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since 27/07/2000

44

Kenwood DPF-J3030 20/12/2000

never changing discs again

Kenwood DPF-J3030 Right, how many of you have been in the situation where for one reason or another you cannot quite reach the CD player to change over the disc. I used to have this problem frequently and decided recently that I wouldn't put up with it any longer. So the first thing I did was befriended someone who worked at Richer Sounds and asked them to recommend a product. They were quick to advise this product and suggested that it would be the best machine for the money. I paid £220 for the unit and a minimal fee for postage. But when the little baby arrived I was over the moon. The reason for my joy...this CD player can hold up to 200 discs. Oh yes!! So I effectively own a CD jukebox, I can classify the types of music that are played or completely randomise the music I here. I could spend a month listening to music and never hear the same song twice. With a remote control that could launch rockets to the moon, this CD player is controllable from across the room, meaning you will never need to leave your seat on a vital sitting down evening. Ideal for the post club chillout or dinner parties that will last and last, forget about changing the sounds and entertain your guests. As with many stereo components the buyer has to be wary of the number of moving parts internally, and with a unit that has warehouse proportions I was concerned that I was taking on board a recipe for disaster but the engineering is excellent. The central component is a CD carousel that holds your discs in ...

Medal of Honor (PlayStation) 19/12/2000

Achtung, achtung

Medal of Honor (PlayStation) Sweinhunt, achtung. Like historical games? Like the Second World War, then yooooou'll love Medal of Honour. Designed primarily as a one player game I bought this as a two player game and ventured with a house mate into the world of Nazi occupied deathmatching. Plenty of fun was had by all, tossing grenades and firing Lugers at one another, but only when the one player game was started did the game really come alive. Assuming the solitary gun toting screen shots that made Duke and Doom so playable this is a variation of that theme. However, you start out with a set of high bore weapons and collect life and ammunition power ups as you roam German forests looking for underground bunkers, or gunning down Nazi troops in the demolished townscapes. Moments of this game appear sickeningly accurate, this definitely aint a game to show the grandparents at Christmas, "Look Gramps, see the blood fly." And at the times the thud of bullets hitting you from enemy guns is a tad too realistic. But if you are in the mood for a session of Turkey shooting some sadistic s***s, who better than the Nazis. The Twentieth centuries equivalent to the Black Death. Grim at times, and very intense. An intriguing game to play with segueway cuttings of original wartime film footage, all in all a game for the slightly unhinged that are far too young to remember the hideous realities of the Second World War. Still it is a great uncomplicated shoot em up.

Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (PlayStation) 19/12/2000

spinning ja kick

Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins (PlayStation) Street Fighter 2 this aint, if you want a gung ho, set in front of an aeroplane, future Hollywood spin off, type of a game go elsewhere. This is one of the Playstation most eagerly awaited sequels, but only to those in the know. Shrouded in mystery and very little advertising the original Tenchu insidiously crept into the room and stealthily jumped into the console and fought against me in a battle for supremacy, I lost. The game was hypnotic, fuelled by ninja lore and unerring truth the characters underwent progressive missions to stealth and conquer a variety of oppponents. The characters haven't changed, and luckily neither has the superb gameplay in the second installment. And as any good sequel should, this game takes the shortcomings of the forebear and slices its jugular with a freshly whetstoned katana sword. There are plenty of different levels to entertain the most uninterested of prospective ninja and the story is one of revenge and the banishing of evil powers. Who happen to be an army of ninjas, and very well trained they are too. This will not be the type of game you put down after a few hours, the increasingly complex battles and missions will suck you in and hold in a constricting grip until your chi is fully expired. This a classical story of good and evil and it is down to the lone ninja to maintain the future of democratic civilisations. If a little solitary gaming with an atmospheric setting, excellent plot and clever characterisations is your bag ...

Vorsprung Dyk Technik (Paul Van Dyke Remixes 92-98/Mixed by Paul van Dyk) - Paul van Dyk 26/09/2000

German for bloody marvellous

Vorsprung Dyk Technik (Paul Van Dyke Remixes 92-98/Mixed by Paul van Dyk) - Paul van Dyk Well, well, well. What can you say about this German DJ. Revered for his amazingly uplifting and hypnotic DJ sets, he has been a regular on the UK club circuit for about 5 years but his trademark hard melodic trance has made him one of the world's big 5 DJ's over the last year or so. A laid back fellow, with a good hear for tunes and some great musical ability he stepped out from the DJ booth and into the studio. The music that can be found on this 3 CD set is a variety of the music that Paul play's and the music that he has remixed, but all have a credit to his production skills. Whether as remixer, producer or arranger. The first CD is the most up to date, you see the 3 CD's cover over 6 years of Paul's prolific output. (Incidentally, he spent 18 months working on a remix of Age of Love's Age of Love, committed or what?) It is on this first disc that his most commercially recognisable music is found. Collaborations with American trance guru BT, and the amazing For An Angel, which is still a massive crowd pleaser 3 years after its original release. Other tracks include the anthemic 1998, by Binary Finary, and the BT work out with Tori Amos that is known as Blue Skies (majestic). Jersey's Sunday Club even make an appearance on this the continuous mix CD, one of their earlier workouts features on the Stress Records compilation from 1996 and if you like this CD then you may do well to track that compilation down as well. The 2nd and 3rd CDs are a retrospective of Paul's ...

Hollywood Dream - Thunderclap Newman 26/09/2000

better dead than red

Hollywood Dream - Thunderclap Newman With the pictures of Elvis Presley on the cover and the multiple references in the band's name and the album title one could be forgiven for thinking that someone in the Death in Vegas camp has an affection for The King. That man is Richard Fearless, who known as a DJ primarily was involved in the Heavenly Social Club in Clerkenwell Road and has been a mover and shaker in the underground dance scene for a number of years. His cohort at the time of this album was Steve Hellier, who had worked in just about every field of music production from the BBC to Country and Western. This wealth of experience put the duo in a good place when it came to recording an album. With Richard's understanding of the UK dance scene and Steve's knowledge of production and engineering skills the music they created was an eclectic and full bodied mixture of deep soulful and sombre grooves with style and substance. With a root in dub, as well as breakbeat dance much of the album has a loose reggae feel that must have been a nightmare to capture in the studio, as so much of the album is played live. Combining the technology of yesteryear with modern techniques and equipment has given the duo a unique sound, which has yet to be matched by any other UK dance act, (other than perhaps Broadcast, but they probably do not like to be known as dance). The songs themselves range from the dirty Rekkit and Rocco (the single which first caught my attention), to the sublime Glimmer. Flavours of Ska and 2 Tone ...

Surrender - Chemical Brothers (The) 04/09/2000

the sounds of now

Surrender - Chemical Brothers (The) I loved Hey Girl Hey Boy, I thought it was a blinding single, and it most definitely got the party rocking. But I feared that the album itself would be a let down. You know the old story, huge single, shite album. But when Out of Control was released I knew that they had done it again. Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) on the same song, out and out genius. And as for the music, pounding beats and winding bass, the usual screeching sound effects. All in all a great 'Brothers track, but by no means the outstanding track on the album. That credit goes to Sunshine Underground, which they have produced with James Asher, who brings into the mix his experience of Eastern influence and Asian sounds. There is another blinder in Got Glint? which reminds me of an old Turkish Delight advert from the 1980's. Getting close to 30 you see. Every bit of this album deserves praise and if you come round my house you will get to hear the album and hear my praise. Another blinder from the top boys of dance, and by the way they aren't really brothers.

Exit Planet Dust - Chemical Brothers (The) 04/09/2000

enter planet chemical

Exit Planet Dust - Chemical Brothers (The) Well, what can you say about the debut album from the Chemical Brothers. Known at the time as a big beat outfit, Tom and Ed were desperate to prove that their music was more than old school breaks played at the wrong tempo with a bit of distortion on top. And didn't they prove it. Yes, they did. Throwing into their melting pot influences from Renegade Soundwave, Depth Charge, Boogie Down Productions, Madchester, and just about everything else that was cool over the last 20 years. They had the skills to use decks with samplers and computers to amazing effect. In their studio full of stomp boxes and cables the duo created an album that captured the vibe of the anti-dance scene that was growing in size alongside the cliquey chic of the superclub. This album was written for the dingy club, the muddy festival field, the local boozer, the basketball court and skate parks. But it still found it's way into the super clubs and made the band a triumph in club world for their excellent collaborations (Tim Burgess, and Beth Orton both appear on this album), blistering drum sounds, huge bass and guitars sounds. But it was the whole package that made this album so compelling. There are mellow moments, hectic moments, down right dirty moments but it all rolls along perfectly. There aren't any of the commercial tracks that made them the band they are now, but Life is Sweet was a great single and brought them mainstream attention, and it sounds as fresh today as it did 5 years ...

Dig Your Own Hole - Chemical Brothers (The) 04/09/2000

Dig this, hole monsters

Dig Your Own Hole - Chemical Brothers (The) When this album was released I said to a friend that it was the sound of Big Beat Grown Up. I wasn't lying. This album had the feel of Exit Planet Dust but was a more adult sounding, mature album. Obviously the two principle musicians had developed a sound and had themselves grown up with that, but this new material was more than a few years of gigging and producing. It sounded like dance music was mutating at a rapid rate, developing into an altogether new sound. That may sound pretentious, but compare the two albums back to back and the difference is clear. The money had obviously started to pile in and so did the bigger collaborations, and more exclusive samples. Kicking off with the Schooly D sampling Block Rockin' Beats which made them a hit on dancefloors from the local Shitzy meat-markets to the techno festivals on Mount Fuji. The Chemical Brothers had gone global, and they hadn't even started putting their best material together yet. Other high points include Electrobank, and the amazing Setting Sun. Which bizarrely included a little known guitarist with a tinny voice, who they managed to catapult into the big time. OK I am being silly now. But the album became bigger than the band had imagined and set the path for their remix album, and the third studio album, Surrender. As the album sold by the bucket load the production requests rolled in and the band put mixes down for St Etienne, Primal Scream, the Charlatans, the Manics. Hold on, a second, none of those ...

Play - Moby 04/09/2000

play, work and rest

Play - Moby Having been introduced to the music of Moby in his ultra vivid scene days I was surprised to hear the twin peaks sampling Go in the early nineties. The surprise continued into the mid 90's with the Ambient and Everything is Wrong albums which contained amazing music with strong structures and sublime melodies. On the first listen Play blew me away, although I was familiar with the haunting strings and clever use of vocal samples this modern collection of organic music and early slave song vocals was captivating and rarely left the CD player. A talented composer, Moby creates an intelligent blend of music that spans 80 years of influence covers every variety except the 4/4 techno beat that made Moby's name in dance circles. Thank goodness is all I can say. This evolution has resulted in a warm album that can soothe and make you groove. His recent high profile at festivals and award ceremonies is more than justified by a musician who has stuck to his religious and moral principles and still developed a music that can be listened to by all. I might buy a copy for my mum.

Man Who - Travis 04/09/2000

The man who does like it a lot

Man Who - Travis There can be no side-stepping, The Man Who is a great album and the band Travis are skilful musicians, and Fran has possibly the best voice in British music at present. But they are another band who allow their influences to shine through in their music. It is all well and good to sleight Oasis for their obvious Beatles credits but all bands across all genres are now faced with a dilemma of running out of new ideas and areas of music. Some have used traditional song-writing techniques and adapted their styles to include technology. While others use technology and adopt typical song writing techniques but we still hear the same old set of riffs churned out. Travis have moved away from the rest of the bunch with their ability to craft great songs but they ain't untouchable, and they still have peers. However, this album reflects a great band having a great time in th estudio and recording a great album in the process. You will already own a copy so I won't bother suggeting you buy this one.

MACHINA/The Machines of God - Smashing Pumpkins 04/09/2000

they rock hard

MACHINA/The Machines of God - Smashing Pumpkins All of the Smashing Pumpkins albums have a definition, the dreamy Siamese Dream album, the arty Adore, the bloody marvellous Machina. I do not own the album but have borrowed it from a housemate and it absolutely kicks. I used to be a fan but lost touch with their music when they released mellon...But this, their final album, as the band are set to split is an absolute gem. The drums are handled perfectly and the bass and guitars are so well balanced it's a surprise that they don't give you protective clothing in order to listen to this piece of musical genius. It is a bitter listening experience considering that the band are on the verge of a permanent split. Bye smashing P's, one day may you reunite.

Better Living Through Chemistry - Fatboy Slim 04/09/2000

better by a long way baby

Better Living Through Chemistry - Fatboy Slim In terms of defining a time, this is a classic which sits alongside Screamadelica and Stone Roses debut. The samples were blatant the beats bigger than most and the tunes infectious and memorable. While it never received the glowing commercial praise of its follow up this was a more beat driven and sound system friendly affair. The acid lines of Everybody Needs a 303, alongside a tremendous build up were enough to convince even the biggest of wallflowers to get on the floor and dance. I was fortunate enough to see Fatboy Slim at the Big Beat Boutique in Brighton before this album was released and even then people knew that they were even for something special. I am glad that Norman Cook has gone on to great success, he deserves it, but people shouldn't overlook his earlier work. You may have come a long way baby but you started in a bloody good place anyway.

Fantasma - Cornelius 04/09/2000

I don't understand

Fantasma - Cornelius I bought the Cornelius album, Fantasma last year and I just cannot get my head around it. I normally have no trouble picking out tracks that I like from the most obscure of albums but this just seems to far gone. I am desperate to like the album as I have a lot of praise for the way he has sculptured the sonic textures but the whole sound is too cacophonous. Please somebody tell me what it is I need to do so I can listen and understand a great musical mind.

Member Advice on Tatoos 04/09/2000

the needle and the damage done

Member Advice on Tatoos I took 5 years to decide where I was going to have my first tattoo and what design I would like to have. I chose a custom design and was very pleased with the results. The difficulty I then faced was what do I get next. It was 6 years ago that I had my first tattoo and I am still working on the design for my second. But then I am very fussy and don't fancy pictures of eagles on my chest. Many artists are patient and thoughtful over their work, others are not so scrupulous so after deciding the position and design you really need to research the personnel who are going to scar you for life. Word of mouth is the best method of advertising here. Ask people with tattoos where they had them done and would they consider going back. Then check out the studios for yourself, try and chat to the artist show them any custom designs you have in mind. Really check the place out, look at the other punters and the types of designs they are having done. Be clever. Tattoos are designed in traditional terms to tell stories about the individual, so try telling your own story with the designs you choose, and choose a good storyteller to help recount your tale. By the way, of course it hurts.

DJ Shadow - DJ Shadow 04/09/2000

Too damn good

DJ Shadow - DJ Shadow This has to be one of the most original hip hop albums of all time. Ironic then that the entire album is built out of samples, the only live playing is the scratching performed by DJ Shadow himself. No guest MC's appear to disjoint the flow of the album. There is no cursing or reference to hoods and projects, this is just about pure soulful music. Some may find the influence to druggy whereas others know that it will make a perfect contribution to an evening in. Don't expect to see Snoop Dogg and Eminem appearing with DJ Shadow at the MOBO awards, this guy is elusive but when he needs to say something he locks himself in his studio and does what hip hop DJ's and programmers with heart do best. Says it with beats.
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