Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by mo »

no the last time I tried that it was a lot of butt stuff
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by BoffoYux »

mo wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:20 pm
no the last time I tried that it was a lot of butt stuff
'A Lot of Butt Stuff' is my "Behind the Music" compilation cover band.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by vowlvom »

OK I need to get these reviews posted and do some actual work. Good work again everyone, putting these five songs into a ranked order was another desperate quest into assessing tiny perceived strengths and flaws. Some more excellent work in the shadows too. See you all in the final?

Jon Eric - Holy triumphant 80s movie-montage soundtrack, Batman. One of the examples given in the polyrhythm video I watched when doing my homework was 'Chariots of Fire' and the verses in this song have that cool subtly anthemic-yet-wistful feel. The momentum builds nicely into the excellently super-anthemic chorus with those great backing vocals (that remind me of Tarzan Boy!). Some really cool low-key guitar work in this as well as the synths and I like your voice a lot in this higher register. When you put more grit into your voice for the key change this reminded me of Glow Worm! The fuzzy guitar feels a little washed out which makes the mix a little muddy at times and the vocal panning sounds a little odd (the lead vocal is slightly to the left? I didn't actually notice this until the other judges mentioned it but it does feel like an unusual choice). But yeah, I fell asleep with this stuck in my head last night, I woke up with it stuck in my head this morning.

Moss Palace - Probably the most subtle take on the challenge, as per the Moss Palace "don't give Vom what he wants!" songwriting credo, but the lead guitar riffs are given a really nice off-kilter feel by the rhythmic shift, so kudos for making the challenge work for you. I think this is possibly my favourite MP song of the challenge, with my only real critique is that the vocals sound very dry, it felt like a little more reverb / delay could have made things a little more interesting in a few spaces - mostly those long held notes where I kinda found myself wanting something different to happen.

Cavedwellers - That opening acoustic guitar sound is gorgeous, and oddly reminiscent of Sloop John B somehow. In general this is full of good melodic and rhythmic ideas (as I would expect from this artist / challenge combo!) but the mix is a bit muddy and overcompressed (I think? When the full band comes in there's a CRUNCH that doesn't sound great to me), I wish there was a bit more space in there. The good stuff still shines through - those big reverby washed-out chords in the background are lovely (and a perfect use of that shimmery modulated sound that you love, and that I complain about whenever you use it too much). Lyrics are mostly pretty interesting although feel a little crammed into the song at times, particularly the end of the second verse and the bridge. So yeah, mostly enjoyed this a lot but definitely a few issues that stopped me fully going for it.

Frankie Big Face - Moody, atmospheric, slow-burn songwriting. The various polyrhythm layers work well, although I'm not a huge fan of the scattered drums. Lots of sibilance in the vocals. This feels like it'd be perfect on a film soundtrack to set a mood, but within this batch of songs it sounds kinda like a solid album track in the middle of a bunch of singles. I like it quite a bit and repeat listens have definitely revealed it to be a bit of a grower, but against strong competition I found this one not sticking in my head as much as my higher-ranked songs.

Max Bombast - There are a couple of things I really like in this one, most notably the way that fuzzy riff kinda fades in and out early on, which is a great effect. Unfortunately the song as a whole kinda gave me a bit of a headache, that rhythm is so insistent and pounding and I don't find the result very enjoyable, or particularly interesting compared to some of the other implementations of the challenge.

Shadows:

Balance Lost - Love the funky vibe of this one, the riffs are great, everything sounds lush and you've even gotten some guest Melvin for an extra treat - I have nothing really to critique on this one at all, it's a blast.

Hot Pink Halo - Really interesting spacy arrangement, I particularly like the marimba (?) that comes in later on and the swell of strings after that. Some of the harmonies and vocal layers feel like they could use some work, where the timing or tuning between the two layers is just off enough to distract. But mostly I found this to be a really interesting composition.

Lichen Throat - I like the lead "guitar" work you've written here, the jangling arpeggio / riff starting at 0:37 in particular sounds really great. Great take on the title too. The vocal melody isn't one of your best though, and some of the rhythm in the lyrics is very strange to me - "my house keeps burning down, let's build another wing" sounds really good, but then "encircle this hill like a crown" collapses in on itself.

Mandibles - As a relative polyrhythm newcomer and without a beat to focus on, I struggled to figure out what exactly you were doing rhythmically in this song, so I'd love to know if you care to share any extra info! I'm assuming it's something to do with the layered vocal tracks? Anyway, I liked the song quite a bit, there's been a lot of air and space in the Mandibles songs this year and I really like it a lot. The lyrics are also really satisfyingly musical and flow extremely well.

Miscellaneous Owl - It's really satisfying how the wild rhythms of the verse converge for the more straightforward chorus. The guitars are huge, sometimes to the extent that the vocals feel overwhelmed, but that kinda suits the song and certainly helps it pack a punch.

see-man-ski - I love the way your two riffs interact, although something about the guitar tone and short picked notes makes that verse section sound like it's using sampled guitars rather than real ones, even though I'm sure it isn't. This is generally one of the most interesting takes on the challenge to me, the unusual rhythms really feel like they add to the song. The acoustic section feels a little tacked on to me, it's like a brief diversion into another song completely, but other than that I liked this a lot.

Serviettes, The - Always good to start your song with doorbells, so that you know when to come in. Erm… sorry. I really like the start of this song, the bells and synth bass work really well together. It kinda loses me with that dissonant string part though, that sound just doesn't really seem to fit the song to me and I find it distracting. Other than that I enjoyed this, and your bleak take on the title.

Vom Vorton - Really enjoyed this round, I've struggled with polyrhythms in the past but think I finally got my head around them at least a little bit this time and I like the result! I struggled for lyrics again and these are pretty last-minute / stream-of-consciousness, but I had a lot of fun with the synth and drum programming.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by frankie big face »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:50 am
Frankie Big Face - Moody, atmospheric, slow-burn songwriting. The various polyrhythm layers work well, although I'm not a huge fan of the scattered drums. Lots of sibilance in the vocals. This feels like it'd be perfect on a film soundtrack to set a mood, but within this batch of songs it sounds kinda like a solid album track in the middle of a bunch of singles. I like it quite a bit and repeat listens have definitely revealed it to be a bit of a grower, but against strong competition I found this one not sticking in my head as much as my higher-ranked songs.
Thanks for the review. I knew this song would be a longshot but it's the song I wanted to make for this title so I decided to go for it. I noticed in other rounds that poppier songs didn't hold up to repeated listens for the judges, so I thought maybe...

Thanks for consistently posting thoughtful reviews the songs each week. I know we got off to a rocky start during week one because of a comment I don't even remember, but my overall impression of you as a judge is positive. It's a hard job and I appreciate your efforts.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by frankie big face »

I gave the songs a spin. Here are my nontraditional reviews (don't be offended - I'm just being playful and I'm bored):

Cavedwellers: +100 points for that acoustic guitar sound at the beginning. Also, +20 for not over-indulging on the challenge

Frankie Big Face: -1000 points for being so depressing all the time. +50 points for using an alternate guitar tuning for the first time

Max Bombast: +125 points for that insistent riff - that's a good one

Moss Palace: +1000 points for using a vibraslap

Jon Eric: -100 points for that key change, but +80 for that weirdo slimy bass thing

Balance Lost: +500 points for that funky groove and +200 points for that cool little synth thing during the chorus and +10000000 points for a bongo break

Hot Pink Halo: +150 points for being consistently imaginative, but -50 points for seizure-inducing panning

Lichen Throat: 0 points

Mandibles: +30 points for that sweet banjo

Miscellaneous Owl: +600 points for the 3 against 2 verses. Very cool. Also, +10 for the line "The one the one I love really needs."

See-man-ski: +1000 for everything leading up to that acoustic break and then -800 for that acoustic break.

The Serviettes: -600 for making me get up to answer the door so many times

Vom Vorton: -400 for an excess of "V"s in your name. Also, -200 for the "counting chickens" line

On balance, I think the shadows kicked our butts this week.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by seemanski »

frankie big face wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:24 pm
See-man-ski: +1000 for everything leading up to that acoustic break and then -800 for that acoustic break.
What I took from this, I should definitely do more acoustic breaks :P
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by truth »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:50 am

Mandibles - As a relative polyrhythm newcomer and without a beat to focus on, I struggled to figure out what exactly you were doing rhythmically in this song, so I'd love to know if you care to share any extra info! I'm assuming it's something to do with the layered vocal tracks? ...
Yes and no. In the final chorus, there is a vocal descant in 4/4 over what is otherwise a 3/4 section. There is something other than 4/4 happening in the bridge backing vocal as well, and Cybronica would be better equipped to explain it than I am.

The germ of this song was the banjo theme that introduces the song and is reprised, which is in 4/4 but is phrased more like two bars of 4/4, a bar of 5/4 and a bar of 3/4. Under this, I stuck a piano chord accompaniment in 3/4 (until the melody goes 3/4, when the accompaniment dodges with a bar of 2/4). That chord part became the accompaniment for a chorus in 3/4, and we were off and running.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by vowlvom »

Thank you, that's really interesting!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by frankie big face »

seemanski wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:32 pm
frankie big face wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:24 pm
See-man-ski: +1000 for everything leading up to that acoustic break and then -800 for that acoustic break.
What I took from this, I should definitely do more acoustic breaks :P
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by Niveous »

I didn't see that coming.

(Well, in some ways I kinda did.)

We have our finalists! Cavedwellers vs Jon Eric! There can be only one!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by Generic »

Well, I'm stunned and humbled.

But also, I'm never doing a synthpop anthem on a one-week deadline, ever again. That was very time consuming and exhausting.

Cavedwellers, I will see you at the dueling ground.

NUR EIN!!!!!!!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by Adam! »

Generic wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:28 pm
Well, I'm stunned and humbled.
Be neither stunned, nor humble: your song was amazing and absolutely belongs in the finals.

As for me, I am happy to be going out at my Bombast-iest. See y'all in the shadows.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by mo »

Ok so I'm pretty swamped today again but here's some quick hit reviews.

These particular 5 songs felt pretty close to me from the beginning since each of them has strong points that are really strong, but at the same time, each had particular things that I thought kept me from thinking they were really head and shoulders above any other songs. So thank you to all the Nur Einers for a spectacular effort, you guys all put a lot of thought into these songs and it shows. In order of what comes up on my shuffle:

Jon Eric The strength of this song is its creativity, in that you've woven a lot of different elements together to make a really fun synthpop epic, in a way that Carouselambra sort of wished it was but completely isn't. Good job doing the rhythms in a way that feels danceable rather than in a dance of the uncanny valley. Your singing has improved quite a lot over the course of this Nur Ein, and I hope that you'll continue working on it. One thing I've noticed that you occasionally get overexcited, like at the key change. YMMV, but the delivery of this line calls too much attention to itself for me, rather than being something that just happens and is cool. As I wrote in the judges chat, it made me flashback to when I was 9 and in glee club at the big school event (I cannot remember what the event was, but some kind of school concert) and we sang a song. Earlier I thought it was "Puttin' on the Ritz" but now I think it might have been "The Rainbow Connection." Anyway I was 9 and very small, so they put me in front, where at the end of the song, they did a big key change, and I was a little overexcited for it, and jumped as I belted out the key change, and I still remember the looks of the adults in the front row. Maybe they were laughing because they thought it was cute, but I was scarred for life. Anyway, my point, yes passion, but passion with control would work better for me here than the less fettered variety in this delivery. It contributes to the spotty mix, which is strangely empty sounding to me in the mids, mostly I think because of the hard panned vocals where the R disappeared. I thought the bass lacked some definition as well. There's so many ideas packed in here, elongating "homestretch", etc. that the density starts working against it at a certain point for me because it starts getting muddy in the mix. But this is overall a tremendous effort and kudos to you.

Moss Palace Another precise vocal melody delivered with this dreamy quality, that's always the best part of your songs. I feel like the dryness of the vocal treatment works against it, a little more reverb would help it blend into the song a bit, especially with the amount of reverb on, like, everything else. I like the bit after "kiss"-- again this is a song with a lot of subtle details that really work well together. This is another excellent offering, of course, but it's very much in your safe zone if you will, a song that doesn't take a lot of chances, and in a round where others took more obvious risks, I think I find this song a little less interesting to listen to, in that I know what I'm getting, I'm not disappointed, but I wanted something more that would make this stand out a bit more in a semifinal round packed with other great songs. Sorry, no narcissistic story about my misspent youth here. Nice slide guitar again, I'm waiting for the Sonny Landreth licks though....

Frankie Big Face I might be oddball in that I did not find this song boring. Slow? Sure, but it's telling an emotionally deep story that I got into, maybe because I'm getting old, and thought was done pretty effectively. I like that this is a bold choice in this round which makes it stand out, polyrhythms well-integrated in a way that adds a subtle bit of push to the groove. I really did want the big end to this, or something that would build up the tension a little more over the course of the song, right now I felt like each new layer came in and was so gentle that without the contrast of the big ending, I didn't really get a chance to feel the cumulative impact. Like, I didn't feel indeterminate or undecided at the end, or deeply unfulfilled, I just sort of was like, oh well I guess that's that then. If it stays without the big ending, I'd kind of want a bit more tension somehow. At least, I kind of wanted the song to end on a more indeterminate note than the A. But I thought this was a slow burn that worked, unlike everyone else.

Max Bombast Muse fused with Puce mixed with something that I stepped in, is what I think of every time I think of the words "Max Bombast", so please blame Glenn for that. But then again, so much Muse! The riff is badass, the solo was not so much, but again, this song felt like it needed another section or something to bring it down so you could really blast off, I don't know, I just felt like it got to a level and stayed there. It's like, maybe to really feel max bombast I want there to be more bits of, sort of, slightly less bombast? I mean, they'll always have the intensity of course, but like, totally quiet intensity like the look in a tiger's eyes before a big pounce to finish off its prey. Bombast 4eva!

Cavedwellers This is a great weaving tapestry of sounds, very rich tones, lush arrangement. The guitarmonies, yes. I have only two complaints. The first is that, as has probably been mentioned before, the lyrics don't always seem to fit well in their spaces. Maybe that's a writing problem, maybe that's a phrasing problem, but anyway there are a few moments where the lyric feels awkward in a way that takes me out of the song. The second thing is that specifically the key change transition in and out of the solo is a little awkward as well. It's a good idea, going into the solo is just a hiccup, coming out is a little more noticeably jarring. Maybe take a look at if there needs to be an extra bar, or a bar of 2/4 or something just to have a little space for the readjustment. Or maybe it's a sound effect or something, I dunno, but I'd take a look at it. You guys seem to be bringing something a little extra at the right time.

And now the judges' time is almost done, it's been quite a journey through all of these rounds. I know it's a slog, but I hope a fun one for you guys; I know that we had a lot of fun in the judges' room and had a fantastic time with all the great music you all made. Thanks everybody!

Edit: a particular shout-out to Balance Proust for an excellent shadow, as well as Vom's shadow, those two songs in particular are still in my head.
Last edited by mo on Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by seemanski »

Generic wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:28 pm
Well, I'm stunned and humbled.

But also, I'm never doing a synthpop anthem on a one-week deadline, ever again. That was very time consuming and exhausting.

Cavedwellers, I will see you at the dueling ground.

NUR EIN!!!!!!!
Congrats Jon, yours was also my favourite song of this round.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by owl »

Congrats to Cavedwellers and Jon Eric for making it into the final! But also, really, congrats to everyone in this round for making some excellent songs--I complained constantly to the other judges about how it was hard to rank these because everyone did a really good job in different ways. I had to write all my reviews so I could think about and articulate what I did and didn’t like about each before I could really solidify my rankings (didn’t post the reviews till today because I wanted to review the shadows as well). My opinion is not going to be terribly important from this point onwards, so I will just say right now this was a ton of fun and I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s songs this year and getting a chance to peer into the inner workings of Nur Ein judging! It has been a pleasure and an honor to rain down my fiery judgment upon you all. I also really appreciate how many excellent shadow entries we have had, and the new reinstatement rule has added a fun bit of spice this year--special shoutout to see-man-ski for getting reinstated and then making it so far.

Cavedwellers - Such a cool intro, I love the combo of that synth with the chiming, interlocking acoustic guitars, and the swing into the mellow groove of the verse. The guitarmonies are cool, although the melody of that lead doesn’t particularly inspire me, and the transition back out of that solo struck me as kind of abrupt. But I do I particularly like the way the outro lead floats over the reappearing acoustics at the end. Great vocals, very expressive and warm. I like the fact that the polyrhythmic elements are completely integrated and all sound natural here (I had my money on you guys as doing a good job with this!), and the melody flows smoothly from section to section. The lyrics are full of a sort of mannered, cerebral wordplay that I appreciate, but am not really engaged by. I get your story and the allusions to the challenge within the lyrics themselves, and I like all your repeating, evolving phrases and rhymes, but I had trouble feeling emotionally connected to the lyrics; my emotional involvement with this really came via the performances instead of the words.

Frankie Big Face - This is dripping with ambience, and I like the texture and mood you create here. I also really enjoyed your take on the challenge--the different riffs are all clear, and the layers interlock in interesting and pleasing ways. The lyrics on the whole are a little vague, but you get some good, striking, vivid imagery in there too, like that whole last verse. I liked the instrumentation on the whole, good choices of tone and instrument throughout, good vocal delivery for the style. The drums did feel a little odd to me... it seemed like there were some fills just thrown in there at slightly strange, random places. My main issue with this song was that it felt like it was headed somewhere and never really got there. It seems like a good song to listen to and just get lost in when driving late at night, when it’s all very quiet and dark, but it never seems to resolve and really deliver on the promise of the rest of the song. I would have liked to have heard the grand ending you had originally planned on. P.S. for what it’s worth, I was the one who suggested this challenge, not Mo. Do you owe Grumpy Mike some money now?

Jon Eric - I’ve enjoyed hearing you play with different sounds and styles throughout this competition and this is another new direction where I’m not sure I would want to listen to an entire album of it, but I was into hearing it as a standalone single song. Super inspirational-sounding, and it kind of fuses 80’s and 2010s, like if Max Martin produced a Vangelis album--I dig those deep pulsing synths, and the bendy higher lead. The soaring chorus melody is fantastic and the harmonies work perfectly there. The oh-ohs were divisive within the judging panel… I opined that I would happily never listen to another millennial whoop again, I wasn’t a fan of that part. The modulation is sweet--felt like you were thinking about ways to keep it interesting all the way through. I had some issues with the mix… biggest issue was that it sounds like the lead vocal is panned really heavily to the left, which I found distracting. Lyrically, it’s an interesting perspective, but the “pulling your earlobes/poking your lymph nodes” lines were weird and kind of ugly, and jumped out at me, which might be good if you take the point of view that at least it’s interesting and any attention is good attention, but to me they don’t fit with the style of the song, and I spent more time thinking about those than any of the rest of the lyrics, and not in a positive way. I’m kind of torn about how you approached the challenge aspect of this. On the one hand, I think you sell it really well in your liner notes, and I like that you had a whole conceptual backing for what you did. But on the other hand, when I actually listen, the handclaps feel like a very small part of the song, and the polyrhythm stuff feels slight and almost accidental.

Max Bombast - I like the way you incorporated the alarm beep as part of the challenge, and your approach to the challenge felt confident and fluid. Well performed, you kept the various elements crisp and tense. Good energy in the vocals, suitable for the frantic feel of this track, and the falsetto harmonies are excellent, but I will say I wasn’t a huge fan of the low growly “I”/”A”(scending)/”De”(scending) vocal delivery in the first prechorus, partly because I just didn’t find it very appealing to listen to, but more because it places emphasis on the wrong spot in those words/sentences and I found myself wondering why you were emphasizing it. In theory, I thought it was fun to do a sequel to someone else’s song, but in practice I ended up feeling like I had heard basically this whole exact song before... the music, arrangement, and instrumentation is all very much in your comfort zone, and then I feel like the verse melody quotes “Space Oddity” (“shining green and blue” = “really made the grade”), and the lyrical content didn’t feel fresh to me either, since the idea came directly from Grumpy Mike’s “Rear Window” with a dash of Planet of the Apes thrown in there. (YMMV, I know Ben said he loves space opera stuff so I would anticipate that not particularly bothering him, but we’ll see.) I liked the use of the ship’s voice to give a brief little break from the relentless rhythm and introduce the solo section, and the little heartbeat detail at the end.

Moss Palace - This is really charming and pretty (bonus points for vibraslap too!) It’s a really catchy, airy, feel-good kind of song. The arrangement works well but gets out of the way of the vocals, which are much more prominent. The vocal performance is lovely as usual, but something sounds slightly unnatural about the vocal processing to me, like there are maybe some artifacts on there from tuning or compression or something, and as the other judges I think have mentioned, vox seemed a bit too dry. The lyrics are simple but memorable (I particularly like the first verse and the way “quoting poetry” tumbles into the next line, and the knife thrower bit). I thought “you” and “do” was a bit of a weak rhyme--I had to look at the rhyme scheme of the previous verse to figure out what you were trying to do there, because from just listening to it, it didn’t sound like that part rhymed at all. I wouldn’t really have noticed the polyrhythmic elements without the liner notes, which at least means they were smoothly integrated, but I think it was also not very adventurous, and less compelling as a take on the challenge than some of the other songs that took a bolder approach.

Shadows:

Balance Lost - This is really fun, it has a great funky 90’s throwback groove. Also some bringing the ruckus! Lots of cool little bits in the mix like the stuff that comes in around 1:25, the aaaaah backing vox, the nice squelchy wah guitar, the wobbly synth. I love the vocal rhythms in the chorus.

Hot Pink Halo - These are really lovely lyrics, these collaborators you found have a way with words. And I really like your lyrical concept, although I don’t think I would have gotten that it was about the solstice or dislocation without you explaining that. I like that you’ve left a lot of space in this, although I found myself wanting more dynamics and a bigger build over the course of the song--it starts to feel very slow and very long after a while, and after the first chorus where you bring in the harmonies I was hoping you’d bring in a full drum kit there and launch into a higher-energy take on the remainder of the tune. It’s a cool arrangement, though, with the different layers coming in and interesting things with the panning and multiple vocals happening at once (those high held ones are nice), I’m just impatient. I would have liked some bigger jumps and variations in the melody as well--I feel like I’ve heard very similar melodies from some of your other songs, and this kind of hangs around in the same small range of notes and rhythms.

Lichen Throat - Ooh, the little riff on that guitarish thing in my right ear is really nice (I think that might be the same thing Vom mentioned). I liked the chorus melody… this does have a lot of execution issues with the vocals throughout, but I know what you were going for with the chorus, I think I do anyway, and I approve, it just needs a bit of polish and practice. I think the verse melody could probably use a bit more variation. I like the lyrical concept, although I think it needs more of an emotional core instead of the kind of Wikipedia dump of stuff from his life… the mass murder of his whole family and the multiple fires at Taliesin were terrifying and devastating, and these lyrics kind of just drop those events in there as a cool aside in the first verse and move on to his leaky roofs.

Mandibles - I love the banjo! I feel like I say that on every song that includes it, but yeah, it’s great. The riff reminds me heavily of some Sufjan Stevens song but I can’t think of which one (anyway, the impression fades once the vocals come in.) I really liked the bit where Cybronica/Estaphonia first come in as well. Once they split off into different parts on either end, I think it suffers a little from something I think I mentioned in one of my previous reviews, where your voices don’t all blend very well because it essentially sounds like 3 lead singers, where your timbres call attention to themselves, so I find myself sort of distracted by the backing vocals without hearing the song as a whole. This might be a mix issue, too… the backing vocals are panned so hard to either side. But I liked how understated the instrumental arrangement was, really lovely.

Miscellaneous Owl - Like with all my other shadows, I wish I’d given myself a little more time to do this, it could really use a proper outro and maybe a bridge or something and some more variation in the arrangement as it goes along, and of course I would have liked to play around with the tones and the mix a bit more. I’m also not happy with the way I delivered “cone on my neck,” my rhythm was off, but I had to go with basically my first take of everything. I think what I have going on in the verse is the drums in 4/4, the bassline in 3/4, and the guitars/music box synths/vocals in 6/8, and I cribbed the idea from “Touch and Go” of the skittery verse resolving to the more straight-ahead chorus. There are a few tweaks I want to make but overall I’m pleased with the lyrics for the amount of time I spent on them, sometimes there’s something to be said for just writing as fast as possible. (Although sometimes it doesn’t really work out.) I don’t typically go music-first and words-later unless I’m collaborating, I usually write both as I go along, but in this case I built up the verse track first and then figured out afterwards what lyrics would work in there.

see-man-ski - I really liked your approach to the challenge--where the riffs start to interlock around 30 seconds in is so immensely clean and satisfying, one of my favorite applications of the challenge this time around. Happy birthday btw, way to try out your new mic! I was taken by surprise by the acoustic break, and for me I think it would have worked better if it was tonally closer to the rest of the mix--it feels so quiet and dry relative to the rest, it feels really disconnected, but I kinda like the idea in theory. I liked the “last night, I felt something crawling out…” lines a lot, how creepy, and I enjoyed the phrasing there.

The Serviettes - This pace and vibe really suit your voice, the crooning sounds particularly great in the beginning, I think there are a few slightly flat bits later on but I like the delivery regardless. The bass felt super loud and kind of jarring to me when it first came in, but I got used to it, and I love the tumble of bells. I think the strings give it a cool trip-hop kind of vibe. Depressing lyrics! Depressing is good. But “fucked up” sounds sort of out of place to me with the otherwise kind of atmospheric and dramatic feel of the song.

Vom Vorton - Great sonic palette--that detuned synth sounds so good, and the polyrhythm gives it this cool lurching, disoriented feel that goes along well with the synth and spacey guitar. But it never sounds too weird, you keep a pulsing rhythm throughout that keeps the listener grounded. I can’t help but hear the end part as slower and then faster even though you said it was not changing tempo-wise, just the pace of notes and which were being emphasized. The lyrics are fun, the only line I didn’t really like was “you are on the home stretch,” which kind of reminded me of “yet he has carte blanche,” the phrasing is kind of similar and in both cases I wanted to hear a strong rhyme right there.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by glennny »

Congrats to Jon Eric! Well deserved placement in the finals! Great song!

I have to say I'm very impressed with the judges, this is not Production Fight. No offense Jon, but I think Moss Palace, Frankie, and Max Bombast out - produced both of us.

I thought all 5 songs were worthy of the finals. I loved all 5 of them. I wasn't going to be surprised with any combination for the finals.
I think we are very lucky Balance Lost (Balance Regained) wasn't in the competition anymore. That was an amazing track Pete! Say Hi to Melvin for me!

I'm sorry I haven't done reviews this Nur Ein, I've been crazy busy, and very happy to have completed each song each week. I wasn't always so sure I could.

Good luck Jon! I'll see you when we turn around after 20 paces.
Phillipso, Older Brothers, Semolina Pilchards, Zipline , Thank Glennny for the Frisbee, The Odoriferous Valley, The Worldly Self Assurance, Berkeley Social Scene, Very Gentle Knives, Daddy Bop Swing Set, GUNS, The Kraken Lives, Cavedwellers
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by glennny »

Vom wrote:
but the mix is a bit muddy and overcompressed (I think? When the full band comes in there's a CRUNCH that doesn't sound great to me)...
You're spot on, that was something that baffled me and i couldn't fix before the deadline. I still don't know how to fix that, but it doesn't sound the way I wanted it to, and I think the way you think it should.

Frankie wrote:
.... Also, +20 for not over-indulging on the challenge
I'm happy to hear you see (hear) it that way. I of course was worried I put in too much, but polyrythms/ Polymeters are my wheelhouse so it's hard to restrain.

Mo wrote"
...The second thing is that specifically the key change transition in and out of the solo is a little awkward as well.
I hear you. One hour before the deadline, Truth says to me " Is that slide guitar solo really adding to the song?" So I edited out 10 bars of slide solo minutes before the deadline. I had another version ready to submit if I couldn't pull it off, but I was happy with the edit, though it removed other poly-rhythms. We wrote about 4 songs worth of material for this song. Searching for the the emotional connection with the music. I also had a whole minute plus version of the intro. It could have been a 7 minute song. There was a lot of "let's save that bit for the 12" single"

Owl wrote:
I get your story and the allusions to the challenge within the lyrics themselves, and I like all your repeating, evolving phrases and rhymes, but I had trouble feeling emotionally connected to the lyrics; my emotional involvement with this really came via the performances instead of the words.
I know this is a criticism, but this actually pleases me. If I had to choose, I would choose emotional involvement from the performance rather than the meanings of the words.

Thanks to all the judges for very astute observations! I've very much enjoyed and appreciated all of the critiques and suggestions. I listened and incorporated as best I could.
Phillipso, Older Brothers, Semolina Pilchards, Zipline , Thank Glennny for the Frisbee, The Odoriferous Valley, The Worldly Self Assurance, Berkeley Social Scene, Very Gentle Knives, Daddy Bop Swing Set, GUNS, The Kraken Lives, Cavedwellers
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by mo »

Maybe I've been listening to too much Yes last week, but I kind of want the 7 minute version of that song. I will even take the 12 minute version
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by mo »

glennny wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:06 am
I thought all 5 songs were worthy of the finals. I loved all 5 of them. I wasn't going to be surprised with any combination for the finals.
I think we are very lucky Balance Lost (Balance Regained) wasn't in the competition anymore. That was an amazing track Pete! Say Hi to Melvin for me!
Just wanted +1 this, I yo-yo'ed both days about my rankings for sure, bc each song was a very different mood so it was tough to sit there and say, "is celebrating life *better* than deep introspection? Is sci-fi spaciness *worse* than a sly take on a first date?" I would not have been surprised at any ranking from any judge, and so I was interested to see how the broad consensus ended up shaking out. I have a lot of thoughts about judging now having been through most of the process where Nur Ein judges matter, but I'll save those for private discussions unless anyone actually cares. I assume no one really does.

Also, +1 to this Balance track, again. I really love that song
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by furrypedro »

mo wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:12 pm
glennny wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:06 am
I thought all 5 songs were worthy of the finals. I loved all 5 of them. I wasn't going to be surprised with any combination for the finals.
I think we are very lucky Balance Lost (Balance Regained) wasn't in the competition anymore. That was an amazing track Pete! Say Hi to Melvin for me!
Also, +1 to this Balance track, again. I really love that song
Hey thanks guys! Obviously I wish this tune was in the competition proper but thanks for listening and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Glen, will do!

Good luck to Jon and the Cavies in Round 7
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by Lunkhead »

mo wrote:I like the bit after "kiss"
I have to give credit where credit is due there. I sent our mix out to Ken and Grumpy Mike for very last minute feedback like an hour before the deadline. Mike suggested that some instrumental thing should happen after "kiss" so I tossed in that descending Wurlitzer line as the sound of "leaning in for a kiss". I think that was at like 8:45pm Pacific Sunday night. :lol: Thanks for the good idea, Mike!

Also I'm glad folks appreciated the vibraslap. That's a real live played and recorded vibraslap, even, not a sample.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Round Six "Homestretch"

Post by glennny »

Wow! you play that vibraslap so perfectly, I was sure it was a sample.
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