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bergmcberg

bergmcberg

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Reviews written

since 29/11/2004

32

Cambridge Audio A5 16/02/2006

Mo' bounce to the ounce !

Cambridge Audio A5 This Amp was bought by me when I got a set of turntables on the cheap off a bloke at work. I needed something with a bit of punch to it and popped down to Richer Sounds who seem to be good lads when it comes to this sort of thing. The Amp has 60 WPC (no, that's not female police officers complaining about the noise - although last time I used it we came close) WPC stands for Watts Per Channel. A channel is easiest described as a line going out to a speaker. So if you have a left and right speaker, as most stereo set ups will, the output is then 120 Watts. To put this into further perspective, I once owned a stereo that was 20WPC. It was more than loud enough to fill a room about 15 x 15 feet. Boy racers and sound enthusiasts will attempt to buy the maximum wattage possible in order to brag as loudly as they can about it, as often as possible whilst driving up and down the high street giving it "rudeboy" style in their soooped up XR3i's (Spoiler, furry dice, Waynetta in the passenger seat, Frogmella in the back). I'll say this LOUD and CLEAR. Unless you are planning to hold an event worthy of Michael Eavis in your backyard, hosting the Chilli Peppers et al, there is no real need to go beyond about 40 WPC for a home amplifier. Unless you live in a castle there simply is no need. I shall probably be contradicted on this, however I shant listen. I can't hear much anyway after the party I had the other week. There are three main reasons why I bought an Amp that ...

Everything that starts with B ... 02/11/2005

Bullimia.

Everything that starts with B ... Bullimia is very complex, individual and difficult for the outsider to understand. Its complexity is in its nature, since it is a way of coping with psychological issues - inner focus, by projecting them to the external - people's exterior appearance. Similar in this way to Anorexia Nervosa, but different in many others, it is characterised not by starvation of the self as with anorexia, but by bingeing and purging the self. Other manifestations of the disease (for that is what it is, although no virus or germ exists) include purging with laxatives, or compulsive exercising to lose weight after every meal. A lot of you will know about it. Some will have experienced it first- or second hand, as I have. I have never had bulimia. The only time I make myself sick is on the occaisional drinking bender. I count myself very lucky in this. The thing most people will know about these eating disorders is that they are on the face of things concerned with the appearance of the sufferer. Furthermore that they are somehow about "control". It was not until living with someone who has had bulimia for three years that I have come closer to understanding the truly frightening effects of this condition. What is control? We can all say what control is, we experience control every time we ride a bike, drive a car or use a computer. The control the sufferer of bulimia wishes to achieve is different. It is born of frustration. People say this is why it affects so many teenage ...

Journeys By DJ Vol.8 - Coldcut 25/07/2005

70 Minutes of madness...

Journeys By DJ Vol.8 - Coldcut "Coldcut" - Matt Black and Johnathon Moore, two music technicians/producers/DJ's. I first encountered them on their weekly (sadly no longer running) radio show. This show was one of the most groundbreaking attempts to do something new on the radio ever. The premise was this: Coldcut were given 2 hours to play with every Saturday from 1-3AM. Their brief was simple : Play whatever you want. A lot of people have been speaking about the late, great John Peel recently. A sad loss for the music world and no mistake - he is almost without comparison in modern musical spheres, a man with truly eclectic musical tastes, boundless enthusiasm for every genre, and a complete lack of musical snobbery. Why am I banging on about Mr Peel? Because his sucessors in modern times can only be listed under 2 possibilities: The great Giles Peterson, and Coldcut. Imagine if Peel had mixed techno with African tribal drumming, then those drums with those of Dave Brubeck or Buddy Rich…imagine then the next tune being Steve Reich, or Roni Size, and the next Dave Clarke and then some Brazillian Bossa Nova. Like Peel's selections, these Coldcut "Solid Steel" radio shows went all over the place. The difference was the Coldcut boys were using four turntables, samplers, computers and other tools to weave all of these very different musical strands together. I have even heard them take the bass from one tune and combine it with the vocals from another, then take the drums from a third and a melody from ...

My Bloody Valentine 16/07/2005

By Fuddy Malentine

My Bloody Valentine Formed in 1984, Irish/british quartet were in the Indy - kid days of my youth, revered by spotters and the music press. Even now I reckon you'd have to be fairly geeky to have heard of them, although one of their tunes is featured in the Sophia Coppola film "Lost in translation" (starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen) - So you might recognise that. As far as I know they only did one album together and a bunch of singles, including the mighty "You made me realise". How can I describe their music? Ethereal washes of melody over subdued industrial rhythms…sums it up as well as I can I think, think of Brian Eno's "Music for Airports" put through Spinal Tap's PA system ("It goes up to 11, most go up to ten, right, but its one louder") and strained through Jimi Hendrix's brain circa 1969. Then add Steve Reich on percussion, and as a garnish some blissed up vocals nestling somewhere around the mix's hips, low and sleazy, nice and easy. Distorted, analogue effects and a dreamy, stylized sound are the things you'll notice first off, but its only with a few more listens that you start to get a clearer picture of what the sound is truly about. Its lovely! MBV make me think of waking up after a coma, of being hungover, of being born, of dreaming, of being high or drunk, or just feeling like you feel when you cant sleep at 3 in the morming and you think "to hell with it" and just get up and wander around the house feeling bleary and like you're an alien. The band were ...

Pride of Spitalfields, London 22/05/2005

'Avin a few sherberts wiv Ronnie & Reggie?!

Pride of Spitalfields, London The Pride of Spitalfields is situated just off Brick Lane, in Lahndahntaahn (if you don't understand this try saying it in a cockney accent). Access is either from whitechapel tube, or Liverpool street - in either case about 10 mins walk away. Plentey of Buses serve this area too. This is proper Jack the ripper country, and its worth making the walk from Liverpool Street to get to the pub, out of Bishopsgate, turn left, and then take a right at "Dirty Dicks" (another pub, in case you are wondering). This will put you on one of the best named streets around: "Catherine wheel alley". Its worth coming this way because this little street is one of the few surviving of its type. Narrow enough to lean out of a window of a building on one side of the street and touch the hand of someone on the other side, it also has original gas light fittings, and cobbles. Old streets are ten a penny in central London of course, but this one has a palpable sense of history, and when you glance at the alleys off the main road you can imagine the Ripper in a top hat and cloak in the smog doing his dirty work. The Spitalfields mentioned in the pubs name is a market that still works today. After a while you'll come across Brick lane itself, and be accosted by men in sharp suits trying to get you to eat curry. Its a good street, although older people may find it a little too hectic, younger people will love the vibrancy of the place. There are pubs, bars, restaurants and shops galore, ...

Timeless - Goldie 21/05/2005

Goldie lookin' teeth?

Timeless - Goldie Inner City life/Jah/Pressure - Saint Angel - State Of Mind - This Is A Bad - Sea Of Tears - Jah The Seventh Seal - Sense Of Rage - (Sensual V. I. P. Mix) - Still Life - Angel - Adrift - Kemistry - You And Me Here's a bit of Biography first Originally a Graffiti writer from Walsall - of all places, Goldie started off life in a children's home and during his teenage years diverted some of his energy into Graffiti art, becoming one of the UK's leading artists. He says about this period: "Doing graffiti art made me learn how to make something out of nothing, and it got me involved in the music scene" . Examples of his work in this area can be seen on the album's sleeve. If you think Graffiti is vandalism rather than art you may find you opinion challenged by the excelle Later he lived in the South Bronx, starring in the movie "Bombing" with one of Hip-Hop's pioneers, the now legendary Mr Africa Bambaata - the Brooklyn Zoo collective's top man. (Originally a street gang, the Brooklyn Zoo were taken away from gun culture towards music and art by their leader - they organised block parties, and real life battles between neighbourhoods were transformed into rap or breakdancing "showdown" style battles, using words or dance moves instead of guns, to serve the opposition, instead of shoot them. It's a shame that later gangs unlearned this valuable lesson, and later rap music lost the positivity of the early years.) The next few years divided between Miami, where ...

Herbal, London 08/04/2005

Berg goes 'erb

Herbal, London Herbal is a fairly nondescript looking building situated on the Kingsland road, fairly close to Shoreditch town hall. The crowd, consequently are the trendies, the London art students that are currently walking around sporting most hilarious 'ironic' haircuts. The beautiful people, as I believe they are sometimes known. I don't like their attitude much, but then I am a crusty old git, and bitter about not being one of them, probably. Kingsland road (AKA Bishopsgate, Tottenham high rd, High road Edmonton) - a massive and ancient road - its name changes as it sweeps almost directly north through London’s north eastern side. Old Street, Liverpool street, and Shoreditch tube stations are all pretty close, but to get back you'll probably end up using night buses - as Herbal never shuts before about 5 AM. Night buses that serve the area are the 149, 55, and 243 and from Liverpool Street you have the 8, 11, 26, 25, 242, 35, 76.... There are probably others but those are all I can think of right now. Well connected nonetheless and of course if you really like punishment you can always wander down to one of the shady drinking dens in the area that never close, and then just take the tube home (or an ambulance) later on. It’s a bit tough writing about clubs on Ciao - for the simple reason that clubs vary massively depending on what night you show up. I'll stick to dealing with the one type of night I’ve been to, which is the Drum and Bass night downstairs, with a Hip ...

The Astoria, London 29/03/2005

Of the Stars

The Astoria, London The Astoria has been a feature of my life for donkeys years now. Yes - I am an old git, but first went there when I was about 15 (Dont tell my mum!) It was where i went when I used to watch rock bands. I saw Soundgarden play there, Radiohead, Foo Fighters,Therapy, The Wonderstuff, Leatherface, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana and plenty of others too. Such funky, drunken times were had that I cant remember a hell of a lot about where i was or what i was doing. The memory that sticks out the best is probably from seeing U.S. punks Green Day one freezing January. They played for ages and when everyone was nice and sweaty dropped a load of chicken feathers on the crowd. I don't know why. Later on when I had decided that "real" music was simply not for me anymore i've been there raving several times, seeing DJ's like Andy C, Shy FX, Kenny Ken, Doc Scott and Goldie and hundreds of others playing. The difference in atmosphere is quite remarkable - even the venue itself seems to take on different dimensions. One thing about the Astoria though is that its a pretty major venue, and attracts some major names - there are various events going on all the time from Marylin Manson Gigs to religious get togethers. Its big inside, think about a large London Theatre or Cinema and you are in the rght ballpark. It holds about 3,000 I believe although it might be a few hundred either side of that. You enter through the big double doors at the front. Admission depends on what you are seeing but ...

Stringfellows, London 29/03/2005

Cheesestringfellows

Stringfellows, London You may have seen this fella called Peter Stringfellow on the news from time to time. A shrinking violet of the like the world has not seen since Brigitte Bardot, he is difficult to catch. He runs a nightclub, you know! Its in "swinging" london's west end, and it SUCKS ! Oh - whoops - did I spoil the surprise ?! Some history first. Your honour, ladies and gentlemen of the jury...I was only there becuase my girl at the time had some friends from the countryside who thought it would be a great birthday wheeze to hire a limosine and boot it up to London for a night at a "Top" nightspot. When asked to attend, I said no. I swear! Being an international jewel theif is pretty well paid - but the overheads are sky high and therefore I am not a rich person, and what money I have... i like to spend on things that make me happy. i knew it wouldn't be my scene and thought i wouldn't waste my time or my cash! But she begged, she pleaded, she used manipulataive torture techniques on me that would've made Arnold Schwartzenneger scream like a 5 year old. More importantlly, she said she'd pay for me to get in!!! In the end i made it so that I would not have to eat there but would turn up for a few drinks later on. Lucky I did as the food seemed very overpriced (although I cant remember figures) and it didn't look especially good. But i jump ahead of myself. Upon arrival at Stringfellows I was looked up and down by the bouncers - sorry, "doormen". I dont think they liked the ...

Is it tougher being a woman? 18/03/2005

XYOYOYOY.....

Is it tougher being a woman? I read ilusvm’s brilliant review on the subject and felt moved to write my own response. Men have it tougher than women. Its my contention that women do have it tough in some ways – BUT THEY MOSTLY BRING IT ON THEMSELVES! Lets take dating for a handy example! She prepares for a night out thus: The shower, with 76 different bottles and potions, Elderberry and wildflower shampoo, mongolian-mud face-pack, himalayan yak-spit toejam remover, Cherokee Indian eyelash curling wax – with curlicide “R” for added bounce etc etc. The hair, the clothes, the accessories, the make up, the “does my bum look big in this?” debate, a change of everything at the last moment, then changing back into the first outfit as a last resort, close to tears, and the eventual emergence of the woman as a wonderful flower, full of Archers or some such & ready to party. Women are under a lot of pressure here – but it is a pressure they consent to and perpetuate. (Newsflash girls! -If he asked you out, he already likes you a lot - the basic ingredients (ie. your personality and unadorned appearance) are just fine, and you can turn up wearing a potato sack for all he is likely to care!) He prepares by wandering into the bathroom and showering for 5 mins. Grabbing the least dirty thing to wear thats handy and phoning a taxi. All this preparation on the woman’s behalf is very strange – since in order to impress a man on a date, a woman has to be: 1. There. 2. Prepared to let him have sex ...

No Come Down (B Sides & Outtakes) - Verve (The) 05/03/2005

Wasted youth....

No Come Down (B Sides & Outtakes) - Verve (The) 1. No Come Down 2. Blue (USA Mix) 3. make it 'til Monday (accoustic) 4. Butterfly (accoustic) 5. Where the Geese Go 6. Six O'Clock 7. One Way to Go 8. Gravity Grave (Live at Glastonbury) 9. Twilight Verve were one of my favourite bands when I was a kid. I used to like listening to their stuff instead of doing homework, I had them on my walkman for a whole summer, and most of the next winter, putting the headphone cable up through the sleeve of my blazer and trying to phase out as much as I could of Mr Khans ruminations on how probability theory would impact on the results of the 3.30 at Kempton. A lot of people have heard of them nowadays, (think “Bitter Sweet Symphony” but when I first got into them it was one of those magical things where you have a secret band as a kid. I have a lot of happy memories of listening to this album and their other earlier efforts. Could never understand it why they weren’t more popular. Then, shortly after the U.S. jazz label Verve sued the band as their names were conflicting, They changed to “The” Verve, Noel Gallagher and Oasis suddenly got massive, announced that “The” Verve were one of their favourite bands and took them on tour. In my opinion their later albums, released after this point were not as good. It may be just that they weren’t “my” band anymore, but, I suppose more than this it was the way they went from the psycadelic, effects heavy space rock to a more stripped down, anthemic sound. This record is a ...

Everything that starts with W ... 04/03/2005

Greetings from a right Berg

Everything that starts with W ... I've never done one of these b4 so i thought i'd give it a go ! “WHATS” (1.) What is the first interesting thing that you see when you look around the room? The Minidisc Player I bring to work with me everyday. Inside is a mixture of Drum and Bass that I made. I make a new one every day that I have time and listen to them on my way here. That way its more fun than just hearing the same tunes in the same order everyday. (2.) What can you hear at the moment? Air conditioning, colleagues struggling to find something interesting to talk about at 5 AM – I work nights so its always a trick to stay awake ! Tonight we have covered black holes, Cartesian Meditations, and Quantum Physics!!!! Oh dear, that’s probably why we’re all falling asleep! (3.) What is on your computer desk? A Plastic Hammer, mug of tea (the elixir of life) My Diary, 10 Bus maps, A tube map, a map of London’s trains, various posters for the underground, running updates for the tubes and weather conditions today. (Are you beginning to get an idea who my employer is yet???) Cigarettes, my wallet, a hat, a small plastic doll of Mr Burns from the Simpsons, some of my lunch that I haven’t got round to yet. (4.) What was the last question someone asked you? “Why have you got a plastic hammer?” (5.) What was the last question you asked someone? ”What the hell is wrong with the Northern line engineers?” (6.) What was the last dream you had? I had a dream the other day ...

General: Australia 04/03/2005

Rubbish Australia!

General: Australia ****I have recently revised this and must admit that i was quite nervous about posting such a negative review - especially as it goes against the grain of most opinions about Oz. I must say to all those who rated my review you have my most sincere thanks! I am pleasantly surprised by your reactions which were both considered and mature, even if you didn't share my views. Thanks again! Furthermore, I have this to add: One of my other least favorite things about the place that i should have mentioned so that my review didnt sound too anti-Australian was the amount of British tourists there. Some of these were friendly, polite, and lots of fun. I maitain a solid friendship with some of them and would gladly have a few drinks with others I met there. But the fact is that due to the sheer weight of numbers of British tourists 'down under', there are always a good few idiots around, wherever you go. Not only is this true of the big towns but also of smaller places such as the Whitsundays. Perhaps its because I am just not a lagerboy that i didn't appreciate them being around all the time. If I did want to see drunk teenagers from Croydon being sick on the street, i wouldn't spend £700 on a plane ticket to do so. If I wanted a guarantee of sunshine for the..erm...view, then I could buy a ticket to Ibiza for a fraction of the price. I dunno. I hate to be so negative, clearly a lot of this is due to me having a bad time there, but its honestly my opinion and its about time ...

Sony MDRED31 27/02/2005

Aural pleasure

Sony MDRED31 (*******The headphones have recently developed a fault, after just 6 months, the cloth cover for the wire has come loose and this leaves the wire exposed, it hasnt affected the sound quality at this point but it may do soon. I have no idea if this is due to a one off fault or something i have done, but i have no recollection of misusing the 'phones at any point - dropping them should not have caused the problem! be warned - if you are going to buy these then keep the receipt!*****) Price £15 -£18 I was bought these headphones as a gift for my birthday last year. Since then I have used them without any problems for about 4 months or so. They seem to be very durable as I have dropped them and kicked them accidentally across the floor couple of times with no adverse effect. The features I liked at first glance were: * The carry case (not that I use these much, but it is of the variety where you stick your headphones in the middle and then wind them up so they are snug in the box – no more tangles!) * The colour. Headphones have been black for too long! I think its great that I now look like I am wearing Pat Butcher earrings from a distance. Well ok, maybe not, but at least I can find them on top of my speakers when in a hurry. * Gold plug. I always like to see gold plugs on stereo equipment, not ‘cause I’m all bling bling but rather because the connections you have govern the quality of sound you will hear. Listening to a good sound source through a bad ...

What I'd put in room 101 25/02/2005

BAN IT NOW!

What I'd put in room 101 1. Showers. Now its not showers that I hate, I mean the idea of a shower is an excellent one, it’s like having a small (warm) waterfall in your house! Now who would argue with that?! Not me for sure - the actual thing I want to send into the depths of hell is the 'control' for the shower. “CONTROL”? HAH! THAT’S A BLOODY LAUGH! Whosoever has designed these gadgets of misery has made them in such a way that turning the control to the left all the way produces water so cold it must be piped in from Pluto. Staggering that liquid can be so cold without freezing. Turning the dial to the right all the way gives a stream of some kind of clear volcanic lava. I can see what the reader may be thinking at this point - "Berg, you fool, just turn to a point in the middle where the water will be at the perfect temperature for you to wash your pits in comfort - Easy!" Not so! The makers of showers have anticipated this & given you 179.99999 degrees rotation of scalding lava and a further 179.99999 degrees of rotation for the icy water from the edge of the solar system. This (unless my maths is as good as my shower) leaves an area of approx. 0.00001 degree that is even close to being a midway point between the two. This leaves you frantically hopping around, covered with soap in a small cubicle that is slippery enough at the best of times anyway, and turning a dial that seems DESIGNED PURELY TO TORMENT THE HUMAN SOUL. Ah, I feel better already. I can see that giving ...
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