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John Frame "There Is No Substitute For Equality" (Brisbane, Queensland Australia)

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't the Blu-ray audio disc of Aqualung available outside the boxed set?, 21 Nov. 2011
I've ordered the CD version of the 40th Anniversary remix/remaster. I would love to be able to buy the Blu-ray HD surround audio disc - but it seems to be only offered in the big pack with the 2CDs, LP and book (at 85 UK pounds). It would have been great if this was even released in the same format as Steven Wilson's King Crimson remixes - i.e. 2 discs - CD disc + DVD-Audio/DVD-Video disc. Most people's DVD players won't be able to play the high definition DVD-Audio tracks, but at least they can hear the compressed surround and PCM stereo tracks.

However Blu-ray players have become very cheap ($150 for a 3D Toshiba model in Australia) - and all Blu-ray players will play the high definition tracks on the Aqualung Blu-ray disc. So I'd like to see Jethro Tull start the trend of making Blu-ray audio discs become the new standard for high definition audio for the masses. Please.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2013 12:21 AM GMT

Exposure (2 CD)
Exposure (2 CD)
Price: £11.47

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a stunning tribute to the memory of Joanna Walton, and the skill of Robert Fripp, 10 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Exposure (2 CD) (Audio CD)
A friend of mine asked if the 2006 2CD remaster of Exposure has bonus tracks? - indeed it does, but that's not all.

The liner notes detail the complicated story of the album's development - including that Daryl Hall was initially the vocalist for 7 tracks (but interference by his manager meant that he was only allowed to appear on 2 tracks, and Fripp chose North Star and Burn Me Up).

The First Edition release in 1979 was (naturally enough) vinyl only - and you hear a lot more effects applied to the vocals in North Star than you do in the Second/Third Edition. The multitrack tapes were remixed in 1983 using the same takes to create the Second Edition for CD and vinyl release, and I believe that it has a decidedly improved ambience.

In late 2005 Fripp worked with the very talented Simon Heyworth (see all the recent King Crimson CD/DVD-A remasters) to make best use of modern 24bit technology to create definitive state of the art transfers from the 1979 version stereo master tape, and from the 1983 stereo tape.

So disc 1 of the 2006 CD set is a careful remastering of the 1979 First Edition tape, however disc 2 (designated as the "Third Edition") is a remastering of the 1983 remix - but with Daryl Hall's original (and previously unreleased) vocals returned on 3 songs: Disengage, Chicago and NY3. NY3 being a radically different song, rather than a "Bush Of Ghosts" style montage. There's a lot to like about both versions.

The Peter Hammill vocal versions of Chicago and Disengage are now bonus tracks, as is the original NY3 and two more Daryl Hall vocal versions - Exposure and Mary (nice, but I'm with Fripp in keeping the Second Edition versions for the best possible Third Edition).

Fripp invites the CD owner to rearrange the tracks to compile their own 2006 remastered "Second Edition", if they want (There's a Wikipedia entry for "Exposure (Fripp Album)" which gives the correct running order).

The liner notes are much more substantial in the 2006 CD than in the single sheet for the 1985 CD. Until today (when I read through the notes) I hadn't known that Joanna Walton, Fripp's good friend and former girlfriend, had died in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Joanna was the gifted lyricist for 6 of the Exposure tracks, (including North Star - a love song about themselves). RIP Joanna - this album stands as a fine tribute to your memory.

It is increasingly, and tragically, significant how much truth there is in the statement by J G Bennett (in Water Music 1) on the changes in our planet's climate.

The Very Best of Brian Kennedy
The Very Best of Brian Kennedy
Price: £13.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb showcase of Brian Kennedy's musical talents, 3 Jun. 2011
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This is a supremely well crafted compilation album in every respect. Even if you already owned all these recordings, as I do, you could not make a better selection from his career for a single CD showcase of his beautiful voice, incisive lyrics and artful, passionate musicianship.

The songs on this "Very Best Of" (rather than "greatest hits of") have been carefully sequenced to impress as being a truly cohesive and ultimately enjoyable album. Each sets the stage for the next to shine like the true gems they are, and the easiest thing in the world is to hear it all through again.

Brian Kennedy is one of the most talented, skillful, honest and generous musical entertainers in the world (and a damned fine author). For diehard fans, or the uninitiated, this CD will be either a welcome treat or a stunning revelation.

I Love You Phillip Morris [Blu-ray]
I Love You Phillip Morris [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Jim Carrey
Price: £5.70

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "funny, tender and sweet". See it, love it., 19 Mar. 2011
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I am highly impressed by every aspect of "I Love You Phillip Morris" with brilliant performances by Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.

The extra features give an excellent overview of the production and of how the actors brought their characters to life - and they also verify that this is an incredible, all but impossible, yet true story of an unrelenting conman's unbounded commitment to love.

Ewan describes it best as "funny, tender and sweet". Superb production values, and gripping entertainment. A fantastic soundtrack and score too. See it, love it.

Live Germany 1983
Live Germany 1983

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars B52s live in Germany 1983 professionally filmed short set, 16 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Live Germany 1983 (DVD)
This is a professionally "filmed for television" performance by B52s recorded in Dortmund, Westfalenhall, Germany 14th May 1983.

Songs in order: "Song For A Future Generation" (sung and danced to a backing track by Ricky, Cindy, Keith, Fred and Kate) after which they take up their instruments, with added brass, and proceed to whip the audience into a frenzy with Planet Clare, Mesopotamia, Big Bird, Dance This Mess Around, Rock Lobster and Party Gone Out Of Bounds. All up it's 33 extremely entertaining minutes.

The video quality ranges from OK to good - and that's either a reflection of video camera and mixing quality available at that time, or the management of the software used in editing this transfer. The main thing is that the performance is fantastic from all five original band members and their two guests on brass - it's a very big and powerful sound and the band/audience interaction is genuine and vibrant.

The audio is offered as a choice of Dolby 2.0, Dolby 5.1 or DTS 5.1 - and while the source material was clearly mono (which is quite apparent on headphones), the treatments for stereo and surround work very well on loudspeakers.

Cindy Wilson is dazzlingly skilful on bongos in "Big Bird" - but all members are in the peak of form and they're all integral stars of an intrinsically cohesive band.

The DVD is very attractively packaged - including a colour leaflet with an informed spiel by William Hogeland. A minor quibble is that this DVD, while listed here as 4:3 fullscreen, is actually formatted as 16:9 - stretching the 4:3 image unnaturally (and on my PC I can't compensate for that). I know lots of people happily choose to stretch 4:3 video to fill every square inch of their widescreen TV - but I'd like to have the choice of viewing the correct perspective.

This is an important historical record of the original B52s lineup (with the late great Ricky Wilson), however I would love to be able to support the band by buying a genuine authorised DVD release of either their "Funplex" or "Cosmic Thing" tours. July 2012 update: in March 2012 The B-52s released the ultimate high definition live performance recording of their 2011 homecoming concert With The Wild Crowd! - Live In Athens, Ga [Blu-ray] [2012] - filmed in 1080p high definition and true surround sound and released on Blu-Ray, DVD and as a 2 CD album. Perfect.

Time Capsule: Songs for a Futu
Time Capsule: Songs for a Futu
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £18.42

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars overdue high quality B52s DVD video collection with bonus CD, 16 Feb. 2011
This is the official Warner Music Australia release of a CD + DVD version of the "Time Capsule" collection. "Time Capsule" was previously released in 1998 as a CD and also as a HiFi stereo VHS. In the USA the VHS had all 12 videos which are on this DVD and it is clearly a transfer from the original digital master tape. The DVD is NTSC format, region free, 4:3 fullscreen, and offering a choice of LPCM stereo or a very tasteful Dolby 5.1 surround treatment. The improvement in quality over the VHS is quite marked for both video and audio.

For some odd reason the Australia/UK version of the "Time Capsule" VHS did not include the first 4 videos - Rock Lobster (live), Legal tender, Song For A Future Generation and Girl From Ipanema - even though the same versions (with overlaid title text) were on the 1990 HiFi stereo VHS "B52s 1979 - 1989". So it is hugely convenient and valuable to now have the complete Time Tunnel collection in the superior DVD format (with an audio set up option and a song selection menu).

The studio lipsync version of the Rock Lobster video, which is shown occasionally on ABC's "Rage" in Australia, certainly has a special appeal, but the B52s are as good (or better) as a live band, and the live video is superior. I've had the pleasure of seeing them play in Brisbane twice - on the Wild Planet and Cosmic Thing tours - and also in Sydney 2009 for the Funplex tour (where the terrible PA sound was the only negative). Their first Brisbane Festival Hall show set a precedent when they requested that all of the flat section seating be removed for "Dancing Room Only". They're easily the best dance band I've ever seen.

This 2009 CD + DVD release of Time Capsule was meant to be a special Australian Tour edition - but I only saw the single CD version available at their merchandise stall after the show, and it took a whole extra year to be officially released to retail sale.

Fantastic, and for any B52s fan, a must have. I could not recommend this product highly enough.

Joan Baez - In Performance
Joan Baez - In Performance

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great to see and hear Joan Baez from 1965 and 2008, 20 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Joan Baez - In Performance
This single layer pressed DVD is presented in 4:3 letterboxed with 256kps Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (mono for the first 69 minutes and stereo for the last 45 minutes). It's apparent that these recordings are unauthorised and have been sourced from digital telecasts, and I suspect that the letterboxing was to cut off the broadcaster's watermark. Still, there's no reason for this not being formatted as 16:9, which would have allowed better video quality and saved the viewer the trouble of adjusting their widescreen TV's aspect control to use the full screen.

Overall the video and audio quality are acceptable. There are chapter marks accurately placed at the start of each song, but no menu. The cover is basic, with the songs listed (but not numbered) and with no credits - just the statement "Mechanical Rights Paid (2009)" (which amounts to a total of maybe $3 per DVD paid to the songwriters).

The first 69 minutes are of a 1965 BBC concert film, which they recently rebroadcast and which must have aired in 2 parts (each closing with Plaisir D'Amour). Joan's voice and delivery are perfect and she demonstrates the absolute value of applying precise microphone technique. The dynamic quality of this single microphone recording is astounding (no guitar pick-up). If you listen closely on headphones, you may hear lots of little noises (little thuds and blips), like those inherent in old analogue tape - but it was 1965 after all, and those noises are not easily detected on loudspeakers.

The last 45 minutes are of Joan's 6th July 2008 performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. She's backed by very talented musicians and the performance - while not precise - is vibrant, and her mature voice is just as engaging and beautiful. This section is in stereo.

It's a great pity that neither of these performances is available for purchase as an original authorised product in the best possible quality, because I'd like to know that Joan and I will both benefit from my purchase. I reckon that anyone who has bought this version ought to be more than happy to upgrade.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2011 1:54 AM BST

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme : Complete BBC Boxset [DVD] [1999]
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme : Complete BBC Boxset [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Kathy Burke
Price: £7.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asthmatics be warned - you may die laughing, 14 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had only seen a few portions of the Gimme Gimme Gimme series when it aired in Australia on the ABC and wasn't particularly impressed. However after thoroughly enjoying "Beautiful People" I was surprised to find that this was also written by Jonathan Harvey. I had the unique pleasure of a face to face interview with him in Brisbane in 1998 for the Brisbane Film Festival debut of Beautiful Thing (google "jonathan harvey john frame" to hear the recording).

So I bought the complete Gimme Gimme Gimme boxed set, knowing it would be good - but was almost constantly breathless with laughter induced asthma. At times no amount of Ventolin would give relief and I'd have to turn the DVD off until I recovered.

I love that the characters stay true to form, but are always revealing new depth. The cast of actors are outstanding - I won't play favourites.

I particularly appreciate the bitter sweet conclusion to the series which challenges us to feel a tad guilty for finding any joy in their past suffering.

Paranoid Park [Blu-ray] [2007] [Region Free]
Paranoid Park [Blu-ray] [2007] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jake Miller
Price: £9.96

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic involving and thought provoking drama, 7 Dec. 2010
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Paranoid Park is right up with the best of Gus Van Sant's movies and is especially appreciable in Blu-Ray format. I love everything about it - including the grain of the small gauge film stock and the very carefully crafted surround soundscape, but especially the acting which is 100% convincing - and there's a good reason for that (watch the extra features).

It's a hard hitting story which I expect will be most relevant to youth, but there's a universal truth in that we naturally question if there's a limit to how responsible we need to be for our actions - especially if no good for anyone else can be done by confessing. Humans have a surprising capacity to rationalise and move on. A similar point is made in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors", but that's the only similarity between these two very fine films.

A must see for any fan of Gus Van Sant.

Bullshot [DVD]
Bullshot [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alan Shearman
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £29.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent quality 4:3 true to original format edition at a bargain price, 21 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Bullshot [DVD] (DVD)
I've just received the bargain priced 2010 Optimum Home Entertainment release of "Bullshot" and thankfully it is in 4:3, preserving the maximum amount of original screen detail. It is apparent how damaging it would be to crop this version down to 16:9, so I understand all those who have written about their disappointment with the 16:9 Anchor Bay edition.

Unfortunately the Amazon system lumps all the review comments for each edition together, so it's important to note that the 2010 Optimum edition is probably closest to what we would have seen in the cinema. Bullshot was not a widescreen film. The Optimum Home Entertainment edition is fullscreen 4:3 for the main feature, but includes a letterboxed aspect ratio to display all of the detail in the opening and closing credits.

The colour and contrast of the Optimum edition are excellent and all round it is a very good transfer from film. For about 10 years I had already owned an Australian "Rainbow Entertainment" edition, but it was clearly a simple transfer from VHS - with washed out colours and severe ghosting. So I am very happy to now have an edition which does this unique and hilarious film due justice.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2015 2:51 AM GMT

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