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Reviews Written by
Jes "J. E." (UK)

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Tomorrow's Harvest
Tomorrow's Harvest
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising journey,, dark but utterly gripping, 9 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tomorrow's Harvest (Audio CD)
Seven long years since the Trans Canada Highway EP. Then the strange change on the website 'transmisiones...' and then flickers of news finally giving way to the Boards 4th full album.
I got it over a month ago, and it has not stopped, suiting the unusual still heat of the summer we have been getting. Looking through the sleeve booklet you'll find fairly typical 70's style photos yet most , when thought of as a continuous piece seem to paint a picture of surveillance in a world that seems dusty and shattered.
So the music! Well to say 'brilliant' is too easy. Its great too of course, but not in the way that 'heroes' by bowie is a great song for this is captivating in a whole different way. So different that frankly I'm not sure why its great, only that it is so immersive and its not letting go!
It begins with a 70's style tv broadcast announcement 'jingle' and thrusting us into gemini; with lush bass and radio frequencies, alluding to my theory on the surveillance theme, and at which point 'the campfire headphase' is already a distant dream and I'm nearer to a 'beautiful place out in the country'. Except this is not beautiful, this is dark.
Reach for the dead, has that unmistakeable BoC bass with a rich depth of sound pulsating almost from the heart of the earth itself. This, to me, is one of BoC's most sublime moments; there is much time at the beginning of this track where nothing particularly happens, its all in the tones before the beat and pace picks up then dumps you and leaves you, (well, me anyway) feeling bewildered.
White Cyclosa is a spider apparently, (I didn't know), and here it is coming, creepng up quite fast, and then pounding....
Escape onto 'jacquard causeway' with its throbbing relentless beat and classic Boards sound, distorted yet wonderfully melodic . I could go on, but you should find out for yourself and go on your own journey with it, I don't know where it leads, it hasn't finished with me yet but its the best BoC journey yet.
While Geogaddi has been my favourite album and 'a beautiful place....' my favourite ep this could uproot both. It certainly follows on better from those and perhaps some of 'twoism' and 'music has the right' than the 'campfire...' whch I still struggle with.
So is it all brilliant? Well, I don't particularly like 'palace posy' to the point I don't even know what its doing here, its title and clumsy rhythm jar against my vision of what's going on with this album.... although the track does get better at the end! Cold Earth is standard Boards so it gets no prizes either, but then you get moments of genius like the achingly hauntingly beautiful 'split your infinties', and 'come to dust' amongst others that make it, on balance, brilliant!!

Magnetic Man
Magnetic Man
Price: £5.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Music to be played in fresh air, 10 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Magnetic Man (Audio CD)
I love this album! Simple as that. I'm quite new to the whole dubstep thing and it may have passed me by if wasn't for Fearne Cotton introducing me to Nero, playing them on her radio show - and I only tuned in by accident! (have not listened to radio 1 for quite some time!).
It is so fresh and airy, the presence of Katy B, are certainly highlights but, in so far as being joined in fine high company.
The dud track for me is 'Fire' with a very scary miss dynamite. Its over produced.
Other than that its all highly enjoyable - truly fresh air, there is nothing here that will bring you down, but nor is it all fluff; there is real substance here, the catchy 'Boiling Water', to the frenzy of 'Mad'. Yes its quite commercial - and why not? People who sell stuff for a living kind of need to be, but that doesn't mean its factory produced.
All said this is to be enjoyed and not really to be treated as a serious study example of the dubstep genre.
I just love it and have been playing it for months and will play it some more :-)

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars a piece of rubber is hardly amazing but..., 2 Oct. 2010
Well I love my Samsung - Vodafone 360, its a great smart phone at a great price, but it is sooo slippy to hold so I decided to get this cover to help.

It does help, it fits snuggly but without difficulty, its pretty thick so offers good protection. And it offers great grip which is handy when playing Sonic or texting or facebooking or, or, or etc!

But no, I don't love it, it attracts gritty dust bits, and despite claiming to be designed for the phone it covers the camera lens so you cant take pics with it on.
The other ports for the headphones jack and the charger are available though.

So its ok, does what I want it to do and for a few quid I can't complain - happy enough

Universal Hall
Universal Hall
Price: £9.10

3.0 out of 5 stars a slow slide into lightweight mystical, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Universal Hall (Audio CD)
The problem is, it is not all bad. Its just really missing some fire. This is the Sea had some fire, plenty in fact, and tinged with a little pagan/celtic influence - a refreshing distraction from Duran Duran at the time. Fisherman's Blues dives deeper into 'celticness' - actually setting up shop in Co Galway, but it has fire and its a cracking album.
Then it all gets too much with Room to Roam, ranging from very Irish twee to just awful.
But, like many of us, Mike Scott was just in a 'phase', and in 1993 snapped out of it, strapped on the guitar and went back to work. Dream Harder is not without mistakes, but mostly its pure joy, positive songs, rousing, and classic on-form Mike Scott storytelling. We had to wait 7 years to have some more with A Rock in The Weary Land - perhaps the 'dark' Waterboys album, somewhat uncharacteristically from the usual up beat Scott, but A Rock it is...

And then this... well if you managed to read through all this review to this point it is probably already obvious that there is not much to say about it.
....the problem is, its a relapse, there are some fine words, and some songs are nice, Peace of Iona is quite lovely really, Always Dancing is nice but there is something about it that reminds me of those ambient cd's you get in health food shops, like 'Celtic Moods' and 'Amazon Spirit' and such like, fine if you like a cross between ultra light restaurant background and meditation but its hardly Waterboys. Maybe its because it was recorded at that most seminal of alternative centres, Findhorn.

Well, after writing all that I have managed to sum it up in one line....
'pleasant, but its not the Waterboys

The Virgin Gardener
The Virgin Gardener
by Laetitia Maklouf
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when you don't know how to inspire your girlfriend to the joy of gardens..., 8 Feb. 2010
This review is from: The Virgin Gardener (Hardcover)
Well, yes I am a guy writing a review for this! You see I love gardening and have been trying to inspire my girlfriend to take it up too, not an easy task for a complete girly-city-girl! Part of the problem is the way other books that claim to be for the beginner are written, most of them are quite serious, and the rest quite dull. Then I found this, I read the intro and a few pages - here was a girl writing in a way I just new my girlfriend would understand.

I was not wrong, she has not had her head out of the book in over a week now! Its layout, recipe-style, easily do-able projects is an absolute joy. It does not over do the jargon or force-feed you a horticultural degree.

The best is simply this, you can start one of Laetitia's projects right now!

...and you know what, I really like the book too!


For Emma Forever Ago
For Emma Forever Ago
Price: £7.73

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars music to warm the over-wintered soul, 27 Nov. 2009
This review is from: For Emma Forever Ago (Audio CD)
Hmmm, well the thing was, about this time last year I was looking for something for my girlfriend - I stumbled on this and bought it, purely for the title alone. (Emma..)

How utterly delighted were we to find the music warranted the chance buy! The lyrical depth is immense, sometimes a little harsh, sometimes seemingly disjointed - oftentimes perplexing but always captivating. The music is certainly from the Americana that is rich, earthy and wholesome.

This is music for log fires on winter evenings, to be played when your tired of the frenetic energy of summer. Not that it is overly slow, you'll find yourself humming a tune or two off this while splitting the logs out back.

Absolutely fantastic!

This music is in the same vein as the Low Anthem if you are pre-disposed to look around for more 'like-types'

Talk Amongst the Trees
Talk Amongst the Trees
Price: £12.28

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just let go, 7 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Talk Amongst the Trees (Audio CD)
Well, I had not heard any Eluvium before but loving electronica, ambient etc I decided to try it. In fact it is playing as I write this, it arrived from Amazon today.

So I got home from work to find this in my postbag and put it on and fell asleep half way through the second track.
Not a promising start, so when I woke I put it on again and hurriedly listened to the first few tracks. I have minimalistic stuff and thought ok more of that then.

But I didn't understand, I was too hasty, thought I knew better, thought I had it sussed before the cd finished. I was wrong.

This indeed is drift music, swirling soundscapes, loops and waves but with an emotional depth. It commands you to be still, and you will be still before the last track is out.

I am playing it a third time, already it has a grip. By the 'Calm of the Cast-Light Cloud' the point of it all becomes clear, to be still, to be silent, to be at one, at peace and totally adrift.

Quite wonderful.

Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reason why electronica exists as a genre, 7 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Geogaddi (Audio CD)
Ah, the wonderful dilemma of choosing a favourite BOC recording remains, despite Geogaddi's best efforts. On the whole, this just sneaks past Music Has The Right To Children for me, but based on number of plays, and considerably way ahead of The Campfire Headphase - which I still have not got used to.

It would be quite a task to describe individual tracks for they are numerous and of such varying length. Further, Geogaddi is a near seamless cohesive journey. BOC prove they are master-craftsmen in the electronica genre here, but don't expect too much by way of 'mood-music', this is not really an emotional ride but an extraordinary and exciting journey helped along by some wonderful samples - none more so than the 'geology lecture' of subterranean sea-mounts.

That wonderful presence of children, found in much of the Boards work drifts through Geogaddi complimenting the complex layered themes of the music.

That might sound a bit of tosh, so put simply this is really rather special, and as far as electronica goes it stands out, in my collection at least, as a benchmark of excellence. The term 'classic' is banded about far too freely, in much the same way as the media portray every meeting of political leaders as 'historic' - I am mindful of this when I state quite emphatically that this is worthy of the title 'True Classic' and a must-have for anyone liking even just a little of what electronica has to offer.

Flux + Mutability
Flux + Mutability
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £39.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Soundscapes of Ethereal Pastoral, 28 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Flux + Mutability (Audio CD)
Ok, so a bit of a pedantic review title - but this, the second of Sylvian's collaborations with ex-Can linch-pin Holger Czukay is arguably one of the most beautiful ambient recordings ever made.

Whereas 1988's 'Plight and Premonition' was often stark, and perhaps cold, 'Flux and Mutability' is warm, gentle and balming. The first track 'A big, bright, colourful world' begins with an electronic pulse quickly followed by light but fast percussion which sets you up for the pace of the piece for the next 17 minutes. Even so, we are hardly talking lightning speed, this is relaxing 'mood' music at its best. Radio fluctuations are prevalent here as they were on the last offering, providing some mysterious backdrops to this enigmatic shimmering composition.

The second half, 'A new beginning is in the offing', is 21 minutes of the most beautiful ambiance I have ever heard. Only Eno could be compared to Sylvian here for the ability to infuse such emotion through electronic music, and for me Sylvian has the upper-hand even compared to the masterpiece that is 'Music for Airports'. The first four notes on this piece stop me dead in my tracks every time I hear them, literally forcing me to become totally relaxed, recumbent and silent and start the track from the beginning again. There is no percussion here, just a swirling mass of musical sound that for all of its electronic components, transports you to a very organic pastoral landscape, perhaps helped by the cover image of a farmer herding his flock down a country lane. It does not have an end, but rather the silence you are left in is merely a continuation of the space you find yourself occupying.

This collaboration between two of the finest craftsmen of modern music makes me wonder what that other fine collaboration of John Foxx and Harold Budd would bring should they too, decide to create a 'two-piece' full-length album...

Easily one of my 'desert island discs' and despite 1999's 'Approaching Silence', (although this was recorded for a multi-media installation), best efforts 'Flux and Mutability' remains quite solidly David's finest instrumental work, and in my humble opinion, the finest in its genre.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2014 11:57 PM BST
Offered by SmokeCDs
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Big Bright Cloudless Sky, 31 Jan. 2008
This review is from: (Audio CD)
There is not a single situation that I have been in where playing this album would have been out of place. The best, though is to be lying on the grass looking up at a big blue sky. Failure to enjoy this should be illegal. It is hard to pick out 'stand out' tracks because they all shine, however, 'a tune for Jack' with a ridiculous yet utterly loveable sample and a just wonderfully joyous piano is really rather special. So too is 'His Majesty King Raam' that takes you back to listening to a bedtime story - cleverly the sample merely introduces you to 'King Raam' leaving your imagination to do the rest. This is important, because albums which are so very special have a habit of also becoming very personal. It will take each listener on their own sun-filled slightly mad trip.

It ends with 'Come' with a voice so lush, a single word full of promise. Of course it is not really the end because you will have the CD on a loop!

None of this really matters, words can't do the music proper justice. If you like Royksopp and Boards of Canada but want more consistent joy then this is essential, in fact everyone - just buy it - you will understand!

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