Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by frankie big face »

Yay, Jon Eric! Congrats to you, my man.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Generic »

mo wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:56 pm
Two acts enter. One act leaves. Congrats to both the finalists, and Jon Eric for a rarely precedented victory! (Unless my information is incorrect and no one has actually won Nur Ein without winning a round before the last one).
It happened once before, in Nur Ein X, when Nick Soma won round 7 without having won any of rounds 0-6. Coincidentally, the other finalist Nick defeated that year was also Cavedwellers. :shock:
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Cybronica »

Congratulations Jon Eric! What a way to make a comeback! :)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by furrypedro »

Congratulations Jon! Winner of the biggest Nur Ein ever! Can we get a shot of the engraver putting your name on the Nur Ein cup?
Great effort from Cavedwellers too. I hope you coma back stronger next year (as they say).
I feel like the gargantuan effort from everyone, judges, Niv, Mike, and all the contestants has made this a really worthwhile event. Cheers everyone!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by truth »

On behalf of my high school band and the 40-odd other vanquished combatants, I tip my black top hat to you, Jon Eric. Congratulations!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Congrats to Jon Eric, really solid finish! Another Nur Ein in the books.

Things that stood out to me:
  • see-man-ski - loved the groove on This is Fine. Glad you were revived. Also killer guitar tone on Chupacabra
  • Glow worm - fun story about quarantining with sister and getting to make music together. I feel like you got wicker man'd for being too good.
  • Rain - much improved production from last year, love to see (hear?) growth. Sad to see you drop out early.
  • Max Bombast - LOVED the videos. also liked lyrics on This is Fine and Chupacabra that were a little more soul bearing.
  • Yo Ben, hit us with that rap verse
Judging felt pretty solid. Not a whole lot of drama (besides frank complaining a lot but that's just frank) which means results were pretty fair overall. Good job, judges! Thanks for giving up a chance to compete (for those of you who usually do) to serve the rest of the community.

Wishing well to the community as the quarantine (or lack thereof) is still weighing heavily on everyone. Stay safe, stay sane.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Congratulations, Jon Eric!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by owl »

Congratulations, Jon Eric!

I’m insanely busy right now, so I probably won’t get around to doing shadow reviews this round. Here are quick reviews for the two finalists:

Cavedwellers: This is musically delightful. Very nice arrangement, I particularly liked the intro with the strings. Kind of a Belle and Sebastian/Left Banke chamber pop feel as Vom mentioned, which is absolutely my jam. It reminded me of Schoolhouse Rock in a few bits (maybe the Founders line did that). The melody didn’t click strongly with me and I disliked the lyrics more the more I listened to the song. I’m not sure if it was intended to be a character’s point of view or ironic in some way, but the way the Internet mob justice idea was portrayed had this strong implication of “lib snowflakes getting mad about nothing” without the speaker taking any responsibility for their own actions or reflecting on why people might be upset. I found it kind of distasteful. The “Arinze” rhyme seemed lazy or forced to me.

Jon Eric: Sort of the inverse of the Cavedwellers song in that I really enjoyed your lyrics but the music, not so much, and I didn’t really like it at first listen, but it grew on me as I listened more. I know you said you were returning to True JE from all your genre-dabbling, but this still felt like pastiche to me, I’ve just heard far too much of this cliche ultra-twee Apple commercial indie folk with the whistling and banjos and such, I kind of shut down when I heard the chorus the same way as when I heard those millennial whoops in Homestretch, and had to spend some more time actively listening to appreciate the song. The prechorus melody is beautiful, and the chorus has been stuck in my head. The lyrics are interesting and evocative; I really liked the last couple of verses with the Sonny Liston by way of Mountain Goats reference and the satisfying “world’s smallest violin” line.

Well fought, both of you! Excellent work on your final songs, and my vote was a really hard decision for me to make because they were both great in different ways. Glad the pressure was off the judges for the final round, or I would have felt really guilty either way about the outcome.

Congratulations to all the contestants for making music this Nur Ein, and I’m especially pleased with the consistent strong turnout from the shadows. It’s been lots of fun judging this year!

I will say it’s far more fun participating (as contestant or judge) when the vibes are more like The Great British Baking Show—positive, fun, a chance to grow and learn and do something you love, a competition mainly with yourself to do the best you can do—than like a typical reality show—cutthroat, resentful or bitter towards the other contestants, feelings of entitlement, cliquishness, or negative attitudes about the competition as a whole. Not naming names or anything, but just going to say that sometimes I have gotten very annoyed about the way people act, and conversely sometimes I’ve been delighted with the infectious excitement and good attitude from others. I would just like to gently encourage that positive vibe in future contests. It’s kind of a bummer when it seems like half the players aren’t even having fun.

As a judge, I’ve tried to be up front about my biases, tastes, and judging philosophy, and provide feedback as much as I can, which hopefully was honest without being unnecessarily cruel. I don’t really take it personally when I see the bitching about the challenges or titles or the judges being nuts, but I do want to assure you we all invested a LOT of time, energy, discussion, and thought into our side of the competition this year, as I’m sure the judges do every year. Hope everyone enjoyed this year’s huge Nur Ein, regardless of whether I could tell you were enjoying it from the outside or not ;)

See you around, and thanks for the chance to judge this year! I hope lots of people stick around and do the regular song fights too!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by vowlvom »

Quick sum-up post from me too. I heard some great songs this year and it was fun chatting with my fellow judges and trying to come up with some challenges that would stretch people while still being (hopefully) enjoyable.

Special contestant-shout-outs:
  • Excellent work see-man-ski for taking advantage of the new reinstatement rule, upping your game and making it to the closing stages of the competition!
  • Thank you Glow Worm for writing two of the best songs I've heard all year, when I look back on the music of 2020 I suspect your "This is Fine" will be one of the shining lights, I had such an emotional reaction to that song and I hope we get to hear more from you.
  • It was such a shame to see Rain leave the contest early after such a strong showing last year! I hope you can return next year with all of your limbs fully operational!
  • Three-cheers to Hot Pink Halo, Lichen Throat and Brown Word & The Big Whine for submitting impressive shadows after that unlucky "holy shit HOW many people entered this year?" first round, and cheers also to the other contestants who kept shadowing, it was cool that we had so many extra songs this year!
  • And of course kudos to Jon Eric and Cavedwellers for being very worthy finalists and making the final vote a teetering seesaw of excellence!
Thank you also to my fellow judges, Niveous for putting the thing together, Mike and Ben for podcasting, and contestants who wrote reviews (especially Cybronica who took on some of those monster early rounds!)
owl wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:26 am
I will say it’s far more fun participating (as contestant or judge) when the vibes are more like The Great British Baking Show—positive, fun, a chance to grow and learn and do something you love, a competition mainly with yourself to do the best you can do—than like a typical reality show—cutthroat, resentful or bitter towards the other contestants, feelings of entitlement, cliquishness, or negative attitudes about the competition as a whole. Not naming names or anything, but just going to say that sometimes I have gotten very annoyed about the way people act, and conversely sometimes I’ve been delighted with the infectious excitement and good attitude from others. I would just like to gently encourage that positive vibe in future contests. It’s kind of a bummer when it seems like half the players aren’t even having fun.
This is a very balanced and thoughtful way of expressing the stuff that prompted me to start my reviews with a brief tirade against judging in general, thank you, and enthusiastically seconded on all counts.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by mo »

As someone who made reality tv for a living, I feel attacked by your thoughtful takes
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by owl »

Oh yeah, well, I guess drama and conflict generally make for good ratings in reality TV. I forgot all about our lucrative corporate sponsors as I was writing that and enjoying my tall, frosty glass of refreshing Coca-Cola®, a beverage which fits perfectly into my active lifestyle, and which I enjoy daily as part of a balanced diet.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by mo »

This post has been brought to you by Preparation H

(I’m sorry it’s the best sponsor we could get on short notice)
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by mo »

That was your sneak peek in "The Judges Chat", the new smash hit reality TV show on UPN, brought to you by Coca-Cola, Preparation H, and Pancho's Ponchos--when life is all wet, Pancho's keeps you dry.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by irwin »

Congrats Jon Eric!

Strong competition this year, I do not envy the task of the judges. So many fantiastic songs, choosing which to eliminate is an impossible choice.

Great work everyone!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by iVeg »

Congrats Jon Eric! Fight well won, job well done! Your chorus and whistling part were stuck in my head all afternoon.
Congrats Cavedwellers on a fight well fought.

Thanks to all the judges. It's not a thankless job, because I just thanked you... but I didn't envy you.
Thanks to Tommy for the Listening Party, and Mike and Ben for the New Ugly. You make Nur Ein so much more fun.

Adam! Thanks again for the videos. How do you get your Storm editor to show the different words in different colors on the lyric part? I can only get black and white, which is so uninspiring :)

Thanks everyone for a very challenging Nur Ein. I'll see you in the forums, at 5090/ FAWM, wherever.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by seemanski »

Yay Congrats Jon Eric :)

Who'd have thought it, considering after most rounds you were stating this is my last round.

Well done to Cavedwellers as they were both great songs worthy of the victory. It's been a great experience for me, thanks for all the love sent my way and the constructive criticism I received throughout. It was hard to take at first but once I saw the merit in them, it was addictive. A massive thanks to the judges for that and all the advice given either directly or indirectly via other contestants as I perused the forums.

My Monday walks will never be the same now I won't be listening to all your fantastic songs. Maybe, I'll do some songfights and hope to see you there.

I'll definitely be showing up next year.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Adam! »

Congrats Jon! Increadible run.

This was a very tough final vote; it probably took me a dozen listens before I settled on my pick.

Cavedwellers: Opening with that cello line and those pianos is the Nur Ein equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet if I ever heard one! I love a big pop lead, and right away that vocal melody grabbed me. How could it not? It's catchy as hell, simple, clearly signposted and easy to follow to the point that by the second verse I know it by heart and am singing along. The only place the melody let me down is in the bridge where I want it to soar into those great guitar/piano solos. Spectacular vocals as well, just rock solid. The mix sounds ear-pleasing to me, except when the cello gets buried. I like those big theatrical cymbal swells. Lyrically this made me chortle the first time I heard it as there are plenty of fun and playful lines, but on repeat listens the neoligisms ("doxxed"), proper nouns ("Arinze"), distractingly-perfect rhymes and quirky word choices revealed this to be a novelty song. A very well done and funny novelty song, one that wouldn't be out of place in an "irreverent" modern revue (think Avenue Q), but one that ultimately didn't age well over my repeat listens.

Jon Eric: Those mandolins in the opening are also a Nur Ein "en guard", albeit gentler--a slap with a velvet glove. The syrup-sweet intro immediately makes me think Need Stilts by our very own Glenn Case, which is a great company to be in but big expectations to meet. Every melody line is great here but I wanted more contrast between the verse and chorus melodies, which start very similarly. That jaunty whistling sits right in the uncanny valley between self-awareness and kitsch, but it serves such an important role in this arrangement as a melodic palette-cleanser that I think it was the right decision to include it. The mix is tasteful but I really want to hear a live drumkit on this, maybe with brushed snares (think Violent Femmes). I love love love these lyrics: vivid metaphors like "my mouth a gunshot wound" instantly paint a picture, and I kept discovering gems like "trading intimate injuries" on each listen until I was ultimately won over. I wish there was a little darkness or tension anywhere in the music to complement the lyrics but there is none; the juxtaposition against ebullient indie-pop feels ironic in a way that undermines the song's sincerity. In theory I like the idea behind the speed up at the end but every time I noticed it I was taken out of the song, which is probably not what you were going for.

What a satisfying Round 7.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by irwin »

seemanski wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:01 pm
I'll definitely be showing up next year.
Hey no need to wait a year! Show up for the main fight!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Generic »

seemanski wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:01 pm
Yay Congrats Jon Eric :)

Who'd have thought it, considering after most rounds you were stating this is my last round.
Yeah, let's see...

Round 0 - "Eh, I haven't done a Nur Ein in years, but I like this title and challenge. Let's see what happens."
Round 1 - "Holy cow that was a lot of songs! I can't believe I didn't get cut! Ummm... Yeah, let's try this. Probably won't make it."
Round 2 - "Wow, I survived! Well, I'm sure I'll get cut this round, so how about I do something bonkers I've always wanted to try but never got around to." [frantically Googles "creating loops in Cubase"]
Round 3 - "Huh, I survived again. NOW what?" [two days later] "Oh, uh... I need a guest. Anyone? Oh hey Holly." [hears Holly's vocals] "Oh crap, I gotta rise to her level!"
Round 4 - "Look at that, fourth place! But now I have to do a Bond theme? Whatever, I'm dead in the water, I'll just belt at the top of my lungs and the top of my range and go out swinging."
Round 5 - "Wow, I survived again. This is the farthest I've ever made it, so there's absolutely no way I'm surviving this round. But hey, my idea is pretty fun, and I'm having fun making it!"
Round 6 - "Oh my god. I might actually win. I better put like 50 hours in one week into this song. And also let's make it a genre I've never tried before, because this wasn't already hard enough for the last six weeks."
Round 7 - "Holy crap, I think I might win. I better put... well, last week was excessive, but, like, a lot of work into this song."

So yeah, maybe part of my strength was in truly believing I was almost gone, from rounds 1 through 5. Some weeks it made me adventurous, willing to try bonkers stuff I wouldn't have if I'd been overly concerned about survival. Other weeks it made me feel empowered to turn in what I had even if I wasn't super happy with it, because hey, I'm getting cut anyway. :lol:

Oh, and I might as well admit here, I really feel like I "cheated" on the challenge in Round 2. There are two overlapping takes of my electric guitar, which I guess might technically fit the challenge, but I felt violated the spirit. But again, I felt like I was on the chopping block anyway, so why not? Not a single judge or other competitor called me out on this, so I'll just admit it here. :mrgreen:
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by vowlvom »

I think I had four tracks of acoustic guitar on my shadow song that round, so you wouldn't have lost any points from me! We wanted that challenge to be kind of open and leave plenty of room for experimentation but it turns out that doesn't really work in Nur Ein, it just results in many requests for clarification.
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by Generic »

Adam! wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:07 pm


Jon Eric: ... The mix is tasteful but I really want to hear a live drumkit on this, maybe with brushed snares (think Violent Femmes).
Hey, is that an offer? I can mix it down without drums and send it to you! I've been happy with SuperiorDrummer, but I do know its limitations, and felt them pretty keenly on this track.

Also, thank you for the extremely thoughtful review! A lot of great observations and flattering compliments in there.

And thanks to everyone who reviewed, not just this week, but throughout!
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Re: Nur Ein XV Final Round "Pistols At Dawn"

Post by crumpart »

Instead of doing freelance work yesterday I made a music video for my song. My self-justification is I need more video work in my folio for a job I want. I made it using the original photo my song is inspired by, cut up into slices and sequenced. It's unlisted on YouTube for now, but I'll probably make it public-facing later; I've also changed the song name as a more obvious fit my chorus for that purpose.

Devil’s got me Lindt! Devil’s got me Lindt!
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