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Product: Audio CD
Title: No Silence [Bonus CD & DVD]
Label: Radikal Records
Artist: ATB
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
You will not hear any silence after this album...


ATB continues to try to re-invent himself, to make each album another great piece of music. He does not disappoint with his [import] album.

ATB's release before "No Silence", "Addicted to Music", showed us exactly how much ATB was re-inventing himself, and why we became "addicted to music" from ATB. From "movin' melodies" to tunes from "two worlds"... ATB has produced some amazing tracks. An album that combines all of his previous albums' style into one, with some fresh sounds. But he does keep his trance roots strong, with his emphasis on dance cross-overs is still very apparent. Mixing beats of trance, dance, progressive, chilled, and trip-hop, it shows a whole new world of ATB sounds.

While listening to the album, I found that each song had its individual flavor. Unlike other artists whose albums are bland due to the fact that they use the same beats, sounds, and vocals, ATB's "No Silence" affirms itself to be anything of that sort, in fact, a city on the other side of the world (Marrakech is a city in Morocco).

One thing that this album did often remind me of is the artist Delerium, due to the new array of vocalists featured on this album, dark and soothing lyrics, ambient sounds that create a whole new world, guitar and piano melodies, and trip-hop beats. It's a whole new sense of music while listening to these songs, with a sense of respect of the world and nature, of natural beauty and the earth.

ATB blends the album together; at the end of each track he leads the listener a few seconds ahead to the next track.

1. "Marrakech" [4:22] takes you on a journey of the mysterious city, ambient sounds that create a whole world. The beautiful, exotic vocals are provided by Tiff Lacey ("Hypnotised" - Paul Oakenfold). A guitar melody reminiscent of his melodies of "Addicted to Music" ("Gentle Melody"), adds to the blend of Tiff Lacey's vocals and seductive, trance beat.

2. Ecstasy [4:21] is another great track with vocals by Tiff Lacey. The vocals are even more distant in this track, describing the whirlwind of emotions caused by that one person you fall in love with that one person.

3. Autumn Leaves [5:42] was truly a different piece done by ATB. "As I'm walking through the rain / cold tears falling down my face / ...like the autumn leaves / ...on windy day." A chilled, down-tempo track that describes the feeling of being alone. It uses this odd water-drop sound, which made me think of the funny synth he used in the intro of "Do You Love Me" from "Addicted to Music". The vocals are the perfect voice for this song, airy and light, the sugary vocals are provided by Michal the Girl (Michal the Girl had an album come out in 2003, her website is www.michalthegirl.com/). The song is ominous, with a slow beat; you can imagine a girl walking down the road with autumn leaves falling at her feet.

4. Here With Me [5:12] reminded me of "Hold You" from "Dedicated", with beats of "Addicted to Music". It also had a whole new feel to it, which I absolutely loved. Simple, beautiful piano melody accompanies the vocals of Tiff Lacey, which threw me off. She sounds somewhat like Roberta Carter Harrison, but with the chorus you know it is Tiff Lacey. Her voice is very different in this track, the track seems to show her stronger voice. This track is my personal favorite.

5. Black Nights [5:02] is a mysterious song, with a sense of dark to it. With a trip-hop beat, melodies, and vocals that reminded me of Delerium... this song was another great listen. It was awesome to hear the vocals done by Madelin Zero, whose voice was perfect for the dark setting that the song set up. But, the song goes into this "happier" chorus with annoying lyrics: "you're on my radar / on my radar / with your designer love...". Zero's voice also seems to get very nasally during the chorus... But the acoustic sounds, beat, background strings, and piano melody, it was a great crossover of dance/trip-hop/pop/rock.

Though I would like to go in depth with the rest of the tracks, reviews of the first five tracks is enough. Roberta Carter Harrison (Hold You, Let U Go, and Addicted to Music), returns to do tracks 9 and 12: "After the Flame" and "Wait For Your Heart". "After the Flame" reminds me so much of "Addicted to Music" like as if it was another track on that album that got misplaced. After hearing all those other artists, it was great to hear her voice again. "Wait For Your Heart" is a bit odd, it's very slow song, with an almost Nintendo-sounding synth; her voice comes across as very enhanced with filters and such. Ken Harrison, on track 8: "Sun Goes Down", which reminded me of Junkie XL's "Perfect Blue Sky" with The Cure's Robert Smith. "Sun Goes Down" sounds like a chilled, listen to on the beach, down-tempo song which is great to hear ATB do such a different track on his album. Ken Harrison, Madelin Zero, RuDee, and Woody van Eyden all contributed to the writing of the tracks as well. (My personal favorite is the last track, Circular Symmetry, which is just instrumental. Beautiful guitar melody.)

Another great album.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Forever Plaid: The Heavenly Musical Hit (1990 Off-Off-Broadway Cast)
Label: RCA
Artist: Various Artists - Soundtracks, David Engel, Jason Graae, Guy Stroman, Original Cast
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Plaidly wonderful!


I just got done doing "Forever Plaid" as the lighting technician... it was the best show with the absolute best music. I looked everywhere for the album, because I knew that when the show closed (today) that I would have those songs in my head forever! I highly recommend this album if you crave those barber shop quartets. Have fun!



Product: Audio CD
Title: Laundry Service
Label: Sony
Artist: Shakira
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
An often underrated charmer and writer


Shakira sings and writes her heart out and gives so much too her hybrid latin-rock-pop music that its easy to see how well she can be celebrated by those that appreciate her innocent yet disciplined approach to rock and dance music. Shakira puts real energy into her music and stands away from the likes of those she is compared too most often (Paulina Rubio, Thalia) and much rather sounds like "Avril Lavigne" then her same compared latin pop artists for the more "rock" music she writes.
Both catchy and danceable songs make up this album and as her previous 2 stuido efforts doesn't lack in diversity as well as ballads and an almost "house" sounding song "ready for the good times"
Shakira is a bright and entertaining artist. I look forward to more developed and matured music from her.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Encore [Decca]
Label: Decca
Artist:
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5
Embarrassing encore


Russell Watson did create a little stir when he released his first album, The Voice. Quite an amount of people are taken to Watson's easy-going style and glossy image that they've failed to note the many defects in his singing.
Now, Watson is releasing his 2nd album, Encore, and we have the chance to focus more on Watson's performance than his image. What one can plainly hear in this recording is very inadequate singing and bland interpretations. I will not add to the embarrassment of the singer and his fans by listing out the many flaws in his vocal utterances. Suffice to say that he cannot even hold a note steadily, and that perhaps already indicates the level of singing one can hear on this recording.
Unfortunately, Watson's interpretation is lifeless and without musical interest. While listening to this recording, I can't help wondering if Watson knew what he's actually singing in the studio. All the songs sound the same through his mouth.
What an embarrassment!