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Stephen Muires (Stockholm, Sweden)

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Crystal Flute Awakening
Crystal Flute Awakening
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Liner notes, 7 Feb. 2014
I am writing this as the artist of this CD.

A crystal is considered to be a solidified vibration.
A crystallized form of consciousness.
It can know, it can relay, it can transmit.

The flutes vibrate in harmony with the crystals embedded in their wood.
The human voice resonates with the bones of the skull.

The purpose of this CD is to allow consciousness to awaken into that state of crystal clarity and self-reflection.

This album was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden, during 2013-2014. Only free software has been used in recording, editing and mastering the sound. The flutes used were almost all Native American style flutes. I want to make especial mention of flute maker David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes in the UK. His approach to flute making and the use of crystals has been very helpful and inspiring in my dance with the flute. Several tracks on this album have been recorded using David’s flutes.

I dedicate these sound meditations to a free world, a world free of money, free of blindness. With the small seed of consciousness that is growing in each corner of the earth the times we live in are truly in transformation.

Stephen Muires

Offered by actionrecords
Price: £15.00

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeds my expectations, 31 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Metamorpheus (Audio CD)
I am really happy with this newest acoustic disk of Hackett's. After his previous guitar albums I have been waiting for more pure acoustic material. This album fills the bill, although I must add in a different way than expected.
Even Midsummer Night's Dream was quite heavy on guitar pieces, i.e. pieces where the guitar is the solo instrument and leads the way, with some orchestra interspersed. Here on Metamorpheus the music itself is central, with the guitar often merging so smoothly into the whole that it doesn't stand out. But the music is wonderful, beautiful and very expressive.
There is almost a kind of naivity about the music and the concept of this album, and that's what brings out the charm. This is the album of a phantastic composer, more than the album of a phantastic guitarist.

Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds (Xbox)
Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds (Xbox)
Price: £28.11

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good, unplayable, bad, 11 Jan. 2005
There is one thing (only) good about this game and that is the quality of the graphics. Not when in play mode, no, just the menus and the films. The monsters and the characters look fantastic as long as you stay in menu mode. But at some point you're going to want to play the game, right?
That's where you find out it total crap. It is quite impossible to figure out which buttons to press. I got stuck doing the guiding tutorial in chapter 5, it was too difficult to beat. There's no camera, no zoom, no exploration. There is just the same mindless, frantic casting of spells, all the time, without a break.
I hope that the people working on the graphics of this game have moved to Ubisoft or Eidos, and that the game designers and programmers have gotten pensioned off.

Fable (Xbox)
Fable (Xbox)

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What happened to open-ended?, 4 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Fable (Xbox) (Video Game)
That sums it up: What happened to open-ended? Fable is good and very exciting to play... once. Definitely recommended, sure. But after one finish it is very boring to play again, especially if you've already looked around everywhere during this first time.
It cannot compare to Morrowind, since it is not open-ended. This is a BIG minus. The graphics are sharper and better quality than in Morrowind. There are hardly any bugs, it is clear the game has been well-worked. But I had hoped to be able to roam Albion freely and that Albion would be MUCH bigger than it is in the game.
Also the selling line about being able to make decisions for good or bad, is just naive. The storyline is so linear that good or bad really is irrelevant.
There is decisive English influence in the game, through the voices and the type of jokes, and this is good fun. A gravestone reads: "Dead. Happy now?" The character can fart and belch in public, great fun.
The game is also pretty easy to play, in the sense that you don't really die all the time. That's good, too, since all that reloading business is a pain in the youknowwhere.
They made one mistake with the magic buttons: instead of allowing you to map magic spells to 4 buttons, like you can with items and expressions, you can only map to 3, leaving the yellow button free as a rotator button. Result is that my spells disappear in the middle of the action, since you always press yellow sooner or later. Very irritating. Especially since yellow actually is used to roll out of harm's way. So that's a bug, probably the result of using testers that were experienced players.

Takemitsu: Works for Flute and Guitar
Takemitsu: Works for Flute and Guitar
Price: £18.21

0 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning, does not contain music., 21 April 2004
Silly me, thinking that this CD might contain nice music. Or even music,fullstop. And look at those poetic track titles. I bought this one becausethe guitarist had recorded another CD with Bach and Buxtehude, which wasreally nice, bringing the music very much to life.
What Christopher Alexander says about 20th century architecture appliesvery much also to modern classical music. This CD is an example of theworst kind of non-music. It's fragmented, disturbing, nervy. You begin tofeel odd and irritated when having it on the speakers. Don't buy it. Thankme for having saved you the money and above all the experience.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 18, 2011 9:13 PM BST

The Phenomenon of Life: The Nature of Order, Book 1
The Phenomenon of Life: The Nature of Order, Book 1
by Christopher Alexander
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £45.00

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed and beautiful, 26 Feb. 2004
This is a very beautiful book. In content, form, layout, pictures, style. It would be possible to write a very lengthy review, but that is not necessary here. Alexander is known from his work on pattern languages in architecture, and indirectly from the spin-off into software engineering. The current book, the first of a series of 4, has been a long time in coming. That is noticable. The thoughts and ideas are matured and fine-tuned. It's an easy read, if not an easy understand. But it's thrilling to read, slowly.
The central ideas of the book are difficult to accept, but also difficult to deny. And Alexander makes the effort to really expose and explain them, calmly and thoroughly. No arrogance.
I compare this work to Stephen Wolfram and Frank Tipler, who have also created some monumental insights that don't quite fit in anywhere.
There are few books that I can recommend as highly as this one.

Collins Encyclopedia of Classical Music
Collins Encyclopedia of Classical Music
by Vladimir Ashkenazy
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed reaction, 13 Jan. 2004
I got the book and had 3 queries for it rightaway. I wanted to read about Frederico Mompou, Silvius Leopold Weiss and I wanted to know the meaning of the term rubato. I had anticipated that no encyclopedia could possibly list all composers or explain all musical terms. But all 3 queries failed, which was more than I find acceptable. This book is very nice, but it is not a "primary academic resource for experts", as is mentioned in the synopsis.
That said, the book is very luxurious and interesting, with a lot of focus on the historical context for any music type or composer. But I do now need to find another book that can tell me what rubato means and that has heard of Mompou...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2014 3:17 PM GMT

Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Better Software Careers
Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Better Software Careers
by Steve McConnell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £36.99

22 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written but maybe the boat already left the kay?, 29 Aug. 2003
I am quite a fan of McConnell, particularly "Code Complete" has been a help and inspiration for many years. I still recommend it to my colleagues.
Now I 'm reading his new book and it's 2003 and in principle I still agree with everything the writer says. Pay attention to process, upgrade the skillset of software engineers, even to some degree the assertion that it would be nice if software writing would get some sort of official quality stamp so that trivial and not so trivial errors can be avoided.
But now it seems that this line of arguing is out of touch with the reality that programmers in a large part of the world find themselves in. It's not an issue of improving the software engineering processes, it's an issue of keeping ones current job or finding a job at all. And the newspapers don't help, with the typically journalistic shortsightedness predicting even worse times for employment in the IT sectors.
I also fail to see the huge difference between software engineering and other engineering professions. This difference is supposed to show in monumental amounts of errors in software that no one takes responsibility for and the relatively low educational requirements for becoming a software engineer. When I order a plumber (an authorized plumber with a license, that is) half the time they fail to do even a simple job correctly. When my car needs a repair it doesn't always succeed first time round. How is this different from software?
So my impression of this book today is that it talks about a reality that once was, but that no longer is. By comparison the book "Slack" by DeMarco is delightedly close to reality.
Quality really is 'perceived' quality, whoever does the perceiving. It is not absolute or quantifyable. So licensing software quality makes little sense. The world is just not an engineering market place. It's all mixed up. You build up too much engineering quality in your work and soon you have no more work, because they do it cheaper in India.
So I am not getting from this book much useful guidelines and I wonder how it could give me an enhanced career (a phrase from the blurp).

Lute Sonatas (Schneeweiss)(10cd)
Lute Sonatas (Schneeweiss)(10cd)
Price: £6.48

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making the Dead come to Life, 5 Nov. 2002
This is a 10 CD set filled with very old music from the time of Bach, music that in any other rendition sounds just as dull and dead as most Bach recordings do. But when Schneeweiss plays it, it sounds as if it was written yesterday.
I bought this set immediately after having bought the 7 CD Anthology set, also recorded by Schneeweiss, and having been totally surprised at the intensity, lyrical quality and warmth of the guitar music.
The same effect is achieved in these new versions of Weiss's sonatas. They are in effect new versions, which the booklet also points out. This is not an attempt to create 'authentic' sounding lute music on the guitar. This is, instead, a successful attempt to breathe new life into old music, by transforming it, probably changing it in places, and adjusting it to the strengths of the guitar, and dropping the restrictions of the lute.
These things are always very difficult to explain or express, but I have listened to numerous other guitarists (Bream, Williams, Sollscher, you name them) playing classical pieces and nobody, absolutely nobody seems to be able to make classical guitar music come to life in my ears. Nobody except Schneeweiss.
So I recommend these recordings: this is the best of the best. You will never regret it.

Anthology Of Guitar Music (Schneeweiss)
Anthology Of Guitar Music (Schneeweiss)
Price: £37.27

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen to this with surprise and delight!, 23 Sept. 2002
I was in doubt whether or not to buy this set, fearing it would be a lowest denominator collection of standard guitar pieces. But the relatively low price for a 7 CD box made it a chance worth taking.
It turned out that there are quite a few misleading facts about this record. For a start this can hardly be called an anthology. It was probably a marketing person who came up with that idea. The pieces are in no particular order, neither arranged chronologically nor by composer nor by style. The nice result, though, is a lovely mix to listen to.
Another misleading fact is the title "500 Years of Guitar Compositions". There are certainly a good many renaissance compositions, but they don't sound "renaissant" (dull and boring). Instead there is heavy emphasis on interpretation and arrangement by the artist, one Kurt Schneeweiss, who has recorded the whole album. Even the Bach pieces sound like fluent, expressive, modern guitar music. Nothing like the usual Bach-wake-me-up-when-it's-over renditions (I do hope this really offends people who like Bach).
About the sound quality: it is not digitally perfect, the low notes boom a little occasionally. But this just makes the music warmer, more personal and more interesting.
The seven CD's are peppered with quite a few of Kurt's own compositions. This is an extremely arrogant thing to do in an "anthology", were it not for the fact that it's nice music and well played and anyway I don't care for the historical overview, I just wanted palatable, peaceful and enjoyable guitar music and that's very much what I got.
There is very little information included in the album booklets, nothing about the various composers, nothing about Kurt himself. That's a shame. But the music compensates for it.
I think that this guy got the right idea. There is no such thing as a correct and accurate rendition of a composition that may have been written down hundreds of years ago. That's the "playing it as it would have sounded in the time of Bach"-illusion. That only produces sterile recordings by "major artists". This guitar set, however, is full of variation, imperfections, freedom and small additions. And that makes it possible to listen to with surprise and delight.

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