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on 9 June 2009
Like their contemporaries Thievery Corporation, Tosca (i.e. Richard Dorfmeister & Rupert Huber) seem determined to move into a more laid-back, less challenging mode than the earlier works on which their reputation is based. Has the market changed or have they just got older? Certainly there's nothing on "No Hassle" that has the exuberant edge of Tosca's first three albums or Kruder & Dorfmeister's groundbreaking work in the late 1990s.

Bad news then? Possibly... if you're looking for more of Richard Dorfmeister's upbeat electronica/dance gems there's nothing here that fits bill and you will indeed be disappointed... but, then again, if you're looking for some superbly produced, at times hauntingly beautiful mood music then "No Hassle" will deliver exactly what you want. And, you get a lot of it: with the studio album being the more radio-friendly & up-beat of the two CDs and the live album, with its much slower ambient feel, being the more interesting and arguably more impressive outing.

The considered, concert hall style applause at the end of the live set shows just how far from the sweaty Ibiza clubs Tosca are these days and, because of this, it's pretty unfair to compare apples & pears. This is music for an older generation with Richard Dorfmeister using his consummate skills in weaving intricate sound patterns to produce lush almost cerebral musical landscapes rather than insidious dance-floor beats. It takes several listens to get into and because much of it follows the same ultra laid-back style it can drag-on a bit in parts but, even so, "No Hassle" is up there with the very best of this type of music.

Star rating? Well it all depends on where you're coming from. If you're into high quality "chill out" music then the studio CD is a four star plus outing. If you're into more thoughtful ambient music then the live CD deserves the same. But, if you're into Tosca & Richard Dorfmeister's earlier stuff you may be be struggling to give it three.
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on 12 May 2009
Many plus points about this album...not least of all the packaging. Tosca have always relesaed some pretty unique / distinctive covers and the new album does not disappoint either.

This album sounds like a more accessible Boards of Canada in all fairness. It's a mainly stripped down, minimal vocals affair yet it works remarkably well. It's a great sound track for those insmoniac early mornings, it's a great chill zone sound...it's a great wind down record...The sound is remarkably polished and once again Dorfmeister's legacy continues to shine through.

I would also argue this is a far more mature sounding album than its predecessors...or maybe that is just a case of me becoming old???
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on 6 May 2009
Tosca's fifth studio album is their most avant garde yet. A far cry from the sublime dance/lounge electronica of their masterpiece, Suzuki, this is a more contemplative, ambient sound than their previous works. Most of the tracks have beats behind them, but the beats are simplistic and are no longer the focus - which for me is a disappointment, as Tosca are at their best when they're melding shuffling beats with staccato vocal snatches and dubby synth hooks.
The guest vocalists of the last couple of albums are gone too. In fact, vocals here are pretty much shunned, as are samples. Instead we get subtle pianos, plenty of guitars, the trademark Tosca bass, and even some strings. It's all a little civilised and, at times, a bit sterile.
That's not to say this album doesn't have appeal. It's a good think-piece, if that doesn't sound too pretentious - good background music for reading, say, or for drifting off into deep thought. But it's not really suited to social gatherings, and it's probably not going to win them any new fans. Still, as they say on the DVD interview, that's not what they're about. Maybe it's to their credit that they're ploughing new fields instead of just revisiting old haunts. I just wish they'd give us one more Suzuki before they retire their dancin' trousers altogether.
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on 4 June 2009
Okay, it's not another Suzuki, but it is a massive improvement on the awful J.A.C. They've gone for a more ambient sound which I think works a whole lot better than the disposable pop vein they were heading in before. The second disc, containing live versions of the album tracks spends as much if not more time in my stereo than the album itself. Give this one a chance- it's a grower. Supreme packaging too.
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on 3 February 2013
Arrived on time and in great condition. The music is (as one would expect) amazing. It's just a shame there not from the UK and therefore played here more often!
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on 12 April 2015
Great thanks A+
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