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Reviews Written by
W R Hale (Kent, UK)

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Fitkin: hard fairy
Fitkin: hard fairy
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £15.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly rewarding and brilliant music, 31 May 2012
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This review is from: Fitkin: hard fairy (Audio CD)
I've been a massive fan of Graham Fitkin ever since first discovering his music through the pieces he wrote for six pianos played by Piano Circus called 'Log', 'Line' and 'Loud'. This album features a mixture of piano pieces and piano/saxophone duets, many of which are among the best of his output. The saxophone playing, by John Harle, is very fine indeed, but for me the most stunning piece is the final track, 'Fract', with it's constant change of moods, haunting melody line and stabbing chord structures. If you like this then you will also undoubtedly appreciate the more recent release, 'Circuit', which again features piano-based works, including the title track for piano with orchestra. Further to that, Fitkin's orchestral music is also to be highly recommended, with the piece 'Length', from the collection titled 'Granite', being my personal favourite.


AA Digital Tyre Pressure Gauge
AA Digital Tyre Pressure Gauge
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 31 May 2012
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This simple device works well, is very easy to use and if, like me, you have a possible slow puncture it easily repays it's cost given the price of using garage air pressure machines these days.


Steve Reich - You Are
Steve Reich - You Are
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £21.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More high-class vocal music from Reich, 2 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: Steve Reich - You Are (Audio CD)
I've referred to this as 'vocal music' partly to distinguish it from Reich's orchestral pieces and the more recent ensemble works but also to, in effect, group it with Tehillim, The Desert Music and other pieces where Reich has integrated vocals with his instrumentation.
I have to say that ever since I first heard the You Are Variations it rapidly became one of my favourites and I don't tire of listening to it. All the familiar characteristics of Reich are there, the insistent pulse, slowly changing repetitive phrasing, etc. but the melodic writing and the prominence of the singers in the recording mix make this quite intoxicating. I cannot recommend it more strongly.
The Cello Counterpoint that accompanies You Are on this recording is equally interesting, not so immediate maybe, but still very rewarding and a continuation of the solo instrument 'Counterpoint' compositions he has created over the years probably the best of which is the excellent Electric Counterpoint for guitar originally recorded with Pat Metheny as soloist (with Different Trains performed by Kronos).
I understand the comments by other reviewers about the overall playing length of this recording as a whole, but when the music is so sumptuous it's hard to complain.


For The Ghosts Within
For The Ghosts Within
Price: £11.46

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth is stranger than Robert, 2 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: For The Ghosts Within (Audio CD)
What a marvellously creative setting for Robert Wyatt's music and a beautifully crafted and understated performance as well. The cover-of-a-cover of 'At Last I am Free' is just as highly emotive as the original recording. I also particularly like the title track and the cover of Wyatt's own 'Maryan' is just exquisite. Like the other reviewers, I was surprised to hear a Wyatt version of 'What a Wonderful World', but in a strange way it is exactly appropriate to round off the album. If you are a Wyatt fan you cannot fail to enjoy this release.


Double Sextet / 2x5
Double Sextet / 2x5
Price: £11.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another high class Reich recording, 30 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Double Sextet / 2x5 (Audio CD)
As a long time Reich fan this is very easy to get into and although it maybe doesn't have the immediate appeal of his music involving vocals it is classic Reich with all the familiar rhythms and structures. The performance is, as always, faultless. The 'eighth blackbird' ensemble was new to me, but their rendering of Double Sextet is excellent and Bang on a Can already have a well-deserved reputation on the contemporary music circuit which this simply serves to maintain.

Personally I have found myself more recently drawn to Reich's vocal music - the superb 'You Are Variations' being one of his latest and best - plus the older orchestral pieces such as 'The Desert Music' and 'Four Sections' - but the smaller ensemble work here grows on you with every listening and is every bit as impressive.

For those that might be interested, I found the guitar/keyboards/drums instrumentation on 2x5 reminiscent of the British artist Steve Martland, especially his 'Danceworks' (from the 'Patrol' album). So, if you like 2x5 you'll like Danceworks (and check out some of the instrumentation/rhthyms on the brilliant 'Horses of Instruction' release by the Steve Martland Band which is almost Reich in rock music form).


Little Bottle of Laundry
Little Bottle of Laundry
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best - but then so are the others!, 30 Jan. 2010
I first bought this album a few years ago, just after buying the excellent 'Songs'. It did take a few listens to get into, but I was then quickly hooked. The style is very different from Songs, more rock-orientated with much more of a band feel to it. On this release Greaves does the vocals throughout whereas Songs was more acoustic and melancholy with several (quite superb) guest vocalists. The variety of styles is very evident, as is common in Greaves work, even within the same piece. Lullaby is one of his best rock tracks, Let Her Go is a haunting love song and Almost Perfect Lovers mixes in jazz styles and some great sax work. The World Tonight is the original, more conventional sounding interpretation of the same piece that appears on Trouble with Happiness and Deck of the Moon has all of his styles rolled into one, also featuring some manic piano work. This really is a must-have for any Greaves fan (along with Songs, The Caretaker and Parrot Fashions).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 15, 2016 2:15 PM BST


Parrot Fashions
Parrot Fashions
Offered by muzicmadnezz
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Another highly recommended Greaves album, 30 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Parrot Fashions (Audio CD)
I've been slowly catching up on Greaves' back catalogue and Parrot Fashions is certainly up there with Songs, Little Bottle of Laundry and The Caretaker as his best. As ever, there are several pieces which appear on his other releases but in different arrangements, which adds some fascination for his followers. Like The Caretaker, Parrot Fashions is very rock-orientated, with emphasis on guitar and rhythm and some excellent melodies. As the review title says - highly recommended. If you like Caretaker and Laundry you'll definitely like this.


The Caretaker
The Caretaker
Offered by groove_temple
Price: £16.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine Greaves album, 29 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: The Caretaker (Audio CD)
As another reviewer indicated, this is very much a rock-style album for Greaves, with more emphasis on the guitar/bass/drums than most of his other albums. I rate it very highly. It is almost instantly likeable (whereas some of Greaves' best work takes some getting into, like Little Bottle of Laundry and Trouble with Happiness) and very tuneful, with Greaves own voice mixing 'hard rock' styles with occasional 'crooning'. I'd place this as one of his best, along with '....Laundry', 'Trouble...' and 'Songs'.


How's Tricks (Remastered With Bonus Tracks)
How's Tricks (Remastered With Bonus Tracks)
Price: £5.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 27 Aug. 2009
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How's Tricks is (much) more jazz/rock style than the earlier classic Jack Bruce solo albums like Harmony Row and Songs For a Tailor, and probably less edgy as well. However there are some great tracks, like the opener 'Without a Word' and 'Lost Inside a Song' which compare very favourably to anything from the classic albums. Overall I'd place this album in the same category as 'Out of the Storm' and 'Jet Set Jewel', showing Bruce's versatility and variety and showcasing his vocal capabilities as well as any other album. Definitely a worthwhile addition for any Jack Bruce fan.


Corner in Manhattan (iii) Houston Street in the Morning
Corner in Manhattan (iii) Houston Street in the Morning

4.0 out of 5 stars Corner In Manhattan by Michael Torke, 6 April 2009
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This string quartet piece is highly typical of the music of Michael Torke, minimalism with a pulse combined with highly emotional tonal melody. Possibly for those not familiar with the music of Torke this might not be the right starting point (his orchestral and chamber works like Music on the Floor, Javelin and Run would be recommended) but for the Torke fan (like me, of course) this piece is well worth investigating and highly rewarding.


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