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The Leidenfrost Effect
The Leidenfrost Effect
Price: £7.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Odd. Weird. and utterly Brilliant..., 14 Mar. 2016
Sometimes a phrase from the lyrics of a song can haunt me. A few words, a few fabulous chords. Now, what is that... Over and over it'll play in my head until finally the penny drops. Of course, that's who it is. I then feel stupid for not instantly recognizing what has of course, worked itself deeply into my subconscious. So often, it's Jude (Cowan) Montague. At other times, it's Wim Oudijk. Both are able to plant memories and emotions, draw pictures in the mind, and permanently download feelings into the imaginations of their respective fans.
I am a fan of both these two very individual musicians, and artists of the soul.
Imagine then my feelings when the two of them came together to magic up an album of new songs, to challenge, and to delight.
Jude's songs and vocals. Wim's music, arrangements, and production.
Eight songs from the fertile imagination of the extraordinary Jude. She gathers up her inspiration from everywhere. The news is always a major source of subject matter. What she does with it however, is bonkers, truly, utterly, bonkers. Sometimes, but from only a few, I love bonkers. Jude makes me smile, and I find myself popping back for more, all the time. Wim is possibly one of the few musician/arrangers who understands her, and can enhance, illuminate, and even increase the strangeness, of the poet.
Jude and Wim are both poets in the widest sense. The wildest sense. Deep and serious, light and fluffy. Strange and haunting, tragic and funny. Jude's voice is everywhere. A unique voice. Sometimes she sounds as if she's making it all up as she goes along. Wim weaves his magic, and astounds with his dexterity, his choices of sounds, and always, ever changing.
Like most of the music that remains with me, this album has needed quite a few plays before the aromatic nuances ferment into familiar fun.
I now have so many more phrases I can recite. Phrases that mean nothing, to others... Ha..., and all set inside the most complex and beautiful music. There is truth here, sometimes, very raw truth. Always though, from the heart.
This won't become "popular fare". It will become much loved by those "who understand".
As Jude herself sings:
"You're in the no wake zone" and "You don't stand a chance against the mighty sea-horse".
Strange.
Odd.
Weird,
and utterly Brilliant...


Days Will Come
Days Will Come

5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Delight., 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Days Will Come (MP3 Download)
Getting older has certain advantages for the singer/songwriter. Age brings with it, years and years more of experiences, both good and bad. Friends and family lost. Loves too, gone forever, hope for the next that may come along, if only. See the old person all alone? Catch the sparkle in their eye? No? Well, it’s there... somewhere.... even if they try to hide it. Unless of course you make the mistake I made, and let the pilot light go out. I have a hole where fifteen years went... Don’t do it people it’s not good. A few good folk saved me. I believe a little sparkle reappeared as that pilot light was restarted a few short years ago.

What has that to do with this new album from Paul Butler? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything. Paul’s recording career began in 1964. Yes, I really do mean 1964. He went on to accompany a mouth watering list of wonderful blues musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, until he hung up his electric guitar in 1982 and retired from the music industry. Twenty seven years later, he picked up an acoustic guitar. Paul Butler was back. I would not have known of this fine album but I received a copy of it from a friend I have never met, who loves it dearly, and thought I would too. I do have a few wonderful friends these days. Life is not perfect, but it could be a great deal worse. I know.

This album fits my mood. It is on my wavelength. The overall mood is bluesy with other rhythms interwoven into its very fabric. Folk, jazz, country. It blends a splendid Americanistic feel with British sensibilities. You don’t have to be over sixty to appreciate this well produced gem of an album, but it may help. Older folks know quality and are prepared to spend the time, the trouble, the energy and the patience to fully get into this deep treasure trove of sheer quality. The writing is wonderful. The playing and production are first rate. This recording is a delight. At times Paul is a bluesman, at others, a crooner. He sings at all times with an integrity that is a breath of fresh air. This reminds one that however alone we are, in reality, we are not. Someone, somewhere, will care, will be there.

Paul has pulled off the seemingly impossible. A comeback in a new direction that is of the highest quality. His voice too is ideal for his compositions. Intense, craggy, warm, trustworthy, and personal.

I am very glad I have this album. I am slowly appreciating its subtleties and its truth. This is becoming a new favourite. There is always room for a new favourite, you don’t have a limit on favourites. Most of mine are decades old, but....... But in the past few years the list has started to slowly grow again. As have my hopes, my aspirations, and my life.

I believe if there is anyone who understands that last sentence, then it’s Paul Butler. A friend, of a friend.


In Animal Character
In Animal Character
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £9.97

5.0 out of 5 stars a great one. Her subjects utterly accessible to all, 16 Jan. 2015
This review is from: In Animal Character (Audio CD)
A few years ago I went to a local pub in order to see a band, then unknown to me, because the write-up sounded, "interesting". I was surprised the band was only two people, Isobel and Jim. What happened next, blew me away. Original songs written and sung by Isobel, whilst playing guitar. Jim too, on guitar, and singing wonder harmonies. That was the acoustic half of the band "Bruise". After the break we got the electric half of their split personality. Isobel strapped on an electric guitar, and Jim slid behind the drums. Such energy, such artistry, and I was hooked. That night I did something I seldom do, I bought all three of their albums. They are played regularly.
"In Animal Character" is the fourth Bruise album, and is most welcome. Isobel again writes the songs. Her background was as a folk singer, and it shows. It shows, most exquisitely. Gentle songs, poignant songs, up-beat songs, and all delicately worked with a poet's sensibility. For Isobel is a poet, and make no mistake, a great one. Her subjects utterly accessible to all. As emotional as only a writer of pure genius, can be. For me, Isobel is one on the foremost British songwriters. Her ability to share her vision is unsurpassed in its clarity. And all the while, by her side, is Jim. Gently singing harmony, or thunderously playing drums, Jim is the other half of the dreadfully under-known band, "Bruise".
Like all my favourite music, it took me a while to become accustomed to the rhythms, the pace, the poetry, the warmth, and the love. Wonderful to listen to. Wonderful to sing along with.
If you know "Bruise", then this is another, must-have album. If you don't know them yet, I thoroughly recommend "In Animal Character". And if "Bruise" were an animal, it would be a big cat. Full of playfulness and love, but deadly accurate. Treat with respect, or you may be sorry, for they have claws.


Hidden Seam
Hidden Seam
Price: £9.42

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lisa does it again!, 8 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Hidden Seam (Audio CD)
I first had the pleasure of seeing Lisa Knapp perform when she came to Swindon to promote her first album, "Wild and Undaunted" in 2007. Somehow it seems much longer ago than that. Possibly it is the number of times I have played it, that makes it seem I have known it forever. It is wonderful.

May Day 2012 brought Lisa's five track EP "Hunt the Hare - A Branch of May", another total delight.

Lisa Knapp has just released her second album, "Hidden Seam". I had pre-ordered it as soon as I was able. It arrived two days before the official release date. I have a friend who sometimes doesn't open a package straight away, but marvels at the wondrous contents inside. I have never had that feeling, or so I thought. I opened it straight away and delighted in the beautiful artwork, a photograph of a reclining Lisa. Across the length of her dress was her hand written signature. Oh yes, I'm a fan. Carefully I placed it next to the player, and to my surprise, that is where it stayed. I wondered why I simply couldn't play it.

My emotions were in a bit of a turmoil. Several deep disappointments tempered with happiness at the reaction of a few friends to a new venture, but no, that wasn't it. At last I worked out my problem. I was frightened of the new disc and its contents. I have such a high opinion of Lisa's previous work, that I was fearful that this would not match up to the magic. At last I got the measure of my emotions, and played it. What WAS I worried about???

This is a LISA KNAPP album!!!

Too true it is. From the very first song, "Shipping Song", and all the way though to the sublime "Hushabye", at the end, this is a treasure trove of wonders. Lisa sings not simply charming folk songs, but a variety of genres, soft and inviting, yet others far more challenging. How can the strings of a bow being dropped and bounced down a violin's strings be so perfect? How can anyone singing the fishing forecast areas sound so mesmerising? This is progressive English Folk Music for the twenty first century. The instruments are played by all, to absolute perfection. The small touches of piano and of percussion, are a joy. The violin a delight. This is music for the connoisseur. This requires dedicated listening. This lifts the spirits in a way that few can.

This is a LISA KNAPP album!!!

There are offbeat thumping rhythms, modern dancers please take note. The gentle slow songs work their way into your very soul. Lisa is like a rose in nature. Her hauntingly beautiful talent shines brightly layer after layer, each one ever more fresh and alive. Do not mistake this though, there is an edge, a sharpness, a cutting sharpness. So be warned, do not ever underestimate this force of nature, but luxuriate in the sounds, the emotions, the all enveloping warm and love that is "Hidden Seam". And finally there is the last song, "Hushabye". This I repeat every-time I listen to the album. This is the one that raised the hair on the back of my neck. This is the most magic one for me. Lisa has done this to me before. Magic can be very hard to find. Despite my worries, it is very much here again, thanks to Lisa and her friends......... After all,

This is a LISA KNAPP album!!!


Jude Cowan - Wim Oudijk
Jude Cowan - Wim Oudijk
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars True tales... And yes, it's fun., 11 Jan. 2013
We have here four works by Jude Cowan. Jude is a poet, a musician, a performer, a total idiot in the very best interpretation of the word, and strange-to say, I already know all the poems/ reading/ songs on this EP. Jude works for the news channel of a major TV company, and gets to know of all the stories, both tragic and ludicrous. She sees all the stories that we do, and all those that we don't. These four tracks are from the news. They are all true. And such stories:
1. Barbie & Ken... 2. Giant African Snail... 3. Rabbitfish... 4. Russian Ice Swimming...
Yes, believe it or not, they are true! Ludicrous eh? Silly! Ah, but Jude is always one step ahead. Underneath the odd-ball tales here, lay deep dark realities. Poverty and struggle. Sinister machinations. Jude is like the hero of a conspiracy movie when no one will believe her, or can even be bothered. Jude's message is stark, too stark for her own good sometimes. Enter Wim Oudijk. Wim is a musician/arranger/producer of exceptional experience and understanding. His wonderful melodies change the impression of the work making it far more accessible to far more musical fans in search of challenging recordings. Jude's words and music, challenge, yet reward. Weird wonderful unexpected different and all true, the words amaze. As with Jim Parker's splendid music for Sir John Betjeman, Wim has transformed Jude's work into a miniature multi-media event. If ever Jude makes it really big, and I do so hope she does, Wim's collaboration on this four track EP, may well be seen as the catalyst. And yes, it's fun.


Nightporter
Nightporter
Price: £20.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece from 2003, 7 May 2012
This review is from: Nightporter (Audio CD)
When I was wee, there was no music that I liked. None. This was pre- Beatles. This was pre- Rock and Roll. I loved to sing though, and at school I had a good music teacher. We sang complicated harmonies, I sang descant. My teacher was a lady. Most of my teachers were ladies. Years later I found that there had indeed been music I liked all along, but that I had not yet heard. Most people did not have a TV, the wireless was king. The programmes though were, to me, dull. Unlike today there were only a few channels, all government controlled. The music that was played was enjoyed by my parents and my grandparents. I was lucky, I had all my family. My father was conscripted shortly after WWII finished. One grandfather just missed the trenches but was in the army of occupation in the Rhineland in 1919. My other grandfather was found medically unfit when he had attempted to join up. Oh yes, my family was lucky.

History is hindsight. The Great War was named that because the next World War had not yet started. We now know there would be another one. In the 1920s and 30s, people were trying to come to terms with the consequences of the recent devastating conflict. Then the flu pandemic of 1918-1919 hit, killing an estimated 50 million people. The German people were starving, and the allies demanded their reparations. Inside Germany, factions fought factions and the country imploded. The rest, so they say, is history..... But.....

But,.... in the midst of this devastation were the arts. The painters, Otto Dix and George Grosz. The film makers, Fritz Lang, and Georg Pabst. The writers, Thomas Mann, and Erich Maria Remarque. Bertolt Brecht was in the theatre. And then there was the music..... Ah, the music. The best known of course, being Kurt Weill. These and all the many others reflected a society on a collision course with utter disaster. The artists themselves were soon to become the targets and the victims. This era retains a fascination that many have sought to recreate, most have failed. They were bad times, they were evil times. Today, only the very best could create or recreate the sense of danger and fear that was all pervasive at the time. Almost impossible that is, but not quite.

"Nightporter" by Chabliz left me speechless when I first heard it. I was shocked. How could any band, any singer that young, born so far away from the actual events, get it so right? I now regard Petra as one of my favourite singers, and the one with the most amazing voice with its four + octave range. The band on this album play with a maturity and feel for the material, that warms the soul. For many people this will be a difficult album to like, or even understand. Today's music is far too lightweight for my taste. I know of a few bands within my own city limits that are creating new exciting music. None of them have a large following, but they are deeply loved. Chabliz are from Holland. "Nightporter" is an unusual collection of original songs and covers, one being a Weill/Brecht. Unusual choice it may be, but it works. From start to finish it has been crafted with the utmost care, and attention to detail. The CD cover has the most glorious artwork.

I like the darkest two songs best. "An Invitation to Sin" written by Van Dyke Parks. The title song "Nightporter", written by Petra de Winter, herself. These songs twist and turn, then dive and climb, as if in a dogfight with themselves. They would test the most accomplished diva. Petra is in command though, with a voice of power, intensity, and accuracy that astounds and delights. All the tracks are superb, better than other bands' best. There are moments when Petra's voice hits a pinnacle of perfection that simply seems impossible. Never far away is the realization that real people lived in those extraordinary times. It was not a fiction. "Life Runs Out Like Sand" written by Bill Nelson, seems to convey the sense and the purpose. Petra sings and writes in English, but sings twice in German on this album. This simple fact seems to heighten the understanding of the dreadful reality of the situation. This album should be played to students of History in Universities. It should be played to politicians before they make decisions.

Petra de Winter (vocals), and the three musicians credited with her on this incredible album, are: Ewout Willems (piano, accordeon). Marcel Peters (acoustic double bass). Arthur van Keppel (drums, percussion).

My great thanks to the musicians, your work is beautiful. Petra, you still have the ability to leave me speechless, except to say that you are wonderful. A quick look on the CD cover shows that the producer and arranger of this stupendous work is Wim Oudijk. Wim also played the other instruments and sang the male harmonies. Wim Oudijk, together with Guus van Leeuwen, mixed and mastered this album. Wim, you should be very proud of this album. I recommend it to all discerning music lovers everywhere!!!
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Tree
Tree
Price: £6.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Magical, 4 May 2012
This review is from: Tree (MP3 Download)
If you are familiar with the music of Wim Oudijk, then read no further, simply buy it, it is a masterpiece. I have only known of his work for a few years, wonderful years. He is a brilliant musician. Wim is Dutch and appeared on TV with his band (The Navel Orange Choir) in the late 1970s, and there are videos to prove it. Wim writes and performs his own material as well as adapting classic songs in his own inimitable style. He is a very sought after music producer and brings his skills to many a fine album, from popular pop, to deep, dark and moody.

Wim Oudijk likes fun. Wim Oudijk understands and creates fun. Wim Oudijk is fun, and has even had fun with his own surname. Understanding the English speaker's inability to say his name, he has recorded himself saying it. "My name is Wim Ow-Deck". Well, that is how this English speaker hears it, my apologies if this is not perfect. "My name is Wim Ow-Deck". "My name is Wim Ow-Deck". Wim's voice is soft and rounded with the most charming of Dutch accents. He writes and performs in English, for which I am profoundly grateful.

I first heard "Tree" under rather strange circumstances. As Wim wrote each track, he allowed the radio show Curve Ball 101.8 WCR FM (Wednesday 20:00-22:00 London time), to preview them. I therefore heard the album in instalments, one at a time. This was enthralling yet excruciating at the same time. I found myself wanting more. Finally it was finished. I bought it.

"Tree" is a concept album. It follows the life of a tree, but goes off on the most weird and wonderful tangents. It starts with the sound of a chain saw. The rest is music with Wim's moodily haunting, yet joyous singing. It is a master-class of musicianship. So many styles of music. Pop, jazz, prog., with dollops of psychedelic magic, and so much more. Complicated rhythms, wondrous harmonies. The musicianship throughout is perfection. It entertains. It challenges. It excites. It surprises. It enthralls. It soars. I will leave the technicalities to more competent reviewers, I simply listen on an emotional level. Indeed, "Tree" makes me emotional. To do that to me, you have to be good, very very good. Wim is!!! And as he himself says, "My name is Wim Ow-Deck". The journey is a pure joy, and for that I thank you, Mr. Oudijk.


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