Tag Archive: audio


“Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life”
By: Jenny McCarthyjmcarthy
Narrated by: Jenny McCarthy
Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
Release date: 05-06-14
Publisher: Random House Audio

I’m not sure why I wanted to listen to this audiobook, but I did. Maybe it’s that Jenny were at SIU-Carbondale at the same time in the Early 90s. (I actually think I had a General Ed. Class with her.) Whatever the reason I actually enjoyed it more than I would normally think. I do try to read biographies on occasion, but usually they are musicians. This book won’t change your way of life or way of thinking, but it will provide you with a bit of humor. There were several times during the book I would laugh out loud and a couple of times where I had to “rewind” the audiobook to hear what I missed because I laughed.

Ms. McCarthy reads the book which is great. I think all autobiographies should be read by the author because they can read it with the emotion/sarcasm/humor needed. Another aspect of her doing the reading is that she brings it down to Earth, and even with the crazy celebrity life she is just like us normal people.

To sum up, entertaining anecdotes, from a down to earth yet stuck in celebritydom celebrity.

Advertisements

reddragon

“The Red Dragon”

By L. Ron Hubbard

A multi-cast performance

Produced by GalaxyAudio

Approx 2 hours

 

With the exception of a few stories here and there I have nearly listened to all of GalaxyAudio’s productions of stories from the master story-teller, L. Ron Hubbard, up to those released until the end of this year.  There are a couple I have missed but don’t worry I will be getting those soon, one way or another.  The have almost become an addiction.

 

The reason I love hearing these audiobooks is the superb production quality that goes into these books.  The voice actors used in each book are all top caliber and are able to bring to life the over the top characters created by Hubbard, from the lowly sidekick to the larger than life hero.  Each actor creates a full characterization in his/her vocal performance that paints a mental picture of each character that brings back the cover pictures from the old pulp fiction magazines where these stories were originally published.

 

Add to the perfect vocal performances the subtle yet effective sound effects.  In each story the sound effects are subtle enough to not distract from the story, yet so perfectly produced that, as the listener, you will be dodging bullets, flying in old-timey aircraft with wind whipping your scarf, or dusting off dirt from the trails.    Then the addition of an original musical score that keeps the listener in the mood of each adventure.  All these tie in together to create a two hour performance that can easily compete with any movie for some great entertainment.

 

This time around GalaxyAudio releases, “The Red Dragon,” which was originally released in the February, 1935 issue of “Five Novels” magazine.  This time around Hubbard tells the story of Michael Stuart, a red haired officer in the Marines whose career came to a halt after a failed attempt to return the Chinese Imperial Dynasty to power in the ‘30s.  Stuart has been abandoned by his country and is unable to get out of China, so, he spends his time to help others.

 

Stuart’s latest adventure brings him to help a young woman who is on the search for a mysterious black chest hidden by her father before his murder.  Drawing on his many life’s adventures, Hubbard brings the hero and the woman all across the scenic countryside of China, including The Great Wall, to caves in Manchuria where the black chest must be recovered before it falls into the wrong hands.

 

Two hours of pure excitement and adventure make this audiobook one two hear while doing house work or working on a major project; as long as you don’t stop working to listen solely to the performance you will find yourself working faster trying to keep pace with the hero.

poseidonsarrow

“Poseidon’s Arrow”
Book #22 in the Dirk Pitt Series
by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
Read by Scott Brick
Published by Penguin Audio
Approx 13 hours

I have to start this review off by saying; I have never before read a Clive Cussler novel. Yes, this was my first Cussler novel and I now have to admit, this guy can write a thriller. If all his novels are like this, (which I’ll be finding out soon) this is the author to go to when you want a non-stop, action hero, suspense story. This book not only kept me on the edge of my seat, but while listening to the audiobook while commuting to and from work I kept having to take my foot off the accelerator pedal because I would get so caught up in the action I would find myself driving 65 or 70 mph on a rural highway marked for  55 mph.

I have had several people tell me I would like Cussler, but I’ve never been completely sold on the idea. I saw the movie “Sahara,” which was based on the Cussler novel of the same name but was not really impressed. Maybe that is why I have never tackled one of his novels. With that in mind you may wonder what made me want to give this latest novel from Clive Cussler a listen. When Penguin Audio sent out their list of new releases I saw this novel listed and at first just skimmed over it but when I saw who was doing the reading of the book, I did a double take and put the book on my list.

There are many audiobook readers that I really enjoy hearing and this book’s reader, Scott Brick is one. I think the main reason I like Scott Brick is that through his voice alone it can sound like a multicast performance. Brick is able to present each character vocally in such a manner that there is no question as to who is speaking and when. Brick’s vocal talent not only can let the listener know the difference between character’s voices but he is also able to bring out the emotions and intensity of the story through his voice. I’ve heard him read science-fiction, murder mystery and now an action/suspense story and I will definitely be keeping him in my top 5 audiobook readers. If nothing else, he definitely sold me on this story and made me want to seek out other books by Clive Cussler.

If you are a fan already of Cussler then you probably know about Cussler’s way of weaving several subplots together into one big story and by the end of the book they all come together to form the story. I did not know this and just thought it was unique to this story, but after doing some research before writing this review, i realized this is his way of working. That is also another reason I am going to be reading some more from Clive Cussler. It was really interesting to hear sections introduced that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the main story but as the book came along they all fit in perfectly.

“Poseidon’s Arrow” opens up with three events that seem unrelated; one is of a rare earth mineral mining company being blown up by what seems to be terrorists another event takes place during World War II onboard an Italian Submarine working for the German army under attack and sinking. Finally the third event is that the U.S. Navy has just unveiled an experimental submarine that even the President is just finding out about. This sub is a completely different design which uses an undetectable engine that is capable of propelling the sub underwater at a couple of hundred knots and stealth underwater technology that makes this sub a threat to any nation. These events do eventually fit into the story but before that all happens we have to be introduced to the hero of the story, Dirk Pitt.

In this book the intro to the hero finds him and his wife enjoying some time on the ocean. As Dirk dives down for a couple of lobsters for dinner, a wayward cargo ship is on a course to collide with his boat, his wife signals him by tapping out a crude S.O.S. as he comes out of the water he sees the ship and realizes it is too late to maneuver out of its way so he and his wife dive into the water and fight to avoid being sucked into the ship’s propeller. When they surface they find their boat intact and race to keep the ship from doing further damage. Seeing that the ship is unmanned and on a collision course with a cruise ship, Dirk rams his boat into the ship’s rudder to make it change course.

Once the ship is grounded a new mystery is uncovered. The ships rare earth minerals cargo is mostly missing and there are dead crew members onboard, and so the adventure begins.  From this point on hang on to your seat, because this thrillride doesn’t stop until the end of the book.

When a rich mine owner wants to destroy America he does so not with bombs but by piracy on the high seas. In a series of ships gone missing, all carrying rare earth minerals, the murder of a man who has the only plans for a new design of a stealth submarine, and the destruction of an American mining site, all signs point to the mine owner and it is up to Dirk Pitt, with the help of some federal agents to solve this mystery and stop the collapse of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals and the theft of one of America’s greatest secrets in submarine technology.

This high seas and even some land-locked adventure is a thrill-a-second ride that will keep your rooting for the good guys and on the edge of your seat for the entire book. Dirk Pitt is the action hero we’ve always wanted.

thedivebomberaudiobook

“The Dive Bomber”
by L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours.

There are so many things to love about these audio releases from Galaxy Audio. I’ll try to touch on all of them, at least all the things that make these stories from the Golden Age my favorite. But, before I do that I need to explain a bit about these stories.

During the middle of the 20th century, America was treated to short stories by many writers in many genres in the pulp magazine publications. These magazines were nicknamed pulps due to the cheap paper used in printing where the pulp could be seen and felt in the paper. This enabled the publishers to sell them for cheap, usually around a nickel a copy. There were many titles to choose from and many genres. There was science fiction, fantasy, detective stories, westerns and adventures of all sorts. L. Ron Hubbard wrote for all the genres and was one of the most prolific pulp writers.

Audio Press and Audio Galaxy are releasing all these Hubbard pulp stories on a regular basis and are keeping true to the pulp fiction era. With the printed books they have the pulpy feel but the covers are a sturdier stock so they will look good on the shelf and can withstand multiple readings. The audiobooks are where I fell in love with these classic stories. Each book released is also released in audiobook form and the CDs have the same artwork as the books. The artwork on all the books is a great representation of the over the top graphics from the original pulps.

What makes the audiobooks so great is the superb production behind each one. The books are not merely read to the listener, instead Galaxy Audio has brought back that old-time radio thriller genre from the same time period as the pulps. Everything from the narration to the character acting is so well done that as a listener you will feel as though you are in the middle of the story standing next to the over the top characters created by Hubbard.

In each production there is a full cast performance by some excellent voices that are able to capture each character perfectly. The sound effects keep the story rolling and help the listener get lost in the story and the music keeps the mood flowing as the change in chapters or stories come in.

The books can range from novellas to several short stories which come together to make a nice pulp fiction book or a two-hour performance. This book, “The Dive Bomber” is a single story or novella and is full of some great air adventures which will keep you on the edge of your seat through the entire story.

Originally published in the July, 1937 issue of “Five Novels Monthly,” and tells the story of daredevil pilot, Lucky Martin. Lucky has designed a new bomber plane that the Navy is interested in. The only problem is that, during each test run, the plane crashes. When a representative of a foreign nation approaches Lucky to purchase the design, Lucky turns him down. With all the crashes the Navy determines the design is flawed and that they will not be purchasing the planes. This could ruin Lucky, once again the representative approaches but this time when Lucky turns him down the foreign powers flex their might by kidnapping Lucky’s girlfriend and threatening him to finish. Lucky will never allow his design to go to a potential enemy and will do everything he can to save his girl, and his plane.

Daring test flights, air battles and sabotage make this story an adventure to not be missed.

“Doctor Who: Wooden Heart”
by Martin Day
Read by Adjoa Andoh
Published by AudioGO
2 Hours and 30 minutes

I’m really loving these short audio productions of Doctor Who adventures published by AudioGO. There are some full length audio books available but these short adventures are perfect for filling that gap for my commutes. This time around I’m answering a distress call with the doctor and companion Martha Jones on a ship, The Castor, spinning adrift in deep space.

This production is read by Adjoa Andoh who portrayed a cat nun in one episode and Martha Jones’ mother in several other episodes. She is no stranger to the Doctor Who realm of stories and her delivery of this audiobook reflected that knowledge. When delivering the dialogue of either the Doctor or Martha Jones, she was able to portray not only their mannerisms in speech but also able to reflect the personalities in her delivery. Very nice reading.

As the Doctor and Marth begin investigating The Castor, they discover all the crew seems to be dead. Bodies are found in cells mummified some peaceful but some in terrorized positions. When the two arrive at the bridge of the ship they confirm that the ship is a prison ship of sorts. The of sorts part is that it seems the ship was also researching something, but what?

Soon the ship’s sensors come awake and two lifeforms are detected (other than the Doctor and Martha) one is very faint. The start toward the source of the life forms on the ship and walk through a doorway to find themselves in a wooded area. Yes, somehow in the middle of this ship a forest appears and here there be monsters. Some creature seems to be tracking the Doctor and Martha and when a man comes to save them from the monster the Doctor takes time to analyze the man. While he appears to be in his 30s the readings say he is only a few hours old. The man takes the Doctor and Martha to his village where children have been going missing.

In solving the mystery of the missing children the Doctor discovers the source of not only the missing children but of the forest and world created on this ship. An alternate reality created by some being, but finding the source of this creation is a surprise within itself.

So if you are a fan of the tenth doctor or just a fan of Doctor Who altogether make sure you add this adventure on to your listening list. Another great Doctor Who production

“Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny”
By Garrison Keillor
Performed by Garrison Keillor, Tim Russell and Sue Scott
Published by HighBridge Audio
4 hours

Every book you read or hear has to be fun in some way. Sometimes it’s just that you enjoy getting lost in a mystery or escaping realism with some adventurous fantasy. Whatever the reason each book will take you somewhere and it should be fun. This time around I listened to a book that was pretty much nothing but fun. “Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny” is pure fun and a romp through a mystery and adventure with some great humor and classic literature references, and even a few pop culture jabs thrown in to keep the story fresh.

If you’re not familiar with the character of Guy Noir then on Saturdays from 5pm – 7pm central time you need to tune in to your local public radio station and find Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” This fun piece of what is left of radio variety shows in America launched the character of Guy Noir, Private eye. It’s always fun to hear when Guy Noir segments come on the show and find out what kind of crime needs solved by the private dick with a penchant for literature.

The Guy Noir character and stories parody the conventions of the pulp fiction novel and the film noir genre. He works on the twelfth floor of the Acme Building in a city that “knows how to keep its secrets”, St. Paul, Minnesota and first appeared in prairie home companion broadcasts around 1995. This time around Guy gets his own story and in this 4 hour fully dramatized audiobook you get a humorous adventure that will keep you laughing and if you are overheard listening to this audiobook, the literary references and the plays on words will make you sound more intelligent.

This story opens up with Guy staring down the barrel of a gun held by a wheezing geezer gangster that goes by the name of Joey Roast Beef. Joey is demanding to know what sort of money-making scheme Guy is involved in with stripper-turned-women’s-studies-professor Naomi Fallopian. It also seems that everyone knows about Guys weight loss pills. Naomi has hired Guy as security for the Elongate product of weight loss pills (which actually turn out to be tapeworms). While Naomi promises Guy to be the love of his life (and he falls for this oldest female scam) she’s off gallivanting around the world spending her millions from selling tapeworms to the rich.

In the meantime Guy, who has taken one of these wonder-pills, is losing weight and all of a sudden the women in his life are finding him attractive. Saving himself for Naomi and saving the tapeworm queens and eggs from the despicable Larry B. Larry, Guy looks death in the eye, falls in love and finally faces off with the capo del capo del grande primo capo, Johnny Banana.

Will Guy lose his worm fortunes and women? Give this hilarious adventure a listen and find out. The performance is the perfect over the top performance you would expect from Garrison Keillor. If you’re not familiar the three actors in combination with hilarious sound effects and incidental music will keep you listening just to hear what happens next and anticipating the next laugh. Fun stuff here.

 

Field Report: Aphex Headpod 4.

 

My latest audio equipment review for Radio Magazine.

These little stands can help your studio sound cleaner by simply raising the studio monitors to ear level and cutting out unwanted vibration

Field Report: IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R 155.

Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion
by Jason Arnopp
Read by Meera Syal
Published by AudioGo (2011)
Running Time: 1hrs 30mins

First of all I want to scream out how much I love the BBC and AudioGo for making these Doctor Who audiobooks available. I am antsy and eagerly awaiting the next season of Doctor Who and in the meantime I’m getting my fix of the Doctor, by listening to these adventures through time and space with the 11th doctor. When I run out of the 11th doctor I will go back to the 10th (who, portrayed by David Tenant, was my second favorite Doctor to Tom Baker) But these adventures with the 11th Doctor (portrayed by Matt Smith) are loads of fun. Right now I’m going through all the audio releases that are three hours or less, and having a blast.

This audio release is read by Meera Syal, who appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who; The Hungry Earth Cold Blood. She portrayed Dr. Nasreen Chaudhry, a geologist in the year 2020. Along with Tony Mack, she was digging down into the Earth further than any other human ever had before. They discover a race of reptilians that have lived under the Earth for years and will do so for many more. Anyway, at first I was wondering if her reading this book would mean that her character would make an appearance in this story, and reading the cover notes I couldn’t see how. As I listened I realized she wouldn’t, but Meera did a superb job in reading the story. She was able to capture the quirks of the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond perfectly and with the help of the subtle music score was able to present the emotions and excitement throughout the story.

The story follows the The Doctor and Amy as they arrive on the ice-planet Vinsk in the year 2112. Where the Zalnex company is getting ready to release a miracle hand lotion. The lotion provides the user to understand all languages. The problem, the shipment is being sent to Earth and the lotion was never tested on humans. As it turns out humans are susceptible to insanity after using the hand lotion, because the human brain cannot sort out the languages at once.

The doctor that created the lotion cloned a race called “Meme Spawn” and used them to manufacture the lotion, by introducing the microscopic spawn into the lotion where they psychically link to the host allowing the host to understand the languages. To make things worse the cloned Meme Spawn, are able to mutate and become a sort of flying starfish creature and conquer the hosts.

The Doctor and Amy race against time to keep the shipment arriving on earth. But along the way Amy becomes “infected” and the Doctor must make the decision of whether to save Amy or the Human Race.

This romp through space and time is just as fun as any episode of Doctor Who and sorts itself out in true Doctor Who fashion.

“Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning”by Gary Marcus
read by (and with music performed by) the author
published by Penguin Audio
5 hours and 33 minutes

I wasn’t really sure what I was in for when I decided to give this book a listen but I’m very glad I did take the time. All my life, I’ve wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument, I’ve tried the guitar, I’ve tried the keyboards (yeah I would say piano, but when I wanted to be in a new wave band, we called them keyboards), I even tried the harmonica. But like the author Gary Marcus, I had a bad sense of rhythm. Even when I tried breakdancing, I was good until the rhythm became an issue. So what’s a fella to do? After all they say that If you want to become a musician you have to start out when you’re younger, because your brain is wired in such a way at younger ages you can learn and absorb. Gary Marcus, is a research psychologist whose work focuses on language, biology, and the mind at New York University, sets out to find out whether that myth is true. Marcus wants to learn guitar and thinking he has no sense of rhythm, he can’t even play the video game “Guitar Hero” without getting booed off the virtual stage.

What turns out to be one man’s search for whether or not he is too old to learn guitar turns out to be a very unique book that discusses the science of learning and then develops into the science behind music, creativity, thinking and training. As I listened to the book each chapter would engross me more and more when topics would be explored. Marcus used many musical examples and interviews in the revealing process. Some of the items mentioned are how Jimi Hendrix would modify his guitar to make it do what he wanted, how Hendrix spent every living moment with his guitar. How Pat Metheny says he never stops learning and practicing. How Bob Dylan decided to go away from the traditional folk music scene and start writing unique lyrics.

Lots and lots of great modern music history references as well as examples in studies as to how the mind works and what all is involved in becoming musical. Basically it all comes down to all you folks that play Guitar Hero or even Rock Band and think, “Hey, I can do this for real,” and then go to pick up a real guitar only to get frustrated, Gary Marcus explains why you can press colored buttons in perfect rhythm but may not be able to master a real guitar anytime real soon. First of all the body and the mind have to learn many things. The body needs to learn to press down strings on a fret board in positions the human fingers weren’t meant to be in. There’s also the varying amount of pressure it takes to hold down the strings to get the right sound, the memorization of different notes and chord placements. Then there’s the ear training, what each note sounds like and what notes work with other notes (same with chords). Very different from colored buttons on a plastic guitar mold controller.

Not only does the author cover the science behind playing instruments but he also discusses the science behind creativity. There is a section when talking about the difference between being musical and being creative where Steve Vai says that while he can play every single not Jimi Hendrix played and make it sound exactly like what Hendrix did, what gets him is how he was able to come up with the ideas in the first place. Which brings up another aspect of being a musician, whether one is born with the ability or if it is learned and if so why are some people more apt to be musical.

This book is perfect for the professional musician or the novice and better yet for anyone with just the slightest interest in music. Another person that would benefit from this book would be anyone in the education field. So I guess just about anyone would find something in this book that would pique their interest, especially if personal re-invention is in the works and someone is seeking to reach their full potential.

What I got out of the book is not only the old adage of “practice makes perfect” but how to make that practice more perfect for me.

%d bloggers like this: