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Stratosfear
Stratosfear
Price: £7.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Tangerine Dream's perfect mid era, 28 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)
In the mid-seventies, Tangerine Dream began to loose their dark, highly experimental krautrock sound in favour of a much more melodic, electronic and warmer sound (if still experimental). It took until the early 80s before Tangerine dream sadly began to loose their quality. This album comes at a perfect mid-point between melody and their darker experimentalism.

The quality of their music on this album really is some of their very best in my opinion. I still have a soft spot for 'Rubycon' and 'Phaedra', but this album is of equal quality in my opinion. It is also by far the most accessible album of theirs up to this point and serves as the best introduction into the Tangerine Dreams brilliant 70's period.

Of note is that while this is certainly an electronic album, there are so many other 'acoustic' instruments thrown into the mix for extra texture. Check out the distant harmonica in '3 AM at the Border of the Marsh From Okefenokee' or the piano and flute at the very end of the album.

This kind of music will not please everyone. The tracks are long, entirely instrumental and emphasis is upon atmosphere rather than pure melody. However, if you are a fan of 'oxygene' era Jean Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze or any other early electronic music then this shouldn't be a problem. I would also recommend this album if you like artists such as Hawkwind, Pink Floyd or even early Porcupine Tree.


6PK Assorted Elastic Bungee Cords Heavy Duty Stretch Hook Strap Luggage Car Bike
6PK Assorted Elastic Bungee Cords Heavy Duty Stretch Hook Strap Luggage Car Bike

2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and nasty, 27 Sept. 2014
You really do pay for what you get. These Bungee cords are cheap, but there is so little elasticity in them that they do not provide the tension needed to hold objects on the back of your bike. When I stretch one of these cords with my hands it moves apart very easily until it reaches a point where the cord will not extend any further. Higher quality cords will extend the same distance but will get progressively harder to stretch and as a result the cord will remain taught at any given length. These cords however behave more like slightly elasticated rope and are only taught when nearing their maximum extension.

I only hesitate in giving this product one star because of the price and because the small sized cords were of some use to me on a cycle touring trip when I needed spares in short notice. The long and medium sized cords were left behind at a campsite. Useless.


From within Vol. 1
From within Vol. 1

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spacey electronic music for fans of Fax, 27 Sept. 2014
This review is from: From within Vol. 1 (Audio CD)
This is one of the better known Fax albums. Pete Namlook and Richie Hawtin (Plastikman) have made an album that can appeal to the ambient music lover while having plenty of rhythm and melody to keep the average electronic music fan happy. The music may sound dated by today's standard, however, back in 1994 it probably still sounded 'retro'. To my ears it sounds like a cross between early 90s trance-ambient (The KLF, Global Communication, Future Sounds of London, The Orb etc...) and 70's electronic music in the vein of Tangerine Dream (without their sequencers) or perhaps Klaus Schulze.
The high points of this album are the very spacey 'Sad Alliance' and the frankly danceable 'Homeward Bound' yet the album as a whole is varied and interesting throughout. One complaint I have is that the flow of the album is interrupted by the 29 minute ambient track 'A million miles to Earth', which would've been better placed at the front or end of the album in my opinion. Overall though, another fantastic album from FAX +49-69/450464.


Logging the Chalk
Logging the Chalk
by Rory N. Mortimore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £135.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Chalk reference book for the engineering geologist, 23 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Logging the Chalk (Hardcover)
As a geotechnical engineer based in the south-east of England (particularly London), there are several soil and rock units that I encounter frequently; The Lambeth Group, Thanet Sand, London Clay and Chalk. Chalk is one of the harder units to log for several reasons. Assigning strata boundaries in the chalk can be tough because at first glance the chalk can appear uniform (it is not). Recovery in chalk core can be pretty poor and often a geology degree or eurocode logging course will not cover chalk specifics that are essential for proper detailed logging of the chalk.

This book is (and will be) regarded as the chalk logging bible for any engineering geologist/ geotechnical engineer who encounters chalk in the field as a logging engineer or for people reviewing written logs back in the office. Its steep price genuinely reflects the quality of material within. Of particular use is the large colour annotated photographs of the kinds of things that I could encounter while logging (trace fossils, marker beds, marl seams, various flint types etc). Often core photographs are laid out next to graphic logs of the same sequence as an example of how chalk core can appear in the field.

For those who encounter the chalk in the field, this is the ultimate reference book. Rory Mortimore has visited many ground investigation sites over his career and this is the book people like me have been asking him to write for years.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 22, 2015 12:46 PM GMT


Bass Communion II/III
Bass Communion II/III
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £18.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great ambient albums among Bass Communion's finest, 10 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Bass Communion II/III (Audio CD)
Bass Communion is Steve Wilson's (Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield, Storm Corrosion) ambient/drone side-project. Although he would object to me using the term 'side project', in truth this kind of music will only satisfy a small number of people who enjoy the ambient/drone genre.

Bass Communion II and III, as the name suggests, is a compilation of the second and third albums released in 1999 and 2002 respectively; The latter being released in a very limited number of copies. Bass communion II remains my favourite album by Bass Communion. Being the follow-up to Bass Communion I, the sound is darker in tone, less electronic in nature and more consistent. The album also comes at a time before Bass Communion really started to experiment with various specific sound sources (for example, Ghost on Magnetic tape was created almost entirely from sounds of old worn-out records).

Bass Communion III is also one of the better albums in the (vast) catalogue of work. It sounds similar to II in many respects, although perhaps a little more experimental and a darker still. Bass Communion's follow-up to this was 'Ghosts on Magnetic Tape', an excellent album but extremely bleak and perhaps the darkest album Steven Wilson has ever released (perhaps with the exception of 'Loss'). Bass Communion II and III evoke in me a strong sense of isolation. I envisage scenes much like the album covers; Isolated landscapes full of quiet beauty, yet containing an underlying sadness. This is perfect music for late nights or just when in a reflective mood. It really shouldn't be considered background music as there is so much texture and subtleties within the music, that it could easily be overlooked or dismissed as 'boring'.

As a gateway song into the world of Bass Communion, check out the masterpiece 'Drugged III'. This is certainly one of the most beautiful songs that Steven Wilson has ever created (although Ljudet Innan by Storm Corrosion has a strong claim!).

The packaging replicates the original vinyl release of Bass Communion II. The two separate CDs are housed in a sturdy card 'gatefold' style sleeve (much like the Japanese mini-lp format). Again, The album artwork (inside and outside) is stunning. Carl Glover (who is a frequent collaborator with Steven Wilson) has created a stunning package for the price of a standard single album.


Cover Version [VINYL]
Cover Version [VINYL]
Offered by Vinylhead
Price: £16.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Side Of Steven, 25 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Cover Version [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is a much needed release that compiles a collection of six two track singles that have become very hard to find and much sought after. I'm glad Steven Wilson has chosen to re-release this music and given those who missed out on the originals a chance to hear one of his most obscure releases.

This collection of songs exhibits several sides of Steven Wilson that are often absent in the majority of his work. Although he has released three solo albums to date, it is only in this release that he performs entirely on his own (no guest musicians/band members here). Perhaps because of this, the album has a far less 'grandiose' sound. Several of his songs are led by simple piano or strummed acoustic guitar. Perhaps to fit alongside the nature of the six cover versions, his original material is in a similar vein. That is, his music sticks largely to the 3-4 minute 'pop-song' format. Of course there are a few noticeable exceptions; particularly the eerie 'The Unquiet Grave' (actually a traditional English folk song interpreted in typical Wilson style). Also noticeable, is that the music here is far less melancholic than I have come to expect from Wilson (again with exceptions!).

Steven Wilson's choice of covers may come as a surprise; Alanis Morissette, Abba, The Cure, Momus, Prince and Donovan. His cover's aren't always as good as the originals, but they certainly are different. If there's one track that really shone for me, it was his cover of Abba's 'The Day Before You Came'. I cant say that everything here is five-star material, but even his weaker material is very different from the rest of his work and acts as a fitting testament to one of rocks most varied and under appreciated talents. The best material on this album is certainly worth owning and for that alone I would recommend this album even to those who are not familiar with Steven Wilson's previous material.


Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Price: £10.07

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unexpected Triumph, 24 Jun. 2014
I now feel ashamed to admit that I wasn't expecting this to be fantastic. While I knew Tim Bowness was half of the duo that is No-Man, I had always assumed that my love for the band chiefly lay with Steven Wilson. It appears that Tim Bowness can be every bit as dramatic, subtle, and sublime as anything that No-Man has released and I'm glad to be proved wrong.

If at any time this album sounds like No-Man, it is because it was written by Tim with a No-Man release in mind. The song writing is brilliant, the musicianship is superb and even Tim's vocals seem stronger and less whispery. The second disc of bonus material is every bit as good as the 45 minute long main album.

This may be the breakthrough album Tim needs.


Bass Communion -Ltd-
Bass Communion -Ltd-

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 CD Compliation of Bass Communion Rarities, 15 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Bass Communion -Ltd- (Audio CD)
As a Steven Wilson fanatic who has only a CD player in which to enjoy his music, this collection comes as a relief. This box set compiles many of his 'record-only' releases which have only now been released on CD for the first time. It also includes some music that was only released in a very limited run on CD and was long since out-of-print. It also includes several 'reconstructions' (remixes?) of Bass Communion tracks; some of which make their first appearance in this set. Some of the releases are full albums (Pacific Codex), some are EP's (Litany, Indicates Void), some are singles (Vajrayana) and some are Outtakes (Ghosts On Magnetic Tape). To make the set more desirable, a few new tracks have been added that are unavailable elsewhere (Temporal).

The presentation and packaging is a work of art in itself. As always Carl Glover, has created magnificent and fitting artwork to accompany the music. A generously sized picture book of gorgeous photography fits neatly alongside the mini-lp style CDs, which are housed in a sturdy card slip-case. If you are familiar with the I.E.M. boxset, this follows the same style and presentation and fits very nicely alongside it on my shelf!

Being completely honest with myself, I probably would not have bought this, had it not been made by Steven Wilson, who has made some of the very best music my ears have ever heard. I simply love his work with Porcupine Tree and as a solo artist, but Bass Communion is vastly different. The music has been called Ambient and Drone, but in truth it's perhaps even more obscure than that. Much of his works (but not all), are experiments in sound. They are the result of Steven Wilson's love for manipulating sounds in the studio and the morphing of a particular sound source into something unrecognisable and completely different. Litany for example is created from manipulating vocal sounds; pacific codex from the sounds of metal upon metal; indicates void from various solo instruments. Thankfully, Steven Wilson is a fantastic sound engineer (one of the best), and he manages to create some remarkably ethereal and eerie 'music' and with very restrictive 'sound sources' in which to work upon.

While I consider Litany to be a piece of beautifully dark ambient genius and Pacific Codex to be remarkable (considering it's simplicity). I do not consider the remaining tracks to be truly essential. Indeed, I honestly consider none of this music to be absolutely essential for those who perhaps would delve deeper into the vast discography of Mr Wilson. I would recommend Ghosts on Magnetic Tape and Bass Communion II as the finest work that Bass Communion has released thus far. It is aimed, I think, at collectors, who perhaps missed the opportunity to hear some of these tracks first time round, and in this respect it mostly succeeds. However I would've liked to have seen his extremely rare collaboration with Jonathan Coleclough and Colin Potter, his increasingly hard to find Continuum collaborations with Dirk Serries and perhaps his (as yet) unused 'soundtrack' CD 'atmospherics' make their appearance as part of this set.

The full tracklist is...

CD1
vajrayana (2001) 8.46
aum shinrikyo (2001) 9.11
ghosts on magnetic tape – outtake (2003) 16.04
indicates void I (2005) 10.40
indicates void II (2005) 8.21
indicates void III (2005) 11.16
indicates void IV (1998) 9.18

CD2
pacific codex 1 (2006) 40.21

CD3
after dark (2003) 9.30
mousehill (2006) 10.00
behind these silent eyes (2006) 18.48
537171NR848492C (2007) 19.42
wvndrkmmer (2008) 8.30

CD4
litany 1 (2009) 6.43
litany 2 (2009) 15.25
the flight of song (2009) 22.17
temporal a (2012) 10.10
temporal b (2012) 10.25

...An interesting slice of difficult (but rewarding) listening. As much a visual piece of art as an auditory one. A fantastic collectors item and a must for Bass Communion completists like myself!


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013]
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Martin Freeman
Price: £3.75

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Film but comparatively disapointing, 18 May 2014
As a standalone film this film is an enjoyable Hollywood blockbuster. Ignoring the success of the Lord of the Rings and even the first part of the Hobbit Trilogy this film is good for what it is. It is an entertaining action packed visually stunning fantasy film.

You may have watched the first instalment of the film and had some gripes with the unnecessary inclusion of certain characters?, or perhaps the needless action sequences? or perhaps you felt the pace was slow moving?...well in that case you may find this film considerably worse that the previous. This film looses major points for me because it simply assumes the audience is stupid. It changes many plot lines as a means to add extra action sequences and to include cameos from the lord of the rings films. There were many iconic chapters in the Hobbit book that I was really looking forward to seeing on the screen, but they were all replaced by silly action scenes more like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean than Tolkien. Why can't Peter Jackson realise that just because it's a children's story, it doesn't need to have endless action in order to prevent boredom. I for one would've loved to have seen less CGI and more dialogue.

What this film ultimately lacks is a sense of wonder mixed with danger that the books conveyed. I'm sure every reviewer says this but I'm a huge Tolkien Fan but I don't agree that the film necessarily has to stick outright to the book. However, this film seems to lean closer to the imaginary work of Warhammer or the Zelda universe than Tolkien. The sense of wonder that I got from the lord of the rings films was not in it's battle sequences, but in it's beautiful scenery and plot setting. In this film however, the scenery is over the top and it's lacks any kind of believability or even credibility that was one of Tolkien's aims. Even the casting is bad in this film; I normally love Stephen Fry, but his character was so un-Tolkienesque and untrue to the general feel of the book that it actually made me a bit angry. I question Peter Jacksons intentions with these films. Many truly iconic moments in the books were lost or twisted into almost laughable sequences and this really saddened me.

This isn't a standalone film, but treated as one it doesn't further the plot enough to justify a 3 hour running time. However it did entertain me. The soundtrack was good. The film looked good. The acting was good (if occasionally over the top for comedic effect). The script was mostly good but it really looses points for being a bloated actionfest that looses track of the plot one-too-many times.


Shades of Orion 2
Shades of Orion 2

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warm blissful ambience, 11 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shades of Orion 2 (Audio CD)
Pete Namlook certainly has a vast catalogue. Of all his collaborations it is perhaps with Tetsu Inoue that he is most well known (perhaps alongside his work with Klaus Schulze). I am unfamiliar with Tetsu Inoue's work, but I have heard 2350 Broadway, their other major project (and perhaps best known). Although the Fax label is best known for it's high quality ambient releases (inparticular the early to mid 90s), their output has also produced some stunning ambient-techno and sequencer driven 'berlin school' electronic music. This release rests firmly at the ambient end of the spectrum.

Its kind of hard to review music such as this. It is a single 'song' over an hour in length (thankfully cut into 14 segments each 5 minutes in length), which seemingly doesn't really stray very far from the sounds first layed down in the opening few minutes. To many I guess this could be the most boring album ever. However, to those who enjoy space music and enjoy the pictures these sounds can paint then this is indeed one of the warmer sides of the Fax releases. It has a breezy warm organic feel to the album which is in stark contract to some of their other releases (2350 Broadway 3 for example).

Music such as this takes things very slowly. There is a progression to the music, but it reveals itself gradually over the course of 70 minutes. There are no stand out moments and there is no driving melody or percussion. What there is, is a very slight pulse that comes and goes with a breezy organic drone ( I hesitate to use that word because it is not drone music) and spacey wind-like sounds that operate in the background and foreground. That is about it!, but of course there are all the textural subtleties that the interested ear can choose to pick up on. I for one find this the perfect late night music and it often sends me to sleep (in a good way of course!). This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but hey!, if you've found this page then it could be for you!


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