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the great amphibian (Hampshire, UK)

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Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future
Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future
by Ashlee Vance
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating biography, 5 Feb. 2017
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This is a fascinating and well written biography, telling the story of Elon Musk's almost incomprehensible achievement. The biography is written in a balanced way so it feels like an objective account, and it's an inspirational read.


Weightless
Weightless
Price: £12.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably brilliant album, 5 Feb. 2017
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This review is from: Weightless (Audio CD)
I find it hard to understand why Weightless has slightly mixed reviews; I think if anything this is my favourite album of Animals As Leaders out of their four so far, although all of their albums are works of considerable merit. It is incredibly innovative as with most of their work, and this album in particular has a slightly dark and poignant feel to it. It is packed full of amazing and surprising compositions and is definitely a masterpiece.


Animals as Leaders (Encore Edition)
Animals as Leaders (Encore Edition)
Price: £12.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelivably brilliant album, 5 Feb. 2017
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An amazing discovery; truly brilliant instrumental guitar music pushing the boundaries. Tosin and his band have continued to push the boundaries with each album released since this 2010 debut, yet even if they outdo themselves with every new release, this debut album remains outstanding.

The things that I was taken aback with in this album were the innovative use of electronic music sampling (for example in a similar vein to Aphex Twin or similar technical electro), use of tightly constructed rhythm playing (e.g. in the style of Meshuggah) and these combined with innovative virtuoso guitar playing in fusion and neo-classical styles to name a couple.

Tosin Abasi and the rest of the band produced (and continue to produce) something incredibly innovative and it puts to shame the lack of creativity and innovation (and proliferation of cliché) in most instrumental guitar music, and shows what is capable when truly original work is created.


The Madness Of Many
The Madness Of Many
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album as expected, 5 Feb. 2017
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This review is from: The Madness Of Many (Audio CD)
More innovative work pushing the boundaries of instrumental guitar music.


Shostakovich: 24 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 87
Shostakovich: 24 Preludes & Fugues, Op. 87
Price: £12.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and intriguing compositions and excellent playing, 5 Feb. 2017
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This took a while to grown on me, but the compositions are very subtle and unusual and the whole set of 24 preludes and fugues is a masterpiece with a distinctive common feel throughout. I did a survey of reviews of most available versions and found this (Scherbakov) edition had very good reviews and was at a reasonable price; the playing is indeed excellent so I wholly recommend it.

On first listening I struggled a bit to decide what to make of the pieces; there were some that immediately jumped out at me, but from a preconception based on the preludes and fugues of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, these pieces sounded completely different. One key difference is the more modern atonal style, which often gives an interesting and slightly disquieting atmosphere to the pieces. The fugues generally don't have the intricately woven perfection of Bach (which is probably an unachievable benchmark) but the work has an emotive and poignant feel that is less focussed on technical virtuosity and more on atmosphere.


Fear the Friend of Exceptional People
Fear the Friend of Exceptional People
by Geoff Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and inspiring book showing that fear is not to be ashamed of but is a guide to growth., 30 Aug. 2015
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Thompson describes the nature of fear and makes constant references to his own life experience, where he was dragged down by fear and eventually decided to construct a 'fear pyramid' and confront his fears one by one. This adds credence to his advice as it is not just theoretical but based on experience.

The book addresses understanding your fears and the nature of fear, learning not to be ashamed of being afraid, and to use the fear in a positive way of growing rather than being bullied and held back by it. This positive approach to fear is very uplifting and has personally helped me to think about my fears objectively and in a constructive way.

The book is aimed at anyone struggling with fear, and definitely is not just for sports people or martial artists; I'm not sure why anyone would think that after reading the book. I would strongly recommend it to anyone, as anyone who claims not to have any fears is either deluded or lying, and I can imagine this will be helpful and uplifting for the majority of people who read it.


Simpsons - Season 11 - Complete [DVD]
Simpsons - Season 11 - Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ The Simpsons
Price: £12.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Some funny moments but a sad feeling that the characters aren't as likeable and lacking the depth of earlier seasons., 30 Aug. 2015
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As thousands of people have stated before, season 10 was evidently the last one where the Simpsons was at its best. I decided to give this set a try anyway, and there were plenty of entertaining moments, but there is a feel that the show has lost its heart and many of the characters start acting like cardboard cut-outs, and acting out of character. I probably won't be buying any further seasons of the Simpsons as although it is still quite entertaining, it is slightly sad that the characters seem to have lost something from their personalities.


Darkness Descending
Darkness Descending
by (Mountaineer) Ken Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and seemingly very honest account of endurance and recovery from the brink of death., 30 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Darkness Descending (Paperback)
An un-put-down-able account from an ex-SAS soldier on a solo training expedition in snowy and deserted Romanian mountains. I was pleasantly surprised with how likeable to the author is and how there is no sense of exaggeration; in fact a lot of the time I felt he underplayed how difficult his ordeal in the mountains must have been. One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the emphasis on his recovery, and how this was the most difficult part for him. Overall I'd highly recommend it.


Hubble: Window on the Universe
Hubble: Window on the Universe
by Giles Sparrow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing images of the universe and an educational and interesting read., 30 Aug. 2015
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This book has a nice balance of great photographs from Hubble with explanations of the telescope and of the phenomena it is capturing. The chapters are nicely designed by starting with the closest celestial objects and gradually moving out to larger scales and more distant objects, and there are chapters on the history of the telescope itself interspersed between these. Because of this I found it very educational as well as an opportunity to see a collections of amazing photographs.

The books itself is a huge high quality hardback so it is also very good value for money.


Concrete Gardens
Concrete Gardens
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.46

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Varied and intricate compositions., 30 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Concrete Gardens (Audio CD)
I had reservations when first hearing this, as my expectations were high from the live performances of some of the songs released on YouTube before the album release, and the album itself differs slightly in style from the live performances. There is sometimes a feeling of the songs being over-engineered, and I often prefer Macalpine's live performances. None the less, after listening to the album several times, the compositions have been growing on me a great deal and they are some of the most interesting and intricate instrumental guitar compositions I've heard.


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