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Richard S. Warner "Saraswati-Son" (Toronto, Canada)
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Lost Civilization Of Lemuria
Lost Civilization Of Lemuria
by Frank Joseph
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.26
31 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Now the Definitive Book on Lemuria, Oct. 8 2013
With this exhaustively detailed, heavily researched book, Frank Joseph has finally put together the most credible statement on the lost civilization of Lemuria in print. While Colonel James Churchward's 1926, "The Lost Continent of Mu" , started it all off that book now reads like the fantasies of a pompous, nineteenth century, condescending white man by comparison. Churchward committed the unforgivable error as a non-fiction author by publishing his study WITHOUT including any references or a bibliography. It was as if the reader were supposed to have swallowed his very personal account whole, without question because of WHO he was and not for the rigour or discipline of his material. That only makes his book's credibility questionable at best. And, as it's been noted, the very thinly disguised racism ( he uses the term "degenerates" a lot ) of his talk of pan-pacific cultures only further pushes Churchward's original study into the realm of the questionable and the unpalatable. Joseph, on the other hand, has written a very detailed and painstakingly thorough volume, backed on every point, by an impressive set of notes and quite scientific analyses. He also blessedly avoids the smarmy condescension of Churchward, thereby publishing a book that very much suits a savy, 21st century readership.

Joseph begins a circumnavigation of the Pacific Rim in Micronesia, on an island called Phnom Peh and the mystery of the construction in gigantic basalt beams at Nan Madol. Here he posits the purpose of the construction, which you can clearly see on Google Earth, as being beyond the knowledge and skills of the current inhabitants and of anyone else that has lived there in memory. Deductively he examines all the many possibilities as to how that structure got there, what it's purpose was and how it was probably built. His evidence is compelling and it sets the tone for the rest of the book. Micronesia, Polynesia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Easter Island, Peru, The South Western United States, Western Canada, Alaska, China, Japan, Thailand, India, Ancient Egypt and Tibet - all are investigated and found as having traces, here and there, of an ancient, ante-diluvian world culture that is referred to by all of these countries and areas as the Parent culture, the source, the root, the origins of their own. Chapter after chapter, country after country Joseph accumulates a growing body of evidence that becomes very hard to dismiss, even becoming outright convincing. The creation stories of all these cultures are examined, all of them, without fail, paying hommage to a Mother culture from which they originally sprang. Commonalities in language, terms and the names of figures from the past are also reviewed, showing remarkable connections to what must've been a larger, pan-global culture that was centred in the Pacific Ocean. How Lemuria, or Mu, met it's end is also examined and it's unnerving indeed, especially when we look at the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in the "Ring of Fire" and Japan. While some of it may not be correct, and it is very hard to be absolutely "correct" when dealing with a culture so unimaginably old, Joseph's conclusions do seem to be strongly cogent. He convinces by weight of factual evidence and not at all because of his personality. He acknowledges Churchward's contributions where it's deserved and he takes his foibles and outright distasteful, racist utterances strongly to task as well. In order for a study like this to be worth even a pinch of credibility any author would have to make quite sure that they've done a LOT of meticulously recorded and acknowledged research. Frank Joseph, here, excels at that.

The writing style is personable, as if the author is talking directly to you, yet he is clearly erudite and informed to a very high degree. Joseph's text is never dry. As a reader you don't suffocate in a mountain of dry facts, nor are you subject to wild flights of fancy. The author keeps his tone readable but absolutely informed and authoritative. It is a very stimulating book and one that has you thinking a lot for a very long time afterward. The book closes with an examination of Atlantis, which at first may seem spurious, but indeed turns out to be strongly apropos. There is a point to be made here and Joseph delivers it with great power and the 'authority' of the cumulative weight of all that has gone before in this study. There is a message to be delivered here and it is one that we need to hear.

A fascinating, stimulating, challenging and at times even harrowing look at a subject that conservative academia is quick to derisively dismiss. Joseph's cool-headed tone and his exemplary, voluminous research make this a book WELL worth reading, even if you don't agree with him fully. It is a book that asks more extremely pertinent questions than it offers up pat answers. With the subject at hand, this is absolutely the most appropriate take on a subject that, if true, and I'm convinced by this book that it is, will not go away. Allay your fears if you think that "The Lost Continent of Lemuria" might be yet another piece of batty, saccharine, New Age fluff. It most assuredly isn't. Tremendously impressive !!!

Phoenix Rising
Phoenix Rising
Price: CDN$ 15.19
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Rock / Psy-Techno Fusion of Extraordinary Beauty, Oct. 8 2013
This review is from: Phoenix Rising (Audio CD)
System 7's Sept, 2013 release "Phoenix Rising" is a major, quantum leap for the 24 year old band. Always leaping ahead and covering new territory has been a hallmark of the psy-techno band. Only this time the leap is gigantic. Having spent many years playing live in Japan, where they are immensely popular, Hillage and Giraudy have teamed up with Japanese, progressive-techno-jam band ROVO to produce an album that is tremendously rich, powerful and FULL of spectacular musical imagination. In the liner notes Hillage speaks of the success of blending System 7's electronica and electronicly based beats, SEAMLESSLY, with the standard instrumentation of the rock band. Yet, as much as this album is a marked departure from any official System 7 albums, the closest of which was 2008's "Phoenix", this kind of fusion is not without precedent for Hillage and Giraudy.

In 2009, they teamed up again with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Didier Malherbe for the 3rd of the second Gong Trilogy albums, "2032". Both Hillage and Giruady were in the "original" Gong band back in the 70's and played on "Flying Teapot', "Angel's Egg" and the legendary "YOU". "2032" was a powerful rock driven album of exceptional musicality and absolutely, perfectly GONG. Hillage lent his signature lead guitar and some of the guitar effects techniques that he uses in System 7 to Allen's musical genius and Smyth's poetic madness. Giraudy took the place of old Gong synthesist Tim Blake to add her distinguishable synth lines and effects and it was all done over a solid rock format. You might say it prepped them for this new work with ROVO.

"Phoenix Rising" was so named to refer to the legendary, Japanese myth of the Phoenix, but this time, unlike the 2008 album that celebrated the myth itself, the theme of this album uses the metaphor of the phoenix to honour Japan after the horrific tragedy of the 2011 earthquake and massive tsunami. Japan is still rebuilding and here there is an offering to the re-birth of the country and a testament to the beautiful spirit of the Japanese people.

There are 7 tracks, all longish in nature, but the music is so transporting, so complex and imaginative that the album finishes with a fulfilling completion, yet seeming as if only a short time has passed. There are 3 pieces penned by Hillage and Giraudy, 2 by ROVO musicians and one by Giraudy herself. Another track is a cover of Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Meeting of the Spirits". It's a fantastic cover, with Yuji Katsui's very electric violin featured along with some classy guitar work from Hillage. It's a favourite piece of Hillage's, something he's wanted to cover for a long time and the wait is worth it. It becomes clear that this song was the inspiration for the movement in Hillage's "Solar Musick Suite" called ""Hiram Aftaglid Meets the Dervish". The piece stands out for it's complex structure and jazz flavourings but rounds out the rather rich spectrum of styles and tempo that make this extraordinary album such a pleasure to listen to.

Fans of Ozric Tentacles will love this. Fans of Gong's "YOU" will love this as well. It could be said that "Phoenix Rising" is a beautiful blend of say "Jurassic Shift" and "YOU's" more expanded instrumental inspiriations. So this is not a psy-techno album, a typical System 7 release, it is a sparkling, powerful, light-filled bit of divine inspiration, a fusion of rock and techno performed with breathtaking skill and imagination. Some System 7 fans may not like this. But if you were a fan of Gong and the Steve Hillage solo albums, this will be a very special treat for you. This album may just mark the beginning of a trend that could blossom into some spectacular possibilities. It's a bona fide masterpiece, without a doubt.

Aliyah (Version française)
Aliyah (Version française)
Price: CDN$ 23.98
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ties That Bind: An Impeccable Film on the Bonds of Relationships, Sept. 22 2013
This review is from: Aliyah (Version française) (DVD)
Elie Wajeman's first feature length film, "Aliyah" is a insightful, honest and skillful examination on the bonds that hold people together and the need, sometimes, to sever those connections. Alex ( Pio Marmai ) is a young man drifting through life without a purpose. He has no goals, no direction or plan and he seems almost stupefied by the sheer weight of existence itself. He deals drugs for money but hardly seems the criminal type. A quiet, inward, even taciturn man, he goes about his life not interfering with anyone else's and not being a part of anyone's either. He is beginning to question what he is doing with that life. Alex is weighed down heavily by the oppressive and constant presence of his deadbeat, loser of an older brother, Isaac ( Cedric Kahn ). Isaac is a rash, ignorant, selfish, self-absorbed, self-pitying mess of highly talented self-destruction that is literally, financially and emotionally sucking away at Alex's life. Isaac is jobless and constantly getting himself in debt for thousands of Euros through a complex mess of questionable activities, none of which do anything to make the wreckage of his life any better. Alex is constantly bailing him out of all manner of trouble, even to his own personal endangerment. Yet Alex continues, because of the bonds of blood and family to feel compelled to be there for his brother. It may just be that this is so because, as we find out, the only family that the brothers have is each other. Their mother is dead and they have a father who's had nothing to do with them for years. Alex's best friend, Mathias ( Guillaume Gouix ) is also a dealer but he hasn't a single thought of questioning his place or purpose in life. He is a drug dealer and he is thrilled by the risk and adrenalin of it all, the "glamour" of being a monied bad boy. He calls Alex his "brother" and this too has a both a supporting effect on Alex but it is also a becoming a weight that he is becoming increasingly aware of.

Alex attends a birthday party at his cousin's one night only to find out that his cousin has decided to return to Israel to open a restaurant. It is the bright light of chance that Alex sees to get himself out of the dull, grey oppressive loop of a life that is becoming increasingly suffocating. He is growing tired of his drug dealing and he wants out. Alex shocks his cousin by returning after the party to discuss a partnership with him. His cousin is sharply cynical about Alex's sincerity and lays down the law for him as to what he must do in order to make good on this. One of he most important requirements is that Alex will have to do "Aliyah", the process non-Israeli Jews have to undergo to "re-patriate" to the homeland. It is an expensive, lengthy procedure but Alex seems newly galvanized and inspired by a new sense of purpose to see it through. All he has to do is come up with the money. This he does by returning to his dealer, bite the bullet, deal a last lucrative supply of drugs and there by come up with the funds that he needs to see his new dream through to reality. But there are complications .......

Isaac's reckless behaviour continuously threatens to drain Alex of any money he raises. The older brother's bottomless appetite for self-punishing trouble has Alex constantly veering off course as he rescues Isaac again and again. Alex begins to question the limits of fraternal bonds as well as the bond of family altogether. How much more does he have to be strangled with a family situation that has nothing for him, really, but suffering? In this we relate to Alex, an essentially good man, confused as he is, but beginning to awaken to the possibility of something better. We find ourselves in sympathy with him and wanting him to succeed. We are very much behind him.

To further complicate matters, Alex spots a girl at his cousin's apartment, who is also attending the party. He becomes interested. He succeeds in meeting Jeanne ( Adele Haenel ) and they begin a sincere yet shaky relationship that brings an element of intimacy and warmth into his life. Jeanne wants to hold on to Alex, finding his existential crisis and his quiet, wounded manner, attractive. Even though she knows of Alex's plan to leave France and do "Aliyah", she, naturally, tries to hold on to him, to convince him through understanding at a gut level, Alex's need for some kind of personal relationship that is fulfilling. Yet Alex seems resolute, even though he enjoys Jeanne's company. His mind is quite set, which upsets Jeanne. When Alex takes her to meet Isaac, who of course, asks Alex for more money, she slyly tells Isaac about Alex's plan to leave move to Israel, WITHOUT, informing him. She deeply and intuitively grasps the brothers' destructive relationship and realizes that informing Isaac of Alex's plan will sabotage any efforts of Alex to abandon his brother. A harrowing mess ensues and a fantastic tension is created for the viewer as we see the very real possibility of the failure of Alex's plans. With each person with whom he has a relationship, Isaac, Jeanne and Mathias, Alex is violently pushed into a position of having to make a decisive move that either retains those bonds, or, shatters them.

Wajemen's very realistic and insightful understanding of human interaction never falters and his characters are each very real. We understand them and their motivations for what they do, even when they are dysfunctional or outright destructive. We inherit or create deep bonds with people and no matter how close they may be, there comes a time when no matter how deeply rooted these relationships might be, we might have to question them. How far does filial loyalty go? How far intimate relationships with friends or partners? Are we eternally bound to others with whom we have deep ties? This is the theme of Wajeman's brilliant film. The director, not having a brother, looked to the Biblical story of Cain and Abel and to "The Brothers Karamazov" for an understanding of the relationship between brothers. Seeing their relationship almost as a deeply rooted and dysfunctional love relationship. Wajeman wanted to craft a story about "departures" and the need for self actualization, even at the cost of love.

"Aliyah" is of that breed of quiet, crisply real film that strips away anything distracting to tell a story of some aspect of human relationships that is complex and involving. Wajeman's film succeeds beautifully on all fronts. It was selected at several international film festivals and is WELL worth seeing. It's an excellent, even quietly exquisite, independent film that is beautifully crafted and intelligently told.

The producers of this disc, Film Movement, have, as usual, included a short, 15 minute film as a bonus in the package. These 10 to 15 minute films get some much needed and deserved exposure when included in these sets. With "Aliyah" we get an extremely timely and emotionally explosive short called "On the Road to Tel-Aviv", directed by Khen Shalem. It's in Hebrew with subtitles. After a brutal and shocking terrorist attack on a civilian target, a city bus, the city is taught with fear, the radio constantly speculating about further, possible attacks on civilian targets. The air is electric with tension. A young couple starts their morning with the young woman having to take a bus to Tel-Aviv to return to university. He sees her off on a small commuter bus and walks away, getting on with life, despite all the fear. As he leaves the scene, he spots an Arabic woman, carrying a large bag, get on to the same bus he just left his girlfriend on. He runs back to tell her to get off the bus. This sets off a panic as an overly dramatic and ignorant woman sparks off on this and literally drags her two daughters off the bus, screaming like a banshee. The Arabic woman sits in her seat, staring stoically ahead but clearly deeply afraid as chaos ensues around her. An Israeli soldier is pulled into it as the screaming woman escalates demands that the bus driver search the woman. Threats and accusations fly and the paranoia is excruciatingly high. Even the young couple get dragged into the panic and things look like something bloody, almost vigilante is about to happen. Does the woman have a bomb? IS she a terrorist? What does this possibility elicit in the passengers .... and in the all-important driver, around whom this fantastic and electric short revolves. An extremely powerful, intensely pertinent and emotionally rich film, "On the Road to Tel-Aviv" is a fantastic, cannon cracker short that feels like a full-length film.

Three Worlds (Version française)
Three Worlds (Version française)
Price: CDN$ 20.45
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Film on the Limits and Trajedy of Compassion, Aug. 21 2013
Catherine Corsini's skillful and deeply involving film "Three Worlds" details the many complexities, twists and justifications that three main characters experience after a catastrophic event. Each person, in turn, reveals more and more of themselves and the results, like real life, are never cut and dry or easily assimilated. It makes for a rich and engrossing film that is a fascinating study in human consciousness. We never really know ourselves until we are pushed, by choice, or by accident, into extreme situations that shake our realities to the core. When something like the events of this film happens to us, we are often quite surprised how we, oursevles, react and how others also respond.

Al ( Raphael Personnaz ) is an honest, hard-working young man who is about it cross the line into success in his life. He comes from a simple background and has struggled very, very hard, to get to where is about to go. He works in a car dealership/garage in Paris, is about to be made manager as well as marry his boss's daughter, Marion. Testard, his boss is a powerful, patriarchal figure who has made his success both honestly and not so honestly. He teaches Al all the tricks and expects that Al understands and respects discretion. He does and Testard give him his blessings. The problem is is that Al keeps questionable company. His two best friends are rowdy, irresponsible, immature workers at the same company. It's implied that Al got to know them when he was down at their level earlier on in his career. The boys go out for a night of ridiculously excessive drinking and testosterone risk-taking. In an act of chilling foreshadowing, Al fakes being hit by the car his buddies are driving. He scares the hell out of them, only to elicit curses and more rowdy laughter. As they drive, clearly inebriated, at well over the speed limit, back into town the hijinks never stop. Al is at the wheel and his buddies are excessively rowdy in the car. Loud, stupid-drunk and dangerous they distract Al just long enough for him to forcefully hit a pedestrian, sending the man flying off into the intersection.

The car screeches to a halt leaving the two "lumps" stunned and questioning, while Al, fully aware of what he's just done, jumps out of the car to run over to the broken, bleeding body he's just hit. The man is still alive, barely. Al is struck with horror and moral self-recrimination for what he's just done. His buds are less ambiguous. In shock, Al is convinced to drive away from the accident and leave the stricken man behind. He is getting married in 10 days to Testard's daughter and is about to become manager of the dealership. If he stays he may get up to 2 years in prison. His "life" could end. In shock and panic he listens to his friends and drives off.

A pregnant woman fights with her partner about living arrangements. They are unmarried. She steps out onto the balcony only to witness the accident and see Al get out of the car. He looks at the body, while his "friends" shout at him to get back in the car. He does and they speed off. A very moral and compassionate person, Juliette ( Clothilde Hesme ) runs down to the street below and up to the man's broken body. He speaks to her but she is unable to understand him. He is not speaking French ( the language of the film ). She calls the police and is deeply horrified that someone would drive off after committing such an act. Juliette gives her account to the officer in charge but is also, herself, in shock. Later she goes to the hospital to check in on the victim of the accident only to discover that he is an illegal Moldavian immigrant. She gets to meet Vera ( Arta Dobroshi ) the man's wife and describes the accident to her. She comforts and befriends Vera and there's an immediate bond struck between them as Vera responds to Juliette's innate compassion and sense of right. Juliette's partner, however, can't understand her compassion and obsession with finding out who Al is. It's ironic as he is a professor of philosophy who does not seem to actually live what he espouses, while Juliette, clearly not an academic, lives a higher world view than her partner actually does.

Ironically, the centre point of this excellent film lies with the professor. While Juliette is the central "axis" of the story's action, it is her seemingly "heartless" partner who voices the central philosophical theme of the piece. In the core of the film he lectures on Heidegger's notion of the limits of altruism. He paraphrases the philosopher in positing the thought as much as we may deeply want to take on the pain of others and remove it from them, for them, we cannot. We can only go so far as the final summation of this altruism is that even if we wish to die for someone else, we cannot. We can take their "place" but we cannot do THEIR dying for them. In that fact, that we die alone, in ourselves, by ourselves, of ourselves we come to the limits of compassion. In the face of this, still, Juliette's motivations shine out for all their ultimate futility. It is the essence of trajedy.

Eventually, the unforseen happens and Juliette spots Al and recognizes him. She follows him to the dealership and confronts him. Al denies everything, of course, and asks her to leave his office. Now he's running scared. He was seen. The woman knows who he is and where he works. Juliette will NOT leave it alone. It then becomes a matter of principle, or obsession, which is up to us to assess, that she sees that Al makes good on his crime. From here on the story gets very interesting as people do not do what logic might suggest. Fear of loss, fear of destruction, fear of retribution and fear of one's own self-condemnation work their powerful logic and morality overriding dark magic on all three of the main characters. Not only does Al have the accident, his guilt and his crumbling world to deal with, Juliette has the ambiguity of her relationship to a philosophy professor, by whom she is pregnant and Vera has mounting medical bills for her critically injured husband and no access to the needed funds. She is also an illegal Moldavian immigrant and therefore not entitled to state medical insurance. Her husband does not look like he's going to make it, either. All three of them have something to lose and have been put into their own crises brought about by the accident.

A complex, unexpected trio of inter-weaving stories and some very realistic twists of action and psychology ensue as the story unfolds. The pace is kept up and it never lags. The twists and turns in people's reactions and the resulting events complicates the story in a fascinating way. Nothing is linear but follows the "inner sense" of the human need to keep oneself from breaking to pieces in the face of unspeakable trajedy. Corsini's characters are all VERY real and VERY engaging. We understand each of them and are fascinated as more and more about each of them is revealed, making easy answers or solutions seem ludicrously forced. You can see at many points what simple-minded and grade school moralizing Hollywood would do with such a plot and it's deeply gratifying that Corsini opts for the reality of human experience, human psychology instead. Her direction is flawless and a great deal of subtle care is taken with the framing of shots and metaphorical nature of the settings she place her characters in. A scene where Al and Marion are in crisis, Al unable to tell his fiance what he's done, but nevertheless drifting way from her, is shot on a roof all greys and rectangles - a sterile and lifeless setting for the alienation and loss of flowing warmth in their disintegrating relationship. In all things Corsini never hits the viewer over the head nor patronizes them. Her work is full of life, is very concerned with verity and truthful resonance and shows a kind of admirable integrity in every aspect of this wonderful, engaging and very effecting French film. "Three Worlds" was selected at both the "Toronto International Film Festival" and at "Cannes". I think deservedly so. In French with English subtitles.

******* The DVD also comes with a bonus short film by Olivier Treiner, also in French with subtitles, called "The Piano Tuner". It is a fascinating premise. A highly pressured, young concert pianist enters a competition ... and fails. His world falls to pieces. He loses everything as he plummets into depression and self-destructive nihilism. Cynically, he comes up with a plan. He decides to pass himself off as a blind piano tuner. By doing so, he feels, he will get more sympathy which will translate into more cash. It works. He is called on his twisted, almost perverse practice by his employer but will not relent. He enjoys the pity and he perversely enjoys what people will do in front of him while they think he can't seem them. Bitter, jaded and becoming increasingly questionable he sets off for a residence in a dubious neighbourhood. At first his client won't answer the door and tells him that her husband is not home, to go way. He tells her, through the door that he is blind and it took a great effort for him to get there. She still refuses, through the door, unseen, to let him in. She offers to pay him anyway for the visit but when her husband comes back. He will not give up. Because he is blind, the woman, opens the door, looks at him and finally allows him in. He can see of course, but he's wearing sunglasses and the room is quite dark. He slips and falls in a vast puddle on the floor. To his horror he realizes just what the fluid is as she picks him up and takes him to the piano stool. He maintains his act. Over on the couch is the woman's husband, brutally murdered. The tuners clothes and hands are covered in blood. The woman offers to clean them and give him some of her husbands clothes. She makes him strip down to his underwear. She disappears. He begins a harried and panicked dialogue with himself over what to do - the bloodied and brutalized corpse just across from him, sitting on the couch. He could bolt for the door, but he doesn't. Why? He is so caught up in his inner dialogue that he doesn't flee and he begins to play a piece believing that nothing will happen to him while he's doing so. Is he afraid she might shoot him on the way out? Is he frozen in fear? Is he too caught up in his hyped-up thinking? Is he so greedy for the cash that he thinks he can fool her and get out alive? Then he realizes that his diary, with all his entries describing his "blind" antics are in his coat pocket. He then hears her walk up very quietly behind him...

An excruciating point of tension is reached as each of them, isolated from the other's thoughts, decide what to do next. It's a very disturbing and harrowing little piece, a modern day Poe short story. Very well done !!!

Vol. 11-La Vie Electrinique
Vol. 11-La Vie Electrinique
Price: CDN$ 22.53
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4.0 out of 5 stars Schulze in a more Complex, Classical Mode, Aug. 21 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Klaus Schulze's "La Vie Electronique" series, as described, will be a 15 volume set of 3 discs each. They're archival recordings done by Schulze for various side projects, films and commissions that were not originally intended as mainstream releases. The number of each volume corresponds to the year of it's release. Hence this one, LVE 11 was released in 2011. LVE 13 hit the shelves a few months back and so the last volume will complete the series in 2015. It's quite a collection of work and it often reveals a side of the electronica masters creativity that only gets touched on in his standard releases. Creating work for film soundtracks and other commissions, Schulze is freer to explore some of his passions with much less restraint and expectation. With this volume, LVE 11, we find Schulze indulging his "Classical" side to the max. The album is quieter and more introspective than some of the other LVE recordings, making for an interesting variation in the collection.

Layers and layers of complex and highly skilled orchestration, all done on synths, are supplemented by "operatic", vocal samplings. The orchestration is hugely impressive and here Klaus Schulze more than easilly demonstrates the skill he's developed over the years to accomplish this. He is, however, limited by his manual skills. He is not a Keith Emerson or a Rick Wakeman, two classically trained players who used the synthesizer as another "keyboard" as opposed to exploring the instrument's unique potentials to the fullest. But Schulze fans have always known this. KS is not a keyboardist, although his skills at playing have become much more developed over the years. This great grandfather of electronic music is a "synthesist" FIRST, a keyboardist second. This does not take away anything from the enjoyment of his music, even though at times you can hear Schulze coming to the edge of his capacities manually. The music itself, however, more than makes up for it. As an electronic musician Schulze is truly staggeringly talented.

Recorded in 1993, disc one is inspired by Chopin in part, particularly the piano lines. The ghost of Wagner always seems to hang over a lot of what Schulze does as well. Titled "Film Music" it was created for a German documentary "Spurensicherung Baudenkmaler". The use of sampling is a mixed bag here. It reminds you that you are listening to electronic music as these vocal snippets "sound" artificial and yet are, at times, almost cartoonish. In the early 90's Schulze began exploring the use of vocoal samples, mostly classically derived. It works for the most part, but there are times when proper Classical vocalists would've have suited the music better, that's how "Classical" LVE 11 is. You find yourself moving into the classical mode and finally "tuning" your ear to that sensibility only to be almost "startled" at times by the appearance of "operatic" vocal samples being "played" on a keyboard like an oboe or clarinet line. The problem is that once the sample is played much higher than it's original pitch it begins to sound "unnatural" and quite odd. Since the 90's, though, Schulze has obviously seen this for himself and found more skillful ways to work these vocal samplings into his music more successfully. His later "Dziekuje Bardzo - Vielen Dank" and "Kontinuum" albums are supreme testaments to that.

Disc 2 is Schulze's first symphony, "Narren des Shicksals". It's a 71 minute piece in 3 movements. It features the classical orchestration and the vocal samplings heard on the first disc but it sounds closer to the more standard Schulze idiom. The subtle, underlying drone of slowly varying organ chords harkens back as far as "X" or even "Mooondawn" but they're richly overlayed with complex synths lines and more Classical tempo changes and variations on the themes. At times I'm even reminded of the more Classical work of Vangelis, even with its obvious differences.

Disc 3 returns to a film soundtrack format. 3 pieces of music, not so Classical in vein, but still bearing the rapid and frequent changes in tempo, chord and even key that is signature for soundtrack music. It's complex work and this is one aspect of Schulze's music that a composer friend of mine once noted - he was deeply impressed with the enormous amount of careful, dedicated, finessing, exhaustive WORK Schulze puts into his music. These 3 discs are quite evident of that.

It's all quite good, LVE 11, but it's just a hair less satisfying than volumes 12 and 13. By comparison to other peoples' work though, this is incredible stuff. That has to be kept in mind. But as a growing connoisseur of Schulze's music I find this one just a slight bit less engrossing than many of his other albums. It may simply take more time. With each listen I like it more but it did not jump up and bowl me over like LVE's 12 & 13. Still a must for dedicated fans. Neophytes to Schulze might be best to look at "Mirage", "Live @ Klangart", "Kontinuum" or "X".

Vangelis Mythodea:Music for/Na
Vangelis Mythodea:Music for/Na
DVD ~ DVD
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Live Document of the Greek Maestro's Masterpiece., July 13 2013
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Vangelis's "Mythodea" is probably the famous Greek composer's greatest work to date, at least in terms of sheer scale and rigour of it's impeccable composition. Here we have a live performance of the titanic piece, recorded in Athens, at the Temple of Zeus, with NO expenses spared. Truly massive in scale, the production must have cost a breath-taking amount of money to put on. This undertaking was the joint effort of Sony Classical and the Hellenic Cultural Heritage Society under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Vangelis, an island at the centre of all the action, performs behind a rather sizeable array of keyboards, discreetly and tastefully tucked behind a "podium" of beautifully carved wood. Around him is the full London Metropolitan Orchestra, skillfully conducted by Blake Neely, The gigantic National Opera of Greece Choir and the TWO phalanxes of the Seistron and Typana Percussion Ensembles. In front, finally, the featured operatic sopranos, Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle, giving very dedicated and powerful performances each, make their appearance as the point of focus in this truly massive undertaking.

Performed to absolute perfection, "Mythodea" is something to see as well as hear. The coordination and direction of such a huge production takes consummate experience and great technical skill but it all the more than pays off in the total commitment of every single performer on this massive set. Everyone, except for Vangelis himself, is dressed in "period" Greek costume. There is a huge scrim behind the musicians displaying a mix of images from ancient Greek mythology as well as NASA depictions of the planet Mars. It all lends a cohesive atmosphere to the total production and with its being set in an ancient temple a beautiful suspension of the current time is achieved, taking the audience into a "place" beyond the everyday. It is something quite amazing to watch.

The film production is impeccable and crystal clear, the editing and cinematography utterly perfect and a full dynamic range of sound production makes this DVD a must-have for fans of Vangelis. Each movement is followed by a brief pause and the sound of audience applause reminding us that this indeed was a live performance of a massively ambitious and successful nature. It must have been a life-changing event for those who were there. Of particular note, Jessye Norman's and Kathleen Battle's performances are indeed inspired, providing the gargantuan scale of the piece both its focal point and a human scale and immediacy around which to orbit. They are, most clearly, the central hub of this 'galaxy' of intertwining and enormous forces. They almost seem to be one-upping each other but in the most good-hearted ways, never losing sight of the fact that "Mythodea" revolves around them and is dependent on their complete commitment to professionalism and skill. They carry it off with perfect aplomb and both look like they are having the time of their lives.

The DVD is rounded out by 3 Special Features; Artists' biographies, a wonderful Making of Mythodea and an interesting CGI music Video. Vangelis, taciturn as always, only speaks for a moment, unfortunately. To get a really fine look into his thoughts and feelings, watch the Al Jezeera interview with him on You Tube. It is quite revealing and inspiring. The total running time is 76 minutes in PCM stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. An inspiring and uplifting live musical performance and a very, very rare appearance of one of the greatest composers of our time. Now, if only he would do the same thing with his other masterpiece, "El Greco".

Arcadia
Arcadia
Price: CDN$ 27.87
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Moving, Insightful and Utterly Realistic Work of Art !!!, July 11 2013
This review is from: Arcadia (DVD)
Olivia Silver's "Arcadia" is one of those small, relatively quiet, independent films that re-confirms the greatness of art that can be found in cinema. For it's in beautifully crafted, emotionally astute and deeply human stories, such as this, that we find "film" at the height of its many possibilities. Written and directed by Silver, "Arcadia" is a story that is as much universal as it is situationally unique. This is one of Silver's many impressive abilities, to set up a specific story, with unique and very real dynamics between each of her 4 main characters and to clearly, deftly and with great lightness of hand, parallel her story with softly spoken universal truths. Yet, as quiet as "Arcadia" is, blessedly without all the standard whollop and punch of Hollywood movies, it, nevertheless, creates an incredible emotional and psychological tension that at times becomes almost unbearable.

Tom is a broken and compromised man. He has three children, Caroline, the oldest, Greta, around whom the entire story revolves and the youngest, Nat, who is utterly devoted to Greta. Very early one morning, Tom packs the kids into a fully loaded station wagon and sets off from New England for California. The two older siblings are visibly unhappy with the prospect while the youngest, Nat, is bolstered by promises of seeing The Grand Canyon. They are leaving their familiar world behind, and it would seem, their mother as well. Mere minutes into the film we get, at a very gut level, that this is not a simple, bucolic, family outing. This is big ... and it's not entirely happy. This tension is ratcheted up very quickly when you understand that Tom fully intends to leave their clearly devoted Golden Retriever behind, without any explanation as to what is going to happen to the dog, their home they are leaving behind and ... the kids' mother. All that Tom will tell his kids is that she'll be there when they get to Arcadia. And so it begins ......

One grand promise after another, spun amidst sing-songs and unwanted raconteurings of the old "Shangri-la" story, Tom works hard to keep his kids "with him" as they embark into the unknown. It doesn't take long to see how scared and desperate he is, and worse, how much of a pathological liar he turns out to be. This realization creeps over us as it slowly and sinuously slithers into the garden of the kids' childhood, which is gradually and inexorably stripped away as the miles build up behind them. And it gets worse. Trying to seem like a really hip, progressive and liberal-minded parent, Tom fails miserably as he perceives, imagines and creates explosive situations that put himself and his kids into serious danger ... repeatedly. And his reactions to his children's distress is to berate, insult and bully. The first to slip away from him is Greta, the middle child of 12 who is on the cusp of childhood and her early teens. Caroline is so full of her own preoccupations to really pick up on what is happening until serious threats to their safety wake her up. Nat is too young, but is deeply tied into Greta and her feelings, which she tries to keep at bay for his sake. Some very frightening and rather disgusting situations build up and Greta enters into crisis as she begins to see her father as weak, despotic, unreliable and quite possibly crazy. An excruciatingly disastrous breakfast at a roadside diner is one of the most powerful and highly uncomfortable moments in all of "Arcadia". Tom, played to chilling effect by John Hawkes, is losing his grip, on his kids, and it would seem, on reality itself.

One wonders, along with the three siblings, if they will ever reach their destination in one piece, or even alive. The tension becomes quite palpable and you begin to suspect that Caroline, Greta and Nat just might be victims of a kidnapping. It gets that harrowing. Silver's extremely refined touch never makes this any more dramatic or intense than it needs to be yet she creates a tension and a dread that has you fearing for the lives of the three siblings. It is in this "ambience" and circumstance then that you begin to see the dynamics between Caroline, Greta and Nat change and develop in ways none of them can forsee. The one-time adversaries, Caroline and Greta, who get into some really vicious scrapping with each other earlier on, eventually develop into real supports for each other throughout their many crises. A particularly personal crisis of passage for Greta provides Caroline the opportunity to treat her troubled and very percepetive sister with real tenderness and support. And Greta, in turn, after she is kicked out of the car on a lonely stretch of highway after finally and explosively calling Tom on all his lying and contradictions, once back in the car, provides the same support to the deeply saddened, ersthwile fun-loving, intelligent and deeply dedicated Nat. She holds his hand and as they gradually lose their childhoods in the increasingly chaotic and confrontational mess that Tom is creating.

The entire power and poingnancy of "Arcadia" is in the performance of the three children. Their gradual change and transformation is complex, multi-layered and true "as eggs is eggs". It is the resonant and powerful verity of their dynamic as siblings that carries the weight of the film and provides it with its deepest narrative. This IS what children would do in this kind of situation and Silver's unwavering understanding of this is impeccable. Her grasp of the dynamics between children is as uncanny as it is utterly and 'Un-romantically" REAL. Her view of childhood is mercifully free of the kind of shmaltzy, saccharine idealizing of Steven Spielberg and sits with all its power and truth in reality. Her three young actors give performances of such believability and emotional resonance you sometimes feel that you are watching a documentary. Caroline ( Kendall Toole ), all teenage self-absorption and eventually awakening young adulthood, is astounding to watch as she goes from gum-popping rudeness to motherly concern. Nat ( Ty Simkins ) is perfect as a happy, innocent, highly intelligent and clownish BOY, profoundly attached to his immediately older sister, Greta. And Ryan Simkins ( whom I would assume is actually Ty's real sister ), is the heart and soul of the film, as Greta. Her transformation is the most profound, for herself of course, but also as a catalyst for both her younger and older siblings' changes. The credulity of her performance is truly outstanding. Here is a young actor of VERY impressive talent. Her performance never falters and is always right on the mark. Hawkes portrays Tom to excruciating perfection. He's a liar, a cheat, a hot-head, a loser, a frightened, broken man apparently at the end of his precariously fraying rope. He's the prime mover but his Tom really takes a back seat to the powerful story of the loss of childhood in his children.

"Arcadia" is an example of why independent film-making is so important to the medium. Produced by the very impressive Film Movement group, a company that nurtures and promotes independent and foreign films, "Arcadia" is just one example of an entire host of fascinating, deeply resonant pictures that Film Movement has under it's noteworthy banner. True dedicatees of independent film and lovers of good cinema, no matter where it's produced owe it to themselves to see this remarkable, award-winning film. Top Notch.

La Vie Electronique 13 (3 CD)
La Vie Electronique 13 (3 CD)
Price: CDN$ 23.25
18 used & new from CDN$ 16.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Klaus Schulze as Master Composer !, July 10 2013
I've come fairly late to Klaus Schulze's archival series, "La Vie Electronique" and as a long-term fan I must say what an oversight that was! I came on board with LVE 12 and was completely bowled over with what I heard. The series was created to re-package, in individual CD sets, a gigantic, limited edition box set from the 1990's. LVE, as a series, are the archival recordings of Schulze in completely unrestrained artistic freedom. The original box set was designed for hardcore fans of the electronica pioneer and master composer but it was extraordinarily expensive and was printed in a relatively small quantity. The series, "La Vie Electronique" is being released, one package per year, until the year 2015, totalling 15 editions in the full series. The greatest selling point of this parallel series of Klaus Schulze releases is that in them we find Schulze unfettered by any expectations to repeat himself or to produce a known commodity. What you get are the greatest and fullest artistic expressions of one of the truly great electronic musicians of our time.

This edition, number 13, is an extraordinary and utterly uncompromising set of three discs that make no concessions to popularity or commercial appeal. LVE 13 is the heart and soul of Klaus Schulze. Each of the 3 discs is a single composition divided up by smaller "sections" and their titles, but as listening experiences, they are seamless flows of some of the most daring and radical music Schulze has ever committed to release. Some, as I did, may look at the track listings and think that the LVE series are albums of very short pieces which seems like an unfortunate compromise by an artist known for a music that unrolls out into massive stretches of time. That is not the case. On the first 2 discs Schulze gives full voice to his grander, darker, slower meditations, painted with massive strokes and subtle details that truly boggle the mind. While being "classic" Schulze recalling earlier works like "Ludwig II Von Bayern" from "X", "Velvet Voyage" from "Mirage" and his album "Moondawn" in their largely unmodulated focus on a single mode, relatively few chord changes and hypnotic grandeur, Schulze weaves in elements and effects that might often seem radical or take on an intensity not always seen in his music. For true overs of Schulze's art, though, nothing could be finer.

Of particular note, the first piece on disc 1, "Machine de Plaisir", total length 78 minutes and 32 seconds. There is an initial movement of piano and "glockenspiel" in a minor key over plucked strings. Keys change to flutes as another melodic, soloing section heads toward the main body of the piece and its behemoth evocation of eternity in choral layering. Following this "Machine" dissolves gradually into one of the most massive, grand, almost gothic, "meditations" that Klaus Schulze has ever created. No one but KS thinks or imagines in such monumental scales. Kept moving by a slow, ominous, almost ritualistic drum beat Schulze builds layer upon layer of some really fine melodic shaping, choir textures and effects details that change and morph continuously while the main bedrock of the piece, a hypnotic drone of a deep male "chorus" runs a profoundly deep current underneath it all. Here the composition opens out into the main body of the piece. A slow, purposeful and slowly varying melodic theme is developed over time as the piece makes chordal shifts and takes occasional pauses at an almost glacial pace. It's a remarkable achievement and one not easy to pull off, yet Schulze, a master of the form, accomplishes a truly Olympian feat with "Machine" The music seems at first to be completely static, but it is far from being so. It is truly a meditation, one of a "Titanic" nature, in that respect and a concerted listen will reveal the "hand" of a master painter.

Disc 2 also houses an incredible piece called "Arthur Stanley Jefferson". It is preceded by 3 shorter tracks that are pieces unto themselves, at least in terms of titling. Listed as separate, upon listening, however, these rather "operatic" pieces become introductory movements to the main piece. "Arthur" is, however an hour long whole. It has more "variation" than "Machine de Plaisir" and can be clearly heard as having distinctly different movements, yet it's very much in the same vein as "Machine" in its grand scale. After the somewhat "classical" feel of the introductory 3, "Arthur" officially begins in a series of atmospheric drones. A second, more up-tempo movement of beat driven, pizzicato "string" work and "classical" style vocals follows. After an intervening movement a beautifully mysterious one-chord section of minor chord soloing over a droning, alternating octave baseline, reminiscent of the kind of octave work Roger Waters was famous for on pieces like "Careful with that Axe, Eugene". It is main body of "Arthur" and it leads the music into increasingly hypnotic territory. The piece is graced with some impressive sequencer work and builds to a massive proportion before its gigantic finish. "Arthur" and "Machine" are cut from the same cloth and make a great listen when played in tandem, in that order. They are both classic Schulze of gargantuan proportions - the accomplishment of an artist of extensive experience and a seemingly endless ocean of creative imagination. The third disc "Borrowed Time", coming originally from music that was intended for film, is really a coda to the rest of the album. It's a more detailed, more "straighforward" offering where Schulze gives voice to his less radical and more "classical" leanings. It's a 'plucky' piece with lots of punctuating vocal samples and an energetic tempo that seems a bit at odds with Discs 1 and 2.

Well, WELL worth the price of purchase, "La Vie Electonique 13" is masterpiece of electronic music. It is for the truly dedicated Klaus Schulze fan. It is also for anyone who has never heard Schulze's recordings before but who likes to collect extraordinary electronic music. Absolutely staggering!

El Greco
El Greco
Offered by dodax-online
Price: CDN$ 6.99
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand, Majestic, Classical Vangelis at the Peak of his Abilities, June 16 2013
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This review is from: El Greco (Audio CD)
For fans of the Greek keyboardist/composer "El Greco" stands as one of his most towering achievements. This is PURE, quintessential Vangelis. It is the Vangelis that those who truly know and love his work, adore, for "El Greco" stands resolutely against all the many, many expectations that have been placed on this composer of ultimate integrity and dedication to true, Platonic beauty. There is NOTHING commercial or mainstream about it and it makes no compromises at all to popularity. Yet, it is rich to seeping full of the deeply moving and evocative melodies that this very gifted composer is known for. It is indeed, as has been pointed out, very dark and very moody. But it is NOT, as has been suggested, one long, turgid, uneventful movement in the dark. Hardly. Indeed, "El Greco" is absolutely saturated with variation, movement and stunning musical invention. While being a musical meditation of real profundity it is also beautifully and dynamically constructed. It is the precursor to "Mythodea" in its uncompromising, classical vision and a highlight of Vangelis' remarkable career.

There are 10 movements to "El Greco" and each on is quite different from the other without ever losing sight of the over-arching mood of reverance, solitary artistic insight and deep spiritual revelation. Movement I starts with the sombre, almost contemplative sound of distant church bells, setting up the location and evoking the feeling of the time of the painter, the Renaissance. There is a dark, gothic grandeur to it as if coming from deep within the tall, shadowing columns of a dimly lit cathedaral of enormous size. A full choir lifts the final minutes of the movement up into higher reaches. Movement II, with its harpsichord - mandolinish sound relays a more intimate, more personal look, perhaps, at the feelings of the painter ... and not without occasional tones of threat. This was the time when thousands burned at the stake for differences with the all-powerful Spanish, Catholic Church. Following this is the exquisitely beautiful 3rd movement, with its delicate harp revealing a tenderness of real depth and sincerity. It too wafts of the Renaissance. The fourth section sees Spanish Soprano, Montserrat Caballe, lend her distinctive voice to Vangelis' music. It is both intimate and grand, going from pianissimo to quite forte and dramatic. Vangelis' melodic shaping here is exquisite and inventive, moving both unexpectedly at points yet retaining its sensibility of time and mood. Movement V is build around some achingly beautiful piano arpeggios and oboe. There is a breathtaking clarity here that seems to make the air stop and hold still in a moment of light and hope. Swells of strings lift the music up but they fall away again to return to Vangelis' gorgeous piano lines. Movement VI returns again to a slight feeling of threat and danger with Konstantinos Paliatsaris' tenor. A small female choir and harp accentuates Paliatsaris' lines. Here Vangelis demonstrates his striking ability at creating variations on themes while never straying far or losing sight of his intent. The 7th movement picks up the preceeding sound of tolling church bells again, but this time in celebration. An ordination? A marriage? A coronation? A classic Vangelis male choir leads the music, wonderfully supported by a very Renaissance style percussion line and later a larger, fuller choir. A beautiful, celebratory melody is, again, ingeniously crafted with odd turns that hint at threat and possible danger. Movement VIII confirms the feeling of threat and rumbles under the sound of ominous drum rolls and disjointed melodic lines suggesting that something has ended or fallen into disarray. It is a striking contrast to the previous movement. In the end though, through orchestral and choral swells a sense of ultimate release from the dark is hinted at. This was a VERY dangerous time to be alive in Spain. With a Greek Orthodox background and being a painter of primarily religious themes El Greco would've had to have been very careful about NOT crossing or offending the Church in the time of its Inquistion. Movement IX, with the sound of wind and a continuing low drone, has the feeling of loss and tragedy. The final epilogue sums up the piece and finishes in a very quiet meditative hush.

"El Greco" is, by every definition, a monumental work in the classical style. It is a very serious piece without the stuffiness or dryness that can be associated with the genre. As large and classically orchestrated as the music can sound and no matter how much weight and ambition it clearly has as its intent, this exceptional recording by a great contemporary composer never once wavers into excess or indulgence. Despite the rich and somewhat exotic orchestration Vangelis' work, here, keeps to an economy of means. He seems to very much want to elicit a profound emotional response and create an atmosphere of reflection and introspection. His creation of that is accompanied by a wonderful evocation of the mood of the time and seems to also honour the tenor of the dark moodiness of the painter's work, which seems more Baroque than it does Renaissance. It is as if, in giving deeply felt tribute to Domenikos Theotokopoulos, more widely known as "El Greco" ( Spanish for: "The Greek" ) that Vangelis himself reveals his own deeper artistic and spiritual feelings. Whereas some might find this music dark or deeply moody, I would call it intimate, quite personal and very profound, even staggering in its depths. One of the greatest things that Vangelis has ever created, absolutely without a doubt. Magnificent.

Moonlake
Moonlake
Price: CDN$ 16.48
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Contemporary, Beat-Driven Schulze, June 16 2013
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This review is from: Moonlake (Audio CD)
With over 100 released recordings to his credit Klaus Schulze has, yet again, found a way to present his classic sound in a new and utterly contemporary way. Quoted in the liner notes, he says, " I fell in love with the grooves again", and it shows. Schulze has taken the more percussive drive of post 1991 electronica ( read: The Orb, Underworld, System 7 etc ) and added it as the prime mover to his gigantic orchestral swells, sinuous melodies and striking special effects. What ensues is a seamless blending of 1970's Berlin School sensibilities and 1990's Progressive House beats. While some might raise an eyebrow over such a notion, it's good to remember that one of the great grandfathers of electronic music started out his musical career as a drummer. In both Ash Ra Tempel and pre-recording contract Tangerine Dream Schulze drove the beat and supplied percussive punctuation. So "Moonlake" really is a return to the roots of sorts for Schulze and not at all an opportunistic grasping for something new to introduce to his music.

Klaus Schulze is a master. There's little doubt of his prodigious skill and ineffable musical sensibility. That he can fashion an album like "Moonlake", named after a favourite Austrian location, giving full voice to his very classical muse and do it in a style that is fresh, exciting and very musically satisfying is a testament to the fact. The opening track, "Playmate in Paradise" is, of course, epic, clocking in at 30 minutes plus. It is an entire suite. Composed in 3 movements over an arc format "Playmate" itself is worth the price of the album. Part 1 is something I could very easily imagine being played in the most progressive dance clubs by DJ's such as Paul Oakenfold, John Digweed or Sasha. It's tabla-like beat is irresistible and moves the Wagnerian chord swells along at an exciting pace. The mid section harkens back to Pink Floyd's classic "Echoes" with a suspended, eery atmosphere, shrouded in smoke and frightening imagery. The beat returns in part 3 closing the piece with gigantic passion and monumental grace.

"Artemis in Jubileo", the second track is as striking and fulfilling as "Playmate in Paradise". It begins with a simple percussion line and is quickly added to with beautifully bubbling sequencer burble. It has a soupcon of Indian flavouring to it that provides a nice modal context for melody and harmonic shaping. The solid beat moves the music along making it impossible not to tap one's feet or even dance. Again, I could see on of the big-name DJ's playing this track or doing a re-mix of it to great effect. After a good 5 minute build up Schulze introduces "strings" and before long there's a whole string section chugging away with an accentuated staccato that skirts 1970's disco without falling into the kitsch. The sequencers keep that from happening and carry the section forward into a magnificent orchestral workout that almost becomes fugal. And the beat, always the beat, keeps it anchored and propelled along with an infectious pulse. To finish the piece off and take it right up into the upper reaches Schulze, half way through, brings in the "Trombones" for that Teutonic touch of grandeur and gravitas. I'm reminded here of "Ludwig II Von Bayern" from his "X" album of 1978.

The third track, "Same Thoughts Lion" takes it down a bit and provides that classically typical "Largo" to the suite that makes up the whole of the album. It's a deceptively simpler piece, less dense, less grand, but equally satisfying as its precedents. This gives the music a chance to breathe and give Schulze an opportunity to work out some really evocative synth sequences and melodic shaping. "Same Thoughts Lion" is more introspective, more moody and is a pause, so to speak, or an in-breath, before the album's closing piece, "Mephisto". This track, and "Mephisto" are live recordings from Poland, circa 2003. "Playmate" and "Artemis" were recorded live in Schulze's studio.

The final track brings us back with a crash and an evocation of gigantic, infinite space before some very Berlin School sequencer patterns lay the base for what follows. Tangerine Dream, Michael Hoenig and Peter Baumann come to mind here. It all starts out quietly and intimately but eventually builds up to the grand magnificence KS is renowned for. To finish the leviathan swells that build and build, Schulze plays his Mini-Moog through both Wah-wah and distortion to startling and hair-raising effect. The classic "choir" is added in near the end and we have Klaus Schulze in full, dynamic, near apocalyptic swing. No shorter than any of his other releases, "Moonlake" always seems to be far too short when it reaches its powerful finish - that's how smoothly and effortlessly the 4 tracks move along. It is, without a doubt, one of the best of his albums, joining the ranks of "Mirage", "Kontinuum" and "Live @ Klangart" as the highest examples of a truly great artist's staggering career. A must for fans of Schulze and a very, very good place to start for anyone who wants to discover him.

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