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Peter Jackson

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Price: £12.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Show Them Love, 9 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Ghostory (Audio CD)
This is just a wonderful album. Although not quite as musically adventurous as Alpinism, I nevertheless find it a more overall consistent work. Alejandra's vocals are just exquisite, and, such is the studio expertise of Ben Curtis, the absence of her twin sister, Claudia, is barely felt. Almost everything I've heard in this genre lately is reduced to pretender status by the edgy beauty of the compositions on this album - it's that special.
It's an increasingly rare thrill these days to be moved by new music - you know the kind that insists on immediate replay. A certain chord progression or atmospheric texture that hits the emotional centre. Take the track "Show Me Love" half way through this disc. Preceded by the gorgeous catharsis that is "Reappear" (a track that could have come straight out of the movie Gravity - did Steven Price hear this before he composed that soundtrack?) we have a stunning composition that literally takes your breath away. The fuzz guitar intro, the sampled rhythmic touches, the heart-stirring vocals of Alejandra, the space synth and bass, and, most certainly, the irresistible chorus (little touches like the barely perceptible delay on "Hey") - a sublime melody I seriously can't get enough of. Magnificent - a desert island track. Play this as I pass beyond the horizon. The greatest pleasure on an album full of 'em.
Each work Mr Curtis produces sees him growing in stature as a unique crafter of electronic soundscapes taken to another level by an assured sensibility for solid melody and rhythm (from his Secret Machine days). Some of the sounds he manages to create are pure bliss. So let's not confuse this album with anything that remotely compares to the uninspired and predictable electronic meanderings that are so prevalent nowadays, churned out by anyone with a controller keyboard and Cubase. No, this is the real deal, this is the new trance-rock/dream-hop, created by a rare talent, and I look forward eagerly to what Mr Curtis and co. present in the future.

You'll never find love within,
When you only seek love in him,
And he only takes from you what he can break.
I'd never take from you, babe.

Ten Silver Drops
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2014 11:12 PM GMT

The Seldom Seen Kid
The Seldom Seen Kid
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elbowed In, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
Back in 2008 on a Xmas visit to home, my niece asked me if I'd heard the new Elbow single "One Day Like This." Now knowing the musical tastes and listening habits of my young niece and her contemporaries, this question was a bit of a surprise, and also somewhat of a vindication. It meant that Elbow had finally hit the big time! Having followed this group since the beginning, and puzzled over why Cast Of Thousands and Leaders Of The Free World weren't automatic #1 albums, I was beginning to despair that they might always be overlooked in favour of the hyped-up Coldplay types.

Let's cut to the chase here. Elbow is special; in fact, I would say that they are the most accomplished British band of the new millennium (sorry, Doves). Here is painstaking musical craftsmanship elevated to the exceptional by the colourful, insightful and moving lyrics of rock's poet, Mr. Guy Garvey, wordsmith extraordinaire - forging memorable and inventive turns of phrase secured in the everyday emotions that make the working man tick. The humour, loves, yearnings and regrets in all of us:

The heartfelt: "I meet your eyes. Then I'm spinning and I'm diving like a cloud of starlings." (Starlings); "We took the town to town last night. We kissed like we invented it......You made the moon our mirrorball. The streets an empty stage.". (Mirrorball);
The offbeat: "The fix is in. There's a nag gonna dance home at Epsom. The fix is in. Can't wait to see how it upsets them." (The Fix).
The imploring: "I think when he's drinking he's drowning some riot. What is my friend trying to hide. 'Cause it's breaking my heart." (Some Riot);
The resigned and hopeful: "I have an audience with the pope. And I'm saving the world at eight. But if she says she needs me....." (An Audience With The Pope); "And I'm five years ago and three thousand miles away" (The Bones of You).

Normally I'm not that much into lyrics - profundity means nothing if the music doesn't grab me. But with Elbow the two are mutually indispensible, and that's an uncommon thing in this business, at least at the level we see here. There's music in them there words!

Cue the music. Not a tune you can't whistle to. Not an arrangement that is dull or uninspired. These ain't some slung together 3 minute ditties:

The attention-grabbing tour de force that is the first track on every Elbow album. Here it's Starlings: tapping percussion counterpointed by adagio bass and vocal harmonies then (pow!) a brass blast at 1:00 min, just to get you engaged; lilting piano and strings before starting as it began, proclaiming an aspiring love or an infatuation, a theme developed through an unparalleled variety of melody and rhythm on the next 6 tracks, leading to the allegorical resignation that is the epic "The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver."
The delicate piano, guitar and soaring strings on "Mirrorball" (a ballad up there with the superb Switching Off from Cast of Thousands).
The samba rhythm, grunge bass and guitar resolving through delicate harmony to the Summertime refrain in "The Bones Of You."
The quiet falsetto introduction and northern brass on Weather To Fly (Weather and whether!).
The spine tingling reverbed piano melody and processed cello on "Some Riot."
As uplifting and catchy a melody as you're ever likely to hear on "One Day Like This."
The perfect, moving Elbowesque coda of "Friend Of Ours" - that final piano arpeggio is enough to make you cry!

So, if like my niece, "One Day Like This" was your introduction to Elbow, do yourself a favour and check out their albums NOW for a musical journey that is as rewarding as anything this side of The Beatles.

"So throw those curtains wide.
One day like this a year would see me right." (One Day Like This).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2013 6:42 PM GMT

The Last Broadcast
The Last Broadcast
Price: £2.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Loud and Clear, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Last Broadcast (Audio CD)
"A monumental record" pronounced NME on release of this sophomore album. Certainly the pounding and ominous Floydesque "Intro" seemed to justify that claim when I first heard it. But the Charlatan's-meets-Verve minor-tinged "Words" sounded a bit derivative on first listen. As did the 3rd track "There Goes The Fear"....until....until that wonderful driving chorus hit me. Then onto the M62 with its psychedelic touches and (what I now know is) that unique Doves sound. The promise of the Intro takes flight on the space-rocky "Where We're Calling From" - "NY" combo. Some really interesting studio effects work here.... leads us nicely to "Satellites" with its uplifting gospel chorus (no I ain't religious!). Friday's Dust and Sulphur Man mine the other extremes, but with no less accomplishment. There's the beautiful title track, but the real gem here is "Caught By The River." Acoustic guitar intro, building into a psychedelic rock masterpiece with another superb chorus:
And you give it all away,
Would you give it all away now?
Don't let it come apart.
Don't want to see you come apart.

The great Manchester tradition (The Verve, Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, The Charlatans, Elbow) continues unabated with Doves. They would build on this with the even better, Some Cities.
There is something in the water that percolates through that northern Pennine Millstone Grit!

The World Became The World
The World Became The World
Price: £12.03

5.0 out of 5 stars A Mountainous Achievement, 13 Nov. 2013
The Italian '70s prog rock masterpiece. PFM have done some great stuff, but this, their first English album on the ELP Manticore label, is a genuine piece of rock art. Operatic embellishments and instrumental arrangements that could only come out of Italy combine with an art rock proficiency to wow the senses. These guys are amazing musicians, and to this day I rate the title track and The Mountain as indispensable examples of what's best in progressive rock and where, emotively, it can be taken. Renaissance rock?

Time Machine - A Vertigo Retrospective
Time Machine - A Vertigo Retrospective
Price: £16.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Vertigo's Veritable Time Capsule, 13 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Back in 1973 I purchased a double album sampler on the Vertigo label called Suck It And See (with the suggestive stick of candy rock cover), one of many such samplers released in the '70s to introduce artists on specific record labels. I still have the cassette release of this (and, yes, it still plays well after 40 years - so much for disintegrating tape!), but then discovered this 2005 version on amazon. It's a well-priced 3 cd box set (over 3 hours of music) with considerably more stuff from the Vertigo stable circa late '60s/early '70s, but with some questionable omissions from Suck It And See, notably Catch You On The Rebop/Spencer Davis Group, Bump "n" Grind/Jackson Heights, Ruckzuck/Kraftwerk and Roller Derby Queen/Jim Groce. However, it is still a cracking set and well worth your cash if you want a great overview of the amazingly diverse bands signed to this label at the time. Some went onto bigger things, some faded away, some burnt and crashed, but they were never less than entertaining, and there are some downright classics on this set. It really encapsulates the fervent and extraordinarily unique time that was this period of musical evolution. Time Machine comes with a 48 page booklet containing extremely informative Mark Powell penned mini biographies of all the contributors, including archival photos thereof.
Time Machine is a veritable time capsule, and gets you wanting more of the same. Fortunately, other similar samplers are available from the Decca/Deram, Polydor, EMI Harvest, EMI Liberty, Pye /Dawn, Charisma, and Island labels, and once you've got one you'll be hard pressed to stop yourself from getting them all. Hours of pure enjoyment, everyone of 'em. But beware - you'll be adding massively to your music collection seeking out albums from the artists on these collections!

Suck It And See
Legend Of A Mind - The Underground Anthology
Strange Pleasures: Further Sounds Of The Decca Underground
Spirit Of Joy: Tales From The Polydor Underground 1967-1974
A Breath Of Fresh Air: A Harvest Records Anthology 1969-1974
All Good Clean Fun
Cave Of Clear Light - The Pye And Dawn Records Underground Trip 1967-1975
Refugees: An Anthology Of The Famous Charisma Label 1969-1978
Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal: An Island Records Anthology 1967-1972

Seventh Tree
Seventh Tree
Price: £2.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Seventh Heaven, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Seventh Tree (Audio CD)
After the glorious synthpop plus of Supernature, Alison and Will continue to mine those spinal shivers with this emotive pastoral perfection. The duo continues to strive for something fresh and exciting, and it is only fitting that they should venture into more sedate territory. Little Bird, with its Beatlesque psychedelia and soaring vocal coda is probably the best thing they've ever done. Like Time Out From The World from Supernature, it is secure on my continuous playlist. Wonderful sounds and arrangements abound, and I have to say this album really highlights Alison's vocal prowess and versatility (has anyone else noted that Norah Jones quality), never more impressive than on Road To Somewhere. Catchy tracks like A&E and Caravan Girl show that their clubbing sensibilities are not totally subdued, but this is really their meadow mellow, slow dancing album.

Live Herald
Live Herald
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heralding Hillage, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Live Herald (Audio CD)
Side 4 of the original 1979 double album release comprised the following studio cuts from the then forthcoming "Open" album: Talking To The Sun, 1988 Aktivator, New Age Synthesis (Unzipping The Zype), and Healing Feeling. These have, more appropriately, been replaced by the live Solar Musick Suite in this 2007 remastered release. This is space rock at its finest with absolute superb "glissando" guitar playing by Steve. If you have not been exposed to Steve Hillage's work, this is a good starting place, as are the albums Fish Rising and Green - probably his strongest and most accessible album. Stick on the 'phones and be transported. Another '70s masterpiece, and one of the best live albums of all time. Outstanding stuff

Original Album Classics ( Heaven and Hell / Albedo 0.39 / Spiral )
Original Album Classics ( Heaven and Hell / Albedo 0.39 / Spiral )
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vangelis Ventures, 13 Nov. 2013
An economical way to pick up three of Vangelis' best early albums. Sure, the packaging is basic, but the sound quality is fine and I only paid 5 pounds for the set, so who's complaining. The 1975 Heaven and Hell, Vangelis' 2nd solo album after the interesting, but somewhat uneven, Earth (and his first after dropping the Papathanassiou surname), is an electronic grand opera showing little hint of what was to come with his later classic movie soundtracks such as Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner, or , indeed, the accompanying two albums in this set. This is Vangelis moving on from his Aphrodite's Child prog rock days (check the amazing double album, 666 - one of the great concept albums), although there are some lingering traces of that sound early in Part II. There are some wonderful themes here, not the least of which are the coda to Part I, So Long Ago, So Clear (marking the start of a long term and fruitful relationship with Jon Anderson of Yes fame), and the gorgeous female vocal refrain mid Part II. Vangelis really has a knack for penning beautiful melodies.
With Albedo 0.39 and Spiral, we can clearly discern the start of the course Vangelis charted to Blade Runner and ultimately to his 1988 masterpiece, Direct. To say these albums were released within a year or two after Heaven and Hell speaks highly of Vangelis' desire to take chances. They are much more experimental electronically, and we start to hear the type of synthesized sounds, layers and arpeggios we closely associate with Vangelis' work of the time, but there's no dilution in his capacity to write great tunes. It's very difficult to not use the word "groundbreaking" when reviewing great '70s albums since so much new was happening musically during that decade, but I think this early work by Vangelis, (presaging the '80s electronic New Age as it did, but with none of the bland, easy-listening guff commonly associated with that genre), along with contemporaneous '70s European electronica from Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream, can certainly be described as such.

Tommy - Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra & Chambre Choir with Guest Soloists
Tommy - Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra & Chambre Choir with Guest Soloists
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: £16.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Journey, 13 Nov. 2013
The Who were the best pure rock band ever, Townshend is a genius, and Tommy is their masterpiece? Yes to the first two, but I think there's a good argument that Who's Next may just top Tommy. Whilst there is no denying that Tommy is a seminal work in the history of rock music (the first "rock opera") and will remain Townshend's great and undying legacy to music, I always found that the original album lacked a certain something - a production that really did justice to the great songs (particularly the instrumental passages) and to the whole concept in general. I have all the versions of Tommy, but this Lou Reizner produced "extravaganza" is the one I think serves Tommy best, and it is the one I listen to most. The brilliant orchestration and superb choice of guest vocalists elevate this groundbreaking piece of work to real classic status for me. (Note: not many people had the chance to see this production live: it was performed only twice - both on Dec 9, 1972)! I was blown away by this when it was first released, mislaid my vinyl copy in a move sometime thereafter, and have been on the lookout for a decent cd version ever since. Well here it is. I have the 2009 Repertoire edition. I know there have been some concerns regarding the remastering job, and that the later Japanese version is the one to get, but it sounds like I remember it and the packaging is superb - you have everything here that was in the original vinyl set, plus a nice retrospective by Chris Welch. That pinball cover is totally iconic!
Orchestral Tommy. The best in a long and continuing line of Tommy interpretations. Thanks Pete and Lou.

(Oh yeah, I recently picked up the original vinyl in a thrift store for $3 - they didn't know what they had!)

Roxy Music
Roxy Music
Price: £5.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Debut, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Roxy Music (Audio CD)
The greatest debut album of all time? Bearing in mind what's going on here compositionally and instrumentally, and the revelation it was when it exploded onto an unprepared public already wowed by Floyd, Bowie et al, there's an undeniable argument for saying yes. Listening to it 40 years later (40 years!!), I am still wowed by the sheer creativity of this album. It was uncategorizable in generic rock terms when it came out, and it still is, sounding as fresh today as it was then. Rock electronica with a '40s lounge twist? Avant garde prog? Anyway, I'm fishing, when all you really need to do is to hear it. Absolutely brilliant, superbly entertaining, and a massively influential piece of work (as were their next 2 albums, For Your Pleasure and Stranded).

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