Nur Ein XII Round Five

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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby GlennCase » Mon May 22, 2017 8:57 am

Manhattan Glutton wrote:Glenn Case - I really really like where it gets stripped down, but I'd rather it came back up for a final refrain instead of meander into the repetitive abyss. With that ending, it feels more like "there I did the stupid challenge, see?" rather than ending on a more profound note that it felt like it was building to.


Ha! That's a fair assessment, but I had something a little different in mind.

The structure of the song is a bit like this:

String riff
String riff - Bass playing one note
String riff - Bass plays verse melody - Kick drum - Keyboard bass
String riff - Bass plays verse melody - Kick drum - Keyboard bass - Rhythm Guitar - Snare drum
String riff - Bass plays verse melody - Kick drum - Keyboard bass - Rhythm Guitar - Snare drum - Live drums - Power chord guitar - Clavinet
String riff - Bass plays verse melody - Kick drum - Keyboard bass - Rhythm Guitar - Snare drum
String riff - Bass plays verse melody - Kick drum - Keyboard bass
String riff - Bass playing one note
String riff

My intention was to have a bit of symmetry in the song, and to have the structure of the song play with the whole "up and down" motif of the song title via layers of sound. The song ends the same way that it started.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby j$ » Mon May 22, 2017 11:16 am

All these are good.

73 Keep It beautiful - starts so well. I love me some motorik, and the moog keyboard is great. maybe it's the (albeit lovely) vocal melody or it's the lock of variance of themes within the repetition, I get a tiny bit bored. It lacks a little of the bite and joy I think of when I think of Neu! or Faust. Anyway,a really good song nonetheless.

Balance Lost- a bit of a curate's egg in that there are parts I really like and parts I don't. While I'm sure the lyric is deeply profound, it comes across to these ears are deeply pretentious. The 'Toy Orchestra' opening bores me as well. Vocal sounds great as does when the bass kicks in. Then you do that for a few seconds and move on. While I'm all for moving forward, there is a point when 'all over the place' ceases to be a compliment. I love the last minute/90 seconds though, just a shame it took so much (some of dubious provenance) to get there.

BSS- I like the tune here but the arrangement is a bit thin and doesn't do it any favours. (that said the left/right panning of the guitars is cool - just wish the bass was turned up accordingly to fill the space, give it more 'flesh'). Could do with a synth part to spice it up. I liked this a *lot* more on the second and third listens, TBF.

Glenn Case - Another song I like the concept of,very much but the realisation doesn't quite live up to it, least all the way. I love the repeatingkeyboard riff but the volume and tone choice make it a little irritating on the ears when it could have been a gentle cradle to carry the listener through. The chorus is mega tops though. And I like what you were thinking about the structure. But it does meean the song ends up at least 30 seconds too long.

Merisan - I think writing a great pop song to this challenge is probably the hardest thing to pull off and you do it with aplomb. This is great. Not much else to say, in a good way. Maybe turn the bass up?

Micah Sommersmith - When I first heard this, I was not interested in that weird almost 8-bit take on an 80s action theme tune. But a couple of listens later, I think this is one of the most interesting takes musically this round. The words are OK, nothing special - m majorproblem is that I'm not sure the vocal style as chosen adds more than it distracts. It's a tad over-ornate. But the song's imaginative and catchy. Bonus points for that.

Skub - ah, this is good,it just doesn't really excite me that much. Maybe it's the lyric. It might be, when the music kicks in, genre bias,I hope not. Like with Glenn the chorus is damn fine, especialy the particularly grindy ones towards the end. It's slabs along very nicely as expected, I just don't really come away with a lasting memory. Sorry, I know that's not very hepful.

Strangelove- Well, yes that's Skiffle. The switching between 'live' and 'electronic' is a cool idea, which perhaps you overplay. Also at least one speeding-up-chorus too long. But it sounds great in the arrangement / mix and it's a lot of fun.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby furrypedro » Mon May 22, 2017 12:04 pm

j$ wrote:Balance Lost- a bit of a curate's egg in that there are parts I really like and parts I don't. While I'm sure the lyric is deeply profound, it comes across to these ears are deeply pretentious.

One of these days I hope to be actually smart, rather than just pretending to be. Were my lyrics more pretentious than quoting George du Maurier (who I just had to look up)? Glad you liked some of it though, early reviews are making me a bit jittery. The good news is that I really like it, so at least I've got that if I get the chop.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby j$ » Mon May 22, 2017 1:55 pm

Yeah, sorry, bad choice of word. I was (now I think about it,wrongly) using it to mean 'sounding like it means something when it doesn't' - not quite the same as 'pretentious' but can't think of the right word right now...

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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Caravan Ray » Mon May 22, 2017 1:58 pm

Manhattan Glutton wrote: I don't know what an elevator man is in this context.

A number of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder. The medication with the best evidence is lithium... Carbamazepine effectively treats manic episodes, with some evidence it has greater benefit in rapid-cycling bipolar disorder
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby furrypedro » Mon May 22, 2017 2:25 pm

j$ wrote:Yeah, sorry, bad choice of word. I was (now I think about it,wrongly) using it to mean 'sounding like it means something when it doesn't' - not quite the same as 'pretentious' but can't think of the right word right now...

j$


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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Spintown » Mon May 22, 2017 3:54 pm

Skub - Beatboxing, awesome. Don’t really get a ton of this in these online contests. WOAH. You waited over a minute before using any instruments & you were already well on your way to a good review from me. Then you laid it down. Man you did a good job of setting the bar high just so you could come over & knock it up again halfway through your song when a lot of songs are getting predictable. I came into this contest REALLY liking 1 of your past songs...I’m going to leave it with small fanboy crush.

Glenn Case - Musically not really up my alley, but it does set the mood well for your story. The story is actually the strongest from this round (so far at least, still have 2 more to review), and keeps me interested throughout the song. In a round without a lot of lyrical details you stand out.

Berkeley Social Scene - God I’m dense. At first I’m thinking this is a positive song about the elevator guys that actually hit the buttons & shit for you. Then the snow line & I spend 2 minutes trying to figure out what snow has to do with it. Not your fault, I’m just not hip with the drug lingo...and as I said I’m just dense. After I checked the lyrics page & saw the “jonesing” line a lightbulb went off & I enjoyed the song as a whole MUCH more. ;p Thought your musical hook was really strong. Well done, strong entry overall.

Merisan - Sounds like something that might play during a montage in a 60’s or 70’s movie. You know, in a happy montage where everything is right in the world right before all hell breaks loose. Vocals may be a little to loud in the mix, but really nothing bad to say here.

Strangelove - It starts very abruptly. I know repetition was part of the challenge, but I’d like a little more story. Have to admit it turned out to be a bit of an earworm for me. This could be the Song Fight version of Banana Phone.

Micah Sommersmith - The opening sounds like something from an 8-bit videogame. Liked the music & vocals were ok. What I’d like to see done is replacing the last 2 lines of the first verse with the last 2 of the 2nd….then just getting rid of the 2nd verse. You spend too much time explaining how boring these suits are. Get it done in 1 verse so your song doesn’t start to get boring. Then write another verse about the secrets you mentioned in the 3rd verse.

73 Keep It Beautiful - You had me at the start, but eventually I found myself wanting this to continue down a different path story wise. Really wanted you to explore in more detail these elevator men. But nothing new is learned about this mysterious cult or their secret floor. Musically it sounded fine, you just peaked my curiousity & left me hanging.

Balance Lost - You create some beautiful sounds at times, and then at other times it just feels to busy & more like noise. Mostly beautiful, but yeah, sometimes not. A bit lost with whatever message you’re trying to convey lyrically, but I’m pretty dense. Why I like mine more on the nose.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Niveous » Mon May 22, 2017 6:45 pm

Just wondering if anyone got my ridiculous reference in the cover art.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Jerkatorium » Mon May 22, 2017 9:52 pm

Niveous wrote:Just wondering if anyone got my ridiculous reference in the cover art.

Not the worst movie I've ever seen, and certainly not that director's worst movie, but nothing you'd want to see twice.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Lunkhead » Tue May 23, 2017 11:48 am

Last time I tried to say nice things, this time I'm going to try to be a jerk.

73 Keep It Beautiful - OK, you're foiling my efforts here, as there really isn't much I dislike about this. I guess I would have liked a section where you dropped the energy but I suppose that would have gone against fulfilling the challenge.

Balance Lost - Dang, I'm really enjoying the twinkly double glockenspiel in the intro. The intro is too long though. And I guess I don't like the repetition of "hunter gatherer", I think it'd have been better if the repeats had been much lower volume rather than still being so super loud. Actually the vocals are maybe a little too loud overall. Your mix is somehow kind of both too muddy and too sparkly. Like you've got too much highs and lows or not enough mids or something. Also you could probably cut 30-60 seconds out of this to tighten the whole thing up a bit.

Berkeley Social Scene - Aargh, I really like this one.

Glenn Case - That string patch is terrible, it sounds like it's from an old video game. Your vocals actually sound a little low in the mix to me. Some of the hard left/right panned tracks sound like they could use some high-pass filtering on them, they're too boomy. Mostly though I really like this one too. Dang! I will echo the other folks qualms over the structural symmetry taking away from my enjoyment of the song, it makes the ending drag.

Merisan - When we were brainstorming we thought of Stereolab as inspiration. That led Erin to thinking of using the title in French, and we wound up with this song about old timey Eiffel Tower elevator operators. I think we may explore this style more in the future.

Micah Sommersmith - Getting a video game music vibe again from the fake instruments. Everything's sounding very mono/up-the-middle, more panning of more elements would be nice. I'm glad you're singing more than speak-singing this time, I don't love the speak-singing. I like that your melody is covering your full vocal range and you're covering a wide range but your higher register sounds a little quavery. This is often a bit too frenetic for me but overall I also don't dislike this one. WTF?!?!

Skub - I remember when you used to use more instruments than just drums and bass, ooh, sick burn! Seriously, though, what happened to having some guitars or keys? Also your beatboxing is merely good, not amazing. The second chorus of the double chorus, at 2:36-ish, feels a bit anti-climactic, like the drums need to switch to a ride there or something new needs to come in (more vocals, tambo, something) to step up the energy/tension and distinguish that chorus from the one right before it. The ending is also just ok.

strangelove - I like this up to the slowdown. It's novel the first time, but, gets old after a few seconds and overall the speed up/down gimmick doesn't hold up to repeat listens to me. Also the repetition of "elevator man" starts to drive me crazy after like two minutes, and I can't even get all the way through this on 2nd/3rd listen. This is like one of those things that's a good concept but in execution doesn't really last past the one-time novelty.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby MicahSommer » Tue May 23, 2017 12:20 pm

Manhattan Glutton wrote:Micah Sommersmith - ... maybe you should avoid singing in your lower register.

Lunkhead wrote:Micah Sommersmith - ... your higher register sounds a little quavery.

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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Lunkhead » Tue May 23, 2017 12:27 pm

Ha! I still appreciated that your melody covered your full range anyway.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby MicahSommer » Tue May 23, 2017 12:44 pm

Lunkhead wrote:Ha! I still appreciated that your melody covered your full range anyway.

Thanks! I had fun with it, though I was definitely aware that I was treading into the danger zone at both ends.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby bgm » Tue May 23, 2017 1:50 pm

MicahSommer wrote:
Manhattan Glutton wrote:Micah Sommersmith - ... maybe you should avoid singing in your lower register.

Lunkhead wrote:Micah Sommersmith - ... your higher register sounds a little quavery.

The people have spoken!

That's awesome.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Caravan Ray » Tue May 23, 2017 2:38 pm

Lunkhead wrote:the repetition of "elevator man" starts to drive me crazy after like two minutes

Yep - I nailed that challenge!
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby HeuristicsInc » Wed May 24, 2017 6:43 am

73 - this reminds me of a less sterile kraftwerk, and that is cool. The lyrics are sometimes a little silly but then again so were theirs. I love the vocal tone. Doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Balance - i feel like the intro meanders a bit. When the vocals come in it’s more solid, and the funky prog rock bits are very welcome. Not sure if “elevator men” is the title of this song, because it seems to be just another example in the list, and not tying the list together. I expected the elevator to represent people getting more civilized or something but i’m not seeing it.
Bss - i don’t feel like this delivers on the challenge as well as some others. I think that’s the presence of a chorus with different feel, maybe. Good song otherwise, though.
Glenn - i like how the elements from the beginning continue under the added elements. Great lyrics, very strong on the imagery and setting. I think this is my favorite of yours from this nur ein so far.
Merisan - Ah, a French lesson. Very helpful :) This is pretty! Love those backing vocals. How can they see the streets if they’re in the elevators? I don’t think I am getting it. But I like it anyway.
Micah - The synth arpeggio is neat. Vocals are a bit rough. You gave me a little information, but not enough: what are your secrets? Reminds me of the show Incorporated. That guy had secrets.
Skub - Great rhythm track. Beatbox! Good change in the chorus vocals without changing the rhythm. The real drums coming in are very good there. Here there are several sections using repetition, even though they are different each has lots of repeats. Challenge met. Great song.
Strange - You know what this reminds me of? A song using the words of children’s author Sandra Boynton, sung by Davey Jones (I Want To Be Your Personal Penguin). It’s fun like that one. Speeding this one up is a good thing. It’s pretty repetitive in the vocals but in the right mindset I don’t mind.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Lunkhead » Wed May 24, 2017 7:46 am

HeuristicsInc wrote:Bss - i don’t feel like this delivers on the challenge as well as some others. I think that’s the presence of a chorus with different feel, maybe. Good song otherwise, though.
...
Merisan - Ah, a French lesson. Very helpful :) This is pretty! Love those backing vocals. How can they see the streets if they’re in the elevators? I don’t think I am getting it. But I like it anyway.
...


The BSS song has different parts but they are each repetitive within themselves, like how you described the Skub song: "Here there are several sections using repetition, even though they are different each has lots of repeats." Glen is playing the same one note in the verses, Martin and I are repeating the same simple parts but with two measures of modulation from D to C, in the choruses bass and guitar are repeating eighth notes and repeating the same chords, the bridge is repeated twice and the solo is mostly just one repeated note, etc.

In the Merisan song the elevator men are at the Eiffel Tower and they are on the outside of the elevators. (Even if they were inside them they would still be able to see out as the elevators have windows.) Not all elevators are inside a building!

Image
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby HeuristicsInc » Wed May 24, 2017 9:59 am

Thanks for the followup. For 1, I felt like it wasn't fulfilling the challenge as well, although I do see your point.
For 2, I only saw the Eiffel Tower from afar so I didn't know about the elevators. Thanks.
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Wed May 24, 2017 12:21 pm

Had I known you'd written about the Eiffel Tower I might have put you last. :mrgreen:
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby furrypedro » Wed May 24, 2017 1:19 pm

HeuristicsInc wrote:I expected the elevator to represent people getting more civilized or something but i’m not seeing it.


Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. It goes 1) Barely wearing pants 2) Enlightenment 3) Industrialisation 4) Globalisation. I didn't wanna spell it out before because, as j$ says, if it needs it explaining then the song fails. A second angle, similar to that of some other songs in the round, is the elevator men of verse 4 are "men in suits".
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby Lunkhead » Wed May 24, 2017 3:37 pm

Too bad BSS got eliminated. We managed to get our song done already last night! I'll try to get it posted as a shadow entry. Good job this year, to my fellow BSS'ers.

Sorry to see the other eliminated folks go. Good game, Micah and Pete!
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Re: Nur Ein XII Round Five

Postby MicahSommer » Wed May 24, 2017 3:53 pm

Spintown wrote:Micah Sommersmith - ... You spend too much time explaining how boring these suits are. Get it done in 1 verse so your song doesn’t start to get boring. Then write another verse about the secrets you mentioned in the 3rd verse.

HeuristicsInc wrote:Micah - ... You gave me a little information, but not enough: what are your secrets? Reminds me of the show Incorporated. That guy had secrets.

What I was trying (apparently, not very successfully) to get at was that the singer in the bridge could be any of the "Elevator Men" - they (we) each think that they're (we're) complex, multi-faceted people forced into this corporate role, whereas everyone else is a soulless drone. So the singer's specific "secrets" don't really matter: they're just the parts of him that let him see himself as a complete human being and not just a suit.

Anyway, congrats and good luck to everyone who is moving on. To my fellow eliminatees - I enjoyed both your songs and am sorry to see you get the ax.
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