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K. Franklin's Profile

Customer Reviews: 31
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Reviews Written by
K. Franklin "aeternal" RSS Feed (Yonkers, NY)

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Different Stars
Different Stars
Price: $12.99
29 used & new from $0.52

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Sadness, September 19, 2006
This review is from: Different Stars (Audio CD)
Dreamy and soothing, Trespassers William captures the feeling of being lost and soulful on a lonely night. I fell in love with the song "Untitled" after hearing it on a community music site, then had to buy the CD on the assumption that the whole thing was equally gratifying. I wasn't disappointed! These lullabies are about being detached from love and warmth and craving it:

It is too late to feel like a numb skin

Say that you've harpooned me, am I a prize then

I am lost as the sea, you tell me what I see

Love was supposed to save me

With its twangy guitar and soft, clear feminine vocals, this music will appeal to fans of Mazzy Star.

DVD ~ Jon Stewart
Offered by Clyde Parks
Price: $17.20
89 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Smile and a Scratch on the Head, August 21, 2006
This review is from: Doogal (DVD)
When told that Doogle features an evil villain voiced by Jon Stewart who shoots icicles out of his mustache, I couldn't refuse. Turns out Stewart isn't the only celeb star in this bizarre little children's legend--we also have Whoopi Goldberg, Chevy Chase, Jimmy Fallon, and Kylie Minogue giving life these cute yet not-so-gripping 3D animations.

It's a typical good vs. evil, save the world tale. When evil wizard Zeebad (who bounces along spring-bound) is released from his trap inside a carousal, havoc is unleashed in a world where people, dogs, rabbits, and toys logically interact. The best friend of our protagonist, Doogle the dog, is trapped inside the frozen carousel, and Doogle and his team of friends must recover and replace three magical diamonds in order to make the world normal again.

The lines are painfully cheesy, even for children, and laced with tons of pop-cultural references that will shoot straight over the head of the film's target audience (The Apprentice, Lord of the Rings, Pink Floyd, Art Garfunkel, Soul Train). Fart jokes are plentiful. While this will appeal to kids, it won't be particularly absorbing or memorable. Adults may be amused if under an influence.

Carnival of Souls
Carnival of Souls
11 used & new from $6.33

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Recording, March 7, 2006
This review is from: Carnival of Souls (Audio CD)
Very few albums manage to provide the polar mood intensities found within Miranda Sex Garden's Carnival of Souls. It is a mix of solace and alarm; a mix of terror and seduction; a fusion of the angelic and the demonic.

Though the group's members have shuffled in and out over the past couple recordings, Katharine Blake's vocals remain an identifier for MSG fans. Her sweet voice delicately muses one minute and explodes the next, while retaining it's beauty throughout. The band, as of this recording, is a great merge of talents--together they make the music gush into a marvelous waterfall of sound. Landing a steady record label is probably the main reason MSG has gone so unnoticed, and why their fanbase is still considered underground.

For those unfamiliar with Miranda Sex Garden, the group's name is reflective of their sound, to say the least. They are a garden of beauty and forbidden treasures. Carnival of Souls carries only a light fragrance of the first entirely madrigal album, but the overpowering style is more of their merge into a jazzy, industrial/goth rock...if you can even classify it.

Carnival of Souls is a fitting name for the album, as we have moments of feeling like we're travelling through a maze of mirrors or being thrust about some sort of sinister ride. My favorite track is "Tonight," a saxaphone seduction carrying cinematic mood of a 1950's detective scene where we're about to uncover a tragic secret. "Tonight I lose you to the waves," Blake sings. I love the mystery of the song "Caravan," a semi-salsa semi-industrial semi-cabaret mix woven with soprano achings. Then are are the individual stand-out moments of the album, like rise of the cello and violin in "All There Is," where the strings are on fire.

Sweet Shadows
Sweet Shadows
Price: $14.77
34 used & new from $0.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appropriately, Natalie's Voice Drifts From "Sweet Shadows", February 7, 2006
This review is from: Sweet Shadows (Audio CD)
Daughter Darling can be categorized as a trip-hop and folk rock fusion. She sounds a bit like Jewel (sorry, closest comparison I could attach), except richer vocally. In Sweet Shadows, her vocals have a larger-than-life, ghostly sense to them--like you're being haunted by the dead or by memories of the past. Her voice lingers out there in the atmosphere, floating somewhere, and you can't sense where it's coming from but it's not on your ground. It creates a wonderful effect, especially when mixed with guitar, piano, and synth. The lyrics flow well. They aren't always complex, but they fit together and feel complete and right.

Though some songs on Sweet Shadows could use a little something extra in the background--maybe more variety, which could be fixed with some more complex production. Her voice is what makes the songs, but the background is often so dull that it's almost like it may as well not exist.

"Sad and Lonely" is swingy, nice tempo but gets monotonous. The lyrics are painful, and her voice carries a seductive quality. "Broken Bridge," to me, is the best track on this album. It's dark, with a feeling of walking down a beaten path and leaving glorious things behind--a song that you listen to when you're hanging onto a shred of hope. "Let Me Speak" is another fantastic, swingy song. The vocals are bluesy but they're setting against an organ and percussion with harmonica interjections and a steady mid-tempo. "I can't take the abuse of a fairytale I never knew," she sings. "Absconding" a soft song with just pianos to back her up, is gloomy and ethereal. Her last track is a cover of Kansas's "Dust in the Wind," but she tailors it so well to her style that at first you might not catch on it's a cover.

What to Do When You Are Dead
What to Do When You Are Dead
Price: $10.99
104 used & new from $0.01

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Dying, February 7, 2006
Here's the question. Is having a central theme throughout an album necessarily a good thing? My initial response would be yes. But in the case of Armor for Sleep's What To Do When You Are Dead, the songs are perhaps too similarly linked and have a hard time manifesting in and of themselves; most songs don't stand out as anything particularly special. A theme of being dead and looking into the reality that you once belonged to makes for good songs, but it's a theme that exists too overtly from track to track. They could have looked at the idea from several different angles, but the whole album pretty much says: I'm floating around out here and I'm trying to reconnect with a loved one. And that's all. So the initial concept is good, but the approach doesn't stick.

Also, in many songs, we have the case where the vocals and the lyrics carry more passion than the instruments--this seems to be a common pattern of modern rock releases of the decade. We don't experience a catharsis from the guitars and drums, and it leaves a feeling of the music being curtailed of its potential. And too often, there is little to no vocal variety, and we don't get enough mood transitions. There's that whiny, soul-searching feel and the mood just stays on that level. The only exceptions are "A Quick Little Flight" and "The End of a Fraud."

Now onto the better features--what made me want to buy the album in the first place. Wait...these are the same things I just addressed: the melancholy presence combined with the theme. So what I'm getting at is that on songs that I initially heard by Armor for Sleep ("The Truth About Heaven" and "Walking at Night, Alone") drew me in, but the album as a whole didn't carry the same magical presence. The singles are really what make the album. Oh yeah, and a haunting little "manual" titled "What to Do When You are Dead" accompanies the CD. I love this.

12 Tales
12 Tales
18 used & new from $0.50

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing Compilation, January 10, 2006
This review is from: 12 Tales (Audio CD)
For fans of the spell-like quality of medieval rock and shoegazing/dreampop, 12 Tales is a rare little must-own. It's probably my favorite compilation CD ever made. It initially attracted me by the cover art (I'm a huge Amy Brown fan) and then pulled me in by the track list--Rasputina, Cranes, Violet Indiana, and Miranda Sex Garden all on the same album? Sweet! I was immediately made a fan of the lesser-known artists on 12 Tales, such as The Flir, Bitstream Dream, Future Bible Heroes, and Livid Kittens. A booklet insert is a neat little feature, as mini-story and a piece of Amy Brown's fairy art accompany every track listing.

Don't except anything too heavy here--rather, the CD consists of 12 atmospheric tunes that will take you straight to Dreamland. Highlights are the Crane's "Flute Song," which has melodic aching quality set to a soft baseline; Bitstream Dream's "Impossible Gardens," which carries trace-like vocals set to a mid-eastern vibe; Violet Indiana's "Purr la Perla," which has this faraway, wistful texture; and David Sylvian's "Room of Sixteen Shimmers," a darkwave, fantasy gem.

Playing The Angel (U.S. Release)
Playing The Angel (U.S. Release)
Price: $10.99
109 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Going Strong, January 2, 2006
A lot of things died after their height in the 80s: cassette tapes, leg warmers, and The Cosby Show. Thanks to largely in part to Depeche Mode, dark synthpop wasn't one of them. It's often tricky for musicians to enter a third decade of greatness; they start to lose a certain element of passion that makes for energetic yet broody music. Depeche Mode hasn't, and Playing the Angel proves it.

In past, Depeche Mode have made a habit of having two or three outstanding tracks per album, with the rest standing mediocre (not bad enough to be considered "fillers," but you know what I mean). Although Playing the Angel doesn't provide me any new absolute favorite Depeche Mode songs (as in top 3 type favorite) all the tracks stand above mediocre.

Some fans prefer an ultra-upbeat Depeche Mode, while others cling to the group's more ballad-like favorites. Playing the Angel returns to both forms. It begins with traditional synthpop feel and then downs the tempo to a more relaxed vibe. In other words, at first you have the dance club, then you transform into what happens after the club--a stalking under the moonlight, being thrown back into reality and not catching a consistent rhythm to it.

Highlights are the first single "Precious," the overcast "Damaged People," the catchy "Lillian," and the last and quietest track, "The Darkest Star."

The production isn't perfect--at times I'm not sure where to turn the volume, and I'm wondering whether or not this is intentional. In comparison to their post-80's work, Playing the Angel is a step above Exiter and on par with Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and Ultra.

October Rust
October Rust
Price: $9.59
100 used & new from $1.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perpetual Bliss, December 18, 2005
This review is from: October Rust (Audio CD)
In honor of winter's presense surrounding me, I'd like to discuss one of my favorite "seasonal" albums, Type O Negative's October Rust. And by seasonal, I mean it encompasses all seasons--just take the cover art, which by each song pairs photo of the woods in different conditions, different lights. October Rust is the most melodic of Type O's works to date, and as a result, the favorite of many fans. It may be softer than their other albums, but still retains some aggression and lots of haunting through its ambience, deep guitar bellows, and Pete Steele's bottom-of-the-well bass vocals.

Type O Negative has this way of merging sarcasm and beauty. It's just an ever-apparent characteristic of their style. In October Rust, they start out by playing a little gag on us, but before we have too much time to respond, we are immediately thrust into "Love You to Death," a song of ultimate gothic romance. The romance continues with "Be My Druidness," a tale of pure lust. The sun is alive and burning in "Green Man," a song about the human condition through the seasons. Next, if you're dreaming of a black Christmas, you have to experience "Red Water." It's not a song of Christmas morning, but rather Christmas mourning. The mood and the transitions in this song are amazing. "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend," the most catchy tune on the album, is all about kink and unconventional romance. "Die With Me," a song about the departure of a loved one, is softer with beautiful crescendos. "Burnt Flowers Fallen," though minimal in lyrics, carries some great moments, though one of the weaker tracks. Themes of burning continue into "In Praise of Bacchus, where we have wounded images of New York City--a song that intensifies the most at the end. "Cinnamon Girl" takes the basic melody of the Neil Young version and twists it into something completely Type O. "Wolf Moon" carries moods of isolation in the deep woods; of the warning and spell-like quality of a full moon shining upon darkness. Tortured sensuality drifts through "Haunted," the final and darkest track.

Offered by Stuff in Tom's Garage
Price: $22.95
25 used & new from $6.35

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Lightning Field" of Sound, December 12, 2005
This review is from: Splinter (Audio CD)
Sneaker Pimp's second album, their 1999 release Splinter, is my favorite collection of their work. Many fans were disappointed at the lack of Kelli Dayton's vocals after this follow-up to Becoming X, but I like Chris Corner's voice just as much, if not better. It has a masculine yet delicate feel to it that has a way of drifting through the music rather than contrasting it. It truly complements the mood of Sneaker Pimps: hypnotic, dark, lustful, and enchanting trip-hop. In the cases of the albums Bloodsport and Splinter, the Sneaker Pimps are trip-hop with an acoustic presence, blending their sound with rock.

Out of their three albums thus far, Splinter has the most inspired lyrics. They don't get repetitious (as with Bloodsport), they explore several themes, and they are the most poetic--not only in the images themselves, but the way the lines flow. An example (from "Destroying Angel"): "Like the stones beneath the water that you walk on to be taller/The hands you stuck together when you prayed you'd wait forever."

The builds in this album are amazing. Songs will start off as subtle, gain some force, and then reach mind-blowing peaks--this especially occurs in "Lightning Field," Destroying Angel," and "Ten to Twenty." Despite my mood, Splinter always feels welcome.

DJ in the Mix
DJ in the Mix
2 used & new from $33.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Top-Notch Trance, December 1, 2005
This review is from: DJ in the Mix (Audio CD)
ATB's The DJ in the Mix is a blissful experience that serves an appropriate place on the dance floor, in the house party, in the car, or through the headphones. Andre Tanneberger provides just the right amount of tempo and rhythm variety. When it comes to trance compilations, I like to be able to tell when one song ends and the other begins, yet retain that natural flow--Tanneburger is a master at this. The production is first-rate, and the build-ups have the effect of an approaching wave that curls around you and sucks you in.

Unlike many trance works, the vocals, though scarce in this album, are a smooth coating to the music rather than appearing as annoying, choppy vocals. This makes you appreciate them because when they appear, they are substantial. This is a mature album in many senses--in technique, and in the lack of corniness that much music of the same genre includes. The tracks in The DJ in the Mix never feel monotonous because Tanneberger has a way of graduating the music before it reaches monotony.

The album combines ATB tracks with those of other artists, including familiar melodies like Everything but the Girl's "Missing" (best version I've heard of this one), Paul Van Dyk's "Time of Our Lives," Chincane's "Daylight," and Blank and Jones's "Summer Sun." You experience both original mixes and remixes in track lengths that range from 1 ˝ minutes to 8 minutes.

On CD 1, my favorite tracks are Airwave's "Slipstream," hard-hitting with a ghostly interlude, and the short-but-sweet remix of Woody Van Eyden's "Unfinished Symphony," which carries a sense of longing. CD 2 is a little stronger: favorites are the fantasy-like "Flaming Clouds" by Alex Morph, the meditative "I Don't Want to Stop" by ATB, the ecstasy-driven "In My Dreams" by 2Trance, and the bass heavy, hypnotic "Is This Hard Enough?" by Metalmaster.

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