Market Strength (9) Temporal Patterns and Cycles (10) Flow of Funds

Part III (Trend Analysis) (11) History and Construction of Charts (12) Trends - The Basics (13) Breakouts, Stops, and Retracements (14) Moving Averages

Part IV (Chart Pattern Analysis) (15) Bar Chart Patterns (16) Point and Figure Chart Patterns (17) Short-Term Patterns

Part V (Trend Confirmation) (18) Confirmation

Part VI (Other Technical Methods and Rules) (19) Cycles (20) Elliott, Fibonacci and Gann

Part VII (Selection) (21) Selection of Markets and Issues

Part VIII (System Testing and Management) (22) System Design and Testing (23) Money and Risk Management

Whilst this book covers all the major areas of technical analysis (even some of the quirky point and figure and gann analysis) it does not necessarily explain the subject as well or concisely as some other books. I have listed below some other important reads in the subject - if i had to get just one book I would choose the Murphy "bible" as it is known.

There is also alot of irrelevant material in this book in my opinion i.e. (what type of markets / market breadth / flow of funds / point and figure / Gann

The key (most current) areas to focus on: Dow Theory / Trend / Sentiment / Patterns - Supports and Resistances / Fibonacci / Money Management

Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets: A Comprehensive Guide to Trading Methods and Applications: Study Guide (New York Institute of Finance) - For the best of the basics - the oldest and most successful

Cloud Charts: Trading Success with the Ichimoku Technique - To get a better feel for trend following

Trader Vic: Methods of a Wall Street Master - A legend

Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders / Hedge Fund Market Wizards - And trading wisdom

The Son
The Son
Price: £1.99

80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting but Devastating Tale of Pride and Family, 22 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Son (Kindle Edition)
'The Son' is the second book by Philipp Meyer. It follows the equally compelling American Rust which was released in 2010 here in the UK.

Whilst his first book deals with the Urban Decay of post-industrial America, 'The Son' take a much more grandiose approach to the Texan plains. As soon as you see the mocked up family tree at the start you get a feel for what you are in for (which I have posted in the pictures at the top of this product page - I felt it useful to refer to, so i printed this out to stop me looking back on the Kindle).

'The Son' follows the McCulloughs across culture, time and space. Whilst it may be seen as a historical novel this book mostly excels as an anthropological masterclass.

There is a concern at the beginning that you are in for a real history lesson and I did find myself often 'googling' certain terms as I am not that well versed in American history or the South-Western geographical nuances. However eventually I was relieved to see that this detail tends to ease as the book progresses and gives way to character enhancement and plot.

There is no mercy in these plains. The book is gripping, enthralling and heart-breaking at times. Often it becomes so encapsulating that you become intensely immersed in the stunning barren scenery. By the end I felt so familiar with Commanche culture that, once this epic unfortunately came to an end, my tube rides in to work felt just as alien as the first few chapters of this novel!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough! A truly rewarding read.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2014 8:42 PM BST

Slow Focus
Slow Focus
Price: £9.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Intense & Complex, 22 July 2013
This review is from: Slow Focus (Audio CD)
Slow Focus is the colossal third album from post-rock Bristol duo F*** Buttons.

Inkeeping with their previous records, F*** Buttons come back in scintillating style; with a little more bling. This is not a post-apocalyptic record; its simply apocalyptic. Unlike the recent Boards of Canada album, 'Slow Focus' feels like you are in the event, not just watching it from afar. It's intensity and complexity is captivating right from the off as we are propelled into the tribal 'Brainfreeze' that echoes a distant pagan time. From there on the pistons don't really stop until the final few moments of 'Hidden XS', the album's closer. Tracks are best experienced loud (however which way you can) and without interruption; it's the beautiful progress and structure of these records that set F*** Buttons apart.

No words may do justice to this immersive record that flirts with contradiction; how can music so lush and textured with complexity leave such a wide expanse of space for the mind to traverse in? And how can a record slide so unassumingly from monotonous repetition to divine detail and intricacy? It is perhaps this dialectic that has allowed Ben John Power and Andrew Hung to simultaneously delight both the live masses and the introspective-bedroom-ravers.

The dichotomy runs deep into their influences. In a recent Fact Mag interview when asked on the meaning for the title of 'The Red Wing', one of the albums most evocative tracks, Ben assertively claimed that it was "like you were walking round a deserted city, like a collapsed, deserted city". This clinical description is antagonistically worlds apart from Andrew's vacant ambiguity: " would evoke different imagery for people...I wouldn't want to impose that, even though those images are strong...".

Only a month ago Mike Sandison left a strikingly similar explanation of this post-apocalyptic soundscape: "it's better if listeners find the narrative themselves, in the titles and the sounds".

So perhaps its not a coincidence that Andrew Hung had a slightly more warped set of influences; whereas Benjamin John Power was an outspoken, anarchistic punk-rocker. Where their influences meet is somewhere at the pluralistic, postmodern genre defying "shoegaze". Think Explosions In The Sky but with a synthetic and urgent infusion.

If you are fortunate enough to have seen them live (and loud), Andrew and Ben's musical abrasion is not apparent on stage; instead they play at each other on a ping-pong table as they smash ideas back and forth - this is as we understand, much like their creation progress whereby they "don't really need to communicate verbally" or are physically able to with the volume cranked up. And if you haven't had such an opportunity you may have already done so, unaware, whilst watching the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics; their music was chosen extensively to fit the grandiose and awe-inspiring introduction; 'Surf Solar' kicked the whole thing off. 'Olympians' indeed.

Having released Street Horrrsing and Tarot Sport within a year of each other it has been a long wait for their devoted followers. Whilst the appetite has been partially satisfied in the last four years with this drony side-project, this new release could in fact be the most important electronic album the year and should resonate for some time too.

When in the right head-space this music will blow your mind.

Listen To: Brainfreeze, The Red Wing, Stalker, Hidden XS

Stand Out Track: Stalker


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous Electropop, 16 July 2013
This review is from: Gun EP [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is another beautiful EP from the Glaswegian electrop trio destined for success this year. It follows the Recover EP (also highly recommended).

It only features one divine and highly melodic track, which is instantly accessible but features a few deep remixes, Jamie Isaac's the stand out for me, reminiscent of the pioneering James Blake.

The band have already developed a significant following after making the BBC Sound of 2013; their debut studio album The Bones Of What You Believe is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year - it is planned for release on 23 September 2013.

Another teaser with the only shame that the album wont be around until after our summer here. For now - check out their Soundcloud page to keep up to date with the array of singles and remixes floating around in their synth-wonderland. Try 'The Mother We Share' which initially set them on their path.

Casio AQ-230A-7DMQ Mens Combi Bracelet Watch
Casio AQ-230A-7DMQ Mens Combi Bracelet Watch
Price: £21.11

5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic That Stands The Test of Time, 16 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The more expensive and ostentatious watches stink of pretentiousness. But this bracelet watch is a true classic. Cheap and understated.

Casio watches have always been highly accurate watches. There is the standard dial, and the digital display at the bottom that has time, stopwatch and alarm capability. There is a 2-fold clasp that fastens the watch to your wrist. Be sure that you close this in the right two-stage process; if you fasten just the second catch then the watch will eventually come loose (i tragically lost one of these watches on a boat in Croatia - I will not make that mistake again). The water resistance depth is stated to be 3OM - but i would be careful with long exposure to the watch underwater. Remember this is not strictly water-PROOF. It is fabulously lightweight.

I am not sure why this is marketed as a mens watch; it can clearly be worn by both sexes. In fact i have seen many young ladies sporting this gold version of the watch. The watch also comes in silver with a black dial.

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