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Andy Briggs

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David Gilmour
David Gilmour
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Solo Album, 7 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: David Gilmour (Audio CD)
I loved this album from the first minute I bought the vinyl in 1978. Gilmour's playing is restrained, at times really mellow and always technically brilliant. From the interesting opener "Mihalis," where he achieves a wide range of tonality based on a memorable riff, to the *gorgeous* ballad "So Far Away", where his voice is simply amazing, to the fantastic riffing on "Cry From The Street", to the crescendo, arch-Floydian "I Can't Breathe Any More" closing track, this is Gilmour flexing his creativity yet exercising restraint in respect for his own material. This is definitely my favourite Gilmour solo outing - it's restrained, thoughtful and should be more widely-known and appreciated. The remaster sounds superb, by the way, and it's well worth replacing the original CD with. I'm as big a Floyd fan as it gets, and I rank this album highly in all Floyd and solo material. The fact that I had the vinyl, the original CD and now the remaster tells you that this is an album I never tire of. Top marks.

Labgear HDSR250 HD DVB-S2 USB Free to Air PVR Satellite Receiver
Labgear HDSR250 HD DVB-S2 USB Free to Air PVR Satellite Receiver

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Product, 9 April 2013
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I must confess to a little trepidation in buying this unit, for two reasons: I had not heard of Labgear, and the price seemed just too good to be true. This in light of the fact that the cheapest quote we had here in Spain for an HD Free-to-Air satellite box was 200 Euros! However, on the other hand, sixty pounds was not an enormous sum of money to lose if the product failed to live up to its published functionality and specification. So I took the plunge, the unit arrived in just a few days and last night I sat down to try it out.

I unplugged our old satellite box from the antenna and re-connected to the new one. Connected to the TV with an HDMI cable, connected power and an external hard disk so that I could try the PVR. Power on, a pause of a few seconds and.....unbelievably.....the free-to-air channels appeared. No problem whatsover. BBC HD was incredible quality, the sound was perfect and I was amazed that it had been that easy....and it had worked! I spent the next hour or so getting to know the unit, setting up channels the way I wanted them etc.

My only disappointment was with the PVR, the main reason we had bought the unit. It only reads FAT32-formatted disks /USB sticks. It does not read NTFS, so I can not use my external hard disk for recording and playback. This was not clear from the documentation - which, incidentally, is not as extensive as it could be - but on the other hand it seems to be the norm with AV equipment that FAT32 is the only supported file system - our Sogo DVD player's USB facility is the same. So, although we can record onto FAT32-formatted USB sticks, I cannot record onto, nor play video files from, my hard disk through the unit, which is disappointing. However, this is, as I say, only a minor niggle, and does not detract from the overall quality of the product.

My other niggle has nothing to do with Labgear - it seems the Astra 2/2A satellites transmit a very limited EPG. You can only see details of the current programme and the one which follows it. So although the SR250 allows you to record up to seven days in advance, be prepared to have to enter programme details into the unit's timer manually - you won't be able to select programmes to record from the EPG if you are receiving from the aforementioned Astra satellites. Not a major hassle obviously (and certainly no problem for the small number of us who knew how to program VHS recorders! :). The onboard firmware is very easy to use, although it took me a while to realise that there are two modes for the timer: View (which merely switches to the channel you are recording) and Record (which actually records the programme). Having scratched my head for a while about why nothing was recording, I decided to read the manual (:-)) and discovered I had to select "Record" when entering the programme details. So if you buy this, don't make the same mistake!

Lastly, Labgear, it turns out, is a *British* company - how rare is that in consumer electronics these days? - and although they give a support URL in the manual, it turns out they have been absorbed into a bigger company called Philex, to whose website the URL redirects. However, don't expect to find much support for any Labgear products there, bar a couple of items - support for the HD SR250 (manuals, firmware upgrades etc.)is not there, and indeed nowhere to be found. On the original Labgear.co.uk site there is a contact form, however: I do not know if enquiries get answered (I've submitted an enquiry to establish this). So, in terms of web support, on the face of it, it looks like you are pretty much on your own. (There is an 0845 customer service number in the manual, but I am a little hesitant to try it from Spain!)

All in all I am really happy with the Labgear HD SR250 and, at the price, it is excellent value for money for anybody looking for a Free-to-Air satellite receiver/PVR. If you want to know if using it is as simple as swapping your antenna into the new box, the answer is a resounding "yes". You won't, almost certainly, find a better unit at the price. I thoroughly recommend it. Well done and thanks Labgear!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2013 10:00 AM BST

The Way Up
The Way Up
Price: £9.61

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Life for Pat Metheny Group, 27 April 2005
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This review is from: The Way Up (Audio CD)
After 2002's "Speaking of Now" - surely the most dull, lifeless and unmemorable PMG group release ever - my expectations were not high that Pat Metheny and co-writer Lyle Mays could recapture the PMG magic shown in earlier classic albums. The main problem with SON seemed to be that after some fairly dramatic personnel changes - drummer Paul Wertico out, Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Cuong Vu (trumpet) in - was that the PMG did not sound like a coherent unit, with the new musicians not integrating with the central unit of Metheny, Mays and Rodby. The compositions on "Speaking Of Now" were uninspired and nothing that hadn't been heard before on other Pat Metheny Group albums. In many ways it seemed just to be going over old ground, and doing it worse.
And now, three years later, we have "The Way Up". The change in those intervening three years has been nothing short of revolutionary. The recording is a single 68-minute piece divided into four movements, a move away from the shorter pieces of previous albums and exhibiting scant regard for commercialism or airtime. You won't be hearing this one very much on the radio.
"The Way Up" is impossible to summarise. Yes, it's jazz, first and foremost. Not easy-listening jazz, not dinner jazz, not even a jazz heard on previous PMG recordings, but a type of jazz heard all too rarely these day : ambitious jazz. Music from the front line. Jazz from the edge. But it's not some awful, experimental atonal racket. It's music of sheer beauty.
Led by Metheny, all the musicians (joined on this outing by harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret) play passionately throughout, and there's an astonishing coherence to the way they interact. Metheny, as ever, is the guiding light; Mays' piano and keyboards, on this recording, are more subtle and less to the fore. Rodby's bass is as thunderous and as expressive as ever, while Sanchez drums with a ferocity and power that is truly stunning. He's put power back into the group.
The music itself is dense, complex and so difficult to assimilate on first hearing that you really HAVE to play this CD at least ten times to appreciate it all. It's worth the effort, because what at first seems strange and unfamiliar suddenly grabs hold of you and won't let go. The grand themes which Metheny and Mays are so good at creating are fewer here, but more subtle. The rest is imaginative, powerful, beautifully played improv-based jazz. The music takes us through urban landscapes, on a subway journey through the heart of the city, emerging from darkness into the sunlight of pastoral, tender moments of calm and tranquility.
Of the four movements, none can really be singled out as superior to any other, but Part 3 is perhaps the most interesting and varied musically. But the CD is really more than a sum of its four parts, and you really, really must listen to it on your own, preferably with headphones, and not have it on as background music.
I'd be very surprised if this CD didn't earn the PMG yet another Grammy. I love this CD, and I feel genuinely excited when I press the "Play" button. I haven't felt that way about a CD in a long time. Go buy it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2007 8:06 AM GMT

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