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Agnostic Duck (Gloucestershire)

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Occultus Tramitis
Occultus Tramitis
Price: £31.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a strong album, 6 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Occultus Tramitis (Audio CD)
I'm a big fan of Antoine's first album - "Solus Operandi" but this is a lot stronger.
"Solus" was more mellow - generally speaking, this, however, packs more of a punch.
This is hardly surprising when you look at the company he is keeping on this.
The legendary Jerry Goodman on violin, and the drummers constitutes a role call of the best of the best - what a line-up!!
Simon Phillips. Dave Weckl, Gavin Harrison, Terry Bozzio and new talent in the way of Emmanualle Caplette and Mark Maheaux.
This is a superb set with Fafard's stunning bass playing holding it all together. There is even a Bass Fest on "Tree O" with three bass players taking the lead.
The opener " Peace For 4" eases us in fairly gently and is dominated by Goodman's distinctive violin.
"The Chamber" up the ante and has a strong Jazz Funk feel, here we are treated to Scott Henderson's wonderful guitar playing.
"Good Reasons" moves back to a more steady pace and allows some good sax playing to accompany Goodman's violin. Phillips takes drum honours here.
"Sum of Six" is yet another upbeat piece and features the wonderful Chad Wackerman on drums; to me this has a strong jazz feel.
"Holding Back Time" allows Bozzio to demonstrate just how restrained he can be - some wonderfully delicate stick work here; delicate but none-the-less powerful, if that makes sense.
"Fur and Axe" - is a smoother fusion piece with Fafard, Wakerman and Goodman; I say smoother but still forceful.
"Funkevil" - some delicious slabs of bass here - really funky! Antoine's skill shines through this piece with some quick fire violin from Goodman.
"Tree O" is a feast of bass playing with Caplette's sympathetic, yet superbly timed drumming supporting it all.
"Slydian" - is perhaps a move towards something more in the way esoteric fusion, with deep, meaty throbbing bass lines very much to the fore!
"Metamorphosis" has two drummers playing along with Goodman and Fafard creating a really impressive feel to this.
We close with a classical interpretation - Antoine flexes his bass mastery with Bach's "Prelude No 2 in C Minor"
I really rate this album and it is a tremendous showcase for this gifted musician.
Definitely five stars!!

Losing Our Virginity
Losing Our Virginity
Price: £18.13

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolute nostalgia., 5 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Losing Our Virginity (Audio CD)
I am inclined to agree with S Dinsdale; this is not without flaws. The sound in "shonky" in places and it lacks structure.
HAVING SAID THAT - it really took me back to a a special time, the birth of Virgin - the creativity, the craziness and the sheer audacity.
This is truly eclectic set and does reflects Virgins' attitude at the time. At times it is crazy and sublimely esoteric.
Hatfield and The North, Kevin Coyne, Henry Cow, Egg, Edgar Froese . . et al.
Of course it starts with the beginning - Mike Oldfield's extraordinary "Tubular Bells". Then you get Faust, Gong, Robert Wyatt.
The selection is erratic and the standard variable as one makes their way through this collection of diversity.
I really enjoyed hearing stuff that I'd not heard in years; David Bedford has several inclusions; slightly avant guard but these include some of Oldfields finest guitar work. Indeed "First Excursion" (Oldfield and Bedford), is a masterpiece in virtuosity, as Mikes holds some amazing notes, sustaining them for 10/20 seconds. On the subject of guitarists - Steve Hillage makes a couple of notable appearances, particularly his barnstorming version of George Harrison's "All Too Much"
To be honest, it is just so hard to review this objectively, there is so much going on.
It's not strange "Hippy Stuff" and "Hypnotic Brain Melt Music" - there are a few "commercial" bits and pieces like Robert Wyatt's interpretations of "I'm a Believer" and "Yesterday Man" and the strangely charming and folksy "Sad Sing" by Tom Newman.
I'm enjoying this but it is not easy listening. It does, however, capture a wonderful moment in time.
Actually - it might be an idea to listen to the samples first?
Yes, flawed and (perhaps), a little erratic, but, at times, compelling and absorbing! Perhaps for the over 40s??

Protocol II
Protocol II
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Power and energy from the drum maestro and his crew! (4.5), 1 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Protocol II (MP3 Download)
The ever reliable Simon Phillips delivers.
An amalgam of instrumental rock/jazz fusion played to perfection by the drum maestro and his very talented cohorts.
Produced and recorded by Phillips at his Phantom Studio he plays the only way he knows how; to perfection!
With Andy Timmons on guitar, Steve Weingart on keyboards and Ernie Tibbs on bass, there is no fear of anything but artistry.
If I were to nit-pick, I'd say that there is a lack of invention in the music. By this I mean that it seems a bit formulaic.
Some MIGHT find the cleanliness and reliability a bit sterile, but I have no problem with this possibility. However - it has plenty of energy!
I bought "Protocol I" on its release many years ago, but that was little more than an EP, with Simon playing to a backdrop of sequencers, with (I think), some guitar from his mate Ray Russell. This is now available as an extended version on MP3 - worth checking out, if, like me, you're into all things Phillips!!
Summarily, this is darn good stuff, IF this kind of instrumental music is your bag - call it "Rofusion". It's crisp, clear and energetic.
I'd prefer to give it 4.5!!

Out of an Ancient World
Out of an Ancient World

5.0 out of 5 stars An exemplary piece of work., 20 Oct. 2013
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This album is superb - beautiful, emotional and inspiring.
I am never happy with comparisons as they can be misleading; depending upon how one interprets them.
I MIGHT say - Pink Floyd, or Marillion, but they, throughout their prodigious output, shifted in style and presentation. To make such comparisons honours this album, but this album is its "own person"; it has a definite character; it is a passionate work.
The instrumentation is balanced, never overwhelming; the vocals are heart-felt and subtle, and yet they carry so well.
Marc Atkinson and Brendan Eyre have put together something very special.
Going back to comparisons, I was tempted to liken it to the fantastic Nine Stones Close - "Traces", but feared that it might get a "Nine Stones who?" response, which would be sad. Then, I realized that Marc had been associated with NSC!!!
If you want a genre, then I suppose it must be Prog, but I am uneasy with this tag; it is more than that. It is a whole work and I have no desire to make any comment about individual tracks.
Apparently, it took a long time to put together, so it is likely that a follow up might be slow in coming. Well, on the strength of this, it will be well worth waiting for.
However, I'm not getting any younger, so not TOO long I hope!!
5 STARS? Absolutely; it is an exemplary piece of work.

Price: £4.24

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed, 19 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Woodsman (Kindle Edition)
Whilst there can be no doubting Ben's affinity with his environment and his deep love of nature; I found this book most unsatisfying, I'm afraid.
He is a woodsman and a master of his craft but there seemed to be a commercial edge to this book by way of promoting his products in a very blatant way. He appears to be a little too preoccupied with selling his wares!
He mentions "his company" quite a lot and I found this very irritating.
I wanted more of Ben's interpretation of nature, which you do get to some extent, and when this is the case, it's delightful.
For me - this was a real disappointment; there was just a little too much of Ben selling Ben. I hope "fame" does not damage his true calling; he should remember why it all started and where he began.
Sorry Ben.

A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray]
A Bridge Too Far [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Dirk Bogarde
Price: £8.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "A Bridge Too Far" - Blu Ray, 15 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am NOT reviewing the film per se; I am comparing formats. The film is excellent, if a little sanitized?
Personally - having watched both the DVD and the Blu Ray, I see no great difference. The Blu Ray may have a slight edge in terms of clarity and sound, but I think the 'improvements' are subtle.
However - at the time of writing this there seemed to be no great difference in the cost of the relative formats.
Summarily - the Blu Ray is possibly the best option by a short head.

The Longest Day [Blu-ray] [1962]
The Longest Day [Blu-ray] [1962]
Offered by Bella Salute
Price: £7.95

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Appalling Blu Ray edition?, 11 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a truly epic film - so, I am not reviewing the film itself, per se.
I have read some of the other reviews and wonder if I have just been unlucky enough to have a 'bum copy'; it is shocking!
A few minutes in - when a group of German Officers are stood overlooking the the beach, one of them "disappears" - you can clearly see the super-imposed background.
I am very disappointed and really puzzled. Whatever - it's going back, I'll stick to the good old "reliable" conventional DVD edition.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2013 8:54 AM GMT

Dream Harbour
Dream Harbour
Price: £17.91

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Below par - comparatively., 6 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Dream Harbour (Audio CD)
The only other review prior to this stated: "If you like proper prog rock, buy this! You won't be disappointed! There is nothing to dislike on this CD!"
Succinct to say the least - although it is very retro Prog Rock, and like its predecessors, leans heavily towards Anthony Phillips/Genesis.
Like the first two it is all instrumental, but unlike those this does not seem to have the flow or cohesion.
On the opener "House of Cards Pt1" the drums sound like empty biscuit tins! They do pick up on "House of Cards Pt2" where there is even a 'hint' of King Crimson.
I really loved "Willowglass" and "Book of Hours" they seem so much more fluid.
For those who love the dreamy synth and mellotron sound with flute, violin and guitar nicely layered in, Willowglass are for you.
I know Andrew Marshall (he is Willowglass), puts a lot of hard work into these albums and I do not dislike this, it is pleasing enough but falls behinds its seniors.
I'm afraid I was a LITTLE disappointed, but relatively speaking. I do not regret adding this to my collection; it is okay and I quite like it. So 3.5 stars please. I simply cannot give it five!!!! (Anyone remember Janice Nicholls from Juke Box Jury?)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 20, 2013 6:55 PM BST

The Jackal [Blu-ray] [1997] [Region Free]
The Jackal [Blu-ray] [1997] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis
Price: £8.15

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and gripping - but . . ., 29 July 2013
But . . . why oh why, oh why do people KEEP comparing this to "Day Of The Jackal" - there should be no comparisons.
It is a good thriller with some pretty fair performances from Willis, Gere and Poitier, amongst others.
For some reason this film has been subject to a lot of unfair criticism.
It is not GREAT!! But it is good. Willis is a cool, evil and relentless assassin with Gere, the errant but strangely appealing terrorist anticipating his every move, supported by slightly flawed FBI agent - Poitier.
I could not give it five stars but 3.5/4 is not unreasonable.
I repeat - it is NOT "Day Of The Jackal" which is a darn good film!!

The Magic of Finkleton
The Magic of Finkleton
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It is not "English", 17 July 2013
Okay - this is a children's book, so an adult perspective may not appear appropriate?
However, surely it IS important that grammatical content is considered, for the sake of children.
The story itself is very good and engaging but the 'dialect' is very American, which is at odds with the quintessential English setting.
The author is obviously keen to present and promote the English setting but fails to get behind this grammatically, which is a great shame and threatens to spoil a very good and inventive read.
I suppose, at the end of the day, the projected audience might not notice or care about the propriety of the text - fair enough, but it potentially jeopardizes correct usage.
Maybe I am nit-picking, but I think there could be an issue here?
Summarily - very good and enjoyable story but fails on "Englishness".

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