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David Lovie (Aberdeen, United Kingdom)

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The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan
The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan
Price: £1.26

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastic good fun, 24 Nov. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This album is a compilation of music taken from a variety of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals - namely The Pirates Of Penzance, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, Ruddigore and The Gondoliers, all sung by a Quintet of opera singers put together for the album and promoting Gilbert and Sullivan for SonyBMG.

Technically I cannot really find any flaws, the vocal performances are all enthusiastic and fitting to the music as should really be expected from experienced opera singers, backed up brilliantly by an unnamed orchestra (though admittedly my copy is a promo release, hopefully the full release will provide a bit more information).

The music, well it is some of the best of Gilbert and Sullivan, and should be familiar to anyone who has seen any of the theatre shows or previous recordings, and even someone inexperienced with Gilbert and Sullivan will probably find some familiar songs such as the "Modern Major General" or "A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One" which have unassumingly become part of popular culture.

To look at the album song by song, perhaps something is lost in having songs mixed up and not as part of the full story of each play, but each does still stand up as a separate piece of music, from the tongue twisters of "Modern Major General" and "My Eyes Are Fully Open" to the more sedate pieces like "Oh, Is There Not One Maiden Breast".

This album due to its nature is obviously rather stylised to the musical/opera end of music so probably not an obvious choice to a fan of the latest chart music, but to anyone with an interest in Gilbert and Sullivan or show music in general it is a great showcase of some fantastic music.

It Might Like You
It Might Like You

4.0 out of 5 stars Julia Marcell - It Might Like You, 28 Sept. 2008
This review is from: It Might Like You (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Julia Marcell is a singer/songwriter from Poland, It Might Like You being her first full length album.

This album is a beautiful collection of primarily piano driven songs with other instrumentation being fairly sparse and helping to drive the vocals out to the forefront. To me not quite perfect sounding, but in the way that really works for Julia, her accent showing through to help her voice stand out as quite unique in the more British music you more often hear. Listening to various tracks can quite easily bring out some stylistic references to other artists, Regina Spector, a slightly easier to listen to Tori Amos at points, and stylistic reference to some of the rhythms and vocal styles of Kate Nash, but put together into a unique and compelling style that does sitting proudly in its own place and not directly under anyone in particular.

Sasquatch Dumpling Gang [DVD]
Sasquatch Dumpling Gang [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jeremy Sumpter
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Napoleons son, 23 Aug. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly I will apologise in advance if I refer too often to Napoleon Dynamite, but it really is the most obvious and well known point of reference, Napoleon being created by the same people and being written very much in the same style.

The quick review - If you like Napoleon Dynamite and its rather awkward style and stunted dialogue and storytelling then you should enjoy this, if you hated it it is probably best to stay clear...

To explain in slightly more depth... To say this is the slightly more mainstream brother to Napoleon would not really do it much of a disservice. The pointless wondering through Napoleons life and non-story is replaced by a tangible storyline, and characters in the main do have some personality and sense to their actions, so as a whole it does hang together slightly better as a story. In a rather odd way to be truthful, with a slightly strange non linear beginning that visits the opening scenes through different characters and viewpoints and not in a completely logical order. For some reason this almost makes sense, and works with the general humour and adds to the general effect, and all does comes together as the film continues and the story unfolds.
The slightly more mainstream style does in some ways lose some of the charm of Napoleon Dynamite, in that there is no dancing scene or 'Vote Pedro' shirts for the cool kids to wear afterwards, but that loss is made up for a much more interesting storyline - something that will unfold throughout the film instead of just happening until the writers seemed to get bored and finished it.

If you are looking for a deep and thoughtful film then this probably isn't much use to you, but if you are looking for a light hearted and slightly silly film to entertain you for a while, and enjoyed the aforementioned Napoleon Dynamite then you can't really go too far wrong here. A fairly short film, but that probably works in its favour by not drawing the storyline out, with the simple storytelling charging through and tying everything up nicely - a product of the simplistic dialogue that somehow delivers everything you need of it in one concise and awkward sentence, and a story that does little other than keep you entertained througout the film and give you a happy and laid back viewing.

Mission Control
Mission Control
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £2.75

4.0 out of 5 stars The Whigs - Mission Control, 23 July 2008
This review is from: Mission Control (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Grungey modern indie rock...
The sound of jangley guitars fighting through a wall of fuzz and noise alongside a groove based bass guitar at times creating a wall of noise with vocals appearing to add in some melody and style to proceedings. The obvious reference would be to the Arctic Monkeys sound of rock and roll straight out of the garage, but lacking that distinctive Britishness of the monkeys in favour of a much more American sound heard in some of the bigger garage rock bands like the strokes.

Throughout the album there is a continual sense of the lofi nature of the band, even the clean `pretty' guitar parts still with the twinge of nasty distortion to them and vocals not quite sung but still with a gritty melodic quality to them.

Maybe not the polished sounds you would expect to hear in the charts, but a band I expect to hear more of soon, the music providing enough hooks and points to pique your listening ear to keep you coming back for more, despite the general grungey harsh noise that pervades a lot of the music.

Rest Now Weary Head You Will Get Well Soon
Rest Now Weary Head You Will Get Well Soon
Offered by cdworld-ireland
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Rest Now Weary Head! You will get well soon, 23 July 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first album released by Get Well Soon, showcasing a brilliant collection of songs and a very thought provoking sound and lyrics.
The album starts of somewhat reminiscent of Sigur Ros, the prelude building with gentle sounds and the constant words of "Rest now, weary heads you will get well soon." This leads us into the album proper and a fantastic showcase of what Get Well Soon can do.

The album covers a wide range of instruments and sounds, but always keeping a signature sound and style in evidence throughout all the various changes, including in various songs horns, strings, some folk influenced accordian and even signs of electronica creeping in before the songs take full flight. This to me lets the album work together brilliantly as a whole, but still differentiating the songs and not just continually repeating the same recipe time after time.

To try and think of any comparisons in other bands I would be looking to bands like Sigur Ros in a lot of the background soundscapes, with swirling sounds fading in and out and merging with a more traditional instrumentation and song structure. So really songs completely different in makeup to Sigur Ros but with a definite influence in the background.

I am finding it hard to put down what I think about this album in words, perhaps to say it is a brilliantly relaxing album to just sit back and listen to after a long day may suit? An album I have been playing a lot personally, and will be listening to for a long time yet.

Roll With You
Roll With You
Price: £13.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves - Roll With You, 23 July 2008
This review is from: Roll With You (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thought I had when I first heard this album was `how long ago was this made?' followed pretty quickly by surprise when I checked the notes and discovered it is a brand new release in 2008...
This is the sound of 50's rock and roll as if we had completely missed out on the intervening decades with heavy influences from all the old Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues artists, the album physically looking like it would have been right at home in any 50's record shop, in every regard other than the fact it exists as a modern CD rather than 12" vinyl.

I can't really think of much else to say about the music other than `classic', brilliant songs backed up by the de rigeur female backing line, brass sections and double bass playing.
Highlights for me include the brilliant swing of "Take my love with you", the rocking groove of "I'm gonna get you back" and "Won't give up without a fight" and "(doin' the) boom boom" which just belongs on the dancefloor of 50 years ago.

For someone only versed in modern music this album will be a pretty large step away from the usual soundwise, but is a showcase of how good the music form years ago can be, and what it sounds like with the bonus of modern recording techniques. If you fondly remember all the old guys, then this should be a fantastic way to catch up and hear something completely new, yet in a familiar sound.

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the aeroplane over the sea, 31 May 2008
This is probably the best known album from the fairly unknown band Neutral Milk Hotel. It is an album loosely based on the person Anne Frank and the end of her life, though travelling as it does through many other themes and thoughts - love, quarrels, and the ethereal.

To look at this album technically, you will be doing the music a bit of a disservice, The vocals are cracked and slightly broken, being supported in the main by acoustic guitar. Often backed up by a collection of instruments unusual to similarly styled music - brass, fuzzy uncontrolled bass and odd whistles all make an appearance throughout various songs. These all band together often creating a wall of uncontrolled noise, but one that somehow fits perfectly together with the heartfelt lyrics and delivery into an album of beautiful songwriting and music, the songs all flowing from one to another perfectly and fitting together perfectly as a whole.
Not an album of technical virtuosity and overdubbing and perfection, but something a bit messier and rawer that somehow fits and works brilliantly as a whole and delivers the music in a truly mesmerising way.

This may not be the album for the fans of classical music, dance music or overly polished pop music, but to anyone acquainted with guitar based work I would hope will absolutely love this album and end up as mesmerised as I have.

Electroplankton (Nintendo DS)
Electroplankton (Nintendo DS)
Offered by Gateway Gaming
Price: £39.99

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electroplankton, 26 April 2007
To call Electroplankton a game is in many ways pushing the definition of the word. The closest I can think of would be to call it something like a toy or plaything, but that really does undermine the charm and thought behind the game, perhaps something like 'Interactive media' would be more appropriate.

Designed by the artist Toshio Iwai, electroplankton does without the many trappings of a normal game, there are no levels as such to complete, and no real aim to what you do, other than to play about with the various types of plankton, and listen and watch the results as you manipulate them in the different ways, so I can say right away that someone looking for a challenge and set game to work their way through will be sorely disappointed, on the other hand, if you are looking for something incredibly charming and enjoyable to pick up and toy about with for a few minutes, or for an hour could be in for a treat.

In electroplankton you are given a choice of a variety of 'plankton' to play with, small happy creatures that you can manipulate in different ways that will create different sounds and sights for you. These range from a plankton that can record a small audio clip through the mic and distort it in various ways (Volvoice), to plankton that follow a line drawn by the stylus (the speed, shape and starting time all affecting the resulting sound)(Tracy), plankton that grow slowly emitting sounds as they grow and mature (Sun Animalcule), and a looper that plays through some familiar tunes from the nes, that you can improvise over by tapping the buttons onscreen, creating small passages that loop before fading away (Beatnes).

None of these are particular complex, but are fantastic fun to play around with to create enjoyable sounds. All pretty uncontrolled and fairly unusable as a serious musical instrument, yet very enjoyable.

Not really a game for the 'gamer' out there, but for someone wanting something enjoyable to play around with, without having to get into completing levels and gaining points, this is a fantastic choice.

Bomberman (Nintendo DS)
Bomberman (Nintendo DS)
Offered by CD Dixie
Price: £26.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bomberman, 6 April 2007
Really, if you have played a Bomberman game before, you should really know what to expect here, the game continuing the ever popular style of the previous Bomberman games.

One of the biggest highlights of this game is undoubtably the multiplayer, with up to eight people battling via Nintendo's download play and a single game cartridge. It plays as Bomberman always has really - everyone in a rush to destroy the blocks separating everyone and collecting the various powerups that are revealed to get abilities like larger bombs, the ability to drop more of them at once, remotly detonated bombs or other various powerups. The last one alive winning the round. As well as this you also get the chance to fight in different arena's that all work slightly differently, versions where you start out with full speed, where the two screens are connected by a single tunnel instead of many like normal, moving walkways around the arena, or games where the aim is to paint as much of the floor your own colour by detonating bombs.

Bomberman really does stand out when you have a few friends playing together. The only major point I feel is missing is the lack of an online play which really would have finished it off perfectly, though you do still get the option of playing the battle mode on your own angainst the computer.

The singleplayer here is in many ways just an extension of the multiplayer setup, you fight on the top screen against various opponents, the aim being to kill htem all then make it to an exit square (hidden under a block somewhere on the screen) before the time runs out, as levels progress you get different arrangements of immovable blocks and different enemies.

The powerups are also setup slightly differently here, as you collect one it is 'saved' to the bottom screen, where you get the option of using it now, or keeping it for later. This means you can keep certain items for later, and a stock of fire up and extra bomb powerups incase you die, so you can restart at a decent skill. Speed, bomb up and fire up powerups are kept through every level, whereas other special powerups work for a single round only, so you get the option to keep them until a level where they are more useful instead of using them up straight away adding a wee bit of tactic to the game.

Ultimately this game really stands out best as a multiplayer game with a couple of friends. The singleplayer, while fun to play, is in many ways an extra added on to keep solo players amused on their own as something slightly different than playing the battle mode against the computer.

If you are after a slice of the classic Bomberman action in the DS, here is a pretty good place to start.

Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)
Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo DS)
Offered by Complexia Inc.
Price: £18.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Compelling, 13 Feb. 2007
As a quick preface to this review, I will try and give a bit of background to this review by saying I am a twenty year old student, so possibly beyond what you may initially consider as the target audience of the game.

To give an initial comparison to the game, I would probably look to something like `The Sims' in the kind of aimless mission of the game as you go about life. Moving on though, Animal Crossing removes a lot of the urgency in having to earn money to pay bills and eat, in that there is nothing that needs to be done in the game. No negative consequences from not earning any money (in the case of Animal Crossing, Belles) or forgetting to eat regularly other than a lack of any real progress

Your character lives in a small town (of your naming) populated by an ever changing cast of villagers who can come and go over time you can befriend. While you are there you can try earning Belles by doing things like collecting fruit from trees and fishing to spend on the ever changing stock of furniture in Tom's shop or `Able Sisters' the clothes shop next door. And also helping Blathers the owl by collecting exhibits for his museum - trying to find all the different Fish, Bugs and Fossils about the game, which also vary by the season. The game works in real time, so seasons and days pass as in real life, with certain events happening at relevant points (things like fishing competitions and flea markets in your town) and different fish and bugs appearing in different seasons and for different lengths of time.

From this it probably does sound like a fairly small and uninteresting game, which I will admit I did wander about before I bought it myself, but somehow it just works. You will end up getting the DS out every day to see what is happening and keeping your town ticking over nicely. Going searching for more fossils or all of the other small and seemingly pointless tasks that somehow keep you coming back.

I should also mention the multiplayer aspects of the game. You get the option to connect either wirelessly DS to DS or through the internet (using an available hotspot) and then invite friends over into your town or to go and visit theirs, so you can meet all of their villagers and visit the shop in their town (with a different set of available furniture) and get new fruit to grow and so on while wandering around their own town. The internet option is restricted slightly in that you need the Character's name, Town name and a special friend code to link up, so it is restricted to people you will know in real life (for security reasons giving that fairly young people could be playing)

A game that on paper can seem a bit pointless, but in real life it has a charm that keeps you coming back and playing. Definitely recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2008 10:49 AM GMT

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