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4.3 out of 5 stars
Tourism
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
20 years after they began, and Leftfield aren't Leftfield anymore. Originally a duo, now one of them has taken up the name and is playing live again. Not that anyone would notice, or, to be frank care. Given their scant workrate at the time - two studio albums, a handful of remixes - in the first decade, and for the second decade a split, a redundant best of, and now, belatedly, some live shows without much in the way of a reason, Leftfield manage to maintain an air of mystery that is sometimes undeserved.

Recorded in Australia in March 2011, Tourism is that strangest of things. A live album that doesn't feel live, that barely leaves the template of the original recorded versions. Unlike the multitude of live albums by Underworld, or Kraftwerk's sublime "Minimum/Maximum", this is not a restatement or a concentrated burst of the band's essence, but merely a recording of a gig. It fails to capture the feeling of being there, the bonkers sound and smoke and lasers and a field full of people on chemical and musical assistance going all kinds of crazy. On disc, all you get beyond the sound is some guy shouting over a bunch of immaculately performed music. Like a daub of black paint over the Mona Lisa's top lip.

The futurism and menace of the original records has been dulled somewhat by time and childcare : these are now familiar, almost comforting sounds, even when the bass to the enormous "Phat Planet" - tick follows tock, goes the advert - is anything but fluffy, it is also a warm reminder of when perhaps some of us weren't in rented hell with children and six month performance reviews. Where Leftfield always left a hole was that they were always producing proficient and effective music over which they chose often illsuited voices to add listless and unexceptional words. The one time they truly got it right was on "Open Up". Which is not here.

Then again, replacing the original voices with identikit singers and mimics creates a palpable air that reminds me of going out with someone who looks like your best ever girlfriend, but not quite so amazing. It's not quite the same.

But time has not always been kind to them :their discography is so slender that a live set is largely predictable with the same handful of staples - and what staples. Certainly, these songs are dense and luxurious grooves of musical drama. Perhaps the live versions are not improved by hearing a rapper exhort you to "Make Some Noise!"

But what purpose then does "Tourism" serve? It's not clear. Not a memento as such, for live albums can often be moribund and boring, nor a restatement of intent, but a mere record of a gig, ably recreating the sound and spirit of Leftfield. A faithful reproduction of the intent, but with added shouting and baseball caps spread over two CD's.

And don't be fooled. The DVD isn't the typical live concert recording of the full show - instead it syncs the live soundtrack to seven songs with the generic and dull back projections used by the band to enhance their music, and looks largely like repetitive sets of fractals and meaningless visuals. There's not an ounce of actual live footage here. It's a great shame - especially consdering the abundance of live material available of the band from their current tour, and the Brixton show was filmed and parts of it are on YouTube.

Overall, this is a decent value for money presentation at under ten pounds, with a full length, and effective live set (albeit, with the limitations of many live sets and superfluous shouting from guest rappers), and a useful DVD of visuals but it in no way is the definitive Leftfield document.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
If you are looking for the authentic Leftfield experience of bouncing around like a madman whilst super deep bass shakes your body and you dance like a person possessed then you are probably best served by jumping into the as yet uninvented time machine and travelling back to circa 2000. This, whilst still being a pretty good live album, is not the real deal.

Leftfield Tourism is a chronicle of their recent tour through Oz with only one half of the original duo in attendance. Cheshire Cat makes an appearance on "Inspection" but vocalists from previous albums have been replaced with similar sounding people. I can't really say it is a bad album. The sound quality for a live album is solid. It is just not quite the Leftfield that I remember. If you want to find out why people are still entranced by their sound then you are better served by digging around for the ultra rare "Live at Homelands" recording. Not an official release but represents why so many of us who saw and heard them still think they are the dogs!
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on 22 February 2014
Took me way way back to a more care free time free of commitments and mortgages. If you've not experienced Leftfield before this is money well spent regardless of your age. Timeless music that just hasn't dated.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2012
The only problem I have with this release is that it's not a new album with new material!

This is an excellent celebration of Leftfield's sound. From the raw, pounding force of 'Phat Planet' and 'Afrika Shox' to the reggae infused brilliance of 'Release The Pressure' and 'Inspection', this is 2 cds crammed full of quality. Every song is drawn out here into an epic mix full of tweaks, embellishments and guest vocalists.

The DVD is an intriguing visual display used from their tour which I think it's great, but only if you want to put it on in the background of a party or something.

If you miss Leftfield and think that their 2 studio albums really were 2 of the best, then there's just no way you'll be disappointed with this purchase.

Enjoy
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2012
I saw Leftfield at Brixton in Dec10, and very much hoped at the time that a live album would follow which would largely contain the same mixes that I had just heard. Suffice to say, this album is just that. It's the Leftfield that I remembered from 15 years earlier, but with a new sheen overlaid on top. It doesn't all work, but I now listen to this album sometimes in preference to Leftism.
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on 11 July 2015
good album
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on 24 February 2015
joy
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2013
Guess if you are going to buy a left field you probably love them don't think you can just like them, loud and live
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2013
awesome buy, only wish i'd been in aus to see them.... if they tour the uk again i'm making sure i don't miss them!!!!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2013
I love this live album after going to their tour I thought why not and I am defo not disappointed leftfield are great
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