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77Jim's Profile

Customer Reviews: 61
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77Jim RSS Feed (Philadelphia PA)

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Dark Matter (Slipsleeve)
Dark Matter (Slipsleeve)
Price: $13.99
28 used & new from $8.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IQ should be more widely acclaimed, April 7, 2006
I'm pretty suprised to read some of the lack-luster reviews posted here of Dark Matter. Out of a mammoth stack of Neo-Prog I've managed to accumulate, this particular disk ranks very high with my liking. A couple of Amazon reviews I read even influenced some hesitancy to give IQ a try. I am glad I finally budged and picked up Dark Matter because it's one of the more interesting, melodic and conceptually intelligent things I have heard in a while. The last song is my favorite, but I think you have to play the album sequentially to arrive at the climactic finish. I always preferred Gentle Giant to Genesis so I can't personally argue, nit pick or compare Genesis vs. IQ as some reviews have.

Dark Matter is a deep and interesting listen. All I can say is that I really enjoy it and do not regret the purchase the slightest.

11 used & new from $13.93

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ages like a fine wine..., March 13, 2006
This review is from: BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER (Audio CD)
Music of this nature takes a lot of time to gel with my ears. At first this Transatlantic album didn't stand out for me, despite the fantastic rep it seems to carry.

With repeated listens and plenty of time to focus exclusively on the music, the initial fog of complexity has lifted revealing a brilliant beautifully orchestrated album I can not get enough of now. I'm not going to get into all the facets of musicianship and attention to the most minute musical details evident here on this disk... this sucker is just plain beautiful music. Listen to this w/ the lights off and in the company of someone special. It is worth every penny of it's admission price.

Giant for a Day
Giant for a Day
12 used & new from $2.81

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical Fun album..., March 8, 2006
This review is from: Giant for a Day (Audio CD)
I am wondering if it is an "American cultural thing" to root out "the weakest link" and proceed through to negative de-construction... Maybe it's the "American Idol" era we live in where the best can not be appreciated without slamming, rejecting and ridiculing the lower ranks.

Where am I going? This Gentle Giant album gets slammed left and right. In truth it is a whimsical, fun album with a lot of polish on it. It is "pop" flavored. It is not nearly as cataclysmic, complex and ferrociously ecclectic as their famous albums. It is not a prog-rock masterpiece in the "file next to Close to the Edge" realm. To top it off the album cover is a bit goofy.

So what!

For the price of admission, this album is enjoyable. Gentle Giant is a great band and their 3 star work is still worthy of investigation. There are good times lurking in these grooves even if it's a few stars short of a "classic" in status. Those familiar with GG know they proved themselves already. Enjoy it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2008 4:56 PM PDT

8 used & new from $3.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one is worth owning / Great starting point, March 8, 2006
This review is from: In'terview (Audio CD)
I am not a 70's Prog expert or music theory critic by any means... but I seriously feel ALL the albums by Gentle Giant are worth owning. I would highly reccommend Interview for a new fan of GG. This one is a great place to start because it's accessible, diverse in sound and hints at the sophisticated greatness that is more potent in the famous Giant catalogue (aka Octopus, Glass House, Freehand). In short I wish I had started my exploration of this band with Interview. It's a mild stretch in a long run of very sophisticated recordings. Gentle Giant, like King Crimson, almost seems "too smart" for the average ear. Their "toned down" material is still light years beyond average American rock and will entertain and reward without too much intimidation. Interview is mildly reserved, a little bit uneven and definitely not Gentle Giant flexing their musical muscle (as on Octopus & Glass House where their insane chops run rampant!), but it is worth owning without any doubt.

If Interview sits well with you then embrace and enjoy the reality that future purchases will only get wilder! Enjoy the ride with this band. Gentle Giant is a diamond in the rough.

22 used & new from $3.48

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unreal... I am awestruck, February 23, 2006
This review is from: Neu! (Audio CD)
I am flat out awestruck by this band. This album is just unreal... simply beautiful... remarkable music. Words, descriptions and trivial attempts at categorizing Neu! are futile. If you are the least bit curious about purchasing this album do so with confidence. Play the daylights out of it if you already own it. The music captured here is on a heavenly level.

Captain Beyond [Remastered]
Captain Beyond [Remastered]
Price: $4.99
136 used & new from $2.27

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from a listener in his 20's..., February 13, 2006
I am NOT a child of the 70's. (I was born in 1977) I want to review this album though from my perspective to help people from my generation appreciate this band and ultimately pass this burning torch of greatness onwards. There is so much astronomical praise riding on this album that it almost primes potential for let down and dissappointment. Hopefully I can shed some honest light from a younger ear and keep this from happening.

First off, this album is DELICATE. It is furiously fast and swirling and wild and charismatic and complex and artistic... BUT here in the year 2006, these qualities sound SUBTLE. This beautiful listening experience is NOT INSTANTANEOUS. Those expecting to be blown away by a door to another musical universe could be in for some disappointment. I have to stress this. I had to listen to this album many many times to finally agree with a majority of the reviews posted here of this solid 5 star album. Captain Beyond is not about extremes. Musically they really don't re-invent the wheel either (this is not a bad thing by any means). This is a really really tight and bluesy rock band that knows they are good.Think of Cream, Hendrix, even a pinch of Ian Astbury / Cult. My girlfriend heard me playing this once and asked if it was guitarist "Matthew Sweet", which I can understand after thinking about the comparison for a few moments. I did not find Captain Beyond as far out, dark and "trippy" as a Black Sabbath album, but it's not nearly as corny and dated sounding as one either. Lastly I found the "Prog" labelling on this one a little misleading to a younger music fan. The album flows wonderfully well without testing one's patience the way Topographic Oceans or anything "Yes-like" has potential for ruining.

I highly recommend this band, but I emphasize repeated listens and an open mind. This is subtle and strong musicianship that doesn't need to wack the listener over the head with a frying pan. In our musically tired apathetic 2000's era, finding modesty and greatness like this band is a rare enjoyment. Definitely check this one out.

Piece of Cake
Piece of Cake
Offered by Media Supplies Outlet
Price: $18.93
65 used & new from $0.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Material from a Great Band, February 11, 2006
This review is from: Piece of Cake (Audio CD)
Goodness... I still remember buying this album via mail-order BMG club circa 1992. Music was SO SO good at this time and unlike 2006 there was always a million CDs I wanted to buy. It was a very exciting time to be into underground music. Mudhoney, along with fIREHOSE and ALL were my absolute favorites of this early 90's era and I gobbled up everything these bands made.

Needless to say I revisited this album 10+ years later and it is "decent" but not as magical as I once favored it as a teen. Contrary to some reviews I feel there IS skippable stuff here with 4 truly great cuts amongst the 17 tracks. Those 30 second "title-less" intro / jam things sound dated and a bit goofy now. I had read this album was rushed in the studio and it was not even held in super high regard by the band members. This was the peak of the Seattle "Grunge Gold Rush".

Mudhoney is a very good band. Get this one after you have Superfuzz, EGBDF, and My Brother the Cow. Even the EP 5 Dollar Bob is as interesting minus the filler of Piece of Cake.

40 Oz. To Freedom
40 Oz. To Freedom
Price: $9.24
144 used & new from $1.16

101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively sophisticated, sacred recording..., January 24, 2006
This review is from: 40 Oz. To Freedom (Audio CD)
I've been wanting to review 40 Oz to Freedom for a long time now, as it is one of my favorite pieces of recorded music that I have found on this planet in my 28+ years of life and passionate appreciation of good music. In the likely event that my review gets excessively long here, I will state my major point early. This album is incredibily and DECEPTIVELY sophisticated. Sure, it is a rebellious, trend sparking album bubbling with attitude and venom and many many kids, teens and social outcasts love it. Sometimes kids like very very good things. One should really take notice!

Musicianship: Scrape away all you know about the drugs, death, drama and turmoil surrounding Sublime and focus exclusively on their music... the notes, the melodies, the transitions, the accents, the basslines, the song structures and most importantly the incredibily meticulous attention to detail cleverly hidden under a "punk rock guise" here. This group was remarkably talented. I urge anyone with a hint of music background to give this record a spin and put an intelligent ear to some of what lurks in this album. Sublime alone was a ferrocious three piece unit, but they are fearless and absolutely bullet proof when they are joined by their friends, recording engineers, Djs, guest horn players, extra percussions, guitars, toasters etc. etc. This was a "super-nova" recording. The odds of these specific people coming together in this complex arrangement and creating this collection of sound waves is remarkable. The only recent musical statement I can mildly compare it to in this regard is the under-appreciated Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys from 1989. An intelligent sensitive ear will sense the white hot energy in these grooves. This album flirts with danger like a stuntman. It has teeth too. It has sharp wit, street cred and a biting sense of humor. 40 oz. burns with frightening raw power. It hits nerves in the stomach the way Guns and Roses did with Sweet Child O'Mine. It revisits the rush kids get from shoplifting a candybar or lighting a fire or discovering your Dad's Playboy stash for the first time. It is that good.

Brad is the crazed captain of this ship. You wonder if he can promise a safe return, let alone the delusion of treasure, spices and women. He is the Alpha Male who can pound his chest, boast bi-lingual croons, scat thick reggae and play guitar like a prophet. I am serious here. The dangerous level of charisma Brad possessed is glowing on this recording. The cat could sing. He was unapologetic and sexist and indulgent at times and could make the most vulgar slum laden vocal sound angelic. There are moments of pure beauty, pure love, pure joy here. It's visibile in the fade in to Badfish. It's dominant in Scarlet Bagonias. It's even laced in there on "Dj's" with the caution of a caucasion Grandmaster Flash. On the flipside there is then wicked and rampant paranoia captured in such "deceptively" simple brush strokes... the initial feedback on their Decendents cover of Hope, the engine of New Thrash, the scat line to Scarlet Bagonias.

Eric is the gentle giant. His bass parts are patient, reserved and spaceous. He has no desire to compete with Brad or Bud for the spotlight (why would a sane person even dare?). He plays the bass as bass was intended and should be commended for his abilities here. His touch is subtle and supportive and contains an elephant back framework capable of holding the whole chaotic mess together. He shines quietly in the background with consistancy and yet his bass lines are still intriguing and demand investigation.

Bud is Brad's toxic twin, an intense personality that delivers the second knock-out punch. He is certainly second to Brad but he gets his jabs in real good. Listen to this guy's snare drum snap. He can play simple reggae beats spiked with the snarl of the best punk rock and when his absence is filled in with sampled James Brown funk the results are still captivating.

In the early to mid 90's NOBODY was making music like this. NOBODY was sampling Eazy E next to the Specials, Bad Religion, Jimmy Cliff, Kurtis Blow and the Minutemen (to name a few!). This sort of thing was the work of lunatic bravery which could have easily failed miserably. This is a painting that uses ALL the paint tubes and stays together by miracle.This album could easily have fallen HARD off it's track and burned up before anyone outside of LBC even took notice.

Sublime pulled this off and it is a truly SACRED recording.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2012 9:05 AM PST

Grateful Dead: Beyond Description (1973-1989)
Grateful Dead: Beyond Description (1973-1989)
Price: $117.68
33 used & new from $89.70

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escapism revisited, January 23, 2006
In the early 90's I was a super-shy teen who innocently discovered the Dead... In hindsight it was most likely because of their vibrant artwork and graphics that attracted my artistic eye. I naively bought albums at random and played them thru headphones while I plowed through a stack of comic books and escaped the tortures of a difficult but typical adolescence. It was an open minded era of innocence and gentle escapism. Some of the albums I loved were Built to Last, Blues for Allah, Terrapin Station and Go to Heaven. I was not a "Dead Head". I did not see them live or adopt "popular opinion" of serious Dead heads to try and fit in... just an open minded artistic kid willing to enjoy some mellow tunes circa 1991.

The remastered sound, packaging, bonus materials, attention to detail and genuine "respect" given to these re-masters here is superb. They are also in my opinion fantastic purchases for their unit price. This is a collection to get lost in and simply enjoy. Play the heck out of it while you go about and don't compare every track to American Beauty. I do not think every album collected here is "brilliant" btw, but then again not every Miles Davis remaster I own is Kind of Blue from start to end either and I love them all.

If you are curious about this set and looking for advice to consider before jumping in because of it's price, I would go for it on this one. With an open mind it is a rewarding experience. Enjoy the Dead for what they were at this career stage and like what you like...

Extrapolation (w/John Surman)
Extrapolation (w/John Surman)
Offered by megahitrecords
Price: $18.99
70 used & new from $2.65

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable., December 14, 2005
No need to make this review long-winded. This album contains a gentle mood of soulfullness like no other I have experienced. It is a just plain beautiful extroadinary fantastic delicate album...

Listen to "Arjen's Bag" on a cold winter day... it is remarkable.

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