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The Chad Who Loved Me (Bristol, UK)

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Live on Neptune
Live on Neptune
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, 29 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Live on Neptune (MP3 Download)
Difficult to tell if this is live-LP at all. Probably these tracks are closer to reinterpretations of his work.

Everything that is here is good though. Fans of Super Discount 2 will be more satisfied. The downtempo cuts from Super Discount 1 and the spare cuts from Tempovision get pitched up and driven by more complex beats. This is a real treat.

One negative, my tracks aren't segue-ing and have gaps, unsure if this is a fault of the material or Amazon.


Blue Jean E.P.
Blue Jean E.P.
Price: £2.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Jellybean does Bowie proud, 29 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Blue Jean E.P. (MP3 Download)
Blue Jean a catchy throwaway but never a great single.

This £2.50 EP is pretty tempting and is probably worth a shot for the price. The single and its b-side Dancing With the Big Boys appear on the 1984 parent album. The latter is fun but goes nowhere. Its this track that gets the remix treatment from the then hot Arthur Baker. Its pretty standard-fare from Baker, overblown like his jobbing mixes for Bruce Springsteen. Tape edits are everywhere, electronic bells, looped and spliced vocals. Its not awful but its a novelty at best. You're unlikely to find much use for it at home or in a retro-DJ set.

On the other-hand, Jellybean's mix of Blue Jean is a big improvement over the original. Wisely he ups the bass and drums while bringing down the backing vocals. Suddenly the song has space to breathe and resembles good mid-80s fare like Madonna's Like a Virgin, driven by bass and vocals.

So its £2.50 for two songs a Bowie fan is likely to have already, two novelty remixes and one very good mix. Maybe you're better off getting the Jellybean mix only for £1. Your choice...


Loving The Alien E.P.
Loving The Alien E.P.
Price: £2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Good mid-80s Bowie, 29 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not the best remembered Bowie single of the 80s but a good one nonetheless. A step down from Let's Dance, of which it resembles a minor key variation on the 1983 single. Its an intriguing single with good lyrics and good production, if a bit mid-80s to a T. It could have sat comfortably on Scott Walker's 1984 album Climate of Hunter; Big drums, slidey-bass and booming vocals.

The 12" mix, which can only be found here, varies from the original album version only subtly. The Marimba has a different tone, the drum loop 'boasts' an extra beat in the drum loop and the track has an additional short section between the first chorus and the second verse. It doesn't sound like much and it isn't, but for me its a nice variation and ever-so-slightly better. The extended dub mix is also exclusive to his single. Its not a dub at all though, and has Bowie's full lyric. Instead it cuts out a lot of the bass and percussion from the verses then filtering in most of the instrumentation for the chorus. Its OK. The 7" mix is available elsewhere. Its an edit of the 12" which cuts out the closing 2 1/2 minutes.

Don't Look Down is the b-side and is one of Bowie's many Iggy Pop covers. Nothing too special, but one of the better tracks on 1984's Tonight. The album version has a very spare arrangement. The two mixes here up the reverb and add a little more swing. Not a lot different but pleasant.

So, this isn't an essential item, but for £2.50 its hardly a bad deal for 5 tracks. Loving the Alien is the best track on a bad album. Nutty video too.


Exposure
Exposure
Price: £10.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Exposed to Love - 2015 Deluxe Edition, 26 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Exposure (Audio CD)
Disc 1 - the incredible studio album, potentially the definitive freestyle album. While front-loaded with singles, side two is almost side one's equal thanks to deeper cuts like I Know You Know. Bonus tracks are the 7" edits, a lot of this stuff is on their Greatest Hits CD, but the edit of December is a treat and its about time the original 1985 edit of Point of No Return was on CD.

Disc 2 - the real value here is having the 12" mixes mastered properly. Exposé have had a pair of Dance Mix CDs out for a while now but the mastering is all in the red and smashes what little subtlety was in these tracks. Also at first glimpse it looks like a lot of material on this disc, but the crossover mixes and remixes towards the end of the disc are really just edits of the 12" mixes. Not too special to hear. Though the tight crossover mix of Point of No Return makes amends for the awkward and over-long 10 minute extended remix that also appears. Bit of shame for the compilers to miss out the original 1984 mix of Point of No Return or the dub mix of Exposed to Love (the 12" is a personal favourite).

The CD booklet is for once a real treat. Cherry Red have obviously put a lot of work into the liner notes. The interviews with the girls and producer/writer Lewis A. Martineé are well done. The album has full musician credits which list everyone including the original members; you'll be surprised how many people are credited for backing vocals, and that all three girls don't actually sing together on any songs from the debut album.

This is a great set and it was never going to have literally everything. What's here is more than worth purchasing to replace your old LPs, Cassettes and CDs. Get it, play it, request that Cherry Red puts of 1989's What You Don't Know!


Touch And Go: Anthology 02.78 - 06.81
Touch And Go: Anthology 02.78 - 06.81
Price: £18.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give me (a little bit of) everything, 15 July 2014
A quick review about this the most recent Magazine compilation.

Magazine were and (judging by the new material and tour performance I caught in Bath a couple of years ago) are still great. They've had a bunch of compilations over the years, 1987's Rays and Hail and 2000's Where The Power Is are still available and are similar but decent single-disc run-throughs. Touch and Go however may be your best bet since it offers value for money, thirty tracks in all, plus its been remastered. Weirdly its been put together in rather a strange manner collecting all of the group's singles and all of the original b-sides (of which The Book and I Love You, You Big Dummy are very welcome). Which is fine if you've skipped purchasing the remasters of the studio albums, but makes for an odd listening experience and misses out a few of their brightest album tracks (You Never Knew Me, Motorcade, The Great Man's Secrets). Equally strange is the album's lack of liner-notes or photographs of any kind. Those sorts of touches would have elevated the compilation a bit. As it stands the music that is here is fantastic with each member turning in brilliant and distinctive performances. Everyone seems to shine, no member ever seems anonymous in the mix.

If you're coming in cold to Magazine pick up a cheap copy of Rays and Hail or Where The Power Is, otherwise get this unusual set that digs quite a bit deeper. (Plus anyone with any interest in post-punk should own Shot By Both Sides, Parade, The Lights Pours Out of Me, Back to Nature, Permafrost, A Song From Under the Floorboards, Because You're Frightened and About the Weather)


Get in
Get in
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: £6.35

4.0 out of 5 stars 2012 Re-issue, 3 May 2014
This review is from: Get in (Audio CD)
This is a quick review of the 2012 re-issue of this album on Eastworld Recordings. This version includes seven bonus tracks: Rough Boys & Modern Girls, I Would Fix You (DJ Downfall Mix), Packed In, I Would Fix You (Mint Royale Mix), Hooray For Everything, Stay In The Sun (Fridge Mix) and Save Your Kisses For Me.

On first inspection Kenickie's second LP Get In screams jarring second album syndrome. If you're only familiar with the heady-rush of their power-pop-punk At The Club LP you're likely to be disappointed. Get In bears almost no common ground with the former LP, instead the majority of the songs are in a pop vein not unlike what their former mentors Saint Etienne and Bis were putting out at the time. Take the time to listen to the LP and you'll find that the album is far from a sophomore slump. The group's songwriting has taken a leap forward both in structure and lyrics. Lauren in particular shines on many of her songs (Psychic Defence, 60's Bitch and Lunch at Lassiters) and Marie du Santiago turns in the excellent 5AM.

For many including myself the group's final single Stay in the Sun did nothing to sell this album. Whereas I Would Fix You the other single is arguably their finest song, and at least the equal of Punka, Millionaire Sweeper and Come Out 2 Nite. The cancelled third single Magnatron was unlikely to do much for the group. The album's true problem is a lack of super-singles. While At The Club played like an album composed entirely of singles Get In resembles the debut's introspective flipside. Of course if all you want from Kenickie is a kind of amped-up Shangri-Las or a poppier take on Riot grrrl then you're best sticking with the debut.

For some reason Get In was reissued in 2012. The new version collects most of the b-sides, which for the dissenters may be enough to have them check the album out. Rough Boys & Modern Girls, Packed In, and Hooray For Everything are stripped back guitar driven b-sides that recall their previous work. If the group hadn't chosen to be so bold they would have included each on the album. The remixes sadly do little for the group, though the Mint Royale mix is fun, the real disappointment is the decision not to include Xenomania's (the Girls Aloud producers) remix of Stay in the Sun. Worse still the amusing hidden track from the album has been dropped completely.

I can totally understand why a lot of Kenickie fans dislike this album since its such a left-turn, but its worth looking past the difference and embracing the new direction. I've come back to the album a lot since 1998. With a few songs aside I think it holds up well. Here's hoping they'll do something together again one day.


Halfnelson (Sparks) / A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing
Halfnelson (Sparks) / A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing
Price: £9.07

3.0 out of 5 stars Speeded-Up Mixes, 18 April 2014
If like me you've already got these excellent early albums by the masterful Sparks in their first incarnation. You may be looking to see if the last few tracks on A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing have been mastered at the correct slower speed. Unfortunately this problem has not been fixed. The sparks fans at allsparks (who know a lot more than I do) have confirmed that the error has not been fixed.

The last few tracks on Woofer were sped up when the two albums were originally released on a single CD. Unfortunately all subsequent reissues have retained the faster mixes. So while this new CD sensibly puts each album on its own CD the problem still persists.

Hope this helps.

And of course its 4 stars for music quality. How can any collection be complete without Wonder Girl, Fa La Fa Lee, High C, Fletcher Honorama, (No More) Mr. Nice Guys, Girl From Germany, Beaver O'Lindy, Moon Over Kentucky and Whippings And Apologies (even if the last one is speeded up too fast).


Lust
Lust
Price: £14.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Rother Goes Digital, 26 July 2012
This review is from: Lust (Audio CD)
Lust is Michael Rother's fifth solo release. It's probably not the best place to start for someone new to his music or even one who has only heard his work with Neu! or Harmonia. Instead, Lust marks phase two of Rother's career. It is the tipping point at which his use of guitar, live drums and analogue electronics give way to a clean crisp digital palette assembled of drum programming and digital synthesizers. Lust is probably the point of no return for fans of 70s krautrock, as it and Rother's subsequent albums push further in this 'modern' direction.

Rother later described that he became obsessed with the then revolutionary Fairlight Music Computer in the 1980s and Lust certainly attests to that! 'Palmengarten' starts things off in a cool ambient crawl and was probably sequenced as the opening track as it is the song that most resembles his previous work. Skip to track 2 'Primadonna' and Rother is in full swing with an uptempo song carrying an unabashedly positive keyboard melody. Rother doubles the melody with his guitar and tops the whole piece of with a superb bridge where his guitar comes to the fore. The title track follows later and follows a similar pattern only with numerous guitars playing around a rigid Fairlight framework. 'Lust' and 'Primadonna' are standouts but may seem a little too saccharine for first time listeners. The album ends with 'Pulsar', a droning and repetitive ambient piece that recalls the title track of his previous album Fernwärme.

The other two tracks are a little more difficult to love. 'Cascadia' is a beautiful song but for some reason Rother chose to mix it's lead keyboard line incredibly loud. While i'm sure it was intentional, the effect is quite jarring, particularly since the melody literally is a cascade of notes and diametrically opposed to Rother's typical minimalist approach. Things get weirder on 'Dynamotron' where Rother pushes the Fairlight its furthest countering an odd array of synthesized melody snippets with a mixture of clashing drum sounds to weave into a coherent yet discordant whole. On first hearing the song caught me totally off guard and I couldn't quite believe it was the work of the same musician!

In actual fact, Lust ends up emphasising Rother's admirable push for new ideas and his inexhaustible ability to write emotive and moving melodies. So. Yes it's still the same Michael Rother, and no it won't exactly appeal to a lot of people's tastes or ideas of 'experimental' music or whatever that's supposed to mean. Try it!


Neu! '86
Neu! '86
Price: £11.31

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always Different, Always the Same, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Neu! '86 (Audio CD)
Neu! '86 is the long awaited fourth album by the brilliant and obscure (until about 2001) German group, Neu! It was recorded in the autumn and winter of 1985-86, hence its name. While it is very exciting to hear this music, it is actually the second release of the sessions. Without going deeply into the inter-group disagreements between Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger, the material was released by Dinger on a small Japanese label in 1995 under the title Neu! 4. That album was a real ragtag collection of music with several tracks sounding like different takes and mixes of one another. It was a mess but an engaging mess. Dinger appears to have thought that titling the album as '4' connoted the half-finished brilliance of Neu! 2, their second album. That album however, was a side of complete and enthralling music backed with a side of discordant non-music that was created in the studio to fill out the LP. Neu! 4 simply sounded unfinished, it was badly sequenced and felt like a rip off.

Neu! '86 then, made since the passing of Dinger, inevitably resembles Rother's take on the album sessions. It is an unusual prospect of an album, akin (I imagine) to listening to Let It Be Naked, the Beatles revision of their final album, or one of Jimi Hendrix's or Otis Redding's posthumous albums. So, a cynical 1995 album gets a cynical 2010 re-release? That's one view, but I don't take it, for two reasons. First, there will always be people who hanker after demos and aborted sessions, and Neu! '86 at the very least prevents them from spending ridiculous amounts of money for music. Secondly, I think Rother has done a good job, I really do.

Neu! '86 does one thing that the former incarnation does not, it sequences the music well and thereby presents the unfinished music in the best possible way. The first half of the album is arguably the better with the more finalised songs like 'Danzing', 'La Bomba', 'Crazy' and 'Drive'. The second half has more fragments of songs, but these are short and multi-layered. Rother appears to have taken the master tapes and mixed together a lot of the material. Dinger had chosen to extend and expand this material. Again, I can see advantages and problems with each approach, but the difference is that Rother's is a better listening experience and a less repetitive record.

So what of the actual music, how does it fit with that of their three albums? Well, and this is depending on your tastes what makes the album a failure or a success. The music is, to crowbar and alter John Peel's summary of The Fall, different but the same. In places it sounds very of its time, the 1980s, with Synthesizers and Keyboards everywhere. These sound a bit cheap, and a little daft in their application. Yet, detractors should remember that Neu! '75, their third album had a lot of keyboards. Thankfully there is some very Neu! music to be found, 'Crazy', 'Drive' and 'Wave Mother' each have the smack and formula of Dinger's drums complemented with rock riffs and beautiful patterns of Rother's guitar. On the debit they sound a bit like minor homages to their trademark sound, and the short length of each is disappointing (the longest is six minutes). Vocals are prevalent on the album, which is probably the biggest difference. Dinger sings (i.e. shouts) over a lot of the music, much like he memorably did in the 1970s on 'Super', 'Lilac Angel', and 'Hero'. Those songs while defining and brilliant were complimented with long instrumental tracks, which in my opinion, were their forte. Neu! '86 ends up being a bit too talky, with sung songs from 'Danzing' on down all having the same and therefore tiring sloppy, silly, and playful abandon. Neu! '86 just isn't as majestic or mysterious as their best work.

In summary, Neu! '86 is a good record. It isn't seminal, and probably says more about music in the mid-1980s than it does about the music of Dinger and Rother. Taken with their other albums it is refreshing and different. It still sounds like Neu!, but it is the distillation of the rock ethos of side 2 of Neu! '75 with the synths of side 1 of that same record. In failing, Neu! ended up sounding truer to themselves than they perhaps realised. Try It.


Esperanza
Esperanza
Price: £15.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Austere Electronic Music, 9 Feb. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Esperanza (Audio CD)
Michael Rother's album 'Esperanza' was released after a hiatus in his career. His previous full-length album was released in 1987. It represents Rother's first music made for the CD era. For example Kraftwerk's Tour De France Soundtracks was influenced by the possibility for greater format capacity, and clocked in at almost double the length of their previous LP era album. 'Esperanza' offers seventeen tracks, in regards to his back-catalogue, the music is repetitive in a manner similar to his 1979 masterpiece Katzenmusik. The first half of the album is very cohesive. The songs such as 'Esperanza', 'Electra' and 'Kristall' sound like variations of one another. The second half of the record is more varied the final track, 'Spirit of '72' is particularly oddball.

I'm no authority on Rother's work, but I find the material to be better than his mid to late 80s work, its less stiff, but arguably more cold, if that makes any sense! Fans of Neu!, Harmonia and guitar-driven music may find this album does not satisfy, there's barely a guitar present. At this point in his career, Rother uses of effects for guitar and keyboards so heavily that one is left unsure what instrument is playing. Guitar or no guitar, what most people accustomed to Rother will be looking for are songs with his distinctive melodies and hooks. Thankfully Rother still sounds like he always has on the opener 'Silver Sands' and on 'Gleitflug'. 'Esperanza' is probably Rother's most sedate release, only on 'Loop-Loop' do the rhythms really drive. The music is heavily synthetic and almost sounds homemade in its particular musical palette.

It is definitely an album that improves with each listen. My only criticism is the lack of his distinctive guitar work. Rother appeared to lean towards his trademark sound briefly on his 2004 album Remember (The Great Adventure) with the lovely 'Aroma Club B3'. 'Esperanza' might have been a touch warmer with a song like that. I still recommend it, I mean who really wants every artist to make the same album over and over?


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