23 July 2009

I will not judge

Duelling Banjos (and there's even a kazoo).

The Final Countdown

16 July 2009

APP remasters

A much earlier post revealed my liking of the Alan Parsons Project, and had a quick review of the first batch of remasters. I've had the 2nd and 3rd batches for some time, so figured a quick summary was in order.
Pyramid : continuing with their theme based albums, this one looks at the then popular pyramid/crystal fad. Ignoring that, it has some good stuff on it, and holds up reasonably well. I've always enjoyed this album, in fact I wore out the tape I had. Some of it drags slightly, but over all enjoyable. The bonus stuff is demo's. I really like The Eagle Will Rise Again, nice use of orchestration, and the slightly damaged vocals work well with the albums theme. 7/10

The Turn of a Friendly Card: another theme album, from APP, say it ain't so sam! Gambling this time. The album seems to miss something from the lack of instrumental work, but it does show a band at their peak. There's some interesting Ennio Morricone influenced work on the Gold Bug, before it moves into a funky-ish early electronica. The album had a couple of big hits (games people play, time), neither of which do much for me. The title track work and gold bug are by the far the standouts. bonuses are demo's 6/10

Eve : a rarity in that there are female vocal leads. Musically I think this is stronger than friendly card, but as an album something doesn't gel. When it's good it's very good, but somethign about it doesn't work for me. I almost get the feeling they were a bit burnt out by this one, and from memory the liner notes on the remaster say something like that. Lucifer and Winding me up are probably my fav's - although the big single was Damned if I do. What annoys me about Winding me up is that the opening orchestral bit appears slightly out of sync - as does the brass section at the end. Damn them. Demos as bonus, including unreleased track. 6/10

Ammonia Avenue: arguably one their best albums. I just love this album from start to finish. Highlight is obviously Ammonia Avenue. Another Woolfson vocal - for someone who says he never sings, most of the biggest APP hits were his vocals... biggest hit from this album is Don't Answer Me. Thematically, a petrochemical plant inspired this one. Oh yes. Prog is petrochemical. Do it. Actually it's more pop-rock, but with long meandering songs, I guess there's an element of the dirty prog in there. 9/10

Stereotomy: I think this one suffered a little from being recorded too quickly after Vulture culture? Maybe? It is miles better than VC tho', and I'm more likely to listen to this as an album. And the instrumental makes a welcome comeback with three of them. And the superb Limelight. Great song. Yeah maybe in retrospect, this one holds up better than I thought. It helps they gave the songs a bit of room to breath, rather than trying to force a single. Bonus includes an unreleased demo track 8/10

Gaudi: Go on, guess the theme...It is my second favourite APP album (Tales being #1), and that's even with Money Talks, which I don't like. The instrumental, Paseo de gracia is superb - and has the trombones back with a vengence. They'd made a few appearances since Tales, most notably on Eye in the Sky. New Zealanders of a certain age will recognise Standing on Higher Ground as the theme to Video Dispatch with Dick (father of Barnaby) Weir. the 8 min opening track, La Sagrada Familia is certainly the highlight of the album. 9/10

So if push came to shove what should you buy? Hmmm if you're not an album person, go for the 2CD best of - it's a pretty good summary of the APP. Albumwise: Tales of Mystery and Imagination; Gaudi; I Robot or Eye in the Sky; Ammonia Avenue, in roughly that order.

I've also got the Eric Woolfson recent album 'the project that never was'. I wouldn't bother picking this up if I were you...bits of it are good, but there's no cohesive feeling to it. And it's overproduced.

14 July 2009

And finally for the evening

Yes, I know everyone else has probably seen this already, but it is catchy. And the video is nice.

And given the history of United, losing a guitar seems a sweet let-off.

In a more restrained post

Beck interviews Tom Waits.

It's all good.


It's encouraging but...

A report, that's made most news sources this week, from Durham University demonstrates that UK children deem the bible irrelevant. That's encouraging. The problem is that teaching them correct information as to why it's irrelevant, a lie, and causes so much confusion isn't occurring.
If they were taught how to think, and explained why the koran, the bible etc are the bastion of the ignorant, then I can see how the news would be good. It would mean they are thinking, and ridiculing of religious zealotry could potentially end a lot of conflict. It won't of course, but I live in a happy place.

But I don't think this report is encouraging, I think it's a reflection of ignorance. I know the bible, I've read it many times, I've cited sections, I 've critiqued sections. I also think it's a pile of crud, but I know why I think that. I think these kids don't know why its irrelevant, as if things were going well, they'd be answering that evolution has led to the rich diversity of life we're busy killing. But they don't. And although the level of evolutionary teaching in the UK isn't good - it's certainly better than parts of bible-belt US tho'.

My position is similar to this report, evolution should be taught as soon as possible - and I agree with that report that 5 years old would be about right. The insidious nature of the right-wing creationalist idiots, means the early kids are taught to think, the better. This paper also suggests an early start, and also reflects my position that evolution should be taught as fact, not theory. It is well beyond any concept of theory as the public understands the term.

On the positive, if slightly surreal, side Richard Dawkins (he who thinks Steve Rothery is God), has set up a rival to scout camps. A summer retreat for non-believers, read about it here.
Most of this rant has been writing while listening to the Blind Boys of Alabama. I find that quite funny :)

11 July 2009

Cunning plans

Cunning plans are taking shape, sadly I can't reveal anything due to the diverse readership of the blog !!! But I've spent the last four hours doing stuff which should prove productive later in the week !
In booze news, my Dun Bheagan Island 8yo malt has passed on (it's Talisker btw). For those of you after a cheap Islay-ish malt, you could do worse - about NZ $60. More than adequate, and certainly better than 'fiddich or 'morangie which cost more.

I'm quite excited. But even more excited about my immediate afternoon plans which revolve around awesome food, whisky, music vids and possibly b-grades.

No I have no idea why that interests me either.

Been a good music day too, I started with Echolyn - emphasising to myself how much I don't like them, moved to Muse (huzzah), Okkervil River, Talk Talk in Montreux (DVD), now Rush (Snakes and Arrows has grown on me, in a good way).

Love and lollipops, B

5 July 2009

Whisky : Highlands tasting

Although my Friday night wasn't the most exciting, I cleaned the oven. Yes, that was it. Oven cleaning.

But last week we had a whisky tasting of Highlands single malts, Daniel had tried to chose malts outside of those we've had before. I don't think it was that successful. None were bad, but there wasn't much that stood out. Never mind, it's added more to list of whisky's I've tried.

Clynelish 14yo I think it was the 14yo anyway. I'm not a huge fan of Clynelish, I prefer the dearly departed Brora next door. Nose: hint of salt, caramel, grass, sweet, age? Palate: kinda flat, a bit salty, tastes cheap. Finish: med-long, very weak hint of smoke. 6/10

Old Pulteney 12yo 40% Nose: sweet, fruit, low alcohol, mild. Palate: soap - really strong!, background of salt Finish: short, bad. 5/10

Old Pulteney 17yo 46% no chill filter Nose: incr alcohol, coconut, bright, reminded me of a Springbank. Palate: empty, rum, too light, salt, dry. Finish: medium, but not great 6.5/10

Old Pulteney 21yo 46% no chill Nose: salt, petrol, vanilla, and yet empty. Palate: banana, vanilla, salty. Finish: medium 6/10.

Glenmorangie Astar 57.1% non chill slow growth air seasoned Quercus Alba Yeah that's right, they tell you about the damn tree it's been bottled in. On the other hand, it's the first interesting 'morangie I've had. Nose: vanilla, sweet (from the oak?), maple syrup, marshmallows. Palate: sweet, spicy, full, caramel, bourbon hints. Finish: med-long, spicy 8/10

Balblair 1997 43% bottled 2008 bourbon wood Nose: sweet, maple syrup, mild, weak, banana, boring. Palate: soft, sweet, pineapple lumps, salt. Finish: none. soft-short. 6.5/10

Balblair 1975 46% bottled 2007 no chill/colour sherry casks Nose: older, leather, smoke, wood, caramel, complex. Palate: wood, smoke, bourbon, sherry?, kinda empty. Finish: med- but grows in complexity. 7/10

All in all, not outstanding. I hadn't had Balblair or Old Pulteney, but then again on the basis of this, I won't be chasing them either!


1 July 2009

Has had quite a superb evening`

The day was boring, and kinda productive. But still boring.

The evening involved paua fritters, salad and chips, washed down with Wells Bombadier. I'm not known for supporting hot babes to stay in their relationship, but in this case, GB you hang with the j-boi. He's ok in my book.
Managed to get some stuff done for me (shock, horror), watched the pre-raphaelites ep1-2 which is lovely, my man-crush on top gear, then listened to Genesis "We Can't Dance" in 5.1, which really is a magical experience.

Now curled up in bed watching Sit Down, Shut Up. I'm liking it, I think.

Me xxx