Valid XHTML 1.0!

Valid CSS!

Product: Audio CD
Title: 20 More Good Vibrations, Vol. 1
Label: Nonesuch
Artist:
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Proxy for a Reich's Greatest Hits CD?


Of all modern classical composers, Steve Reich is the one whose music is most likely to attract the rock-oriented ear. 'Music for 18 Musicians' was a ground-breaking album which closed out the 1970s, and it took much of the audience that had been nurtured on Tangerine Dream's 'Ricochet' and, before that, Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells'. It was only to be expected that other artists would start sampling Reich's works.
I can't get enough of 'Music for 18 Musicians' -- I bought it on LP in 1979, and two versions on CD. It is my No. 1 self-hypnosis album. So I was intrigued to discover how it would be re-worked for this album. I was disappointed, frankly. The Coldcut Remix provides no evidence that the DJ has listened beyond the first five minutes of the original.
But there's no heresy in modifying Reich's music. I welcome every effort to do so. I knew about half of the pieces selected here, so, for me, it's partly a Reich sampler. The great thing about the album is that not only did it get me buying more of Reich's output, but it also got me listening more to the originals.
For me, the stand-out track here is 'Piano Phase', which applies prog-rock values to a piece I didn't know at all well. It could so easily be Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson playing the synth lines over the piano loop!
The opening track has grown on me over the years. At first listen, the Megamix seemed to have too many different samples crowded in; it seemed too ambitious in searching for common musical themes between no fewer than nine of Reich's albums. But now it flows nicely.
The closing track, supposedly based on the Desert Music, is a straightforward techno track, almost Prodigy-like, whose relationship to Reich's music seems entirely tangential.
I believe every Reich fan should hear this album, even though a few will find perhaps nothing to like. And I'd recommend anyone who buys this album without knowing Reich to listen also to 'Different Trains', 'Electric Counterpoint', and of course, 'Music for 18 Musicians'.
Until Nonesuch releases in the US the greatest hits CD compiled in Japan, we will have to rely on this as the only single-CD tour through Reich's works, however oblique and re-shaped these may be.



Product: Audio CD
Title: John Denver: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
Label: RCA
Artist: John Denver
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A broad distribution of John Denver Favorites


This is an excellent John Denver album showing the wide range of his singing and composing talents. It includes ballads like "Annie's Song" and "My Sweet Lady" to knee-slappin', toe tappin' favorites "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "Grandma's Feather Bed. And for all you environmentalists out there his "Calypso," a tribute to the late Jaques Cousteu (although not deceased when Denver wrote it) is wonderful.



Product: Audio CD
Title: No Strings Attached
Label: Jive
Artist: *NSYNC
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
no strings attatched


N Sync's sophomore album shows a lack of quality throughout almost every track. The vocals sound strained during most of the songs, possibly due to digital enhancement. It was very hard to determine if there were also any actual live instruments used, most sounded like they had been produced by a computer. The new R&B/Rap approach taken to some tracks also seems to be taking a step away from their current teeny-bopper style. All in all, the songs, vocals, and engineering all fall flat and sound extremely hollow. Strong Recommendation to Avoid!



Product: Audio CD
Title: Moulin Rouge 2
Label: Interscope Records
Artist:
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
Where's the real "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack?


Even though the first soundtrack was very good, I still wanted more songs from the film on CD. When I heard this was coming out, I was excited because I thought everything else would be on here. But when it finally did come out, it had almost nothing I was after, and what it did have was unsatisfying. Some of the original film versions of "the Pitch" and "the Show Much Go On" are both different than the actual film versions. The sound quality of those songs weren't that impressive either. And while I did enjoy most of the score by Craig Armstrong, I wish there were a better selection of songs. Like instead of having the remix of "One Day I'll Fly Away," which I do admit I like, why not have the "Lady Marmalade" remix heard in the beginning? And my biggest peeve is not including the "Come What May" finale, my favorite song. Why not include "Gorecki," the song Satine briefly sings after being told to break with Christian? But I am glad we get "Bolero," the film credits music, which is a wonderful listen. Overall, I truly believe this was a missed opportunity. Many other songs could of been on this album, and maybe someday soon there will be a "Moulin Rouge! 3" CD.