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Adrian Gonbar (Spain)

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Forse le lucciole non si amano più
Forse le lucciole non si amano più
Price: £7.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant: definitely one of the crown jewels of the Italian prog., 26 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The very band's name should give us a clue: Locanda Delle Fate means something like The Fairy Inn. So no wonder the Peter Gabriel's Genesis era is the first and main influence that comes to mind while listening to this 1977 release. There's a great similarity in the sound of the drums, bass (a tight, deep, and powerful Rickenbacker, I guess), keyboards and guitar, all adorned with some typical Genesis effects (v.g. the massive use of volume pedals). There's also the general Genesis-like atmosphere created by a string of independent songs that, however, work like kind of a suite. As well, like in the case of the aforementioned prog masters, all of them songs consist of intricate music themes that alternate epic and bucolic passages, heavily based in often surprisingly imaginative melodic developments, many of them with that soaring, irresistibly romantic - in the sense of idealistic- quality. But Locanda Delle Fate is far from being a mere copycat, poor man's Genesis. During the 70s, the Italian prog musicians developed their own and strong personality, looking in, seeking for inspiration in their own wealthy musical tradition and millenary culture, and mostly choosing - wisely, proudly and bravely enough - to sing in their own mother language. The timbre of the singer Leonardo Sasso's voice, the melodies, the vocal harmonies, and more, everything has an unmistakable italian flavour. Moreover, the band sounds extremely tight, plus the recording quality is excellent. Of course this is not a hard rocking album, it lacks catchy riffs or sing-along choruses, so it takes some time to love it, but it seems to me that repeated listenings unevitably leads to a higher and higher degree of willingness to repeat the experience. I guess that's what they call a real grower. Strongly recommended.


Light As A Feather
Light As A Feather
Price: £11.44

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who let Flora Purim in ?, 18 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Light As A Feather (Audio CD)
Who let Flora Purim in ? (Ok, I know, it was Airto).

What a shame. A superb musical concept and instrumental rendition almost totally ruined by Flora Purim's bad performance. Most of the time she's out of tune, singing in an unsteady way with a thin, weak voice. In case of that was not enough, she insists on ending many verses making really awkward ornaments not better than the most amateurish/beginner singer you can imagine. It's like listening to someone who sings while walking a tightrope, constantly fearing to lose equilibrium. She sounds particularly atrocious on the last verses of "Light as a Feather" and the whole "Captain Marvel" and "500 Miles High". And yes, I'm used to the peculiar style of many female brazilian singers, who masterfully play on/with the very limit of "the right pitch" (v.g. Elis Regina), but this I'm listening to is just sheer sloppiness. I must confess I feel a bit bewildered, as her previous work with Corea, 1972's "Return to forever", had been a flawless one. However, despite of all of its unquestionable musical quality, this album has turned out almost unbearable to me just because of Purim's performance.


Dirty Work
Dirty Work
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'd rather say lazy and sloppy., 11 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Dirty Work (Audio CD)
Only second to the live but not alive “Stil Life” as the worst Rolling Stones album ever. This one, however, deserves the merit award of being their worst studio album. Wherein "Still Life" showed rushed and lifeless performances, "Dirty Work" shows rushed and under-developed songwriting (among other issues that also contribute to absolutely ruin the album). I don't know whether the Stones were trying to sound harder and harsher by this time, a bit more like, let's say, Aerosmith (for disastrous result), or if it was just a case of lack of will and inspiration related to the troubled moments the band allegedly was experiencing. Besides the aforementioned poor songwriting, as another reviewer pointed out many years ago, Jagger's forced gruff vocals and Watts' monotonous drumming (absurdly loud in the mix, by the way) are unbereably annoying. I can only save “Harlem Shuffle” (a non-Stones' original which could have fitted perfectly in the previous, usually underrated _ but to my taste good to brilliant in parts _ “Undercover”) and the more than decent ballad “Sleep Tonight” (this one sung by Richards). No wonder the following album, the somewhat bland and overpromoted “Steel Wheels”, was received as a “return to good form” by many critics.


Still Life
Still Life
Price: £7.38

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Still, stiff and lifeless., 10 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Still Life (Audio CD)
This is by far the worst album in the whole Rolling Stones' catalog, no matter how much criticism you've heard about Emotional Rescue, Dirty Works, Flashpoint, No Security, or any other of the usual targets for scorn.
"The world's greatest rock and roll band" sounds here like one of those semi-professional classic covers bands playing Rolling Stones' songs at weddings, birthdays and open air parties. I mean, everybody plays the right notes, the bassist and the drummer follow the beat in the most insipid way you can imagine, the guitars play the correct chords but merely play the minimun necessary solos, and the singer pushes the whole band in order to finish the set as soon as possible, so they can plunder the table plenty of liquors, appetizers and sandwiches, get paid and rush to the next gig.
The cold, aseptic, discouraging simplified, soulless, hasty and rushed performances only will make you desperately want to run towards your library, pick your copies of the studio albums and play them just to remember why you thought you had a good reason to like these songs, and how the guitar solos were, how the drums and the bass sounded, and how Mr. Jagger used to sing them.
The only good thing about this album is that being so short for a live recording (40 minutes), you don't waste so much time with it. (By the way, just in case you feel tempted to buy this fiasco for "Going to a Go-Go" alone, I'm afraid that this version adds nothing to the delicious Smokey Robinson's original).
An atrocious product. Steer clear.


Babymetal
Babymetal
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £17.21

5 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Zillions of flies can't be wrong ..., 3 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Babymetal (Audio CD)
... so this is is the new big ... thing.
The heavy metal fans, better late than never, seem to have finally left behind all those supposed "groundbreaking" or "milestone" works made by bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Death, Obituary, Carcass, Napalm Death, Saint Vitus, Kyuss, Pantera, Bathory, Darkthrone, Opeth, Enslaved, ... not to mention all those overrated albums made by such pretentious bands like Atheist, Nile, Rotting Christ, Pestilence, Gorguts, Ulcerate, Cryptopsy, Immolation ... , whom have not idea about writing a catchy riff for a song talking about, let's say ... "Chocolate". Decades of massive noise pollution consisting of dull and ridiculously earnest albums made by angry, bitter, and sometimes even thinking guys who only dare to speak about war, weapons and threatened civilization, greed and exploitation, Satan and Christ, wicked use of religion and politics, ecological disasters and abusing technology, social injustice, evil and moral corruption, passing of time and decay, drug abuse, epic tales, apocalyptic fantasies, liberating escapism, ... and so on, monotonously showing themselves concerned about the troubles of men and the future of mankind. What a drag, really.
But here it is, finally, a totally new, fresh, and unheard genre in itself that's been worth the wait. This is an exquisite fusion of styles (not just vulgar cut and paste of j-pop and metal riffing and soloing, as some haters would probably dare to say). This only could be the product of absolute geniuses. They give us a precious piece of art, the result of a real need for artistic expression coming out of real artists plethoric of new things to tell. Babymetal fills my spirit, smooths my rage, eases my pain and makes me feel happy. I feel like jumping and leaping in my virtual-reality garden while wearing weird clothes, eating lots of chocolate and choking with cotton candy.
The future of rock and roll is here, regardless of you, blind and deaf dinosaurs, metal backward fanatics and old-fashioned metalthickheadeds, be unable to accept revolutionary changes. Plus, Kirk Hammett and Slash approve it (repeat after me: "Word of the Lord ! "), so you can't go wrong embracing it. Love Babymetal and give this album 5 stars , or be damned.

(By the way, 1 well deserved star for the brilliant marketing idea).
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2016 11:12 PM GMT


Outsider
Outsider
Price: £18.48

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hats off to these veteran rockers keeping the old flame alive, 23 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Outsider (Audio CD)
Having lost their path (broadly speaking) after John Lawton's departure circa 1979, the first three studio albums since Bernie Shaw joined the band (Sea of light 1995, Sonic Origami 1998 and Wake the Sleeper 2008) represented a return to the elaborated hard rock, moderately tinged with progressive touches, that characterized the classic 1970's era of Uriah Heep, even though with an updated sound, and, some will tell, an overproduced and a bit cold one too. Bernie Shaw is not David Byron neither, his vocal range and dynamics are quite limited (he recalls me the more recent years of Ian Gillan, in which he's obviously shorter of voice), and can become a bit tiresome to listen to after a while, a fact that has risen some old Heep's fans criticisms. However, he's an efficient, very able singer, and, besides that, I think he could have a lot to do with a certain revitalization the band has experimented in the last 20 years (certainly I think the three aforementioned works are excellent).
2011's Into the Wild was a much more down to earth album, they almost completely forsook the prog-oriented ingredients, the elaborated melodies and rhythm patterns, and let a bit aside the primarly mystical/spiritual/gothic tinged lyrics to make an album of old fashioned uncomplicated hard rock, yet with a pair of terrible tracks (the cheesy "T-bird angel" and the draggy, Judas Priest-like "Kiss of freedom"), and a too repetitive opener, "Nail to the head", that becomes really boring after a few listenings, all of which seriously weakened the album as a whole.
Well, Outsider continues the path opened by Into the Wild, but to my taste it's a more accomplished album. I find no weak tracks here, just superbly well made old fashioned hard rock with lots of organ, vocal choruses and hooky passages. As it happened with Into the Wild, they seem to be having a good time while doing this album, a bunch of sixty-year-olds youngsters doing as they please (Box is 67, Lanzon 64 and Bernie Shaw, well, 58). Wise breaks and changes of pace make many of the songs even more appealing, and the band keeps on choosing a monolithic sound: no jamming at all and very little of soloing can be found, though there are moments of brilliance (the organ solo on the final track Say Goodbye is just astonishing).
In case you expect something impressive, you'll be disappointed, as no new land is treaded here. However Outsider is a wisely crafted piece of bona fide classic rock. I don't know how they manage to do this, maybe it's just me, but while treading so well-known territory, even well-worn if you want, at the same time, ironically enough, Outsider is remarkably fresh and powerful. Guess you'll enjoy it from your very, ... ahem, ... insides.


1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
by Robert Dimery
Edition: Paperback

49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of those books you must skip to save your time., 13 Nov. 2014
Arbitrary, uneven and unbalanced selection, and shallow comments that will teach you nothing. The Rolling Stone Magazine cohort and its disciples telling you what to listen to, and, by default, what music and artists to ignore. It would be nice if it was done with intellectual accuracy, but this is just a product, one destined to create opinion trends and to shape (or reaffirm) people's tastes without any artistic argument or any sense of historical significance. Buy it if you like the Rolling Stone magazine ways, trust the "best of" lists resulting from its nonsensical surveys, or think that the Grammy awards mean anything. Otherwise, read books by Ted Gioia, Charlie Gillett, Simon Frith, Peter Guralnick, Clinton Heylin and many other serious writers, read iconoclastic critics like Robert Christgau, use the All Music Guide site and Amazon's customers reviews as a loose reference when it comes to buy records, and listen, listen, listen ... Be curious, investigate, seek, and build your own musical background.

Editing on 16 November 2014:

I'm afraid of some people could think I'm just a hater, a troll ... or, who knows, a resentful musician ignored by the Rolling Stone Magazine. So, I just want to complement my review with some specific information.

I'm talking as someone who's been an engaged music listener since his early teens, back in the 1970's. I've got a pretty respectable collection of about 4000 records: roughly speaking I have 3200 albums between rock & pop, 400 blues' albums, and another 400 of jazz. Of course it doesn't make me the bearer of "the gospel truth" ( I'm very aware of the subjectivity factor ), but it does make me feel free to have one opinion or two about the relative value of many albums, and makes me also a bit less prone to be cheated by, let's say, "obscure marketing manoeuvres".

A book intended to be used as a listening guide will always be an imperfect one, no matter how well researched and written it be. A work like that should be considered just a very loose reference, a point of departure. However, the least we should demand to a work of that kind is a minimun of artistic rigour and historic perspective, for the book not to become a misleading one, instead of a rough guide.

Thus, I'll remark some facts regarding the book we're talking about.

1) These are a few examples of rock and pop (or vaguely related to those genres) artists who have been totally overlooked (0 album selected). All of them are first-rate artists, otherwise they're artists who at least have contributed some essential, landmark works, to the history of popular music:

Amon Düül II, Asian Dub Foundation, Bad Religion, Botch, J.J. Cale, Calexico, Terry Callier, Camel, Canned Heat, Caravan, Cluster, Bruce Cockburn, Converge, Crass, Karen Dalton, The Dead Boys, Ani Di Franco, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dr Feelgood, Earth, Family, Robben Ford, Rory Gallagher, Gogol Bordello, Gong, Ben Harper, Roy Harper, Horslips, Humble Pie, Little Feat, Gordon Lightfoot, Guru Guru, Isis, Magma, Melvins, Mission of Burma, Morbid Angel, The Move, Neurosis, New Model Army, The Nice, Opeth, Oregon, Pink Fairies, Poco, Popol Vuh, Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM), Primus, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Russian Circles, Joe Satriani, Klaus Schulze, The Seeds, Shellac, Sleep, Steeleye Span, Steppenwolf, Strawbs, Swans, The Jesus Lizard, Tool, Warren Zevon ... and, not forgivable distraction ... Chuck Berry (what a calamitous beginning really).

2) There are many great artists of whom an excessive number of albums have been selected: David Bowie (8), Elvis Costello (6), Sonic Youth (5), Iggy Pop (4, 2 of them with The Stooges), Metallica (4), The Byrds (5) , P. J. Harvey (4), Nick Drake (3) ... I love all of them, however it's apparent to me that for a list of only 1001 entries, there are too many albums by the aforementioned artists. The question is: in case you listen to only 1001 albums, do you need 6 by Costello, 5 by The Byrds and 5 by Sonic Youth, seriously ?

3) On the other hand, artists with a massive and varied discography are very poorly represented: Lou Reed (2: Transformer and Berlin), Van Morrsion (3), Frank Zappa (3), Jethro Tull (1) ...
Also should deserve a much better description: The Allman Brothers (1), Jeff Beck (1), King Crimson (2) ...
However, we see The Pixies (3), My Bloody Valentine (3), Wilco (3), Blur (3), U2 (4) ... all of them have made great, or at least interesting albums (well, ahem, Wilco really not) but, let's say, ¿ Do we need 3 albums by My Bloody Valentine, really ? Not enough with "Loveless" ? Yet while we are missing Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow", Allman Brothers' "Brothers and Sisters", Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Second Helping", or Lou Reed's "New York" ?

4) Besides that, the authors select a laughable little quantity of blues and jazz records (i.e. Muddy Waters (2), J.L. Hooker (1), B.B. King (1), T. Monk (1), Mingus (1) and Miles Davis (4)). I don't get the point. What about the rest of not less important and equally well known blues and jazz artists ? There are no albums by Ornette Coleman, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, ...., Big Bill Broonzy, Albert Collins, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Howlin'Wolf, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Elmore James, Albert King, Charley Patton, Otis Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson I & II, Johnny Winter ...

5) More or less the same could be said about the selection of, for example, African and Brazilian artists. The book sticks to the three or four well-known names. Not even all of them. Where are Angelique Kidjo or Gilberto Gil, just to name two of the ignored ones ?. Still more: why not, just saying, Argentinian, Spanish or Italian artists then ?

6) Regarding the points 4 and 5, I can't help but thinking that by mentioning a few blues, jazz, African and Brazilian trite artist's names, the book pretends a supposed open-mindedness which is really a reaffirmation of the opposite. I mean, the misleading statement we could illustrate this way:

Q: What's worth listening to outside British and American rock and pop ?
A: Well, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Youssou N'Dour, Elis Regina, ... and mostly that's all. Is there anything else out there ?

It woud have been much better to stick to the British and American rock and pop, make a fair selection under a honest artistic and historic perspective, and leave the other genres (blues, jazz, the so called "world music", etc.) to the writers who have a vast knowledge on those fields.

7) And finally, of course, maybe 40 % of the albums selected for the book aren't worth one second of your life. You can imagine the proper adjectives and related words, depending on each case: corporate, commercial, MTV, Rolling Stone's Poll, Grammy, hipster, snobbish, poser, void product, ersatz, fake, garbage, ...

According to this book you MUST listen to Hanoi Rocks, Culture Club, Human League, 10 cc, Meat Loaf, Abba, ABC, Travis, Cindy Lauper, The Slits, Robbie Williams, Pet Shop Boys, Alanis Morissette, The Go-Go's, Eminem, Bon Jovi, Slipknot, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Kanye West, Adele, Coldplay, Kid Rock, The Cardigans, The Fun Lovin' Criminals .... but you can rest in peace without having listened to Chuck Berry.

Draw your own conclusions. I might be completely wrong.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2016 7:37 AM GMT


Lulu
Lulu
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £4.75

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kind of XXI century's “Berlin” in a sense., 4 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Lulu (Audio CD)
First of all, Lulu is not a Metallica's album, although the band contributed not only its committed playing, but also a good part of the music's credits (to a great extent improvised). Instead, this is rather another “difficult” Lou Reed's album. A set of songs on sick sex-lust-love-hate relationships, power, abuse, perversion, sleaze, degradation, self-destruction, inner struggle, guilt, bad fate, emptiness, solitude, desperation ... yet also not so evident touches of innocence and tenderness.
“Lulu” is no ordinary material. It is based on two plays written by the German dramatist Frank Wedekind: “Earth Spirit” (1895) and “Pandora's Box” (1904), known as “the Lulu plays”. These works had previously inspired Pabst's silent movie “Pandora's Box” (1929), and Alban Berg's opera “Lulu” (1937). Much more recently, dramatist and Reed's familiar collaborator Robert Wilson was working in a new adaptation of the original plays, and through Wilson's theater project Lou became interested in making some music based on Lulu.
Then, as Mark Deming (All Music Guide) notes, in this album “Lou Reed sings from the perspective of a young woman who is corrupted by her experiences with men, as well as some of the characters she meets”.
I'm using the verb “to sing” and the noun “song” in their broadest sense here. I'm not the one to discuss the exact meaning of those concepts (a task that exceeds my knowledge, yet I confess that I don't care much about it). But certainly most of the songs have no melody at all, no chorus, some of them not even a defined key (the only “straight” song being “Iced Honey”). Reed recites the lyrics with the mastery he has exhibited many times before, while Metallica, plus a strings quartet and some electronics played by Sarth Calhoun, set the sonic landscape. This sonic landscape varies from heavy metal riffs, to free-jazz like noise to ambient music passages (the most notable of the latter being the final 10 minutes of the heartrending “Junior Dad”, which closes the album).
Thus, Lulu will infuriate both Metallica fans expecting a new thrash metal delivery with “guest vocalist” Lou Reed as well as Lou Reed fans expecting a more “classic” Reed's set of songs (whatever that means). The big picture about people's tastes and perceptions is hugely complex, but I guess there will always exist extreme reactions from people who tend to call pretentious the slightest sign of intellectual elaboration and/or cultural allusion, as well as people who tend to consider vulgar, passé, primitive and childish any display of ballsy heavy metal riffs. In short, in the matter at hand, a heavy metal “purist” vs. hypster/pseudy/snob war nobody wins. Some people think this album is a troll plotted by two famous names who had run out of inspiration and just wanted to attract attention, cash in, and so on. On the contrary I think this album is the result of a honest and courageous experiment they didn't need to do for the sake of fame and money, and being aware of the fact that not all of the “fans” were going to be obliged to like it. Sometimes the artists we love mature faster than us, or at least faster than we would like, and they leave behind some ideas and some ways we relate to our fondest youthful feelings and our perception of authenticity. You can stick forever with Ride the Lightning and/or Transformer, and that's a respectable choice, but you could also follow the evolution of your beloved artists trying to understand and relate the links which lead from one work to another, and so maybe enjoying all, or most of them.
The album requires to be approached without preconceptions, good disposition and a bit of patience: I estimate that at least three spins, 87 minutes each, are needed to begin to appreciate its merits, since Lulu is definitely a grower.
Does this experiment work ? Most of the time it does, despite there are sparse moments where the synergy fails, especially in the song Little Dog, where I feel Metallica are completely lost, seemingly not knowing what to do (a more jazz trained drummer, with more subtletly, dynamics and fresher ideas, would have greatly fit in this song, not to say, just dreaming, a guitar player like Robert Fripp).
But despite its minor flaws, this album, not being as much a milestone work as Berlin was, shares with it the fate of being a risky, compelling and strong, but difficult work, with a similar shocking, hard to assimilate material, which has been mostly not well received by critics and audience. However I'm pretty sure that, like it happened to Berlin, Lulu will become more appreciated as time passes by.


CRYSTAL JEWEL CASES PK10
CRYSTAL JEWEL CASES PK10
Offered by Dragon Trading
Price: £6.88

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good enough, 11 Sept. 2014
I often need to replace CDs' jewel cases (those which have broken during transport, or those which look very scratched or not very clean when it comes to some second hand CDs). It seems to be more and more difficult to find good quality jewel cases, so it was a nice surprise when I "spotted" these ones in my town. Yes, they are made in China, but they are undoubtedly better than the quite brittle Ver**tim, and of course vastly better than the ultra-cheap ones, with many burrs left, loose parts and bending chewing-gum-like cover piece that you can see in the typical Chinese pound shops. Not as good as Hama (also made in China, certainly), but more than acceptable. For the curious: they weigh 58 grams each, whereas a "original", out of the factory CD jewel case weighs 69 grams. Nonetheless, they almost look and feel like "the real thing". In short, they could be better, but they're still good enough. Recommended.


We Live Here
We Live Here

3.0 out of 5 stars Lounge break, 22 Feb. 2014
This review is from: We Live Here (Audio CD)
Ok. I'm ready for you to call me a too formal and uncompromising guy, but this is to me one of the few dispensable Pat Metheny records (I own, and mostly love, about 40 of his albums, from Bright Size Life to Kin).
I understand different points of view, though. For example his right to relax and simply have a good time making a non emotionally demanding, dramatic, moving or cerebral music (by the way other guitar greats have done so, v.g. John Scofield or Bill Frisell). I also consider, as another reviewer suggested, that this album could be a wise move in order to attract new followers to his body of work as a whole. So, no problem, I will not condemn Pat to the eternal fire for this. Musicians are human beings, and have their right to change, play, try a new register, embody a transitory different character, relax, have fun, experiment, even if that leaves some fans baffled or disappointed.
But that doesn't change the fact that this album is what it is. In my humble opinion, a masterfully well executed piece of good-time, entertaining music, which probably could've been written and played by someone else. I'm not interested in lounge, smooth jazz and so on. To me this album lacks the most notable and unique Pat Metheny impressions as an artist (which have to do with virtuosity accompanied by emotion, depth, a feel of trascendece and spiritual quest) and in that sense, is a disappointing one. Could I give this album 5 stars as if it was Offramp, Secret Story, The Way Up and many more ? Definitely not. Just enjoyable.


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