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Hidden in Plain View
The High
High on Fire
Hikashu
Kim Hill
Hint Hint
Hiss Golden Messenger
Robyn Hitchcock
Hobotalk
Lauren Hoffman
Ether Hogg

Hölderlin/Hoelderlin
Holding Pattern
Christopher Holland


Johnny Hickman  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Dylan Hicks  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Hidden in Plain View  (US)

Hidden in Plain View, 'Life in Dreaming'

Life in Dreaming  (2005,  41.19)  **½/T½

Bleed for You
Ashes Ashes
A Minor Detail
The Point
Twenty Below
Garden Statement
The Innocent Ones

American Classic
In Memory
Top 5 Addictions
Halcyon Daze

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Hidden in Plain View were apparently 'emo', so now I know what that actually sounds like. It sounds like indie/punk, only with melodic vocals and doubtless heartfelt lyrics, only I wasn't listening. 2005's Life in Dreaming was their first album of two, featuring a distressing lack of variety across its length, which, even at only forty-odd minutes, seems a good bit too long. There aren't any standout tracks.

Patrick Warren's on Chamberlin again, with strings on A Minor Detail, strings and flutes on Garden Statement, a more major string part on The Innocent Ones and strings and cello on closer Halcyon Daze, making it probably the album's best feature. Given upon how many other albums you can hear a well-played Chamberlin if you so desire, you really don't need to hear this one, frankly. Reasonable Chamby use, but that's about it.

MySpace

The High  (UK)

The High, 'Long Live the High' 7"  (1969)  ***/TTT

Long Live the High
Beggar Man Dan

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The High were a particularly obscure, late-period UK psych outfit about whom very little is known, although it seems likely that they consisted of members of the recently-split Unit 4+2, not least Russ Ballard (who co-wrote the 'A'), en route to Argent. Their sole release, the hopefully-titled Long Live The High c/w Beggar Man Dan, is a decent enough, vaguely Bee Gees/Moodies-esque effort, destined never to trouble chart compilers, the flip being a slightly less twee proposition and rather better as a result.

The usual unknown band member/session musician plays Mellotron strings on both sides, with underwater ones on the 'A' and strident-to-the-point-of-distortion ones on the other side. While this has never (to date) been anthologised, both sides are knocking around either on YouTube or as downloads, should you wish to hear them, as evinced by this review.

The High & Lonesome  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

High Chair  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

High Dials  (Canada)  see: Samples etc.

High on Fire  (US)

High on Fire, 'Death is This Communion'

Death is This Communion  (2007,  56.42)  ***/T

Fury Whip
Waste of Tiamat
Death is This Communion
Khanrad's Wall
Turk
Headhunter
Rumors of War
DII
Cyclopian Scape
Ethereal
Return to NOD

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Matt Pike played in Sleep, who made one superb 'stoner' album in 1992's Sleep's Holy Mountain (****), splitting before the full resurgence of the style. He went on to form High on Fire, whose 2007 release, Death is This Communion, is their fourth studio album, featuring far more thrash/black metal tropes than Sleep, not least Pike's gargling-with-broken-glass vocals and bursts of high-energy riffing. I feel that some of the longer material (notably opener Fury Whip and the eight-minute title track) carry on rather longer than they should, although I doubt whether the band would agree.

Bassist Tom Matz plays Mellotron on DII, with obviously real string and cello parts running through the track, complete with solo parts at the end. Overall, this is an album that's never going to pass as 'hard rock'. This is unapologetically metal, take it or leave it, good Mellotron track or no good Mellotron track. As long as you approach it with that in mind, you're unlikely to be disappointed.

Official site

El Hijo  (Spain)  see: Samples etc.

Hikashu  (Japan)

Hikashu, 'Hikashu'

Hikashu  (1979,  42.17/48.45)  ***/½

Rhetorics & Logics
Model
Losing My Future
Taste of Luna
20seiki no Owarini
Puyo Puyo
Love Treatment
Entenka
Nazeka Burning
Vinyl Ningyou
Ame no Museum
Youchuu no Kiki
[CD bonus tracks?:
Doro Doro
Shiroi Highway]
Hikashu, 'Natsu'

Natsu  (1980,  41.21)  **½/T½

Alternative Sun
Fushigi no March
Pike
Iruka no Warau
Morning Water
Nazo no Jumon
Oasis no Yume
Mask
Fuyaketa...
Suika no Koushin
Bino Pike
Hitomi no Uta
Glass no Dance
18sai no Don Quixote
Hikashu, 'Uwasa no Jinrui'

Uwasa no Jinrui  (1981,  40.31)  **½/T

To Aisukuron
Uwasa no Jinrui
Dekigoto
Taion
Atarashii Buzoku
Yokisenu Ketsugou
Outcast
Nimaijita Otoko
Koibito
Shounin Vacances
One of Us
Nioi
Hikashu, '1978'

1978  (1996,  44.21)  ***½/T

Puyopuyo
At the End of the 20th Century
Confusion
Dorodoro
Thrill
Entenka
Rhetorick and Logic
A Vinyl Doll
Losing My Future
Yochu no Kiki
Proud Mary
Hikashu, 'Hikashu History'

Hikashu History  (2001, recorded 1977-93,  75.41)  ***/½

Tokyo Rain
Nannimonai Otoko
Hi-Ai-Ai Island
Pool
Muscles and Fruits
Puyo Puyo
Zo Azarashi
Mask
Suika no Koshin
Ryuinji
Rhetoric-S & Logic-S
Kujira to Kamome
Shuffer
Pike
Yochu no Kiki
Great Conductor
Biro Biro
Rakuten
Nervous Eyes
Live With Viruses
Fushigi o Mitsumete
Chimera

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Like so many Japanese bands who never really reached out beyond their home market, it's difficult to find hard information about Hikashu (or Hikasu), not least transliterations of their song titles. They formed sometime in the '70s, but didn't release anything under that name until their eponymous 1979 debut. Hikashu is, in many ways, a typical emergent synth-pop album, mixing genres like crazy (I mean, the Spaghetti Western theme on bonus track Shiroi Highway?) and covering Kraftwerk's The Model while getting the chords wrong. It isn't bad at what it does, although the monotone vocals become a little tiresome after a while and the whole thing's seriously under-produced, the drums being (deliberately?) almost inaudible throughout. Makoto Inoue adds background Mellotron strings to Puyo Puyo, although that would appear to be it.

1980's Natsu is a rather unappealing mixture of 'new wave', contemporary J-pop and ska, with a little synthpop thrown in, maybe like Devo on an off-day; I believe 'of it time' is the phrase. Despite only being regular vinyl length, it becomes tiresome after only a few tracks, although opener Alternative Sun isn't bad, ditto the choppy Iruka No Warau. However, I'm mystified by the popularity of Pike, apparently covered by several other acts. To my knowledge, Inoue on Mellotron again, with a brief but heavy-duty string part on Alternative Sun, a handful of string swells on Iruka No Warau, choirs on Oasis No Yume and background strings on Glass No Dance. While none of it's essential, it improves an otherwise rather dull album.

The following year's Uwasa no Jinrui starts off more promisingly with spacious opener To Aisukuron; sadly, it doesn't last and they quickly slip back into their default setting, the only other halfway decent tracks being Taion and One Of Us, which seems to be based on the scene from 1932's Freaks that also influenced The Ramones a few years earlier. Inoue plays even less Mellotron this time round, with nothing but a lush string part on To Aisukuron and distant choirs on closer Nioi, making it distinctly not worth it on those grounds.

As if to prove that their material deteriorated as their popularity increased, 1996's 1978, sounding like demos from that year, is actually pretty good, highlights including opener Puyopuyo, the crazed, sax-driven Thrill and Yochu No Kiki, although the less said about their 'version' of Creedence's Proud Mary the better. Someone (Inoue?) adds Mellotron to Puyopuyo, with a slow strings build-up towards the end of the track. It's difficult to know whether the contents of Tzadik's 2001 compilation, Hikashu History, have been previously released or not; few of them seem to be on the above albums, or at least, not in these versions. Amusingly, the label has picked material that make the band look far more 'out there' than their pop releases would indicate; certainly, there's nothing here as dullsville as the bulk of Natsu and Uwasa no Jinrui. Inoue gets to play Mellotron, but only just, with nowt but a few choir chords and flute notes on Shuffer, from '77.

You're not going to find any of the band's home market albums easily, at least not in physical form, but then, unless you're into Japanese noo wave, you're probably not going to want to anyway. Hikashu History should be rather easier to track down and may be worth it if you're more into that country's experimental scene, although they're no Ybo². There are at least another two supposed Hikashu Mellotron archive releases, 1978 ('96) and '98's Pre-Hikashu; reviews forthcoming when etc. etc.

Official site

See: Samples etc.

Kim Hill  (US)

Kim Hill, 'The Fire Again'

The Fire Again  (1997,  47.06)  *½/T½

Nothing But the Blood Medley
A Place for Us
Make a Joyful Noise
No One Like You
I Need to Know
Slip Away
More
Only One You
Ruthless Perfection
I Can't Believe
Slip Away

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Kim Hill is a CCM artist, which as all you dedicated readers of this site know (have you no lives?) means: insipid Christian rubbish. OK, there are exceptions, but Ms Hill (do Christians use 'Ms'?) isn't one of them. 1997's The Fire Again is her sixth album, consisting chiefly of Biblical verses set to bland, entirely uninspired music, either upbeat (Nothing But The Blood Medley, No One like You) or balladic (I Need To Know, I Can't Believe), although Slip Away is a brief piano instrumental that still manages to sound completely schlocky. It starts off merely 'dull', before shifting into 'offensive' territory about halfway through, as the deeply unimaginative lyrical themes and appallingly bland music kick in properly, although I couldn't really say that 'kick in' would be an appropriate phrase. The only thing she has going for her, musically speaking, is an excellent contralto voice, although with material of this 'quality', I'm afraid it's somewhat wasted.

Phil Parlapiano plays Mellotron, with a very audible string part on A Place For Us and less of the same on No One like You. Believe me, you really, really do not need to hear this terrible album for its minor Mellotron content. Shite.

Official site

Hilotrons  (Québec)  see: Samples etc.

Peter Himmelman  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Micah P. Hinson  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Hint Hint  (US)

Hint Hint, 'Young Days'

Young Days  (2004,  45.50)  **/T

Natural Collegiate
Senator Blues
Same Skies
Long Branch, New Jersey
Young Days
Hawks
Leviathan
A Curse on You, Dear
The City in Fast Forward
Before the Beyond
The Sky in Reverse

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Given that they're Seattle natives, it's possibly understandable that Hint Hint attempt to cross grunge with emo on 2004's Young Days, albeit with predictably painful results. Plus points? Jason Lajeunesse's nutsoid drumming, the only thing here that adds any excitement to anything. Minuses? Everything else, particularly Peter Quirk's laughably bad vocals, all pain and sincerity. Dreadful.

Leona Marrs plays real-sounding Mellotron, with a decent octave string part on Leviathan, also, possibly not coincidentally, the album's least awful track. I can't imagine why anyone not already a fan of this band from seeing them live would have any interest in hearing this album. I shall not do so again.

MySpace

Brian Hirsch  (US)  see: Samples etc.

His Name is Alive  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Hiss Golden Messenger  (US)

Hiss Golden Messenger, 'Country Hai East Cotton'

Country Hai East Cotton  (2009,  48.20)  ***/T

Hey Diamond
Watch Out for the Cannonball
John Has Gone to the Light
O Nathaniel
Boogie Boogie
Isobel
Lion
Row
Instant Light
Resurrection Blues
Tongue in Cheek

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

When The Court & Spark split, Hiss Golden Messenger rose from the ashes, M.C. Taylor at the helm, taking alt.country and turning it inside out. Well, kind of. Their self-released debut, 2009's Country Hai East Cotton (released in the UK in edited form as From Country Hai East Cotton) is probably at its best on opener Hey Diamond, the country rock of O Nathaniel and the epic Lion, less exciting material including the rather slushy Isobel and Resurrection Blues, which strikes me as a failed experiment.

Matt Henry Cunitz plays his Mellotron on the album, with chordal flutes on Watch Out For The Cannonball; shame they couldn't have used it more, really. A mixed bag, then; sadly, it appears that the edited version retains some of its least interesting tracks.

Official site

Hiss Tracts  (Québec)  see: Samples etc.

Robyn Hitchcock  (UK)

Robyn Hitchcock, 'Jewels for Sophia'

Jewels for Sophia  (1999,  54.00)  ****/T

Mexican God
The Cheese Alarm
Viva! Sea-Tac
I Feel Beautiful
You've Got a Sweet Mouth on You, Baby
NASA Clapping
Sally Was a Legend
Antwoman
Elizabeth Jade
No, I Don't Remember Guildford
Dark Princess
Jewels for Sophia
Mr. Tongs
Don't Talk to Me About Gene Hackman

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Robyn Hitchcock has had a slightly random career path, forming the magnificent Soft Boys in Cambridge in 1976, going on to make a slew of solo albums from the early '80s onwards, with or without his band The Egyptians, not to mention collaborations with members of R.E.M., amongst others. Jewels for Sophia is his twelfth post-Soft Boys album, featuring his usual post-Syd surrealism and whimsy in large quantities, with songs of the lyrical and musical quality of Viva! Sea-Tac, NASA Clapping and Antwoman. Why is this man not famous? Too idiosyncratic, I suppose. Well done the general public. Again.

On the tape-replay front, Jon Brion plays Chamberlin on Dark Princess, with strings and, er, something not immediately identifiable. The reason you need to buy this isn't its relatively minor tape-replay use, but its excellent songs and because Robyn Hitchcock is well, well overdue some serious recognition, I'm still kicking myself for passing on a pile of his solo albums for two quid apiece a few years ago. Idiot.

See: Samples etc. | Kimberley Rew | Jon Brion | R.E.M.

Hitchcock's Regret  (Australia)  see: Samples etc.

Hobotalk  (UK)

Hobotalk, 'I've Seen Some Things' 12"/CDS  (2000,  10.19)  ***/TT

I've Seen Some Things
Hymn to the Boards
Kelley's Heels
Hobotalk, 'Beauty in Madness'

Beauty in Madness  (2000,  46.30)  ***/TT½

Walks With Me
I've Seen Some Things
I Wait for You
Letter
Dime

Motion Picture Scarecrow
Jackdaw
Never Said When
Beauty in Madness
When They Call Us in

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

I believe Beauty in Madness is Scots quartet Hobotalk's first full album, although it was preceded by the I've Seen Some Things EP. They fall into the 'insipid pseudo-Americana' category, at least as far as I'm concerned; all country-inflected acoustic guitars and heartfelt lyrics about love and loss - you know the kind of thing. I usually like melancholy albums, but this one pushes the whole thing too far, almost into parody, in fact. It takes a lot to make me say this, but LIGHTEN UP, CHAPS!

Mellotron's credited on four tracks, largely played by Marc Pilley, although that's quite clearly 'Tron strings on opener Walks With Me, too. Of the credited tracks, Letter has cellos and flutes, while the only unidentifiable sound on Dime (I though these guys were Scottish?) is some muted brass that really doesn't sound like 'Tron. The title track has more flutes, played this time by guitarist Ross Edmond, and When They Call Us In finishes things off with some ultra-melancholy strings.

On the EP, the instrumental Hymn To The Boards is actually the nicest thing I've heard them play, with some spectral 'Tron strings over a quite beautiful melody, while Kelley's Heels has cellos and flutes over a rather less interesting song. Actually, while Beauty in Madness irritated the hell out of me, it has to be said that it's quite impeccably done; the Mellotron work's really quite nice, and used liberally, not just the 'faint flutes on one track' trick that you get so often. So, if folky Americana from Scotland's your bag, go for it.

Doug Hoekstra  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Lauren Hoffman  (US)

Lauren Hoffman, 'Megiddo'

Megiddo  (1997,  39.00)  **½/TT

Blood
Rock Star
Lolita

Fall Away
Cold and Gray
Hope You Don't Mind
Strange Man
Persephone
Alive
The Cannibal Ed
Build a Home
The Ashram Song

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Lauren Hoffman was an impossibly young twenty when she recorded her debut album, Megiddo, although she seems to've managed to avoid the usual clichés into which American (in particular) female performers of that age often fall. In other words, no Alanis or Fiona Apple tricks here. Unfortunately, unlike many other reviewers, I can't say I find her material that exciting, to the point where, although the album is under forty minutes long, I eventually found myself wishing it would finish just that bit sooner.

The inimitable Jon Brion plays Chamberlin on several tracks, with mixing engineer Ethan Johns chipping in on closer The Ashram Song. Blood has an effective string part, with a couple of seconds of solo male voice at the end (not a sound it's easy to miss...), while Lolita has what sounds to my ears like uncredited Chamby sax, and possibly cellos. I can't hear anything obvious on the single, the pointed Rock Star, or Cold And Gray, although it's definitely cellos on The Ashram Song, with a string part towards the end.

So; those of you with a bent for young female singer-songwriters (their music, their music...) may like this, but it's all a bit bland for my tastes, and I suspect many of you will agree. Not bad Chamby work, but not enough of it. Pass.

Official site

Cosmic Hoffmann  (Germany)  see:

Cosmic Hoffmann

Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock & Hans-Werner Faßbender  (Germany)  see: Samples etc.

Kelly Hogan  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Will Hoge  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Ether Hogg  (UK)

Ether Hogg, 'Snivelization'

Snivelization  (1994,  59.05)  ***/T½

A Bellow From Below
Glory Riding on LSD
Kick Out the Hogg
Astronomy on Rye
Long Haircuts
Lumps
Sombre
The Sound of Death
Spunky Manjuice
Rise From the Dead
Rapture
† (bonus track)

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

British music journo Edwin Pouncey seems to be keen on alter-egos, his best-known being cartoonist/comic artist Savage Pencil, although Ether Hogg appears to have been a one-off. Snivelization is a thoroughly bizarre album with a Rocket From the Crypt connection (both playing and composition), featuring little, if any actual singing, though plenty of spoken-word vocals, not least the declamatory pornography of Spunky Manjuice. Right... Musically, opener A Bellow From Below is a solo bagpipes tune (well, can you imagine it in a full band setting? Er, AC/DC...), Kick Out The Hogg is fucked-up r'n'b and Astronomy On Rye is a ten-minute dronefest, while much of the rest probably falls under the non-category of 'industrial jazz'. I said it was weird...

Speaking of alter-egos, someone calling themselves Nosmo King (a nom-de-plume used by various entertainment figures in the past) plays Mellotron, as does Pouncey (as Savage Pencil), with skronky strings on Glory Riding On LSD and a repeating strings part (combined with real cello) on Astronomy On Rye. It was 1994, it sounds real, it stays here unless I should discover it's bogus. One of this site's odder albums, against stiff competition.

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Hölderlin  [a.k.a. Hoelderlin]  (Germany)

Hölderlin, 'Hölderlin's Traum'

Hölderlin's Traum  (1972,  34.44)  ***½/T

Waren Wir
Peter
Strohhalm
Requiem für Einen Wicht
Erwachen
Wetterbericht
Traum
Hoelderlin, 'Hoelderlin'

Hoelderlin  (1975,  42.10)  ***½/TT

Schwebebahn
I Love My Dog
Honeypot
Nürnberg
Deathwatchbeetle

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Hölderlin, as they were originally known, released their first album, Hölderlin's Traum (that's, er, 'Hoelderlin's Dream'), in 1972, mixing folk influences into their fairly Germanic take on progressive rock, though this is not to confuse them with 'Krautrock', which is a different kettle of fish altogether. It's not a bad album - some would say a classic of the era; it certainly finds its own 'dark folk' style, well away from what most other bands were doing at the time. The only Mellotron, though, from Jochen Grumbkow, is on opener Waren Wir, kicking in along with the whole band after a typically gentle intro.

After considerable label hassles, it took the respelt Hoelderlin three years to follow their debut, finally producing their eponymous second album in 1975. A far rockier proposition than their first, Hoelderlin opens with the excellent Schwebebahn, with duelling viola (from Christoph Noppeney) and 'Tron strings (from the also respelt Joachim Grumbkow), which turns out to be the album's Mellotronic highlight. Honeypot has a few background string chords, and apart from what may possibly be some brass at the beginning, the 17-minute Deathwatchbeetle features only a short (but potent) string part towards the end.

I don't know of any other Mellotron use by the band, although I heard (unfounded) rumours of some on '78's Live Traumstadt. These are both good albums, though if you're not heavily into the 'German sound', I'd avoid their debut. Neither one's a Mellotron Classic, either, but they're both worth a listen.

Holding Pattern  (US)

Holding Pattern, 'Holding Pattern' Holding Pattern, 'Majestic'

Holding Pattern  [a.k.a. Majestic]  (1981/90,  28.53/77.10)  ***½/TT

Another Point of View
Honor Before Glory
Jigsaw Dream
Out of the Tunnels
[CD adds:
From the Clouds
Majestic
Iraqiroll
Was it You?
Mercenary

Tunnels
Arrival
Around the Square
Ten Passed Midnight
Ground Zero]

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Holding Pattern were a late-period US prog outfit, led by guitarist Tony Spada, who released a self-titled mini-album in 1981, reissuing it on CD nearly a decade later, retitled Majestic and expanded to over an hour. The music on the original four-track release is instrumental guitar-led prog, less complex than many US bands, with Out Of The Tunnels being the standout track, bringing exemplary US proggers Happy the Man to mind. I don't know when the multifarious extra tracks on the CD were recorded, but they cover a variety of styles, with vocals on a handful, and a couple even recorded live.

Mark Tannenbaum played Mellotron, amongst other keys, with some epic string work on Honor Before Glory, underpinned by Taurus pedals, and a few background string chords on Out Of The Tunnels. Of the extra tracks, there's some 'Tron strings and choir on the gentle Was It You?, with some full-on choirs on the intro to Mercenary, though that would appear to be about it, despite some slightly 'Tronnish strings on a couple of other tracks. I've seen several rave reviews of this on the 'Net, but it's not really inventive enough to float my personal boat, although I've heard an awful lot worse. I believe Majestic (which came in an LP-sized case) is long unavailable, but apparently the four-track Holding Pattern has just been reissued. Weird. Anyway, not bad, so-so 'Tron.

Official site

See: Tony Spada

Christopher Holland  (UK)

Christopher Holland, 'Brother Sun Sister Moon'

Brother Sun Sister Moon  (2003,  51.02)  ***/TTT½

Summer Girl
Gone With the Wind

Same Way Again
Daffodil Sky
Miss U
No Disco Kid
Long as We're Together
Don't Walk Away
Without You in My Life
Velvet Zone

Hey You
Love is the Answer
It'll Be Alright
Lost in Space
Other Side of the Sky
This is the Way Forward

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Christopher Holland is the younger brother of the irritatingly smug host of 'Later With Jools Holland' (late-night UK music show for non-residents), growing up with his elder sibling's Squeeze colleagues wandering in and out of the family home. I have to say it shows in the songwriting on Brother Sun Sister Moon; classic British pop mixed with rather unnecessary white-boy funky stuff, which tends to spoil it a bit, unfortunately. The end result is an album that starts really nicely (Summer Girl is gorgeous), but quickly gets bogged down in rather dated mid-'70s mainstreamish stuff, which didn't sound particularly good at the time, to be honest. Holland's voice is a little bland, though serviceable enough and, as if to prove my point, rather better on the softer material. It seems the album was done on something of a budget - it sounds fine, but the sleeve looks like someone with little knowledge of graphics knocked it up on their home PC. Those fonts...

In a recent magazine interview, Holland mentions his love of 'classic' keyboards and indeed, Hammond, Rhodes and Moog (?) are all to be heard, as is a Mellotron, which can be heard on about half of the tracks here. He favours the flutes, with several really upfront parts, although the strings crop up here and there, too. Real? I think so, although recent pics of a Memotron on his Facebook page are slightly concerning. Although Holland crams 16 tracks into 50 minutes, fewer attempts at funkiness would've made a nice, short album heavier on really good material. As it is, I can recommend maybe half of this, with the opening and closing tracks probably being the best. Reasonable.

Official site

See: Samples etc. | Squeeze


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