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The Good Stuff
Sky's Music Reviews
by Sky
Length:  1606 words 

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Deep Relaxation & My Place of Tranquillity CD

Conquer Stress
Deep Relaxation
and your own inner
Place of Tranquillity

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My Place of Tranquillity

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Deep Relaxation

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Self Esteem
and Confidence
with the flick of mental switch.

All of us are conditioned
to keep a series of
emotional triggers - 
which is why people and events can trigger
our emotional buttons.
The Second Trigger is
your own personal release
from all of these buttons.

Take back control of your life now!

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Breathing Deeply CD - your own personal coach

Breathing Deeply
is the natural and simple path to happiness.
Breathing Deeply

promotes confidence,
and good health.
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Married and Loving It! book for anyone wanting a seriously happy marriage.

Do you want a 
seriously happy marriage?
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13 Myths that Murder Marriage CD Cover - don't let them kill your love.

Is your relationship being
destroyed by  the
Marriage Murdering Myths?
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Letters to Michael - a visionary novel

Letters to Michael
(A visionary novel)

Want to know what happens when you die?

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 Spirit of Jim Morrison
Spirit of Jim Morrison
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 Tori Amos - Junkies
Tori Amos - Junkies
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Sky's Music Reviews

Frost – Steel Wound

The title reads as a double entendre, but the album itself leaves no questions as to its intent. A dark lullaby, perfectly pretty, Steel Wound is the perfect album to put on to sleep to or just to relax. Created almost entirely using a distorted Guitar, long notes draw you in and hold you down, whilst sweet instrumental vocals float across the surface. The album is more a constant structure than a series of songs, each track flows seamlessly into the other, only the occasional lull to denote a new number on your cd player. This is not to say it is repetitive though, many things change and it remains new and interesting throughout, it just feels like a very logical progression. Steel Wound is the perfect album for those seeking ambient and should even convince those who usually dislike the genre. 9/10

Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

Following in the footsteps of Kid A and Amnesiac, Radiohead maintain their strange electronic leanings and combine them with the swampy rock of their past. Absolutely filled with good songs, something on this album should appeal to just about everyone. From Myxomatosis, which features great melodies and the best bass I’ve heard in a long time, to The Gloaming with is weird sounds and repetitive structures to A Punchup at a Wedding, showing off the new version of Radiohead rocking out. Muscially, the sheer range is wonderful and the skill with which it was crafted readily apparent. And the whole time, Thom Yorke’s unique voice runs across it, bringing just the right amount of rage or sorrow to each track. In my opinion this is Radiohead’s best album, bar none. 10/10

Somatic Responses – Touching the Void

Touching the Void marks Somatic Responses return to the Hymen label and it shows. Whereas their last album, Dying Languages, went for a more laid back feel, this one is very full on. This is strong IDM, from its squelchy tones to the noises, which swiftly rise and fall, punctuating the tracks. Fractured beats dance over and under a layered melody that could never be called conventional, whilst white noise gives an appropriately rhythmic background. The album does have the unfortunate tendency to repeat itself though and in many places sounds like a harsher version of Dying Languages. This is a shame, because when not repeating themselves, Somatic Responses produce some of the best IDM on the market. Definitely interesting and quite innovative this album is well worth having, a little less so if you own their last one. 7/10

Placebo – Sleeping with Ghosts

Making a welcome return to form, Placebo show that they learnt from the mistakes of their last album. This time around they’ve used electronics to enhance and compliment their more traditional brit-punk sound, rather than letting it take control. Indeed the music on this album is by far the most intricate and pretty that Placebo have created up until now. Brian Molko seems to have rediscovered some of his lyrical skill as well and, whilst returning to his standard fare of sex, drugs and disillusionment, brings a more mature and perhaps melancholy take to the topics. Sure to appeal to fans, and the progression of sound may help attract a few new listeners into the fold. A warning however, distributors EMI have seen fit to cripple this cd so that it would not even read in any computer I tested it on. 7/10

KK Null – Astrodynamix/Live in Moscow

A Japanese experimental artist, who has played with the likes of Merzbow, KK Null definitely leans towards the Noise side of the spectrum. Featuring harsh tones mixed over a thundering base, the music constantly rises and crashes, bringing almost melodic lines forward, only to crash back down into chaos. Though live, every tone is delicately placed and the music is well defined, even in it’s least structured moments. Definitely not quiet music, KK Null is best when the bass thunders through your body and the high end screams down your ears and as such it loses a little something in the transition to a recording, although it remains enjoyable. Incredibly well composed, and building nicely for most of the album (until it moves sharply left for a weird form of jazz in the last track), Astrodynamix is a worthwhile, but not necessary, album. 6/10

Massive Attack (16/03/2003)

For me, this concert is the early contender for concert of the year and it will take a whole lot of beating. Kicking straight into FutureProof, the opening track off 100th window and perhaps the album’s most darkly enveloping track, Massive Attack set the tone for the night: Claustrophobic and surprisingly aggressive, but intricately beautiful. 

The set list leaned heavily towards the more recent albums, taking the majority of it’s tracks from Mezzanine and 100th window. Even earlier tracks such as Safe From Harm and Unfinished Sympathy got a re-working to fit into the newer aesthetic. This meant that the more laid back electronics and hip-hop influences were cast aside, in favour of a heavier, more intense vibe and a remarkably effective use of guitars, with elongated instrumental interludes appearing frequently in unexpected places. I usually dislike guitars in music, but tonight they worked perfectly, gelling in an instant and swirling amidst the drums and synth lines to create some of the most amazingly hypnotic music I’ve heard. For me, the ticket price was worth it just to hear the reworking of Safe From Harm, with the beauty of the vocals offset by a much more obvious aggression in the music combining to envelop the crowd.

The one possible problem with the concert was that it was amazing to hear. Those expecting something more of a performance may have been disappointed. Whilst the light show and screen were interesting they weren’t amazing, and the interchanging of singers removed a sense of attachment to the band. For me, this was completely unimportant as, given the amazing quality of the songs and of the musicians, I could’ve closed my eyes for the entire concert and still have been a very happy man. For those who require more of a performance however, it could have proven a problem.

All problems aside though, this was one of the most impressive, professional and generally amazing concerts I have been privileged to witness. Given the number of seats that weren’t taken, I can only hope that if you didn’t go, you have a good excuse, because you missed a once in lifetime show.

Contagious Orgasm – The Cause of the Flow - Ant Zen

A Japanese act on the Ant Zen label, Contagious Orgasm use a mixture of samples and their own creations, to produce a mesmerizing release. Melodies flow and disappear only to re-appear in a later track, combining with changing sounds to produce a completely different track that remains hauntingly familiar. Swirling from ambient to dense and back again across the space of the album, The Cause of the Flow almost seems like a disjointed soundtrack, playing in a distant alley. The final track is a great finale, pulling together many of the earlier loops into one final, dense and beautiful movement. 8/10

Tarmvred – Subfusc – Ad Noiseam

A newcomer of a band, on a very new label, Tarmvred shouldn’t be this good. Subfusc has an amazing depth and maturity and pretty much creates it’s own category of music, mixing IDM, Power Noise and Dark Industrial (think CMI). Most tracks begin softly, introducing surprisingly pretty melodies slowly along the way, before they fall away before heavy rhythmic beats, only to re-emerge and intermingle later in the song. Consisting of 8 tracks, most of them over 10 minutes in length, there’s a lot of room in each song for thoughts to build. Although all the tracks share the same aesthetic, they do not reuse samples or loops and every track holds its own, very unique, place within the whole. Subfusc is a stunning first album and one that anyone with an interest in dark electronica should consider essential. 10/10

10 albums worth owning

Contagious Orgasm The Cause of the Flow – Ant Zen – A mesmerising album, swirling from ambient to dense and back again. 

Dryft the mytotyc exyt ep – Component Records – A mixture of new tracks and remixes sees Dryft taking a step away from D&B and moving in slightly mellower territories.

Somatic ResponsesTouching the Void – Hymen – A wonderful example of warm IDM, mixing glitch and more natural electronica together to create an album which is sometimes mellow, sometimes crunching, but always interesting.

Boards of Canadageogaddi – Warp – Another great IDM album, showcasing an almost ‘innocent’ sound. Subtle melodies and intricate arrangements abound.

Beefcake - Hȏte – M-tronic – An ep featuring 4 new tracks and a remix of each. This makes for an interesting and varied album of (principally) IDM

I/O Calm – Room40 – This great local artist has produced a wonderful, almost ambient, album utilising field recordings and samples to achieve a feel hinted at in the title.

Low Key OperationsConcrete – self-release – Another great local artist. This album is a bit more of a straightforward electronic release, but is still eminently enjoyable.

Tori Amos Scarlet’s Walk - Sony – Not exactly keeping with the theme, but a stunning album as usual from one of the most unique female artists around (what can I say, I’m a fan)

Proem No carrier ep – Component Records – This short (25min) 3” ep by a little known Canadian electronic act is another wonderful example of ‘warm’ IDM.

V/A SubSnow 02-02 – Ad Noiseam – A aural journal of Tarmvred’s US tour, featuring live tracks from Tarmvred and all of their support acts along the way.

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 Alternative Music
Alternative Music
Micarelli, Clement
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