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In Visible Silence (Deluxe Edition)
In Visible Silence (Deluxe Edition)
Price: £15.94

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Three Go Mad In Faversham" (rebooted), 23 May 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A few years ago work had started on trying to get deluxe reissues of the Art of Noise’s three China Records albums released as they had been out of print since 1999. In 2015 In Visible Silence, its two follow-up albums In·No·Sense? Nonsense! and Below The Waste were reissued alongside the 1990s remix albums as digital downloads. Hope began to fade of any physical format being issued, let a lone a deluxe set. Late 2015, something started to happen, the ball had finally started to roll and In Visible Silence looked like it was to get a deluxe edition version at long last.

Fast forward to 19th May 2017, disc one of the deluxe edition remastered by Gary Langan & JJ Jeczalik is taken out of its packaging and placed into the tray of my trusted 1987 Philips CD-473 Compact Disc player. After the drawer closed, I pressed play expecting to hear a cleaned up high quality remaster, not expecting to be sucked inside the sound, never thinking that this album could be improved upon. After the final track of the original album had ended, came the first batch of extra tracks, the 7” versions of Paranoimia and Legs with the b-sides Hoops And Mallets; Something Always Happens (12” version); Why Me?; A Nation Rejects along with the previously unreleased Backbeat (Reprise). More often than not when additional tracks are added to an original album they can dilute it. Thankfully that is not the case here as they all feel like they were always included on the original In Visible Silence from 1986.

The first part of the second disc, is a treasure trove of previously unheard demos that went on to form the final album along with The First Leg and Second Legs, which as you may guess are earlier versions of Legs. Fans of Max Headroom will get an additional treat as the theme from The Max Headroom Show titled Happy Harry’s High Club is included and released for the very first time. As I have stated in a previous review, the Art of Noise’s demos are superior to many final mixes by other artists, that is certainly true here. The last part of the disc contains six 12” mixes: Legs (Inside Leg Mix); Legs (Last Leg Mix); Peter Gunn (Extended Version); Peter Gunn (The Twang Mix); Paranoimia (Extended Version) and Paranoimia (The Paranoid Mix). Although the last track had been issued on CD before as part of the 2010 compilation Influence, it’s the first time that it had been mastered for that format from the original master tape as at the time it was believed to have been lost and was made from a vinyl copy. If one listens closely you will some hidden gems over the double disc set, nothing has been added as a filler or for the sake of it. Not appearing in this set is Legacy as that was recorded after the In Visible Silence period sessions and having the mixes of the sequel to Legs would have been overkill.

John Pasche’s original 1986 artwork has faithfully been redesigned by Philip Marshall for the digipak and the traditional informative booklet written by the compiler/curator Ian Peel, the same man who rebooted the ZTT catalogue with that label’s Element Series.

By far this was always the Art of Noise’s best album, their most accessible and commercial. Now it is back after eighteen years of being out of print where it can be enjoyed again for the first time in its new form.
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Mrs Brown's Boys: Unplugged & Unleashed - On Air Live [DVD]
Mrs Brown's Boys: Unplugged & Unleashed - On Air Live [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brendan O'Carroll
Price: £4.99

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Blu-ray, just outdated standard def DVD, what a let down, maybe they should put this out on VHS and have done with it!, 22 Oct. 2016
I have been a fan of Mrs Brown's Boys since it first aired on TV and although I enjoyed this episode when it was transmitted in HD, there is no Blu-ray release for the first time for a home video release (excluding the awful "Original Series")

What we have is a standard definition DVD, a format that is now outdated because most of us expect HD quality for our HDTV sets.
Every year since the end of Series Three we have had two episode Blu-ray releases, a bit of a rip-off as they tend to be full price for around 50 minutes of content, but at least they were there available for us to view in HD. It seems as though last years Christmas specials are only getting a DVD release too. If the BBC/Universal are getting worried about low sales then they could have included those two episodes and this release on one disc and for DVD too.

So much for high quality products, maybe they should put this out on VHS and have done with it. As for something that hs been recorded and broadcast in High Def to be released on an inferior format makes no sense. Or are the BBC thinking of releasing a complete series box set and making this and last years Xmas shows only available in that. It wouldn't surprise me as it's not the first time the BBC have done such a thing, for example Series One was released on Blu-ray in 2011 and Series Two in 2012 alongside "The Complete Mrs Brown's Boys Box Set" that included the first two series and was the only way to obtain the first Christmas special. Those who wanted the Christmas episode had to buy the box set, meaning that they had to buy series one again if they had purchased it when it was originally released. Once again when they released the "Christmas Crackers" a year or so later, for the people who had purchased the box to get that first Christmas special were not very happy to find that it was included in that set, meaning they had to buy something again. The whole Mrs Brown's Boys home videography is a complete mess and needs to be sorted out.

There was no reason that they couldn't have issued the TV series releases like this...

1. Series One (same as original release)
2. Series Two (including 2011 Christmas special)
3. Series Three (including the two 2012 Christmas specials)
4. 2013 Christmas Specials (same as More Chistmas Crackers original release)
5. 2014 Christmas & 2015 New Year Specials (same as Mammy's Tickled Pink & Mammy's Gamble original release)
6. 2015 Christmas & 2016 New Year Special & 2016 Live episode.

I am not saying that there shouldn't be a DVD as a lot of people don't have a Blu-ray player, but when the BBC keeps boasting about their HD channels and have the nerve to charge full price for something in standard definition that lasts around 35 minutes in length, I find it rather annoying that they can't be bothered to release it in HD like the rest of the series. Blu-ray discs aren't as expensive as they used to be and they could have released this and the DVD at a reduced price of around £4.99 or £5.99.

Very poor show on the part of the BBC.

The A-Team - Complete [Blu-ray]
The A-Team - Complete [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ George Peppard
Price: £72.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it when a Blu-ray set comes together, 4 Oct. 2016
Having just sold my DVD set to purchase this on Blu-ray was an easy thing to do as I can now watch this classic TV series at the correct speed and without having to sit through high pitched voices due to the old PAL system that plays 4% faster to allow for the 25fps frame rate.

Having watched an episode from a preview disc at a friends house I can say that the picture quality is an improvement over the old DVD release.

Okay the show is dated, it was made and set in the 1980s which is okay. Some of the plots are far fetched, and some acting is hammy in parts. But the series was never meant to be taken seriously although at the heart of each episode were stories about the A-Team defending the helpless and that was the key to its success. A similar format to other shows produced by Universal at the time like Knight Rider and Airwolf, even though the hero relied on a high-tech vehicles in those shows, any story could have easly been turned into an episode of any of these three series.

Some people are saying that this set is overpriced, but if one were to buy each individual season on Blu-ray it would work out at around £28 each, which works out around the same price of this set for all five seasons. Also production costs are higher for a small label as they have to license the series from Universal, and get the music clearance rights which alone can make or leave a release dead in the water as music licensing works out rather expensive. Like most releases the price will fall when momentum is gathered when sales take off.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2017 5:08 PM BST

Dragnet [Blu-ray]
Dragnet [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Dan Aykroyd
Price: £7.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Thank God It's Friday!" Great movie, fantastic picture & audio, poor artwork (but 5 stars all the same), 10 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dragnet [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Great picture quality and the audio is a lot better than previous formats especially the openening title sequence with the Art of Noise's "Dragnet" theme tune pounding away with no distortion. It is great to see this film playing at the correct speed once again as UK DVDs are PAL system and play 4% faster due to the 25fps frame rate and the pitch wasn't adjusted so it all aways sounded slightly off. Thankfully Blu-ray doesn't have that problem.

Not going to review the film itself as one's own views differ to another's.

There are a five "let downs" which is me probably being picky.
1. No commentary track.
2. No documentary
3. No music videos for "The City Of Crime" - Dan Aykroyd & Tom Hanks; "Just The Facts" - Patti LaBelle; "Dragnet" - The Art of Noise
4. The budget price DVD cover being used as the basis for the Blu-ray artwork, with the icon badge logo missing the "Dragnet" text that was included at the top of it as part of the design. (If anyone at Fabulous Films is interested I am a fully qualified graphic designer and could come up with better artwork)
5. The "special features" are the same as the DVD: cast & crew info (not thrilling) but at least the trailer is still included.

So as I said those five "let downs" are my own opinion and that is why I am giving this 5 stars.

Price: £16.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just A Standard TV Soundtrack, 1 July 2015
This review is from: Poldark (Audio CD)
Film and television soundtrack albums can be disappointing affairs, on one hand some are nothing more than compilation albums of hit songs used throughout the visual work with no depth or any thematic importance to them. On the other hand, some that contain selections from the original scores can come across as dull, too subtle or just boring as they don't work as a separate entity away from the narrative of the feature film or series from which they belong.

As someone that hasn't seen Poldark yet, I have approached this album for a different perspective to that of the viewers of the series.

The thing I always enjoy about Anne Dudley's music is that one never knows what to expect and this album reiterates that statement wholeheartedly. Like all of her previous soundtrack albums, this stands up as an individual piece in its own right and doesn't require that the listener needs to watch the acclaimed BBC series, that was based upon the historical novels by Winston Graham. The melodies, moods, atmospheres and subtleties work perfectly throughout the entire duration of this compelling body of work and should never be listened to as background music as it is definitely not orchestrated muzak.

Unlike many notable composers Anne doesn't conform to the notion of musical boundaries. If one listens close enough it is possible to detect some modern day electronic sounds that wouldn't normally be expected to be heard alongside harps, violins and orchestrations of a score set to an 18th Century story that occasionally features themes based upon Cornish folk music. For those unfamiliar with her work anyone reading this could be forgiven for thinking that there is no way that this should work, but it does perfectly. It is not intrusive and doesn't detract from any of the nuances within the music itself. This is a great example of her musical intellect and why she has been one of the most sort after composer/arrangers for over the past 30 plus years. She is without doubt one the Britain's best modern day composers, if not the best, with Poldark - Music From The TV Series being the latest addition to an impressive career.

Everything Could Be So Perfect [Deluxe Edition]
Everything Could Be So Perfect [Deluxe Edition]
Price: £10.99

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything Could Have Been So Perfect... (Édtion Deluxe), 11 Jun. 2015
This album in its original form has always been a must have for all serious collectors of the ZTT label and this new expanded edition is no exception. Anne Pigalle was one of the first artists signed to that very label but was overshadowed by the likes of Art of Noise, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Propaganda and Andrew Poppy but yet, like those artists she had gained a following in her own right as the ‘new Edith Piaf’.

“Everything Could Be So Perfect…” was a brilliantly executed timeless nouveau pop record which at times became almost stereotypical of French music in general but managed to embrace those stereotypes and at the same time grin at them by turning them into a sophisticated original body of work. Out of all the early albums to be released by ZTT, this one was definitely the one to appeal to an adult audience rather than a teenage one. That is the reason why it has always worked so well and stood the test of time.

This new version, subtitled ‘Édtion deluxe’ contains the original album with the addition of remixes from the singles “Why Does It Have To Be This Way…” and “Hé Stranger” along with unreleased material.

Unfortunately adding extra tracks to the first disc detracts from the original album as less is more and I would have actually been more excited about a remastered version with nothing added. Sometimes adding extra tracks enhances an album, but not here.

The second disc is as what you may have come to expect from the Element Series, a collection of mixes, demos and unreleased material from that period. Personally I would have included the three additional tracks from the first disc and left out a few of the tracks that appear on the bonus CD as I got bored with the repetitiveness towards the end. Maybe if an alternate version of the album had been created from the archives, one version per song it would have been more of an enjoyable listening experience.

For the first time listener, I feel it may not have much appeal as there are simply too many versions of the same song on a double CD, on the other hand it is a treasure trove for the ZTT collectors who will embrace it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2015 12:18 PM BST

Love & Hate
Love & Hate
Price: £11.48

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The (Re)Introduction Of A Smash Hit Album That Never Was, 8 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Love & Hate (Audio CD)
Love & Hate – A Compact Introduction

By the time Act’s only album “Laughter, Tears & Rage” was released, the charts were being dominated by records produced by the Stock Aitken Waterman production team. Their attack on the charts was relentless as they were giving the teenager audience what they really wanted, disposable production line style pure pop records, with no emphasis on experimental well crafted music that Zang Tuum Tumb had been so successful at since 1983.

By early 1987 and late 1989 ZTT were in a void, their three biggest artists were no longer part of the label’s roster, leaving them without any significant hits. There was one glimmer of hope in the form of a collaboration between ex-Propaganda vocalist Claudia Brücken and Thomas Leer, imaginatively named Act. In theory they should have been the next big thing for the label, although it wasn’t meant to be as their debut single and highest chart entry “Snobbery & Decay” stalled at number 60 and their 1988 debut album went unnoticed.

So why didn’t Act set the charts on fire? Was their music too ambitious or did it lack ingenuity or charm?

The answer to those questions only occurred to me when reading the blurb on the back of the packaging of this collection “Music so cutting edge”, and then the penny dropped… timing.

Maybe if the record had been made and released a couple of years earlier it would have been a force to have been reckoned with. It certainly has depth and quality to it, but what we have to bear in mind is that by 1988 electronic synth pop was effectively dead. Gary Numan had vanished, OMD were on the verge of splitting, Kraftwerk were AWOL, the Human League had passed their sell by date and Howard Jones hadn’t had a top 20 hit since 1985. Unfortunately the genre had been taken over by the cheap D.I.Y. productions of house music and acid house along with the never ending hits coming out from the aforementioned Stock Aitken Waterman stable.

After 27 years I listened to Act’s only album for the first time as part of this compilation and for me the title “Love & Hate - A Compact Introduction” couldn’t be more apt. An overlooked late 80s gem with many pleasant surprises, far better than I expected it to be.

Disc 1 is the “Laughter, Tears & Rage (The Director’s Cut)” version with the apparent original running order and extra tracks. Although Brücken was the common denominator of both Propaganda and Act, musically they were worlds apart. One is made very aware of this when listening as Act incorporated cabaret, theatrical themes with popular synthpop styles along with very discreet hints of late 80s dance thrown into the mix making it lighter in tone to that of Propaganda and ironically should have made it more accessible for the music buying public at large.

From the opening song “Gestures” to the closing track “Snobbery & Decay” the listener is taken on a journey of pure unadulterated pop music, even though that statement is a contradiction in terms due to its potpourri of incorporated genres, it is possibly the closest thing that ZTT ever got to releasing a true pop album and theoretically the only real competition they should have had should have been from the Pet Shop Boys.

The superb electronic sound throughout this album complements the style of the vocals that give each song its own unique identity and at the same time manages to retain a large amount of continuity from track to track, although the cover of The Smiths’ “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” seems completely out of place. There is nothing wrong with the track itself as a stand alone, but it doesn’t really compliment the rest of the album lyrically.

Listening to this collection was a real joy and one of those ‘I wish I head listened to this album years ago’ moments. Unlike the majority of synth pop albums from the 1980s this one has a unique charm about, an identity and character of its own even though a lot of influences can be detected if you listen out for them.

Disc 2, entitled “Emotional 12” Versions” contains 12”, 7”, b-sides and other experimentations from the group’s short-lived existence, aimed at the connoisseur keep both new listeners and faithful fans happy.

This is the second ‘a compact introduction’ in ZTT’s Element series, and is far superior to that of the first, Propaganda’s “Noise And Girls Come Out To Play” which was in essence a collection of various mixes of just 3 or 4 songs and was extremely repetitive. The accompanying booklet features excellent sleeve notes that are an essential read like those of other releases in the series along with previously unreleased images of the group themselves by Patrick Lichfield
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2015 5:42 AM GMT

Birdman [Blu-ray + UV Copy]
Birdman [Blu-ray + UV Copy]
Dvd ~ Michael Keaton
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £7.68

5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Like most people, I read the hype surrounding this film, saw the trailers, thought to myself that looks and sounds like a great movie. I was wrong.

The first thing is the lack of a popper musical score, instead it is someone playing the drums very badly throughout the film that doesn't add any mood to it. Instead it drowns out any dialogue when that awful racket is used throughout the duration of what has to be Keaton's worst movie.

Most of the references to "Birdman" seem like in jokes of Keaton's time as "Batman" and his career after he opted out of the third one.
This film essentialy revolves around actors rehearsing and doing previews of a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver's short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", starring, produced & directed by Riggan (Keaton), to be more accurate the same scene over and over and over and over again.

The length of this journey into bordam and bad acting could have easily been reduced to just 90 minutes, or 60. It is too long winded without anything actually happening until the last 10 minutes of the film (I won't spoil the plot as there is hardly any to start with).
I lost count on how many times the F-word was used. I don't mind the use of such language if the script and the actor can pull it off then it is not hardly noticeable or if it is done in a comedic manner, there are a few scenes where it works, but for the majority it is used because of lazy writing.

There are no likeable characters in this film, I don't know if that was intentional or not and for me I get a sense that there was some miscasting of some of its actors.

This has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen, I know a lot of people will disagree as these are just my opinions. I would recommend hiring this film first or if you have a Sky package watch it on that before spending your on a Blu-ray or DVD.

Rebel Heart
Rebel Heart
Price: £2.57

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BETTER THAN HER LAST EFFORT, 16 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Rebel Heart (Audio CD)
This new offering is by far a better album than the dismal "MDNA". That's it Madonna's back on form, nothing else needs to be said.

No Title Available

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars RUSSIAN FEDERATION BOOTLEG AVOID!, 3 Feb. 2015
This is a bootleg as there is no such item as "Greatest Hits Of Phil Collins". "Hits" is his only greatest hits CD released. Check out this link http://www.discogs.com/Phil-Collins-Greatest-Hits/release/4814076 to read more about this illegal item
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2016 8:11 AM GMT

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