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Reviews Written by
Manny Hernandez "@askmanny" (Berkeley, CA)

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Dead Bees On A Cake
Dead Bees On A Cake
Price: CDN$ 19.93
43 used & new from CDN$ 6.51

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as 'Secrets of the Beehive', July 19 2004
This review is from: Dead Bees On A Cake (Audio CD)
So far, my experience with David Sylvian's music had been 100% satisfying: having heard some of his work with Japan and his outstanding 'Secrets of the Beehive', I figured that this album would be just as good. Well, I was wrong. In spite of some great musical moments (such as the opening "I Surrender") this album doesn't get to the level that 'Secrets...' does. It ocasionally departs from that 'mystical' musical path where Sylvian is so good at, to explore other forms, or maybe it is that so far I still cannot get over the change, but I wouldn't recommended for those uninitiated to Sylvian's work.

Serrat En Directo
Serrat En Directo
Offered by anthologymusicCA
Price: CDN$ 14.51
7 used & new from CDN$ 14.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Serrat, the poet, live, July 18 2004
This review is from: Serrat En Directo (Audio CD)
Joan Manuel Serrat is more than just a singer and songwriter from Catalunia, Spain. He's one of the most brilliant voices and composers in the spectrum of the Spanish language. Since his early days, he's been creating some of the most beautiful pieces, touching on political and social matters every bit as much as love and relationships.
With 'Serrat En Directo' (something like 'Serrat Live') you are presented with a comprehensive sample of his best works up to 1984 (when it was originally released). It is a must reference for longtime Serrat followers and newcomers into his music alike, since it provides a peek into a very wide range of his early works and, for the "hardcore" fans, it also offers new arrangements of some of his classic songs, such as "Cantares" (the first Serrat song that I ever heard), "De vez en cuando la vida" and "Cada Loco Con Su Tema", which had come out not too long before this live album.
If you like what you hear here, I highly recommend his most recent albums, 'Cansiones' (with an 's', yes) and 'Sombras de la China' and beyond his own work, Silvio Rodriguez and Pablo Milanes.

Endtroducing
Endtroducing
Price: CDN$ 9.91
35 used & new from CDN$ 2.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Producing one of the best albums ever, July 12 2004
This review is from: Endtroducing (Audio CD)
From the opening sample of "Building Steam With a Grain of Salt" where a voice is heard saying "Producing..." you know you are listening to an outstanding piece of work. In order to better understand this, you have to position yourself at the time this album came out.
You have to realize Trip Hop was already in full fledge: Massive Attack and Portishead had already come out with their own thing, but DJ Shadow came with a different proposal in 1996 when he produced 'Endtroducing...'. Through the magic of samples, he blended in a way many have tried to copy, yet no one yet matched, genres such as rock, soul, funk, ambient, and jazz, into a final product that transcends time. If you need further proof of that, think how long it's been since this album came out (1996) as you are reading this, sit back, listen to it and be amazed, as so many have been amazed to this day.
After listening to 'Endtroducing...' almost daily for three weeks now, turning back and thinking of acts such as Fatboy Slim almost feels awkward, considering his sample-based 'Better Living Through Chemistry' came out almost a full year after Shadow's debut. Granted that everyone has a place in music, DJ Shadow's genius with sampling work simply is above and beyond, making this not only his breakthrough, but also one of the best albums ever.
Other favorite tracks: "Changeling", "Untitled" and the grandieuse "Mutual Slump". If you want to take a dip into an evolved form of his work, check out his side project, U.N.K.L.E., in particular 'Psyence Fiction'.

Colecao Talento
Colecao Talento
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 52.44
4 used & new from CDN$ 44.07

3.0 out of 5 stars Good compilation album, July 9 2004
This review is from: Colecao Talento (Audio CD)
When I ran into this title, I went like "WOW! This is some combination!" Fito Paez, one of the best talents in Rock en Español, alongside Enanitos Verdes, a fantastic Argentinian Rock band... together! Nope. That's the thing: this is not a combined effort, where they play together, but merely a compilation of songs from their "early" periods. Not bad music: far from that, but a misleading marketing move by a label. Just for that, I took away two full stars. Go get the originals for these two: you will love their music. Just don't give into this sort of scheme!

Cure (Dlx Ltd Ed) (Dvd)
Cure (Dlx Ltd Ed) (Dvd)
Offered by Aux 33 Tours
Price: CDN$ 8.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars After 25 years, still making Rock history, July 6 2004
This review is from: Cure (Dlx Ltd Ed) (Dvd) (Audio CD)
If imitation is a form of flattery, The Cure easily qualifies as one of the most flattered bands in the past two decades. Specially these days, when eighties music (new wave, punk, industrial, goth and the like) is experiencing a revival, their music has taken on a new breath of air. But the band's 'The Cure' album has taken on a new turn that (luckily) steers them away from 'Bloodflowers' and their not-so-fortunate 'Greatest Hits' album that followed suit.
It is not surprising that some of their earlier fans may be dissapointed at this work (one cannot please everyone). But you have to give credit to a band that's been around since 1979. They have been able to come back reinventing themselves with this solid, self titled production, as if saying: "this is what we TRULY are, what our TRUE music sounds like these days". Musically speaking, 'The Cure' comes with a sound that brings to mind 1992's 'Wish', an album considered by many as their last great work, with a dark twist, something that you will come to love with every new listen of each of its tracks.
My personal favorites: the two opening and closing tracks, as two big musical parentheses that shelter the latest production by Robert Smith and company from their past two albums, and get them set for many more years of making Rock history.

Holidays in Eden
Holidays in Eden
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 77.80
3 used & new from CDN$ 77.80

5.0 out of 5 stars More commercial, but timeless: one of my Marillion favorites, June 30 2004
This review is from: Holidays in Eden (Audio CD)
This was a transition album for me in many ways. I was starting to "come out" of a prog rock period, so to speak, during which I'd only listen to this type of music, so, if you compare this work with the first Marillion album with Steve Hogarth and furthermore, with their music with Fish, understandably the more commercial line of this album shock me in the beginning. As a matter of fact, it made me decide (something that I still regret) not to go to their concert (the one time they were visiting Venezuela, where I used to live).
Today, it's been almost fifteen years since the original release (this is a remastered version, well worth the extra bucks, BTW), and I realize that the album's sound remains fresh as it was back then, and they've evolved as a band, to the point of having found a sound that defines their very essence, unlike any other prog band around. With only two weaker tunes (the title track and "This Town") the album resounds as a loud and clear musical statement, from the opening "Splintering Heart", through the classic "Cover My Eyes" (which you can enjoy here in the original version and a splendid acoustic rendition to be found on disc two), all the way into the closing "100 Nights", leaving you with a feel that you did the right thing...
Indeed, after years of following them through their ups and downs (which they've had their fair share of), I can say without a doubt, that 'Holidays in Eden' stands as one of their most solid productions. If you want to enjoy the best Marillion there has been with Steve Hogarth at the wheel, check out 'Brave' and don't skip their 'Marbles' which came out earlier in 2004. For some good Fish-period music, don't go on one more day without 'Misplaced Childhood' or 'Clutching at Straws'.

Babyhood
Babyhood
by P Reiser
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, indeed... but not as engaging as I expected, June 30 2004
This review is from: Babyhood (Mass Market Paperback)
I can't say that Paul Reiser's book on babies (making them and having them), "Babyhood", was bad or dull. On the contrary, it was quite funny and packed with thought-provoking comments that make you question some of your irrational behaviors as you're going through the stages of parenthood , both before and after birth. However, I expected a lot more humor from the star and producer of 'Mad About You', arguably one of the best comedy shows ever, along with 'Seinfeld'. On that level, I must recommend as an alternative (a non-stop laughter generator) the book "Being a Dad: The Stuff No One Told Me". I read it shortly before "Babyhood". Though not as deep as this one in some spots, I found it to be a lot funnier than Reiser's.

Call Off The Search
Call Off The Search
Price: CDN$ 11.87
29 used & new from CDN$ 1.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Sorta like Norah, but better, June 29 2004
This review is from: Call Off The Search (Audio CD)
My first impression, when I heard Katie Melua was: "Oh, My God! Norah Jones all over again!" I admit I am not the biggest Norah Jones fan there is, but then... this beautiful 19-year old Russian born singer with a voice of gold proved me wrong.
Her approach to music certainly does not go hand-in-hand with her age: that is to say she's not part of the Britneys or the Christinas of the world. With her music and her charm, she's targeting an older audience (or should I say, "more mature"?) with a blend of jazz and blues, which inevitably reminds a lot of people (myself included) of Norah Jones. The big difference lies in Katie's voice, which powerfully resonates when she sings (along with playing guitar) through every single track in her album.
Overall, I like it: I see potential. Though I still am not playing it over and over, I will continue to keep an eye open and my ears attentive to future works by Katie Melua, as she appears as if she's going to be around for good, as an established voice among the best jazz and blues singers of the world.

To Venus and Back
To Venus and Back
10 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Not a dull moment... rediscovering Tori, June 29 2004
This review is from: To Venus and Back (Audio CD)
I've owned this album since days after it was released back in 1999, but for some reason the studio tracks on it had managed to "elude" me until today, while I focused my attention on the live 'side', which continues to be a personal favorite Tori recording of mine.
Five years after its release, it feels like the time is perhaps more ripe for these studio songs. She was most definitely ahead of her time when she recorded tracks as experimental as the electronic-based "Datura," "Lust," "Glory Of The 80s," "Concertina" or "Juarez", to be found in here, all of which add a new dimension to her typically-more-acoustic-based work.
It'd always been a pleasant experience to listen to the live renditions of some of Tori's classics, along with the unique "Cooling", which I hadn't heard prior to this release. But paying close attention to the 'new' tracks has given new life to this production by one of my favorite contemporary artists and composers of all times.

Baptism
Baptism
Price: CDN$ 14.63
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars We lost him since 2001 and this album does not redeem him, June 22 2004
This review is from: Baptism (Audio CD)
I had hopes, I must admit. I really wanted Lenny Kravitz to rediscover deep inside him that long lost feel that he captured us with back in the days of his first few albums, all the way to the grand '5' from 1999. But so life goes... After his 2000 Greatest Hits release it all went downhill, and 'Baptism' is not doing much to redeem him from his sin: to deprive music lovers of the world from the great music he's capable of. I honestly don't give the album one star, because all creative efforts entail enough work to be worth something, but there's so much more potential in Lenny that I can only be dissapointed at this album. Quite simply, don't buy it!

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