Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by mo »

Worked fine for me
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by seemanski »

frankie big face wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:18 pm
“If only they had provided examples of what they meant!” Is something someone might say in response to Lunkhead. ;)

Not me, but someone.
To me examples are there to help you but shouldn't stop you from interpreting it how you see fit.

Personally I feel I have met the challenge and I don't think that should go against me. There definitely is an a capella section. I wish I had put some accompaniment on it because I would have found it a lot easier but I set myself a goal to approach this as an a purely a cappela group.

Whether that is enough to get me over the line, probably not. I was dubious about submitting this because it was well over my comfort zone.

That all said, if it is my time to go then I'm good with that. I am more than happy with how this has gone for me and am very grateful for all the advice that has come my way from the judges as I feel I have got a hell of a lot out of this process. I'm inspired to go away, learn some more and hopefully come back stronger.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by vowlvom »

BoffoYux wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:25 pm
vowlvom wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:09 am
I have updated the zip.
I love that you do these zips - but can you check on the Moss Palace, Mandibles and Grumpy Mike songs? When I played them at the LP they cut off the ends. I wasn't sure if it was me, but if it's a zip, it shouldn't do that to the songs.
I've been doing all my listening from the zip, downloaded on a different laptop, and I've had no problems.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by mo »

By the way jiangshi is pronounced “jyang-shih”, two syllables
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by frankie big face »

Seemanski, I think you met the challenge too. I never even listen to the examples (although I did have “Black Water” in the front of my mind as an example since I know it so well). But mostly, I was just razzing lunkhead. I mentioned it earlier because I noticed the discrepancy so I wasn’t too surprised when Glenn brought it up but it seems he has other issues with your song that informed his ranking. I wouldn’t worry about the challenge. You made a good (and interesting) song. Be happy!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by seemanski »

frankie big face wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:40 am
Seemanski, I think you met the challenge too. I never even listen to the examples (although I did have “Black Water” in the front of my mind as an example since I know it so well). But mostly, I was just razzing lunkhead. I mentioned it earlier because I noticed the discrepancy so I wasn’t too surprised when Glenn brought it up but it seems he has other issues with your song that informed his ranking. I wouldn’t worry about the challenge. You made a good (and interesting) song. Be happy!
Thanks Frankie 😁.

Yeah, I can see their are other issues and I don't think it would sway the verdict too much and I am good with that.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by glennny »

did the internet fail us?

this is where i looked for how to pronounce it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pwmjeBY2bA
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by vowlvom »

Another incredibly close round, and again I found I had to lean heavily on the implementation of the challenge and other tiny things that charmed or annoyed me to rank songs that were otherwise of extremely level quality. Shout out to the shadows this round, there were a couple of songs among them that will definitely make my "best of Nur Ein XV" playlist.

Frankie Big Face - Bold panning decisions! I like how the guitars sound in my headphones but might have been tempted to drop it when the vocals come in on the first verse as it maybe feels a little overdone. I really like how the doubled vocals drop out to the solo voice before the chorus and then everything comes back in, excellent attention to dynamics. The chorus itself is extremely catchy, and the a cappella section is perfect, excellent layering and it's so well integrated into the song.

Mandibles - I love to hear people having fun with the challenge, and this is pure fun. I like the take on the title, and right from the start you embrace the a cappella sound, carrying the layered harmonies into the rest of the song does a great job making the whole thing feel consistent. The retro rock 'n' roll guitar sounds great although the other guitar (or uke?) sometimes feels a bit sloppy timing-wise. Truth's vocal sounds great when he comes in late on, so smooth.

Jon Eric - Like Mandibles, the sense of "having fun with the challenge" comes across in a big way here. Excellent retro rock 'n' roll with the layered harmonies sounding great. On the whole I would say I'm not really a harmonica fan generally (too many associations with earnest Dylan folkies I guess) but it sounds superb here and fits the song so well. The a cappella section works excellently. I had some issues with the mix again but to be honest it works for the style, the retro vibe might suffer with more polish.

Max Bombast - Another fun lyrical take, and interesting instrumental choice (is that ukulele and fuzz bass?) I don't love this as much as some songs from the round but I do feel like it's a step up from your last couple of songs and I don't have much to critique - the only thing that bothers me is the way the second line ends in the middle of a sentence, it feels clunky and sets a bad first impression for the song, although you recover in style.

Cavedwellers - This one has bounced up and down my rankings like crazy, there are things about it I love and things that I dislike. The lyrical theme is really fun, but in practice some of these lines feel so clunky - the wordplay is impressive in writing but sounds forced when set to music. The sax is a really fun addition, I enjoyed hearing it honking away through the verses (although maybe a little high in the mix). The guitar solo feels sloppy and overlong to me and going straight into ANOTHER solo afterwards really tested my patience. The a cappella section is solid, although doesn't feel as well integrated to me as some of the other songs that went for the layered Beach Boys-style breakdown. A mixed bag, in other words, but you never take the easy option and I appreciate that.

Glow Worm - Given how strong your voice is, I found myself really disappointed that your only concession to the challenge was a "na-na-na" hook. I also had some real issues with the distortion on the chorus - I couldn't figure out if it was an intentional decision or a mastering error, and the fact that I was left in doubt means that it didn't work IMO. It's a decent song but a weak take on the challenge and not strong enough on its own merits to overcome that disappointment.

see-man-ski - It's a really bold take on the challenge and a fun listen, although I feel like if you're going full a cappella then you need more low / high frequencies, it feels like all of your vocal layers are in a similar frequency range which makes the effect a little samey. The pause in "take... the blame" feels awkward to me too. Impressive and ambitious but it doesn't fully pay off for me.

Moss Palace - Another one of the best vocalists in the contest, another really weak take on the challenge, another disappointment. This is the weakest Moss Palace song of the contest for me, the verse melody feels repetitive and kept reminding me of "Wishing" by A Flock of Seagulls, which just made me want to listen to that instead; the lyrics aren't particularly interesting; the a cappella oohs are lovely but I want more - a lot of people went the extra mile on the challenge this round and it feels like a checkbox here. The chorus is pretty strong but I've had enough of this song well before it's over.

(What we do in the) Shadows:

Balance Lost - This is so good, I love that propulsive drum machine / bass combo and the melody is really bittersweet. The processed vocals are an interesting and unique take on the challenge. How the fuck did you fit the word "lambdacism" into a lyric? I love this, one of my favourites from the round and probably my favourite of your songs from this Nur Ein.

Grumpy Mike - Solid beat and there are some clever lines in this, although I'm not crazy about the main hook. I really like the kind of orchestral synth drop out at the start of Scott's verse and I like the layering on that verse too - interesting that each vocalist has their own production style as well as vocal style. I kinda hate the introduction to Ben's verse, it feels like a exaggerated impersonation and doesn't fit the rest of the song IMO.

Hot Pink Halo - Did you sample your own voice for those pad sounds? They sound really cool. This is a great protest song and most of your vocal arrangement works really well, although I find the repeated "I will not be" kind of a difficult listen, even though it's strong in terms of the theme of the song.

Lichen Throat - Fun take on the title but this definitely sounds like a song that would have been stronger without the a cappella section. Other than that part, this is upper-tier Lichen Throat for me, your lyrics flow well and I'm enjoying your continued exploration of this reverb-heavy sound.

Serviettes, The - I absolutely love this, if all of these songs were in competition then you and Balance Lost would have been competing with Frankie for my top spot. Your a cappella arrangement is a real treat, your humming vocals fall somewhere between strings and woodwind and sound just great, and I love the melancholy melody.

Vom Vorton - I wanted to go all out and have some real fun with this challenge / title because I love them both, but I had no energy and I don't think I really did justice to how this song sounded in my head.
Last edited by vowlvom on Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by crumpart »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:33 am
Hot Pink Halo - Did you sample your own voice for those pad sounds? They sound really cool. This is a great protest song and most of your vocal arrangement works really well, although I find the repeated "I will not be" kind of a difficult listen, even though it's strong in terms of the theme of the song.
Thanks! That is, indeed, all my own voice. I set up a drum track in logic that I liked the feel of, then improvised my first go at the melody over the top, then went back in and attempted to reproduce the drum track to some degree vocally. I watched *a lot* of beatboxing how-to videos on YouTube. For what would be the kick/snare and the tom layers, I recorded a full verse and a full chorus, then copied and pasted throughout the rest of the track. Those are pitch shifted down a little to cover the low end a bit more, with various EQs and compressions applied. The “tsss tsss tsss tsss” was one bar that I looped where needed. The bits that to me sound like a match being struck were supposed to be cymbal/crash type sounds, and I made those by layering a bunch of different mouth sounds on top of one another until I had something I liked, then copied and pasted to all the spots I wanted them to land. There are various reverbs and things applied to those for atmosphere. One thing that I did as kind of a joke was an uvular trill, thinking it would sound terrible, and I ended up loving it and kept it in. Hand claps and finger clicks (I believe the Americans call those “snaps”) were also recorded in a full section in about five layers then copied and pasted where I wanted them.

Edit: if you’re referring to the high pitched pad sounds, that might be the tiny bit of electric piano I put in.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by frankie big face »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:33 am
Frankie Big Face - Bold panning decisions! I like how the guitars sound in my headphones but might have been tempted to drop it when the vocals come in on the first verse as it maybe feels a little overdone. I really like how the doubled vocals drop out to the solo voice before the chorus and then everything comes back in, excellent attention to dynamics. The chorus itself is extremely catchy, and the a cappella section is perfect, excellent layering and it's so well integrated into the song.
Thanks for the nod. I tried something new with the doubled vocals after reading an earlier comment thread - I tripled them! And that really does just make the whole process easier. Just need to make more vocal takes. I’m really happy with this song - glad you liked it too.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by mo »

glennny wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:54 am
did the internet fail us?

this is where i looked for how to pronounce it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pwmjeBY2bA
Yeah unfortunately that YT is completely wrong. I don't know who let that up there. But much like the "ts-" in Japanese, a double vowel in romanized Chinese is still one sound, not two, "a" are "ah" sounds, and "shi" and "chi" are short vowels, whereas they use "xi" and "qi" for the same consonant sound but for long vowels. Every romanization system is kind of a bad compromise, sadly.

OTOH I did know exactly who you're talking about, so whatever hahaha
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by crumpart »

Chinese language tangent, with the qualification that I have the most minimal knowledge of Mandarin possible:

This came up in conversation in our house today. As Mandarin is a language where the same word can mean different things depending on the intonation used, how does this affect melody writing and music making?
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by owl »

One answer with some citations:
https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/q ... or-mandari

Other opinions, no citations:
https://www.quora.com/How-are-Chinese-t ... d-in-songs

Mo may have more interesting insights. My Chinese isn’t really good enough to give a general analysis, even though I’ve listened to a lot of Cantopop in my time via my parents.

I would suspect it’s generally handled sort of the way it is with syllable stresses in English (which I’ve been complaining about people getting wrong constantly this Nur Ein... well, I never got around to doing my Rear Window reviews, but I was aggravated by almost everyone singing “win-DOW” and Cavedwellers adding “MIS-takes” to that even though I liked that song otherwise). You try to fit words to melody and vice versa in a way where they flow naturally together.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by crumpart »

Thank you! Apologies for my MIS-takes and win-DOWs. I’ve been sitting here for several minutes now saying them out loud and I think that’s just how we say them in Australia? Although maybe window is more wind-oh.

Edit: I’m now being pedantic listening to my Rear Window and I think it’s more wind-oh than win-doh.

Edited again: my kryptonite is how Americans pronounce “advertisement”. I swear the way all y’all say that will send me to an early grave.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by mo »

crumpart wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:20 am
Chinese language tangent, with the qualification that I have the most minimal knowledge of Mandarin possible:

This came up in conversation in our house today. As Mandarin is a language where the same word can mean different things depending on the intonation used, how does this affect melody writing and music making?
Well, let's back it up a bit. Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language with 4 tones (tone in this case is not intonation, per se, but includes vectors of relative pitch speed, and force), but the tones themselves don't really impart meaning to a particular syllabic unit. For example, mā má mã mà delineate 4 possible tones (we'll skip the no-tone particle usage for now) but actually without context, you don't know if the third tone mã (I don't have the right diacritical marker here so we'll just pretend that's a third tone) means 码 weight or 马 horse or 吗 morphine (borrowed from the transliteration) or 蚂 ant or 玛 agate, etc etc etc. Those are all third tone "ma".

So to answer your specific question, the thing that you indicate is basically meaningless, because when you're singing, you don't really use the linguistic tones as much as the musical ones, and you're getting most of the meaning of actual sememes from usage in context, either in phrases or morphemes, eg. if someone says "bīanmã" I know that it means a code number (like a serial number), or if they say "mãbīan" we're talking about a horse whip. Same tones, same phonemes, both words and their component words, totally different. So to recap, you actually get meaning in song lyrics from context, not some absolute meaning of this one word with this particular tone means X.

However I do think there are some things that Mandarin Chinese does that are different from English, for example. Rhyming is a lot easier in some ways, because your number of word endings is much more limited, so chances are good you can find good rhymes. How you phrase is a little different, because of how you can break a phrase down into monosyllables, so Chinese works great with 8th note or 16th note flow--there's probably more rhythmic impact than melodic, from the language alone I mean. Most of what you hear going on in Mandopop is really cultural taste than linguistically structurally determined, IMO anyway.

On a totally different (yet potentially related) note, one of the things that frustrates many first time listeners to Beijing opera is how the music doesn't seem to be particularly regular, ie it's not like you hear a phrase or progression that's repeated every 4 or 8 or 12 bars or whatever, so it feels random. But it isn't. It's tied to the poetic forms of the lyrics, so the idea might be more like if you had a sonnet, and for every first line of the sonnet you played a certain thing, second line, third line, etc. Some of these poetic forms for jingju are extremely long, and very precise. At the same time you have all of the different types of folk musics of the various tribes, most famously the northern Mongolian singers, which are more straight pentatonic and regularly phrased. So anyway for a country like China that is culturally extremely variable by region, time period, language group, etc etc etc it's hard to make a lot of cut and dried statements.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by crumpart »

This is super fascinating. Thank you!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by ujnhunter »

I didn't read this whole thread, but when I saw the "mā má mã mà" as an example of Mandarin Chinese it made me think of when I try to speak Thai... which has it's own "ma ma ma" complexity that I can't "hear", well I sort of can... but not consistently... so either you're telling me to "come here", you're calling me a dog... or you're calling me a horse... it could be any of the 3... to my Farang ears. I can't imagine if my wife was Chinese/Thai and I'd have to figure out 7 different "ma" meanings... although looking at your meanings... perhaps the Mandarin Chinese and Thai "horse" "ma" are the same!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by iVeg »

Cool stuff w/ Mandarin.
Finally finished my shadow...

[Edit: Very bad version removed. Somewhat better version posted later in this thread]
[Re-edited because the bad version did NOT remove]
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

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How... I mean...

I...

Uhhhhh....

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by seemanski »

Well, I saw that one coming. I've been clinging on to the bottom of the pile for a while and I knew there was a reason I was reluctant to press the send button.

A massive thank you to all the judges and people who took the time to listen to my stuff and provide me with some really great constructive critism. It was wonderful to be able to come to each new week with different things to try.

On a personal note the past few months have been really hard. Juggling both childcare and working full time has been insane and this competition gave me a drive and something to go for to help me get through it and go a little less insane. It kind of feels apt that I should go out now my little girl has managed to get back into nursery and the work/life balance has been restored... for now.

Its now time for me to preorder my copy of last of us 2 and kill some zombies over the next couple of weeks.

Mike out!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by GlennCase »

seemanski wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:20 pm
Well, I saw that one coming. I've been clinging on to the bottom of the pile for a while and I knew there was a reason I was reluctant to press the send button.

A massive thank you to all the judges and people who took the time to listen to my stuff and provide me with some really great constructive critism. It was wonderful to be able to come to each new week with different things to try.

On a personal note the past few months have been really hard. Juggling both childcare and working full time has been insane and this competition gave me a drive and something to go for to help me get through it and go a little less insane. It kind of feels apt that I should go out now my little girl has managed to get back into nursery and the work/life balance has been restored... for now.

Its now time for me to preorder my copy of last of us 2 and kill some zombies over the next couple of weeks.

Mike out!
Congratulations on one hell of a run! One of the first contestants in Nur Ein history to be brought back after being eliminated, and you're easily the contestant who made the most out of that second chance. Assuming no one drops out this week, anyway...
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Five "North Beach Vampires"

Post by owl »

seemanski wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:20 pm
Well, I saw that one coming. I've been clinging on to the bottom of the pile for a while and I knew there was a reason I was reluctant to press the send button.

A massive thank you to all the judges and people who took the time to listen to my stuff and provide me with some really great constructive critism. It was wonderful to be able to come to each new week with different things to try.

On a personal note the past few months have been really hard. Juggling both childcare and working full time has been insane and this competition gave me a drive and something to go for to help me get through it and go a little less insane. It kind of feels apt that I should go out now my little girl has managed to get back into nursery and the work/life balance has been restored... for now.

Its now time for me to preorder my copy of last of us 2 and kill some zombies over the next couple of weeks.

Mike out!
Submit a shadow or two! I think we've all been impressed with how you were reinstated and then really stepped up your game. We were wondering if the whole reinstatement thing would lead to people being reinstated and immediately cut again but I'm happy to see you got this far and proved the merit of the whole idea--you've written some awesome songs.
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