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Profile for Peter J. Swingle > Reviews

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Content by Peter J. Swingle
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Reviews Written by
Peter J. Swingle "Architect, Poet, Music Lover" (Phoenix, AZ USA)

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Deep Into It
Deep Into It
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Price: CDN$ 30.69
20 used & new from CDN$ 6.52

4.0 out of 5 stars What's with all the complaining?, Dec 11 2001
This review is from: Deep Into It (Audio CD)
Ok, after reading some of the reviews here, I have a few things to get off my chest. To you guys who panned this release because Larry isn't 'shredding' like he did 15 or 20 or 25 years ago - please note that Larry is growing up, you should take notes. If you want crunchy riffs and monstrous dexterity, go see Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. Larry's playing has matured into a warm sound that envelops like a 10 year old Cabernet or the arms of a familiar lover. Guys like Peter White could take a lesson here and there. And the nicest thing is the use of all REAL instruments, no annoying drum machines.
With that said I have one beef about this release. Larry, and all other purveyors of 'smooth jazz', please take note: NO MORE COVERS, NO MORE COVERS, NO MORE COVERS. It reminds me too much of Muzak, ok? That's why you don't get 5 stars.

Price: CDN$ 15.00
45 used & new from CDN$ 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tool Refocuses, May 15 2001
This review is from: Lateralus (Audio CD)
It seems that Maynard's time away from Tool to do 'A Perfect Circle' has done the group some good. This release finds them focused and pouring out some of the best music of their career. It's a great mix of the light/heavy style they have brought back into vogue, without too many of the insane diversions that earlier albums took. There are a lot of interesting sounds in here that form new musical textures for them to play off of. They have wisely chosen to keep pushing the edge as they go forward and not just rest on their laurels, which is always to be commended. Go buy it!

Life Force
Life Force
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Price: CDN$ 28.99
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4.0 out of 5 stars Is there such a thing as 'soft' funk?, May 3 2001
This review is from: Life Force (Audio CD)
This is an interesting CD in that it combines mildly funky beats with warm sax and a Wes Montgomery guitar sound. It's a little too soft in places for me, I like things that swing a little more. I think it's the drum machines that turn me off. If you like this CD, you might also try: 3rd Force "Force Field" or Duboniks "On the Vibe". If you want something that's truly funky/jazzy, try Greyboy Allstars or Stanton Moore. Happy listening!

Oriental Sunrise
Oriental Sunrise
Price: CDN$ 22.81
12 used & new from CDN$ 11.55

5.0 out of 5 stars a Wonderful contemplative work of art., March 5 2001
This review is from: Oriental Sunrise (Audio CD)
A good friend let me borrow this CD and I was skeptical about it at first, but from the first listen I was carried away by the subtle serenity of it. The melodies are pure and calm, and the accompaniment of the natural sounds is just that - natural. It is very easy to transport oneself to another place while listening to this. I particularly like listening to it on Friday evenings to clear the stress of the week and prepare for the weekend.

Price: CDN$ 14.95
62 used & new from CDN$ 3.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Is Not Enough!, June 20 2000
This review is from: Avalon (Audio CD)
My music collection keeps ballooning as I get older and my tastes diverge radically... But this recording is one of those that really hits home. The mood it sets, the subtle layering, the smoldering intensity lurking just under the surface... I'm eternally grateful to an ex-girlfriend for introducing me to this CD ten years ago. It's a perfect backdrop for anything from a quiet dinner to having friends over to writing poetry or drawing. And then there are the times when I just sit and close my eyes and let the pictures form in the mind's eye. Now I see that there is a remastered edition and I'm thinking about buying it to see if it will take me even farther. I can guarantee that it will take you on a journey as well if you stop and listen...

Price: CDN$ 22.03
12 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

3.0 out of 5 stars laying back a little too far, May 26 2000
This review is from: Circle (Audio CD)
I must admit, after several listens with a (hopefully) objective ear, that I am a little disappointed with the new release from Indigenous. Things We Do was a powerful outing, deftly covering a diverse musical territory - songs that spoke to the soul and compelled repeated listenings as you tried to grasp the subtle nuances as well as the forward guitar and voice of Mato Nanji. The mix was the key here, with a smooth rhythm section, leads that jumped out at you, and a well-captured sense of emotion in Mato's voice, which like many blues singers is limited in range, but still highly effective at putting across his feelings. But Circles falls short of that earlier standard rather than building upon it. Blues is about sparseness, about the space between the instruments as much as the instruments themselves. It's supposed to be plaintive. The mix here is too crowded and Mato's voice and guitar, which drive the group, especially in their live performances (which are not to be missed) are lost in the shuffle. This is a shame, because there are some gems here waiting to burst out. Rest of My Days came across very well live, but on disc it seems a little muddled. I like the steel guitar and a little of the hammond organ, but the background singing is not really necessary. The CD feels overly produced (a 40 second fade-in on track 3 is the worst example) and the band is solidly reigned in, instead of playing on the edge like they should be. Now I'm not saying they should do nothing but Stevie Ray knock-offs - some of the mellower tracks on Things We Do were the ones which really got my attention - I'm just saying they should keep their energy focussed and at the forefront.

Things We Do
Things We Do
Price: CDN$ 21.74
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop listening!, May 3 2000
This review is from: Things We Do (Audio CD)
This was a case of recommendations gone right. I read through the many reviews for this CD and got the feeling that many people were affected by it, and for good reason! They all cite the SRV influence, which is the most obvious aspect, but there is much more to this group than being Stevie Ray knock-offs. The slower numbers are affecting and soulful, and that combined with the energetic uptempo numbers make for a very well-rounded release. I reserve the five star rating for CDs which I can listen to without having to skip over any tracks, and this one falls within that category, even after several months of listening. I've bought about 30 discs since this one, but it still stays in the rotation of my changers at home, at work, and in the truck. I've already ordered their next release and am waiting anxiously for it.

Just Between Us
Just Between Us
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Price: CDN$ 27.36
15 used & new from CDN$ 1.77

4.0 out of 5 stars R&B Guitar Gem, May 3 2000
This review is from: Just Between Us (Audio CD)
I discovered Norman Brown when I went to one of his live shows on a whim in January of 1999. His playing and energy really blew me away and I've added his entire catalog to my collection since then. Just Between Us is the release that most nearly captures that energy, especially in the first track. You can't sit still while listening to it, and the licks are to die for. The laid back tracks are wonderful too. It seems with each successive release some of the edge comes off, which is good or bad depending on your taste. I find Celebration the least desirable of his CDs, although still listenable - I think it tries a little too hard to fall into the 'smooth jazz' category.

Engines Of Creation
Engines Of Creation
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3.0 out of 5 stars I'm trying but...., March 22 2000
This review is from: Engines Of Creation (Audio CD)
Well, I must admit to being taken aback at first listen, and thinking 'gee, Joe must be trying to make his own "Matrix" soundtrack'. I will admit that it is growing on me slowly with each successive listen, but I miss the melody, the interplay and subtleties of real musicians. I miss the variations of 'Crystal Planet', the groove of "House Full of Bullets", the reflection of "Love Thing", the soaring of "Secret Prayer"... After some reflection, this is a natural avenue of exploration for Joe, especially considering the origins of 'Not of This Earth'. It seems like he has come full circle in a way, although I think that his first release is more melodic and exploratory than this one is. I think that Joe can sound machine-like all on his own, without resorting to the actual machines. You're scratching your head, I know, but think about "Time", from 'Crystal Planet' - the guitar is harsh and controlled, almost robotic in the riffing, which lends that sense of mechanism, but the supporting cast are there to add that necessary bit of funk to it. I had hoped that after G3 that Joe would take some hints from Eric Johnson's 'Venus Isle' CD, but alas, not this time around. I guess I'll have to wait a while longer. Playing devil's advocate, there ARE some nice moments on the CD, and it doesn't fall into the 'bury it in a big hole' category, but be sure to listen before you buy...

School of Fish
School of Fish
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5.0 out of 5 stars Catchy yet still undefinable, March 22 2000
This review is from: School of Fish (Audio CD)
I first heard School of Fish on the local alternative radio station - Three Strange Days was playing and it struck me as haunting, familiar, yet somehow fresh. I taped the CD from a friend that had it, but eventually grew so attached to it that I had to go and buy the CD myself. It is a great album for guitar lovers and for those who like reflective lyrics with a touch of angst. There is a tiny sliver of punk in the mix here in the singer's voice and the edginess of the guitars - just enough to keep it from being relegated to the dreaded 'pop' status. For those who are looking for Big Buzzy Guitar, pick up Human Cannonball, which is more in-your-face, but still a great collection of melody and lyric genius. Both are well produced and recorded which helps them get better with every listen.

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