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Profile for James Schulze > Reviews

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Content by James Schulze
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Reviews Written by
James Schulze

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Tubular Bells 2003
Tubular Bells 2003
Price: CDN$ 26.93
16 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars And the point is...?, May 21 2004
This review is from: Tubular Bells 2003 (Audio CD)
I was prepared to think the most of this CD. It's true that the original album could use a face-lift, but Oldfield replaced a number of the instruments with HORRIBLY cheesy synthesizers. The opening baseline is a lame keyboard, there a cheesy sampled flute-sound and dull new-agey pads thrown in thoughout. If he would have stuck to the original instrumentation, he would have had a great re-performance on his hands. As it stands, this version is perfection being routinely shattered by tacky and stupid decisions.

Offered by MUSICSHOP780
Price: CDN$ 4.02
33 used & new from CDN$ 4.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like a weekend warrior's demo tape..., March 10 2004
This review is from: Guitars (Audio CD)
As a life-long Oldfield fan (25 years), I'll never forget the excitement I heard that Oldfield was finally coming out with an album of only guitars. My biggest complaint until this album's release was that, though his synth work was good, he had lost the subtle touch of acoustic instrumentation. Well, after hearing Guitars, I wished he'd gone back to synths. This album is at best mediocre, at worst unlistenable.
There seems to be two main types of tracks on the album: Simple, mildly catchy, but ultimately uninspired slow guitar tracks (Muse, Embers, Summit Day, etc...), and REALLY BAD attempts to rock out 1980's style (Out of Sight, B. Blues, Out of Mind). And when I say really bad, I'm not kidding.
It's not that the album is without it's merits in a few places, but overall it feels rushed and amatuerish. It was a strange follow-up to the decent but over-blown Tubular Bells III, given that album's huge sound and intense production. It seems Oldfield's tack in recent years has been over-done, pretentious "theme albums" (Millenium Bell is a musical rendition of the last 2000 years and Tres Lunas is self-proclaimed "chill out" music). It's ashame that the only album he's recorded recently that tries for subtlety is this one. Anyone who has heard Oldfield's classic albums and want a good modern album, 1994's Songs of Distant Earth is his last masterpiece. Everything since has been for the diehard fan only.

Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron
Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron
by Daniel Clowes
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 25.41
32 used & new from CDN$ 9.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, Beautiful, Irrational, Horrible, Sept. 1 2003
I came to Daniel Clowes after reading the relatively straight-forward "Ghost World." What awaited me in this book was one of the most disturbing and terrifying pieces of literature I have ever read. Clowes has that rare ability to create a plot that may not connect on a conscious level, but makes a strange and beautiful sort of sense on a subconscious level. Clowes' world view is very dark, and very lonely, but through this terrifying landscape comes the comfort that someone else has experienced the loneliness and desolation that is par for the course of our modern world. But regardless of the thematics and eerie undercurrent, the situations and settings are so incredible, and the writing so fast-paced, that you can't help but become absorbed in the narrative. Like all great art, it works on multiple levels. Only one word of warning, though: this book could cause depression. It's not for the faint of heart, and I wouldn't reccommend reading it in a bad mood.

3 used & new from CDN$ 27.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Tangerine Dream's Most Daring and Greatest Work, July 3 2003
This review is from: Zeit (Audio CD)
Never before in the history of rock has an album achieved such a feeling of darkness and beautiful melancholy as this brilliant CD. "Ziet" is four 20 minute-long compositions of ethereal synthesizers, gritty and dissonant string quartets, and raw organs. It is a profoundly moody and dismal album, and helps you get in touch with that dark side of the human spirit that people these days don't often embrace. It is an absolute must for fans of ambient/electronic music, and demostrates how early tape loops and electronics can create sounds of unparelleled beauty and atmosphere. I simply can't reccommend this work enough for anyone who has an ear that is open to new experiences. It's a masterpiece.

Price: CDN$ 17.73
35 used & new from CDN$ 1.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Out of their system, now..., June 22 2003
This review is from: GRANDADDY - SUMDAY (Audio CD)
Its obvious at this point that Grandaddy is aware of their growing popularity. Almost every trace of dream-like experimentation has been left behind in favor of radio-ready singles. It's as though the popularity of "Crystal Lake" went a little too far into their heads. But the difference between Grandaddy and almost every other band's attempts to popularize their sound is that Grandaddy has pulled it off very, very well. The result is an album that is relentlessly paced, and exhilarating in its energy. Jason Lytle's gift for melody is as good as ever, and one can't help but get caught up in the frenzy of gritty keyboards, steady drums, and fast guitars. However, I couldn't help but get nervous about Grandaddy's future. Cheers to a well-done pop album, but here's hoping for a return to the strange, the beautiful, and the experimental.

Price: CDN$ 13.38
24 used & new from CDN$ 7.14

5.0 out of 5 stars One Of His Best, June 7 2003
This review is from: Kosmos (Audio CD)
If one can get past the laughably bad Star Wars opening track, this album is a stunner. Though lacking the fluid continuity of his previous efforts, Tomita manages to select darker, more beautiful, and more moody pieces than before, creating an incredible dream-like atmosphere without resorting to the usual space-ship and "alien" sounds that tarnished The Planets and The Bermuda Triangle. His sound became larger, more ambient, and denser. The final Bach medley "The Sea Named Solaris" is Tomita's finest hour, and this album is a must for any fan or Tomita's work, or of electronic music. A flawed but still great work.

Well-Tempered Synthesizer
Well-Tempered Synthesizer
3 used & new from CDN$ 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stop complaining, May 18 2003
...This album, Carlos' follow up to Switched On Bach, is actually better than it's predecessor. This is to be expected as the technology improved, but perhaps more importantly, Carlos' feeling and attention to detail improved as well. The timbres are lighter and airer, and there is a greater sense of rhythm and intensity. And there is always something eerie about this work, and with most of her early recordings. The sounds are fluttery, elusive, sometimes off tune, and the pitches waver. I'm always struck at how bold her sound is, compared to other artists like the ethereal Isao Tomita, and this album is all the more rich and powerful because of it. If you have to own one of her early recordings, this is the one to get. The haunting final Monteverdi piece, with its strange, beautiful, and terrifying electronic vocals is worth the price of admission alone.

The Beauty Of The Rain
The Beauty Of The Rain
Price: CDN$ 13.90
29 used & new from CDN$ 1.18

2.0 out of 5 stars Generic Monotony, May 16 2003
This review is from: The Beauty Of The Rain (Audio CD)
I understand Dar's need to expand and try new horizons. I also understand Dar's need to go more mainstream, get more fans, and get some popularity outside of the sphere of folk music. But this album is so mediocre that I can't help but be upset. I'm not, as many of her fans are, dissapointed in the more pop approach she has taken in recent years. I came to Dar through the not-terribly-folky "End of Summer" album, and the more pop oriented tracks on it were also some of the best. However, the raw and passionate production on that album is worlds apart from the dull, luke-warm, generic sound of "Beauty." This is the kind of album you'll find richoceting off the walls of Starbucks' everywhere; You'll kind of notice it in the background, but you won't give it even a passing thought. I think Dar is tired, over-confident, and trying to look for popularity in all the wrong places.

Collected Ambient & Textural Works
Collected Ambient & Textural Works
Price: CDN$ 20.41
20 used & new from CDN$ 13.65

5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Known Masterpiece, Jan. 2 2003
In the vast ocean of ambient music, Michael Stearns has been left out to sea. Having been eclipsed in the public mind by high-profile artists like Brian Eno, Stearn's back catalog has been reduced to two LPs, consisting of disjointed snippets of much longer pieces. I've always been surprised that Stearns hasn't been more revered after scoring such films as Baraka. Having been confined to the New Age shelves probably hasn't helped, but above all, Stearns doesn't seem to try and come up with an artists image like so many young, hip, ambient artists. Stearns is above all an earth-hugging hippie, and his music is all the more powerful and sincere because of it.
Ambient and Textural works consists of most airy, floating synthezisers, bells, eerie and beautiful female vocals, and field recordings. Stearn's big strength on this album is his ability to create not simply experimental pieces, but to create emotionally potent and beautiful pieces, without resorting to any of the luke-warm New Age flourishes that many of his contemporaries did. The nine-minute tape, vocal, and bell piece "Jewel" is worth the purchase price, and listeners would be hard-pressed to hear anything that didn't exite them. Anyone looking for organic, sincere, and ascendent ambient music would regret not buying this album.

Picture Music
Picture Music
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 28.30
6 used & new from CDN$ 28.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Listening for Rainy Days, Dec 29 2002
This review is from: Picture Music (Audio CD)
Picture Music remains something of an anomoly in Schulze's canon. Rather than the long, sweeping synth pads and choirs on other albums of this period, it relies primarily on a chunky, fascinating bass line that flows effortlessly underneath gentle and moody solos. Side 2 is less successful, employing an awkward drum kit and some synth work that is a little too invasive, but overall this album is a essential for any Schulze fan. It could also serve as a great introduction for those unfamiliar with the Old Master because of it's bassline hook and flowing rhythm.

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