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Old 01-05-2014, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The "Recommended by" thread


An idea I had, based on a post in Briks' journal this week. Everyone gets recs from people but how do they turn out? Do you even listen to the albums/tracks that are recommended to you? And who is the best, for want of a better word, recommender?

Here I'd like to place any albums or music I've seen recommended and my thoughts on what I thought of it. Once I get a chance I'm planning to listen to that Harmony album Ki recommended and also the ambient one off Anteater's list, forget the name but he was really enthusiastic about it.

In the meantime, this is a thread for anyone to post so go ahead. Just make sure you say who recommended the music to you, give them credit (or blame!) --- you can review, comment, throw in a few lines but I'd ask for no one-Youtube posts. Write a little about the music, let us know how you felt about it. A YT won't do that, as it will affect people differently. So it's your reactions I'd like to see here, if anyone wants to do that.

If not, I'll be back with my first review in a few days.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think this is a good spot for me to (once again) thank Surrell for getting me into Animal Collective back in June and, by extension, several other current bands.

This was the song that first got my attention.

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Old 01-05-2014, 07:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Goofle got me into this album and it pushed me to expand my tastes into hip hop. Gave some other great recommendations as well such as Madvillainy and Labor Days that really helped me get into the genre.
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Okayyy then, guess it'll just be me. Not a problem.

David Helpling and John Jenkins --- Found --- Recommended by Anteater

I really liked this album. I mean, a lot. It's got a whole lot going for it, though as ever the problem with purely instrumental albums is they often fail to keep the interest. My problem is that generally music like this is laidback and relaxing, so I tend to, well, lay back and relax. This often means I fall asleep, which is no bad reflection on the music, but does make it hard to review!

I've listened to this several times now (fell asleep once) and as I say I really like it. However I don't really feel the same love for it that Anteater does. He put this at number four on his albums of 2013, but it would not be so high on mine, had I made one: I'm not even sure it would be on it.

It's not that it's not a good album; it certainly is. But is it any better than, say, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Dreamfire, or even Caves of Glass's debut which I reviewed last year? Hell, even solo instrumentalist Illusive Mind's "Alternating scenes" can claim to be as good as this. And again, I'm not putting the album down, but I just don't see where the one who munches small insects is getting all this enthusiasm for it. But of course, taste is relative and personal. I like it, but I don't love it. Well maybe I do love it. But I don't think it's any better than a dozen instrumental albums I've heard this year.

There's some great percussion on it, which really gets the attention, and the musicianship is flawless throughout. There are big cinematic epics like “Edge of tomorrow” , a Floydian opening circa “Dark side” but the larger percentage of the album is made up of quieter, gentler tracks such as “Through and through” and the lovely “Only ashes”. Still, there's nothing to me really stands out head and shoulders here. This is, I think, the fifth time I've played it though and while I really do like it, I don't see myself constantly returning to it. I had hoped, on the basis of Ant's writeup, to have “found” (sorry!) something totally amazing, and while it is a great album and I like it a lot, it's not amazing. It's just really good.

But so are a lot of albums I've listened to this year.

Rec Rating: a solid 7, but I had expected more. Nevertheless, I trust Ant so I will be returning to some of his recs later, with hopefully more success.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Desert call --- Myrath -- Recommended by Ki

This was recommended to me by Ki about a year or more ago, but I never got around to listening to it. When he featured it in his journal I thought I may as well have a shot at it. When it started I was impressed/dismayed to find it was not in English, but I thought that at least makes it different, and they are from Tunisia! However shortly after the opening "chant" or whatever it became English, so the "mystery", as it were, was lost.

Sadly, from that point on it was strictly a case of meh for me. I listened, expecting to hear what Ki had heard, how this had impressed him, but I failed. It's not, again, that it's a bad album, but to me it's just ok. I don't really like the singer: I find him a little lost in the mix most of the time, and the music is pretty generic prog metal. It's good, but that's about it.

Halfway through the album and I still couldn't honestly point to anything I would remember later. The ballad "Memories" was a nice change, and I liked "No turning back", then the closer was a bit of all right again. But nothing I would go mad over.

In the end, very very generic despite the little eastern tinge in their music. I respect Ki immensely and would never laugh at his choice or say he was wrong. If he loves this album he's obviously hearing something I can't. But for my money, Orphaned Land do this a thousand times better. Not one I'll be coming back to, I'm afraid.

Rec Rating: A low 5. Sorry Ki.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
It's not that it's not a good album; it certainly is. But is it any better than, say, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Dreamfire, or even Caves of Glass's debut which I reviewed last year? Hell, even solo instrumentalist Illusive Mind's "Alternating scenes" can claim to be as good as this. And again, I'm not putting the album down, but I just don't see where the one who munches small insects is getting all this enthusiasm for it. But of course, taste is relative and personal. I like it, but I don't love it. Well maybe I do love it. But I don't think it's any better than a dozen instrumental albums I've heard this year.
Ah...did I seem overly enthusiastic in my review? As with anything, the level of immediacy an album has will vary between listeners methinks. This is especially true of instrumental stuff, because we are all drawn to different aesthetics and patterns. Something that appeals immediately to me may take you 20 listens to see where I'm coming from, and vice versa.

Nice review in any case. I think I have a more emotional connection with Found because its the third album in a trilogy that David Helpling & Jon Jenkins started back in 2006. So, in that regard, my enthusiasm from it stems partly because these two guys have a fairly unique sound when they're working together (they both do work in television & film music, but have different approaches) and partly because I'm glad they've completed the cycle of music they started together after nearly a decade of writing and collaboration.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Not a problem, TH! Half the battle is giving an album a shot. I'm always a bit over the top when it comes to albums that I like because well...they're albums that I like. It's of course not everybody's cup of tea.
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, this one wasn't a direct recommendation, but since Trollheart gave it such a good review I thought I'd check it out and then give my own impressions.


Hypothetical --- Threshold -- Recommended by Trollheart

In all honesty, even as someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first few Threshold albums and then 2012's March Of Progress, I've never really taken the time to get into the albums they did with vocalist "Mac" McDermott. I had heard songs from albums like Clone from 1998 and Dead Reckoning from 2007 but wasn't really drawn in by the material.

Much to my surprise, 2001's Hypothetical seems to be the album I really needed to hear from the "Mac" lineup. Even after only a few run throughs I'm convinced this is one of the best progressive metal albums of the last twenty years or so. All of the songs are interesting and don't overstay their welcome with needless noodling, especially opening cut 'Light And Space' and the moody but fantastically constructed 'The Ravages Of Time'. Despite being constructed to where each song sort of leads into the next one, no two songs are in the same key or built too similarly. In particular, I love the keyboard runs from Richard West throughout: he does just enough to embellish the songs with atmosphere without going into tedious Keith Emerson levels of wankery.

In any case, I think I may actually like this one overall more than March Of Progress, and that particular release was a prog-metal monster of pure awesome. I'm always a big advocate of albums in this genre that put the songs before everything else, and that makes it easy for a new listener to jump right in too. A pleasant discovery to be sure, so thanks for bringing it to my attention TH!

Rec Rating: 9/10
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey man you're more than welcome! Delighted you liked it and stoked that someone actually posted one of my recs!

And now, back to The Worker Bee...

Epicloud --- The Devin Townsend Project --- Recommended by Ki (God bless 'im!)

I knew, and to some extent still know, very little about Mr Townsend, but even to someone like me it's obvious the man is either as much a workaholic as Ki, or has one or two clones running about. You just seriously can't release that much material and be human, can you?

But Ki had been raving about this and it had been sitting on my computer for some time before I decided what the hell, I'll see what all the fuss is about ho hum.

I began sitting on my bed and suddenly found myself in the neighbour's garden, wondering how I got there and who would have to pay for the broken window! Yeah, I was completely blown away!

The thing about this album is --- and I know it's a cliche but it's true --- there's not one bad track on it. Not only that, every successive track is better than the one that preceded it. You wait in a sort of mounting sense of dread as it goes on. You love it, are in love with it, but you know --- you just know --- there's a turkey coming somewhere. But you'll forgive DT because the rest is so awesome. So where is the turkey? That track was amazing, that one was double-amazing. That has to be the standout -- no, the next one --- no, the NEXT one!

And on it goes. And the album runs out finally and there is no turkey in sight. Every single track is a gem. From the Queen/Steinman tiny but punchy opener "Effervescent" (well named because this album fizzes, pops and buzzes!) to the closer there's no way to choose a best track, because it's every track. Cliches would abound if I really got into it, but there's really only one cliche I care to use, and seems to fit: you NEED to hear this album! Like now! Beg, borrow, steal it or ask me for it! If you're really brassic someone has kindly uploaded the whole album to YouTube I see! It won't quite change your life, but it sure will make it seem oh so much sweeter!

If you really pushed me, I mean if you stuck a Glock in my mouth and said you had better come up with some favourite tracks or you'll be looking for a new head, then, "Lucky animals", a stomping rock rhythm if there ever was one, the almost pop/AOR "Save our now", pure rock opera goodness "Liberation", heads-down rockout Heaven where Devin almost channels, er, Noddy Holder (!) and pulls Meat Loaf along for the motorbike ride, the swaying power ballad "Where we belong", where you can just see the crowd filling the stadium with lighters and waving their arms, the anthemic "Angel", surely the best closer to an album that you wonder how it could end any better than it's been so far -- look, you could literally drop your stylus anywhere on this record (old codger reference # 1,490) and love what you hear. There is no point at which this album should be or can be skipped. It's bursting with the kind of quality I haven't seen in a very very long time. I literally can say nothing bad about it, except that it has the bad taste to not last forever.

Rec Rating: A perhaps unbelievable but very deserved 10/10. Honestly, if I could flout the laws of mathematics I'd give it an eleven. Really.

Thanks Ki! I'll forever be in your debt for pointing me in a direction I'd have been unlikely to have headed on my own.
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Old 01-13-2014, 06:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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^Man, TH! I'm very happy to hear how much you enjoyed it. it's one of my all time favorites of his.
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