Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by Lunkhead »

frankie big face wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:38 pm
MANY WILL RANK ME HIGH AND SOME WILL RANK ME VERY LOW!

And that is how I will OWN IT!
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by owl »

In with a shadow! (It's weird writing a song about a government-sponsored murderer with no accountability in the current climate of protests against police brutality, right?)

Anyway, I didn't start until yesterday, but I really wanted to play around with the free Spitfire BBC orchestra VST I downloaded recently. Mixed bag--I thought it generally sounded pretty good, but I had some issues with it, so I'm curious to hear if anyone else has run into the same thing at all--I had weirdness with the MIDI where it just wasn't playing certain notes, they were just randomly cutting out. I tried copy/pasting the notes from other places where they were making sound properly, drawing them into the piano roll manually, re-recording on a new track, everything. I ended up having to render the tracks and copy/paste from the actual waveforms where it did cooperate, so there are probably some audible artifacts from that, and I just ditched some of the instruments altogether, too much trouble to fix. It's weird, not an issue I've had with other plugins before. Maybe my computer was just struggling today, I don't know.

Grumpy Mike, I randomly checked the lyrics for Goldeneye and Skyfall--227 and 282 words, respectively. Looks like your song is a mere 96, so yeah, I agree that you should probably make it 2-3 times longer for accuracy. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by owl »

Generic wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:34 pm
"Liner Notes" on my track - I imagined my lyrics as being from the perspective of a Bond villain. I could picture it as sort of a monologue near the end of the movie, when the criminal mastermind has captured Bond in his secret lair and is explaining his evil philosophy near the climax of the film.

Late in the songwriting process, I discovered that there is an actual Bond novel called Carte Blanche. I had already written my lyrics, but there was one couplet I didn't care for, so I scrapped it and tried to allude to that novel's villain in the lyrics that would replace it. According to Wikipedia, the main villain* of Carte Blanche is Severan Hydt, a waste disposal magnate who "has an intense fascination with death, which is strongly implied to be a sexual fetish." So with that in mind, the lines "Our moment of reckoning / Thanatos beckoning" came about. Thanatos is one of the Greek gods of death. (Side note: The Marvel villain Thanos, whose name clearly came from Thanatos, also has a fascination with death that is implied to be sexual in nature; in fact he lusts after a personification of Death).

I also checked the James Bond fan wiki for more information about Severn Hydt, and found that he chose to name himself after Robert Louis Stevenson's Mr. Hyde, because he believes in the duality of man and embracing both sides of himself, the "good" and the "evil." There are some lyrics in my song that would fit this characterization, but I must admit that they are coincidental... Or at least a byproduct of the fact that there are certain patterns to the philosophies of James Bond bad guys. ;)

*There is a late novel twist where the "Bond Girl" is actually the mastermind of the whole plot, but for most of the novel, the reader is to assume that Hydt is the primary baddie.
hm, I see Severan was supposedly chosen because of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, but I would have guessed it was chosen as a nod to Severin, a character from Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (who gave masochism its name)--see also: the Velvet Underground song by the same name, and Steven Severin from Siouxsie and the Banshees.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by Lunkhead »

I used the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the Moss Palace track. I had no issues with it. Considering it's free the sound quality and control are pretty good!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by crumpart »

I forgot to mention in my liner notes that I did one of my favourite things with the bass line, which is to to eschew any logical choices and write it from the melodic line of an existing song, in this case, my favourite of the Bond themes.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by sailingmagpie »

Some notes for my shadow:

I absolutely loved this challenge, as I'm a sucker for some Bond music(especially the John Barry era). Most of the themes have nothing to do with the film they're from, other than shoehorning the title in, so no plot from me for an imaginary one.

I've tried to use vst brass in the past but it always ends up sounding like an 80s Casio. As I didn't want to sound like the awful Duran Duran/A-ha themes I decided to steer clear of this and use samples instead. I took them from the soundtracks for From Russia with Love, Diamonds are Forever and Dr No. I also included some recurring musical motifs from past themes, as this is the number one Bond trope imo.

If I had more time, I'd have another crack at the vocals and redo the mix, as it's a bit muddy but hey ho.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by vowlvom »

Pleased to see this challenge was a hit with a lot of people! I really enjoyed doing a shadow, although I left it really late in the day - I initially considered doing something with the Cate Blanchett / Carte Blanche thing, then considered writing a theme song for Michael Bond (creator of Paddington), but then realised it was the last day and I hadn't started, so I wrote about the noted spy James Bond. Also I failed to use either of my musical ideas, "only use the note B on the D string" and "use the chord 0-0-7-0-0-7" but rest assured I thought about them pretty loudly.

Anyway here's your zip file for the round:

Nur Ein XV - Round 4
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by noma »

Some notes on my song:

I am not much of a James Bond fan, but I do have an idea what a Bond theme is supposed to sound like. I didn't listen to any of the actual Bond songs beforehand though so I wouldn't be too influenced by them and subconsciously plagiarize. My theme still sounds like I heard it somewhere before, so apologies if I plagiarized, it was not on purpose.
It features a lot of horns, since James Bond is constantly horny (and Austin Powers even more so, of course,) which are namely cornet and mellophone. I employed both in some of my songs back in 2014*, but I have played neither instrument in a long time and I suck at brass, hopefully not too much.

My lyric is a stupid melodramatic cliché fest, appropriately for the topic. As the challenge was "Bond theme", I didn't put too much effort into the lyric because with Bond themes, it's mostly the music that matters. Bond themes, to me, are functional music meant to enhance their respective films, so I don't think the lyric has to be particularly meaningful, but like the music it has to be fitting for the premise. In my case it's vaguely about someone who used to be pushed around by others with little to no power of their own, but who in a turn of events has been given "carte blanche" by whoever and now has to decide what to do with their new found powers. Of course I tried to sing as dramatically as possible for maximum Bond-ness.

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* "Stop (You're Killing Me)" from Nur Ein IX, "Who Called the Ape?", "No Vacancy", and "No Take Backs" (mellophone only.)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Wow, some really great songs this week! Quite impressed with how many stepped up to the challenge.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by frankie big face »

I’m listening to all the songs and just wanted to chime in and say how much I like the new rule, which is encouraging so many shadows! That’s cool. Good idea.

Fun to see the judges participating as well.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by Lunkhead »

frankie big face wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:45 am
I’m listening to all the songs and just wanted to chime in and say how much I like the new rule, which is encouraging so many shadows! That’s cool. Good idea.

Fun to see the judges participating as well.
This comment is so positive. Who are you and what have you done with the real frankie big face?! :P
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by frankie big face »

You win, lunkhead. I’m holding FBF hostage. I was going to demand ransom but clearly none of you will pay! I will dump him in North Beach and you can pick him up at a local Italian restaurant. (I’m doing my research...)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by GlennCase »

Moss Palace - The vibe is absolutely perfect. The melody goes to nice, unexpected places. The vocal melody at :41 is pure bliss. This is a fantastic composition, and an excellent performance that nails the challenge in a big way. I do wish you would have belted out that last note with a bit more "oomph" but to your credit everything sounds great and I am hearing you reach for higher notes than I have ever heard from you. Of all the entries this sounds the most like a song that could play over the end credits of a Bond film without needing work.

LYRICS: [GOOD] 2 points
STRUCTURE: [GOOD] 2 points
PERFORMANCE: [GOOD] 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [GOOD] 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: [GOOD] 2 points
SCORE: 10 out of 10


Frankie Big Face - I had high expecations from you this round, and you met them overall. I would say the lyrics feel a bit verbose for a Bond theme, and it detracts from the song. Still, the overall structure is fittingly dramatic, and fantastic. The ending is especially brilliant, with a super solid final vocal note. The musical references to the main James Bond theme work well here.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [GOOD] 2 points
PERFORMANCE: [GOOD] 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [GOOD] 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: [GOOD] 2 points
SCORE: 9 out of 10


Jon Eric - You absolutely nailed the challenge with a top tier composition! This has the proper feel, and kudos for having the courage to tackle those notes at the end that you may have no business trying to hit, but you actually did fairly well overall! Mix is a bit messy, and doesn't feel cohesive. The vocals are noticeably too loud at spots.

LYRICS: [GOOD] 2 points
STRUCTURE: [GOOD] 2 points
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [GOOD] 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 8 out of 10


Cavedwellers - The horn sounds are specatcular, and that definitely helps this to sound like a Bond theme. The instrumental section at 1:46 is excellent. Vocals are sufficient, but don't measure up to the music, and they sound a bit out of place as a result. Overall, this is a great composition.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [GOOD] 2 points
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [GOOD] 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: [GOOD] 2 points
SCORE: 8 out of 10


see-man-ski - There isn't a lot in the way of variation but this feels like a Bond song to me. It took a few listens for me to realize that your chord structure is essentially based on the main James Bond theme, but you disguised it well. My only complaint is that there isn't more variety in the structure itself. It's still pretty damn good.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [GOOD] 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [GOOD] 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: [GOOD] 2 points
SCORE: 8 out of 10


Max Bombast - It sounds good, but this doesn't feel like a Bond theme to me at all. There is a drama and tension in the average Bond theme that is missing here. The references to "License to Kill" and "The World is Not Enough" in the lyrics had me cringing a bit. Vocal rhythm of "Rules have no effect" at :28 sound awkward to me. I hear what you're doing with the reference to the main James Bond theme with the build at 1:15, but it isn't particularly effective in comparison to other entries from this round.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [GOOD] 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [GOOD] 2 points
SCORE: 7 out of 10


Balance Lost - The introduction is good, but then it breaks into the verse which doesn't feel like it belongs in the song. I do like the variety in the structure. The hi-hat/cymbal sounds are a bit crispy and harsh to the ear. Great reference to the main Bond theme at 1:10. Your overall vibe is at least close to a Bond theme, but it's not quite there. I don't hate this, but there are way stronger songs in this round.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [GOOD] 2 points
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [GOOD] 2 points
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 7 out of 10


Mandibles - This started out as a very promising song! Those verses are excellent, but I do not like the chorus at all. You have written half of a song that is a very good Bond theme. The horns, and overall instrumentation are quite good. Tasty guitar. The chorus single-handedly sinks this.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [GOOD] 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 6 out of 10


Nick Soma - At times this is at least close to sounding like a Bond theme. "Carte Blanche" sounds super awkward when you repeat it so often in the chorus. The horns were a good call.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 5 out of 10


Micah Sommersmith - This sounds less like a Bond theme, and more like a song for a musical about James Bond. I don't like the chorus lyrics, but I do like the melody. The guitar is quite good. This is decent.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 5 out of 10


The Lowest Bitter - Mildly amusing, but this doesn't sound remotely like a Bond theme. I imagine you know that, however. The verse structure sounds like it was picked at random. Vocals go flat fairly often.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 5 out of 10
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by furrypedro »

GlennCase wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:48 pm
Max Bombast - It sounds good, but this doesn't feel like a Bond theme to me at all. There is a drama and tension in the average Bond theme that is missing here. The references to "License to Kill" and "The World is Not Enough" in the lyrics had me cringing a bit. Vocal rhythm of "Rules have no effect" at :28 sound awkward to me. I hear what you're doing with the reference to the main James Bond theme with the build at 1:15, but it isn't particularly effective in comparison to other entries from this round.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [OKAY] 1 point
PERFORMANCE: [GOOD] 2 points
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [GOOD] 2 points
SCORE: 7 out of 10


Balance Lost - The introduction is good, but then it breaks into the verse which doesn't feel like it belongs in the song. I do like the variety in the structure. The hi-hat/cymbal sounds are a bit crispy and harsh to the ear. Great reference to the main Bond theme at 1:10. Your overall vibe is at least close to a Bond theme, but it's not quite there. I don't hate this, but there are way stronger songs in this round.

LYRICS: [OKAY] 1 point
STRUCTURE: [GOOD] 2 points
PERFORMANCE: [OKAY] 1 point
CONCEPT/CHALLENGE: [OKAY] 1 point
DYNAMICS/MIX: [OKAY] 1 point
SCORE: 6 out of 10
Thanks for the prompt reviews, Glenn. Feedback is appreciated as always. I feel that as we are approaching the business end of Nur Ein there are a couple of points about your scoring system that I want to query in a vain attempt to squeeze a couple of more points out of you (or fewer points for the others, both work for me :) ).

Using your review of Max's song as an example since we are right next to each other in your rankings, nothing personal against Adam at all; You give him 2 points for mix and performance, and me 1 point. I totally understand that. His song is better made than mine, so that makes sense. But regarding challenge, you state Max's song "doesn't feel like a Bond theme to me at all" whereas mine is "at least close to a Bond theme", so why we both score 1 point for that? Surely I should get 1, and Max should get zero for concept/challenge (or 2 for me, 1 for Max, at least a score that reflects your comments that I was closer to meeting the challenge than him in the same way that his superior mix is reflected in the scoring system). Again with the lyrics, you say for Max "lyrics had me cringing a bit", and in my review there is no mention of the lyrics, which I interpret (possibly incorrectly) that there wasn't anything wrong or cringy in them, and again we score the same. If my lyrics had nothing to fault then why don't I get a 2? Or at least get a point over a lyric that made you cringe?

I have no real expectation that your scores will change, so my request for an upgrade is only semi serious. But I am genuinely curious to know how these point scores were arrived at based on your comments. Anyway, once again thanks for the reviews!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by vowlvom »

Ranking this bunch was incredibly difficult, my usual method is to rank by preference and then adjust according to how well I felt people met the challenge, but in this round I thought basically all of these songs were good so I had to look more to challenge implementation and other tiny niggles to figure out where to rank a bunch of songs I thought were almost universally very well done indeed. Looks like we've reached the brutal part of the contest where I'm being forced to rank people in my elimination spots when in my heart I really want to hear more from them.

Anyway, on with the reviews:

Frankie Big Face - After your forum comments I was half-expecting you to struggle this round but I have to admit (through gritted teeth) that you absolutely nailed it. This is a super-dramatic song that straddles the line between Bond theme and, like, Broadway musical or something - but some Bond themes push pretty hard in that direction too so that's fine by me. I love the sparkling vibes and smoky atmosphere, the lyrics are strong and the dynamics are excellent - the drop out to voice and piano followed by the rest of the band / orchestra exploding back into action gets me every time.

Moss Palace - I knew you'd do a good job with this challenge and I'm not disappointed. The orchestral stuff sounds great and the tremolo lead guitar is deployed to great effect. It took me a few listens for the chorus melody to start winning me over and I'm still not entirely there, it's a bold choice and feels just a little awkward to me; performance is great as ever but the vocals peak on those steps into a higher register at the end of each verse section for me, the chorus is never quite as satisfying. The very end also feels like it could use something extra too, even if it was just those final notes trailing off - at the moment it just kinda stops. Still really excellent, though!

Jon Eric - Your chorus melody is the one I find getting stuck in my head the most, which is a good sign. I generally think this is excellently written and performed, albeit held back slightly by the mix - your vocal feels like it shifts between too quiet and too loud in the mix, and there's a roomy feel to it that doesn't quite fit the song IMO - not sure if that's the recording or the reverb your're using. There's also one annoying glitch in the recording at 1:42 which I'm not going to hold against my ranking because it could be some encoding glitch or something but I hope you do a mix that fixes it! Nearly all of my complaints are technical though, in terms of the actual writing and performance my only real issue is that the occasional use of repeated words ("beckoning, beckoning") feel slightly awkward to me. On the whole I thought this was one of the strongest takes on the challenge and I enjoyed it a lot.

Mandibles - I found the retro fuzzy vocal sound really offputting on first listen, although it grew on me with repeat visits - it contributes to the jazzy feel but makes some of the harder consonant sounds a little jarring. The shift from verse to chorus is really interesting and effective, and the brass on the way back out of the chorus is great and works realy well with the jazz guitar. I thought the lyrics were mostly solid apart from the "Mr. Man" line which I found really offputting. Mostly though I thought this was another excellent take on the challenge.

Cavedwellers - Excellent music, I love the guitar work on this song and the brass sounds excellent, dynamic, jazzy and fun. Solid lyrics, they capture the mysterious, enigmatic vibe well. The vocals let this down slightly I think, particularly on the chorus which has an interesting melody but feels like the words are being crammed into the song a little awkwardly. The instrumental sections are so good that the chorus suffers in comparison, perhaps. Still a thoroughly enjoyable song but that dropped it slightly in my rankings compared to the rest of the stacked list of songs in my top tier.

see-man-ski - This isn't what I expected from your description (I wouldn't call it synthwave, at least by my understanding of that style) but you quickly made me forget my disappointment because this is a really excellent track, an unusual take on the challenge but one that did distinctly feel like Bond to me despite heading in a very different direction to everyone else in this round. The layered vocals and delay work really well, your vocal performance is excellent and I love the dramatic ending.

Lowest Bitter, The - When I mentioned that the challenge this week was Bond Themes, my girlfriend said "I hope somebody writes a song calling him an arsehole". Enter The Lowest Bitter! I'm also no fan of Bond so this amused me on every listen, and some of the line deliveries made me laugh. I really like the arrangement, and the little melodies that come in under the repeated string motif. Without any actual attempt to conjure up the Bond atmosphere in the music I don't feel like I can rank this up with the songs that really took on and nailed the "theme" part of the challenge as well as the "Bond" part, but this was definitely one of my personal favourites.

Micah Sommersmith - An enjoyable listen but it never quite nails the Bond sound like most of my higher ranked songs, but also doesn't feel like it has an interesting enough take pushing in a different direction to make it stand out. I enjoyed your dramatic vocal work, this is one of your better mixes and I enjoyed hearing this every time but it lacks that killer spark to make it stand out in a strong pack. My only other complaint is that the "hungry wolf" line struck me more as a line from a children's song than a Bond Theme - it feels more Little Red Riding Hood than 007.

Balance Lost - The intro makes me happy every time I go through this batch of songs, but it makes up almost half of the song, and the switch into the verse feels pretty disjointed. The actual song section is full of interesting ideas but it shifts through them so quickly that nothing ever quite seems to click into gear for me, and the end result feels a little unsatisfying. I wish you'd found a way to carry that jazzy feel from the intro into the rest of the song a little more, or just had extended the second half really as this song is 50% intro / outro / samples and I wanted more... meat.

Nick Soma - I really like your surfy guitar work here, it maybe makes me think of European Bond knock-offs than the real thing to a certain extent, but you know what? Those are better anyway. The brass also sounds really great when it comes in, and lifts things just when it needs to. Sadly the vocal doesn't match the music for me, it's all drama but lacking in memorable melody and leaves this struggling to make an overall impression - another victim of very strong competition.

Max Bombast - I was really disappointed with this one, it feels like there's enough Bond in it to water down the Max Bombast sound but not enough to actually make this sound like a Bond Theme, so it ends up being right in the middle and not really having the impact of the songs that went full Bond or your own best stuff. I also found it really distracting that on every chorus there are harmonies with final syllables that don't match up (usually on "want") - you're enough of a recording pro to fix that! The lyrics are mostly fine although like Glenn I cringed at the inclusion of previous Bond titles - the red / white / blue suit lines are really clever, though.

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Glow Worm - Gorgeous piano ballad, your shift into falsetto on the chorus is really impressive. You've done a good job conjuring up the Bond feel with a fairly restrained sonic palette although I wouldn't object to more orchestral bombast as well as the big dynamic piano. I'm hearing some artifacts on the vocal that slightly bugged me, I remember hearing similar on one of Max's songs a while ago and blamed an overactive de-esser but I'm not sure if that's the case or not (it may even be a deliberate choice). Minor quibble, either way. Kudos for submitting despite your immunity, and I think I can safely say this would have ranked high!

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Grumpy Mike - Really solid musically, the mix is big but has a good amount of space in it. Drums are really punchy and your voice sits nicely in the mix. The lyrics really hold this one back though, it feels like nearly every line is just a reiteration of "he has carte blanche" and it gets old fast. I know Bond lyrics have gotten some stick on the boards but they have a certain enigmatic quality that I like quite a bit, and that's missing here.

Hot Pink Halo - I was unfamiliar with the Mountain Goats song that you're riffing on, but have just checked it out for context. Your take is interesting and makes for a fun listen, I like the brass and violin additions that you made and your lyrics are an interesting mix of the absurd and the thoughtful. I couldn't figure out which Bond theme you were paying tribute to with your bassline but that's a fun idea too. Mostly I'm glad somebody got the Cate Blanchett reference into this round!

Lichen Throat - Your spoken word sections work really well; the sung sections unfortunately have some familiar problems, it feels like your lyrics are always lagging behind the beat a little. This is a really interesting track though, your lyrics are evocative and enjoyably personal and I like the switch from the atmospheric verse to the chorus which has more of a folky vibe. I found myself imagining a Bond film that had your diary-song as a theme and that was amusing to me, so thank you for that, also.

Miscellaneous Owl - Well, this is fantastic. I love the strange vibe, with that super-atmospheric vibe that kinda conjures up Westerns and / or the desert as well as working as a Bond theme. The switch from the sparse verse into that intriguing, slightly menacing (pre-)chorus is perfect, especially the vibraslap (!) and the a-ha-ha! backing vocals. Some fantastic chord changes when the chorus does finally arrive at the end, dramatic and thrilling!

Serviettes, The - Fun idea to use samples from existing Bond songs, although the very first sample sets my expectations to "high energy" which the rest of the song doesn't really deliver on so that opening doesn't entirely work for me. The rest of the song is pretty good though, very Bondy and I LOVE the chunky synth-bass adding a modern element to the retro-styled piano - when the samples come back in at this point it sounds fantastic.

Third Cat - This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen with a nicely catchy melody and a good vocal performance, but it doesn't really say Bond to me (the string section feels more like a cut up classical piece to me than movie-score dramatics) and I wasn't a big fan of the lyrics at all. Really well produced as per usual, you always bring the ear-candy.

Vom Vorton - I wish I'd gotten started on this earlier in the week and had time to actually write some lyrics that weren't just the first thing I thought of, but as somebody who is still very much a beginner on the piano it makes me very happy when I manage to write a full song sat at the keyboard so this was definitely a worthwhile experiment for me!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by frankie big face »

Thanks Vom. I figured it out after a bit. Glad it made a good impression. I frequently thought of this as a broadway musical type song while singing it - it seemed to lean in that direction so your review is spot on. (Some of those older Bond tunes are written by Marvin Hamlisch and the like so they have a musical quality to them. I thought about Ennio Morricone a lot while writing this as well.) I also rediscovered an important plugin which helped me get vocal to cut through all that bombast at the end. Perhaps hardest part for me was learning the chord progression in so many different keys on the piano!

Appreciate the comments, Glenn, as well. I wanted the lyrics to be as bombastic as the rest of the piece and erred on the side of multi-syllabism. For better or worse, I occasionally play a game with myself when using my rhyming dictionary. If I see a word like malocclusion, I just have to work it into the song because maybe there’s no other song with that word in it! When I was gigging, I used to play a lyric bingo game with the audience where I included random and often unusual words from my songs (devil, cummerbund, adrenaline, bosom, etc.). People paid closer attention to the lyrics and I gave prizes when someone shouted bingo. Anyway, my point is, for a song like this, it seemed appropriate to go overboard with the lyrics and, of course, the tongue is firmly in cheek for much of it.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by seemanski »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:52 am

see-man-ski - This isn't what I expected from your description (I wouldn't call it synthwave, at least by my understanding of that style) but you quickly made me forget my disappointment because this is a really excellent track, an unusual take on the challenge but one that did distinctly feel like Bond to me despite heading in a very different direction to everyone else in this round. The layered vocals and delay work really well, your vocal performance is excellent and I love the dramatic ending.
I was aware that this was bordering more on rock. I added the Synthwave like bass and drums and once I added the guitars it was a bit dubious in my head too. I tried adding synths to get it more Synthwave like but couldn't reproduce the impact that the guitars gave it. I also tried adding a vocoder to my vocals and it sounded cheesey, so just went with what I thought sounded better. Thanks for your kind words, I had a week off last week so could put in more effort into this and I was pleased with how it came out.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by GlennCase »

furrypedro wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:13 pm
Thanks for the prompt reviews, Glenn. Feedback is appreciated as always. I feel that as we are approaching the business end of Nur Ein there are a couple of points about your scoring system that I want to query in a vain attempt to squeeze a couple of more points out of you (or fewer points for the others, both work for me :) ).

Using your review of Max's song as an example since we are right next to each other in your rankings, nothing personal against Adam at all; You give him 2 points for mix and performance, and me 1 point. I totally understand that. His song is better made than mine, so that makes sense. But regarding challenge, you state Max's song "doesn't feel like a Bond theme to me at all" whereas mine is "at least close to a Bond theme", so why we both score 1 point for that? Surely I should get 1, and Max should get zero for concept/challenge (or 2 for me, 1 for Max, at least a score that reflects your comments that I was closer to meeting the challenge than him in the same way that his superior mix is reflected in the scoring system). Again with the lyrics, you say for Max "lyrics had me cringing a bit", and in my review there is no mention of the lyrics, which I interpret (possibly incorrectly) that there wasn't anything wrong or cringy in them, and again we score the same. If my lyrics had nothing to fault then why don't I get a 2? Or at least get a point over a lyric that made you cringe?

I have no real expectation that your scores will change, so my request for an upgrade is only semi serious. But I am genuinely curious to know how these point scores were arrived at based on your comments. Anyway, once again thanks for the reviews!
First of all: You're welcome and thank you!

The short answer is: I don't think Max did particularly well with the challenge, but he didn't do bad enough to move into [BAD] territory. He definitely didn't make a song that sounded like a Bond song to me, but his overall concept wasn't horrible. I would say that you did better than Max on challenge, but not quite good enough to move into [GOOD] territory.

The dirty little secret here is that I tend to pick my rankings before I do the scores. Sometimes the scoring phase will cause me to alter my rankings, but usually not by much. For the sake of argument let's say that I bump your concept/challenge up to a [GOOD] and you would be tied with Max at 7 points out of 10. Ultimately, I am still going to have to pick which 7 point song I prefer, and I give that advantage to Max.

So, I can bump up your concept/challenge score if you like, but it won't change the ranking.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by furrypedro »

Cheers for the response, Glenn. If you're ranking the songs based on how much you enjoyed them there's absolutely nothing I can do to argue against that, and there's certainly nothing wrong with it. I dont think that need be a secret though, and I dont see the need to hide your reasons behind a scoring system which at least in part appears to be retroactively fitted to justify your rankings. This hasn't been the first time I've looked at the scores compared with the comments (for my entries and others) and thought there was a certain amount of nonsense in them. Anyway, I am just appreciative that I didn't get placed in the drop zone this time :)

Edit: also, yes please. I would like my concept to be bumped up! And lyrics if that's okay, but just concept would be great. Thank you!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by Generic »

Pedro's response might be the single most polite review nitpick I've ever seen. Very courteous there.

I wouldn't begrudge Glenn whatever reviewing device helps him keep his thoughts organized. This might be the hardest Nur Ein to judge, ever! Plus, c'mon, he was the first ever Nur Ein champion. He can do whatever he wants.

But Pedro's concern here does address why I never chose to use a rubric like that when I was a Nur Ein judge. (Plus, it would have opened me up for nitpicking arguments about the scores. :P )
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by frankie big face »

Bridesmaid again...

Congrats to Moss Palace!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Four "Carte Blanche"

Post by furrypedro »

Generic wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:47 pm
Pedro's response might be the single most polite review nitpick I've ever seen. Very courteous there.
And I would've succeeded too if it hadn't for Glenn and meddling "personal taste" (and bias towards those who can actually hold a tune). Given that he agreed to award me an extra point in his ranking system I think I should be ranked above Max on the basis of alphabetical order. THAT is a logic nobody can fault :P

Anyway, thanks to all the judges, Niv and Mike for your efforts and to everyone who listened and reviewed. As is often the case, my one comfort in this situation is to be eliminated among such illustrious company. I wish the worst of luck to the remaining competitors so I can be voted back in ftw!

furrypedro wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:59 pm
frankie big face wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:42 pm
But the Bond movie songs are basically just songs written in the style of the performers who made them.
The irony in your apparent bewilderment about this challenge is that I have no doubt you'll write/perform/record a better song than me.
Called it.
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