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Richard (London)

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Tarot Sport
Tarot Sport
Offered by Side Two
Price: 7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most inventive, freshest, biggest dance record of 2009, 24 Oct 2009
This review is from: Tarot Sport (Audio CD)
Wow, this album is brilliant. Surf Solar kicks off and sets the standard for the rest of the album - almost 2 minutes of ethreal, spaced out bliss before a deep base drum comes in and is followed by a wall of melodic noise that doesn't hold up for the next hour. Rough Steez introduces aphex twin style tweaks and twiddles, and if you heard the base in a club it would hit you in the very pit of your stomach. The Lisbon Maru is a beautiful, building kaleidoscope, which melts seamlessly into Olymplans. Like most other tracks on the album both are close to ten minutes long - these boys don't like to rush things. Phantom Limb gets industrial, and Space Mountain sounds like it could be beaten out by an African tribe. The album closes with Flight of the Feathered Serpent, probably the best of a very good collection of tunes. Just as you think it is wrapping up at the end with some very Underworld-like basedrums, so the Buttons bring back the hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck harmonies that started the piece.

This is certainly not trance, in fact it's difficult to shoehorn into one category. But that's part of its originality and part of its brilliance. Just buy it.

James Lavelle - Bangkok: GU37 (Standard Edition)
James Lavelle - Bangkok: GU37 (Standard Edition)

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments, but is no Barcelona..., 8 Aug 2009
James Lavelle's mixes are among the very best of the Global Underground series, with Barcelona a seminal moment in the DJ / producer's career. But Bangkok, his latest and #37 in the GU catalogue, doesn't hit these heights. There are two key issues with the mix - first, Lavelle panders too much to his love of indie music, and second - as a direct consequence - at times it's not really a mix at all.

True, there are some great tunes on here. Jetstream by Doves would ordinarily be a fantastic way to kick off any set, unless you have already heard Sasha's mix of it on the latest Winter Hill EP, after which all other efforts seem bland by comparison. Radiohead, Animal Collective and School of Seven Bells are all majestic bands...but on a GU album??

On CD 1, Layo and Bushwacka's Life2Live through to Call of the Wild by Silicone Soul provide the standout section of the whole album; really contemporary sounding dance and a great selection of records. But after this it is all a bit bland. Three separate versions of the same tune - especially when it is your own (UNKLE) tune - is a little lazy. Parts of CD 2 show signs of the great man's talent, particularly Express 2's Now I'm On It, but too much of it seems to plod.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a disaster. Fans / collectors of the series will find plenty to like about the album, but next to Lavelle's usual high standards, this falls just a little short.

Come back Barcelona, all is forgiven!!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2010 5:34 PM BST

We Can Create
We Can Create
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 3.62

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maps show the way, 30 April 2007
This review is from: We Can Create (Audio CD)
What makes We Can Create such a great record, even after an initial listen, is its ability to evoke memories of some of the most beautiful albums made over the last 20 years and yet still be totally original.

If you're a fan of Slowdive particularly around the Souvlaki era, tracks like You Won't Know Her Name will provide you with the warm glow they once did. If you thought Loveless by My Bloody Valentine stands up as one of the defining British independent albums, then tracks like Elouise and It Will Find You will have you asking whether Kevin Shields has finally got the difficult third album out under a pseudonym. If you thought Lazer Guided Melodies remains Spiritualized's swan song, then tracks like Lost My Soul and When You Leave will leave you breathless.

But as tempting as it might be to label it as such, this is not a shoegazing album. Nor is it a record that belongs in the 1990s. From the swirling synths to the overlays of electronica, what James Chapman has delivered here is an album that is very much for the 21st Century. And in a year when Arctics, The View, The Fratellis etc mean that indie pop dominate the music pages, don't be surprised to see this slip into many people's Top Ten of the year on the strength of its invention alone.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen
The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Price: 3.77

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bittersweet gem of a record, 29 Jan 2007
Confirming his status as one of Britain's foremost songwriters, the latest Damon Albarn project could end up being rated as one of his best. This is far more than a supergroup side-show.

The Good The Bad and The Queen has been touted as the most natural successor to Parklife, and although the British references are evident throughout, this is a more folky, and decidedly more reflective piece of work. The singles have some welcome immediacy, and though the rest of the album takes several listens it is well worth the wait.

The record ends with a climatic finale, the stand-out title track. This beautiful record, combining reggee, dub and folk, with some exceptional base and drumming, is destined to figure among the albums of the year.

I Choose Noise
I Choose Noise
Offered by MMT-UK
Price: 49.54

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Choose Boredom, 26 Oct 2006
This review is from: I Choose Noise (Audio CD)
Once upon a time there was a dance act called Hybrid. At the end of the 20th Century they burst on to the scene with a beautiful piece of music called Wide Angle, which sounds as breathtaking in 2006 as it did then. Sandwiched between a couple of decent mix albums was follow-up studio effort Morning Sci-Fi, a brave attempt to move into new sounds and styles, which in the main worked well (and when it did, it was astonishing - just listen to Gravestar). Then some purists grumbled that their new sound wasn't as big as before and that they'd hung their signature symphony orchestra out to dry. So Hybrid decided to clone Wide Angle, made I Choose Noise, and the purists relaxed again. Meantime, the fans scratched their heads, disappointed that they had not been inventive enough to once again break the mould.

Hybrid Presents Y4K
Hybrid Presents Y4K
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: 19.42

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breakbeat from the norm, 27 Sep 2006
This review is from: Hybrid Presents Y4K (Audio CD)
When it comes to DJing, Hybrid can blow hot and cold. Last year I caught them live twice - once at SW4 where they played a set that perfectly matched the blissed out mood of the sun soaked revelers, and then again at Fabric, where they were pants. Fortunately their Y4K mix falls into the very, VERY impressive category.

Listeners familiar with Hybrid's groundbreaking first album Wide Angle will know all about their mixing capabilities through its excellent bonus disc Wider Angle. While the Y4K offering is more about other artist's tracks, they manage to lace it with a sound that is unmistakably theirs - lots of big beats, beautiful strings and great melodies. The result is fantastic. If you only buy this album for the Stereo 8 mix of Orbital's 'One Perfect Sunrise' then it will be money well spent.

Faithless Renaissance 3d
Faithless Renaissance 3d

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A far more fitting tribute than the Greatest Hits collection, 13 Sep 2006
As influential to dance music as Faithless undoubtedly were, their outstanding tracks have all tended to follow very similar formats - muttering Maxi Jazz building up to a hands-in-the-air crescendo. The trouble with this is that when you stick them all on one record it tends to be overkill, and this was certainly the case with their Greatest Hits package. This time around Renaissance has got hold of them and the result is far more creative and impressive. Album one blends classic Faithless tunes with rarities and mixes, with the latter the most exciting (particularly the mix of Tricky's 'For Real'). CD 2 is where the collection truly takes off, with Sister Bliss offering a timely reminder of her DJ skills and managing to cram what feels like a 2.5hr set into her designated 70-odd minutes. The final CD is what MJ does best - chilled out, 'back to mine' tunes.

A far more fitting tribute to the creative force of Faithless.

Avalon Los Angeles CA 24/06/06
Avalon Los Angeles CA 24/06/06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 31 Aug 2006
Coming so soon after the immense Involver and Fundacion, you could be forgiven for expecting a live album from Sasha to be a bit of a filler. Not a bit of it. This CD demonstrates why the great man has been at the top of his game for over a decade. Sasha's unrivalled ability to gradually build a musical landscape, track by track, is very evident on this CD, often referring back to his legendary Space set for GU. Stand out tracks include I Feel Space, Duende and To The Music. An absolute must - if you can get your hands on one of the 10,000 copies pressed.

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