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boxhead (Inverness)

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Main Event, 8 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Ys (Audio CD)
Ys initially left be baffled and smitten, but not any more.

Joanna's debut album The Milk-Eyed Mender is a unique adventure: songs played on harp and harpsichord, with imaginative, weirdly-worldy lyrics, sung in the voice of a 5 year old girl. But, Ys is different. Different because it exposes the purpose of that debut album, which was to demonstrate that she could write songs. Throughout Ys, Joanna basically looks at that album and says 'Okay, I've done some simple songs, now I'll do what I want to do!" The Milk-Eyed Mender is a come-hither tease for the main event, which is Ys.

Ys is spell-binding. And it requires complete undivided attention. Let your mind wander anywhere else and the spell will be broken, and yes, you'll end up being baffled too. You need to concentrate on everything: Joanna's stories, the way she sings, the melodies she sings, and the orchestral backing. It's this orchestration which one could think of as 'difficult'. Because, whilst Joanna sings and plays her harp, the backing meanders, as if to dab paint on the worlds she constructs. Sometimes holding back, sometimes scampering forward beyond the song. The aftertaste of the orchestration is just as important as what is actually played. Despite the lush production, there is so much missing. And that's very cool. Don't be put off by the length of each track either - there is no time or space when listening to this album.

Go and buy Ys, please. You may not hear anything like it for the next four hundred years.

Random Order
Random Order
Offered by davidw_1212
Price: £5.00

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh joy, 10 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Random Order (Audio CD)
Where do I start? I know nothing about Juliet. She released this song Avalon which I became slightly familiar with. Then most recently came Ride the Pain. This was a lot more inticing. A perfect merging of rock and dance music, written by people who understand that nuances should be found inside music, whilst they demonstrated and exhibited their knowledge of the history of electronic and guitar based composition.
But little prepared me for the album. Random Order appears to be the descendent of the pioneers of 80s synth pop, 90s rock, electronica and pop and the magical mystery of the 60s. Or, if you're looking for specifics, the proper sequel to Madonna's Music, except done properly. It climbs onto your back screams in one ear and whispers in the other.
I'm left wondering: is this the perfect album? I've spent the best part of 20 years of my life ferreting around trying to find good music, and, yes, I've found a lot of fantastic stuff, but I've never found an album that's as faultless as Random Order, for it made my jaw drop, it made me shiver, it made me cry and it stimulated my musical intellect.

The Beekeeper
The Beekeeper
Price: £6.33

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleek but Sharp, 3 Mar. 2005
This review is from: The Beekeeper (Audio CD)
Here's something: An album that doesn't grab you the first time around, until you hear Witness. The rest of the album glides by and you wonder why you didn't like the songs prior to Witness. So you listen to it again and then you realise why The Beekeeper is the album Tori has released right now. I've been listening to this all week, alternating between it and another Tori album and back again.
Far from the AOR rubbish that the casual listener may dismiss it as, the striking thing about this album is how focussed it is. Every single detail is meticulously placed and the use of the B3 Hammond allows Tori's beautiful voice to be heard and fully appreciated. After all, when you have an organ, drums and a bass guitar, there's plenty of space for the voice. There is less piano than one might expect - it's certainly no Choirgirl, but the overall effect is breathtaking.

Restless Times
Restless Times

5.0 out of 5 stars Oh my, 4 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Restless Times (Audio CD)
Clara Hill's album effortlessly melds deep house, intelligent dance music, RnB and jazz into a suite of incredibly dazzling but soothing compositions. Restless Times is amongst my favourite albums of 2004. It will probably be my Number One. Almost certainly actually. It's truly incredible.

Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002]
Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Ben Affleck|Samuel L. Jackson|Sydney Pollack|Toni Collette
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.72

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Changing DVDs, 2 May 2004
This review is from: Changing Lanes [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
It's unfortunate when a film appears to gather so much praise from some reviewers when it is in fact junk. What we have here is a nasty little film played by actors who should know better than to get involved with this morally confused escapade. Without any core background material the characters are meaningless and the decisions that they and their peers take are laughable in the extreme. The ending is limp and predictable.

Offered by HANG LOOSE Records
Price: £14.90

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introspection or retrospective, 5 Nov. 2003
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Probably the most complete Plastikman album. After the minimal minimalism of Consumed and Artifakts (q.v. the complex minimalism of Robert Hood), Closer is an album full of textures and effects that confuse the concepts of rhythm and melody, and unlike all previous Plastikman albums, this works as a complete piece rather than a collection of tracks. Themes and ideas reappear all over the album, and with few exceptions its difficult to distinguish the start and end of each track. However, Richie, drop the techno vocals please, that is so 1980.
This could easily be a Richie Hawtin retrospective. There are the strings and pads of FUSE and From Within (Richie's 3 collaborations with Peter Namlook), the occasionally obvious TB-303 sounds of early Plastikman (Devilfish or not), and the atmospherics of Consumed and the Concept works. The last three tracks are particularly majestic.
A fine piece of work which perhaps ties up all loose and ends and sets up the next phase of Richie's career. However, a new FUSE album would be nice.

Offered by Amtrak123
Price: £5.56

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a flutter, 23 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Flutterby (Audio CD)
Let's get one thing straight: this is no Sheryl Crow wannabe. What an insult that would be. Sure, you can think this when you start listening to it, but by the end of the album your thoughts are somewhere else completely. And, like the best albums, you can get more out of it with repeated listens.
Arranged and performed by Butterfly, except from some drums and a cello. There are grinding electric guitars (think late-eighties Scrawl), bass, acoustic guitars, a ukulele, flute, oboe or clarinet, various pianos, violin. Little motifs and musical decorations are all over this album, and this allows you to enjoy it more. However, what strikes home is how tight the tracks feel, and this can't be easy to achieve, being essentially a solo album. Some reviews have complained that it's overproduced, but I disagree. Everything is there for a reason, and nothing sounds out of place or superfluous.
My favourites are the single I Can't Make Me, Another White Dash, Soul Back, Never Leave Your Heart Alone, Don't Point Don't Scare It (includes a Jane Siberry-esque lyric "We pass a flock of birds who didn't flinch a feather"), Soul Back, For A Song (which builds gorgeously), and Gift Wrap (possibly the most affecting track I've heard since either Tori Amos's Winter, or Kristin Hersh's Listerine, with some subtle lyrical word play that few songwriters can match, plus it has a lovely intro).
An album which illustrates a songwriter and performer bursting with potential. Providing that her career doesn't get skewed by record company demands, we should be hearing more from her. Album of the year? Not quite, but very close, and certainly something decent to listen to whilst we all wait for Nerina Pallot's new album.

Slow [CD 1]
Slow [CD 1]
Offered by InfinityBuys
Price: £2.25

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Round and round and round and round.., 18 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Slow [CD 1] (Audio CD)
Possibly the slinkiest, sleekest, smoothest song every written. Dive in and swim around the burbling electronics, the blissed out vocals, and the tiniest tiniest drop in the middle of the track. Nothing much happens, and if you don't listen to the entire track you can almost miss the fact that there is a song there. Put it on repeat and listen to it for ever. Sublime.

Life for Rent
Life for Rent
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.87

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far superior to No Angel, 1 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Life for Rent (Audio CD)
I bought No Angel prior to it becoming the success it was on the back of Eminem's Stan. I've listened to it twice. It's that good.
However, Life for Rent is a different story. Life for Rent is a delightful little jaunt around town for Dido, and her views on life and relationships. The instrumentation and arrangement is good, and superb in some places. Although it can be a bit Bontempi at times. The album bears up to repeated listens partly because you there are little gems to find in each of the tracks, and this is really down to the production and orchestration. Dido does however need to get some serious voice training to increase the strength of her voice at the extremes of here vocal range. Frequently, her voice disappears at the start or end of lines. But it's still unique and still sounds really lush.
Probably Swiss Toni's favourite album of 2003.

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