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blaupraust

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Reviews written

since 22/11/2002

16

And the Glass Handed Kites - Mew 27/01/2006

* Music for Cats *

And the Glass Handed Kites - Mew Mew - And the Glass Handed Kites. ------------- * Background info* --------------- Singer Jonas is quoted as saying, "Each song deals with different aspects of life and fear, Sometimes it hits me that everything we do is a distraction from the fact that we will end up suffering and dying eventually" Thinking back, I can't remember how I first discovered Mew. Most likely it was through my usual routine of trawling through the hundreds of album recommendations on Amazon. I'm not proud to say I download a lot of my music (I buy more now than I did before I used to download) but it's how I discover new bands and as I'm a quite critical listener, I always feel the need to give albums a 'trial run' whereby I listen to the album through headphones at a decent volume, at least 3 times before reaching a conclusion. Then if the response is positive, I'll go and buy the album. With Mew - And the Glass Handed Kites, one listen was all it took. When looking back at Mew's previous releases, I was quite shocked to find out that this is the 4th album they have released. Mainly as I'd never heard, nor heard OF them before. However it seems Mew have only very recently achieved the recognition they deserve. Hailing from Denmark Mew had a tough time breaking into the music industry, finally getting snapped up by Sony/BMG, but not before choosing to scrap plans to release their third album (other than a limited release in Sweden!?) which they planned to release on their own label. ...

Sony DVP-NS 30 20/01/2006

A DVD player available in BLACK!!? Shock horror!

Sony DVP-NS 30 Firstly, this review is for the black version of this player. Although the photograph shows a silver model. It is EXACTLY the same other than the colour so I feel no need to request a new category. ----- FIRST IMPRESSIONS. ----- The first thing that attracted me to this DVD player, was that unlike the competition today, it is available in BLACK! which for me is a huge blessing. I'm only 24, yet I remember the days when TV's, video players, even stereo's never strayed from the generic black design (Now I sound like a grandad!). How things have changed. I have memories of a day out to The Big W, where I was shocked beyond belief to see a silver television! It was unbelievable that these things were now available in metallics! (Now I sound like a great grandad!!) However...What has happened now is that black electronic items have been almost completely abandoned in favour of the more 'modern and sleek' silver and grey approach. I have to say, when electronic items first became available in these flashy new paint jobs, I was impressed, but because almost everything looks the same now, I was drawn to the Sony DVP-NS30 on Amazon. It just...stood out, amongst the abundance of silver. A coal mine amongst the thousands of magpies nests, shall we say. ----- MAKING THE DECISION. ----- I was a little bit reluctant to take the plunge and buy a new DVD player, after all I'd only had my current Philips model for a few months, however due to the fact I was using it as a cd ...

Panasonic SC-PM 28 17/01/2006

Fooled me..

Panasonic SC-PM 28 Christmas 2003, I had finally decided to renew my long serving Aiwa Mini system, working without fault for 6 years. On looking at the available mini systems within my price range (£200) I opted for the Panasonic, mainly due to its Mp3 playing function, but still requiring the audio cd player. I was happy with the system, for about 2 months, that's when I started noticing the flaws this system has hidden within.. The sound at a normal level is fine, however, if a louder level is required for a party etc. I was astonished at how low the noise level at top volume actually is. The equaliser is pointless as it cannot be used in conjunction with the S.sound equaliser which makes the system sound better than any of the equaliser settings will allow, so they are never used, and I don't see any reason why they would be needed. The track and album skip dials are fiddly and feel kind of loose which makes me wonder how long these will work for before becoming faulty or falling off. When the system volume is turned down, a faint buzz can be heard from the power input socket, which can only be remedied by holding the power plug hard into the socket. The display screen shows titles from Mp3 cd's however the number of characters that can be displayed is inadequate therefore the system misses off parts of longer track titles. The 5cd changing method is noisy and has a very clunky mechanical sound which really makes you wonder if the cd's are going to find their destination or ...

Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2 - Aphex Twin 17/01/2006

Darkness on a plastic disk

Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2 - Aphex Twin Richard D James (AKA Aphex Twin) is a very varied musician. When compared to his previous work, and in fact his newest work, this is entirely different. I have recently lost respect for the artist and don't listen to his music as much as I once did, but still appreciate this album for what it is. A soundtrack to a really bad day. Most closely related to 'Selected Ambient Works 1' (Which is more musical) this package consists of 2 cd's packed with dark groaning bass, children's voices, moody synth, and hardly any sign of a beat. However this is by no means a bad thing. The album consists of 24 Untitled tracks, with only a small thumbnail picture in the sleeve to represent each individual composition, pictures from which not very much can be gained and definitely no clues to what the tracks might be called should they have titles. This isn't an album you would put on after a night out, before a night out, at work or while relaxing... Rather this can accompany a late walk home or a train ride at night, serving to create a surreal and dark atmosphere that can be quite chilling at times. This is something I haven't really experienced in music before, though Richard Devine has a similar idea when it comes to compositions based on creating a feeling rather than making you want to dance. It would be the perfect accompaniment to a gothic horror film. Therefore it's my opinion that the quality of this album depends entirely upon when and where it is listened to, listen to ...

Everything that starts with F ... 16/01/2006

The M.I 5 Challenge!

Everything that starts with F ... I was challenged to do this list by mentalinfestation (hence M.I 5) I really hate lists, especially since they started appearing in abundance on Channel 4 (And Channel 5, but they don't count) and the government decided to spend a few million compiling a list of the top English icons (well spent Blair!) but It's been a horrible day outside, and starting to go dark to boot, so as I don't have much else to do…here goes…. -----5 Things I Can Do----- 1. Graphic Design. I studied design at college for 4 years, doing an ND and then a HND, unfortunately there is a huge shortage of jobs in this industry so it's become more of a hobby, and of course something friends and family will approach me to do for them (for free) It's got me in fairly big debt, but it's still something I'm quite proud to say I'm not too bad at. I've recently been designing animated banners for Roadrunner Records (also for free) but it's an interesting thing to tell people when they ask what I do, even if it's not my definitive career. It is a little bit annoying that i've not been able to break into the design market after doing my time at college but i've just accepted now that if I make it I make it, if I don't... at least it was fun trying! 2. Cook. Yes I'm a guy that can cook! (Is that normal?) I have no idea why I can cook, as I've never been taught how to make anything except apple crumble, but it's something I've started doing more and more recently and realised I actually really ...

Waterstones.com 07/12/2005

Liquid Pebbles.

Waterstones.com Waterstones. Most people will have heard the name, and if not bought a book from the store, have probably had one given as a present, or at leats been handed a gift voucher. It does seem to be the first choice in book shop, probably due to it's rather huge range of titles and the ability to order books not available in store. Which is pretty helpful! (Though this is more easily done online nowadays, it's still rather good for people who don't yet have Internet access) The online store is now run in conjunction with Amazon which means it's also a fair bit cheaper to buy your books online. Waterstones are the UK's number 1 bookstore, according to their website, and who am I to argue! They do seem to have a store located in every city in the UK (forgive me if I'm wrong) It is difficulat to go into town without coming across at least one branch. The window displays are rather nice, especially at Christmas time when they do seem to make use of their Gold logo together with Reds, to create a very traditional and warm Xmas image. The interior is inviting, and because a lot of Waterstones branches now have a Costa coffee store incorporated this means there is often a lovely warming and homely smell of fresh coffee in the air (Fine if you like coffee) For me it makes me feel a lot more comfortable browsing books when you don't have a suspicious member of staff peering over your shoulder, With Waterstones this is not usually the case, and you can quite happily spend a lot of ...

Nikon Coolpix 4200 29/10/2005

Click! What a Beautiful Picture!

Nikon Coolpix 4200 Until I bought this camera I had always avoided digital camera's... Not because I am scared of technological progression, but because I fear what is going to happen to film photography. I often wonder if in 40 years time, any record of what things were like in 2005 will be lost due to the fact that most photographs were taken digitally and have been lost through change of storage media, or damaged CD roms...I also feel that the quality of digital camera's can never match that of film photography. - Anyway. I am a Graphic designer and decided that a digital camera would be useful not only for test shots for use on posters before I take the final photographs, but also for use on my website (Although digital photo's don't print as nicely, being pixel based they do look better on screen due to there being no film grain for the monitor to deal with) After trawling round endless photography/electronics shops such as Jessops and Dixons, I spotted a small, it seems independent, photography store and decided to ask them for more advice since I felt they would be a little more helpful and trained in that area rather than being trained in a generic area (Like Dixons staff who had previously tried to tell me a 2 million mp camera would print fine up to A1 size, which is just not true) - After chatting to the helpful assistant for a few minutes he brought out the Nikon Coolpix 4200. I wasn't initially blown away by the camera's appearance I have to say, I had a few in mind that I ...

Windowlicker - Aphex Twin 26/10/2005

Apply Tongue To Window. Firmly.

Windowlicker - Aphex Twin This is in one word, weird. I didnt like the song windowlicker on first listen, its very much a grower. After buying this cd i became very attached to it and it never seems to get repetetive on many listens. windowlicker, and complex mathematical equation are for me the best tracks on here, not that there are many to choose from, windowlicker, has an amazing video, that you can view on the warp records website at www.warprecords.com The sleeve design is by chris cunningham, also responsible for the come to daddy sleeve, the video for which was also extremely popular and banned before the watershed on mtv, as was this one. One thing suprising to me was how accessible the title track actually is. I wasnt aware of this until it was overheard by a friend who has been eaten up by the r&b and pop scene, who described the song as really really nice and original. At the price, this is definitely worth buying! I highly recommend it. It will appeal to all aphex twin fans i would have thought as well as gaining a few new ones, and if you like this, the aphex twin come to daddy e.p is also amazing. UPDATE: I still like the title track, however i've realised now that Aphex Twin is nothing special, it seems there are a million better electronic artists out there and it seems that he's taken a leap to success much like the Arctic monkeys now have, due to exposure and hype. I heard this being played at a halloween party, by people who would NEVER listen to electronic ...

Nintendogs: Labrador and Friends (Nintendo DS) 19/10/2005

Wooof!!

Nintendogs: Labrador and Friends (Nintendo DS) Nintendogs! You've undoubtedly seen the adverts on TV, and probably seen the huge amount of promotion this game has received, mainly down to it's success overseas, but if you're reading this, you MUST be interested in knowing more! I have broken this review up into segments for ease of reading, if you have any problems or suggestions let me know and I will edit the review to make it more pleasing to read. Packaging/Artwork: There are 3 versions of Nintendogs to choose from, each showing an image of one of the 6 features breeds available in each. The familar spine design stating that this is indeed an official Nintendo DS game remains, framing a very cute photograph of an all too cute puppy, the title 'Nintendogs' is overlayed along with the icon stating that the title is suitable for the ages of 3+ and also a box containing the information on the breed pack chosen. The 3 available versions of this game are: - Nintendogs™ Dachshund & Friends Nintendogs™ Labrador & Friends Nintendogs™ Chihuahua & Friends. Inside the box you are greeted with: An instruction booklet (146 Pages, in 4 languages) - A promo booklet showing a few upcoming releases - A promo Leaflet for dog food..!? - Health and safety guide - Plus a Nintendo VIP 24:7 leaflet with a code to register on Nintendo's website to earn points to be used for wallpapers etc. The reverse of the case contains all the expected information such as the breeds included, barcode etc. Nothing really of ...

Classics - Aphex Twin 22/07/2004

Dance, I dare you to try..

Classics - Aphex Twin Classics. The title is maybe a little up it's own arse, as this is not an album of classics, however much the music may have influenced today's electronic artists. However on reviewing this album I do feel the need to take into account that at the time the majority of tracks here were made, Richard D James (Aphex Twin) was not very old for an electronic artist. This is by far the most accessable album of his, yet may not sound so unless you've heard Aphex Twin's other releases, seemingly disappeared into a wall of white noise and distorted drums and computer noise. This album however tends to stick to a beat. The tracks are hard acid techno rather than the experimental electronica of late. Therefore this album may appeal to people who would not necessarily consider themselves fans of this particular genre or in fact Aphex twin. The album contains 13 tracks (2 of which are variations of the same) and takes a journey from hard distorted beats and synths to.....hard distorted synths and beats, there isn't really a breather on the album so it is in fact quite difficult to listen to as a whole. There are definite stand out tracks such as Dodeccaheedron and Isopropanol but generally the album doesnt change all that much, and it does become a little bit headache inducing towards the end. It is an inspirational album, as it gives an insight into where Aphex Twin came from to his current standing as probably the most famed electronic artist, but i wouldn't necessarily ...

Samsung SGH S300 22/07/2004

Bigger is sometimes better..

Samsung SGH S300 I have been using Nokia mobile phones since my first phone a long time ago, and I have never had a problem, However, on noticing Nokia didn't seem to be changing the design of their phones very much I decided I wanted a change. This phone is not by any means cheap, It was aquired by me on contract, however can be bought unlocked from auction sites such as E-bay. On unpacking the phone I was overwhelmed by the mirrored screen, lovely high resolution colour display, and the nice metallic sheen the phone displays. However one thing that did make me think a little was the tab covering the charging socket, and the little flip open hands free socket. It made me wonder how long these would last before falling off or being ripped off while getting the phone out of a tight pocket. Maybe this is a handbag phone. The phone does look classy but there are a fair few flaws. *the buttons are very flat to the phone body making them very fiddly to push. *The plug that covers the charger socket is not attached meaning it is very easy for this to fall out. *The method of typing text messages can be very annoying, especially as there is no option to add words to the dictionary, (meaning manual typing of even frequently used words) and alsothe button to change case is right next to the power/cancel button meaning a slight misplacing of your finger will take you back to the menu, deleting the text you were writing. Also texts are deleted if the phone is closed (easy to do by ...

Tri Repetae - Autechre 21/07/2004

Autechre make my life worth living

Tri Repetae - Autechre Autechre, consist of just 2 artists, whom also work under the alternative alias Gescom on the skam record label, this release under the highly successful Warp label is in my opinion the best of Autechre's long playing releases. I own the whole undeleted Autechre discography and out of them all i find this release the most varied and satisfying, when compared to incunabula which is more synth based and less aggressive, this album may be more appealing to a broader base of music fans. This is by no means mainstream music but shows Autechre's full range of talent. The sleeve design created by by the highly successful Chris Cunningham, responsible for the aphex twin come to daddy video, along with Bjork's 'all is full of love' music video. This in an electronic classic, and though some tracks are quite noisy and glitchy, this isnt too harsh or headache inducing, its a very nice album, and there is no track on here that I would bypass. I have seen these live and never ever been disappointed by anything they have produced. *UPDATE The new album Draft 7:30 is a massive disappointment in comparison* However, this is a definite must have.

Fanta Lemon 21/07/2004

Lemon Curd, the Drink!

Fanta Lemon I'm sitting here with a 2 litre bottle of Fanta Lemon so this review comes fresh from the bottle! (as it were) I will write this review in sections, starting with... Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Lemon Juice (6%) Citric Acid, Stabilisers (E414) (E445) Preservative (E211) Antioxidant (E300) Flavourings, Colours (Quinoline Yellow) Packaging: Nice and fresh looking, yellows and the generic fanta logo. Taste: Pro's: *Not too fizzy, which can be a problem with many other carbonated drinks. *Has a strangely creamy lemon taste which reminds me of lemon curd or lemon cheesecake rather than the fruit, not a bad point but a notable one. *Leaves a fresh aftertaste and has the strange ability to still refresh if not ice cold which a lot of drinks such as coca cola fail to do. Cons: *Doesn't REALLY taste like fruit, more an artificial flavouring. *Tends to lose its fizz quickly. Cost: The price for a 2ltr bottle ranges between £1.20 and £1.50 but Fanta does tend to be included in a lot of buy one get one free deals. A 500ml bottle is around 79pence the same as most carbonated drinks. Overall I would recommend Fanta Lemon, it does taste much better than the latest Apple Fanta variation but for a more real taste stick to old fashioned lemonade.

Sony CD / MP3 player 13/04/2004

Circular Motion

Sony CD / MP3 player I bought this mp3/cd player on the strength of the looks and battery life, as well as the mp3 option, without doing my usual of resorting to online reviews, mainly because I found there was a great lack of these for this product... After looking at all the alternatives, I noticed this Sony model seemed to have great features, and looked fairly nice in comparison to the similarly priced alternatives (I paid £69 with free £20 sony speakers from Comet) In regards to the very similar Blue version of this Sony player, the only difference i have seen is that (unfortunately) this cd player doesn't include an in line remote control, although the socket is provided. Now, I think there may be a little confusion about the Sony Atrac format, which this player so blatently advertises and favours. Claiming to fit 30 albums on one cdr. To clear this up, the atrac system is a compression method very similar to mp3, however, to fit the stated 30 albums, the compression is such that the sound quality is noticably reduced. and also the software provided for conversion takes an age! up to 5 hours from compression to burning. I bought this player mainly for its ability to play mp3's, not using the conventional method of storing music to a small built in 'hard drive' this cd player plays mp3's direct from a cd, meaning you can fit around 10 albums on one cd at a great rate of 192 kbps, meaning virtually no sound quality loss, which is great! The sound quality on ths cd player is ...

Incunabula - Autechre 24/11/2002

Music I use to get creative juices flowing.

Incunabula - Autechre Warp cd17-Incunabula further artist information is available on the extensive label site www.warprecords.com as well as samples from this album so if you cant make a decision on purchase from this review, you can take time out to listen to a few tracks and at least get a taster of the sound. Autechre (aweteker) are- Sean Booth and Rob Brown, two Manchester lads who through a dislike of mainstream pop culture, decided rather than being forced into listening to music they didnt enjoy, they would create their own. This was done under the name Autechre, as well as Gescom. Gescom being the more hip hop beat based electro side to the pair of musicians. This album takes you on a journey from start to finish and in my opinion is only fully appreciated when listened to in its entirety. The sleeve art is gorgeous, making heavy use of metallic inks and designed by The Designers republic, also responsible for the Wipeout Playstation game covers and team logo design. Eleven tracks of pure synth based electronica. Track one: Kalpol intro- 3:18 Used as a track in the film 'Pi' by Darren Aronofsky, this is the perfect opening tune, begins with droning synth, introducing electronic background melodies before progressing into a minimal snare based 'beat' This track doesnt really progress into a melody as such but rather serves as a great introduction to what is about to come. Track two: Bike- 8:00 Probably my favourite track on the album, this is a very relaxing slice of ...
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