Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

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Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Niveous »

WELCOME TO NUR EIN XVI

The Nur Ein is an eight round song competition. In each round, the participants are given a song title and a mandatory challenge and are given a week in which to finish that song. Then this year's group of Nur Ein Judges will listen to the songs and rate them from best to worst. Each round whittles down the field until we are left with only 1 competitor. Creativity x Skill x Time Management = Nur Ein!

The sixteen edition of the Nur Ein will begin on Monday, May 10th with Round Zero. Round Zero is the way you enter the competition. That day, the first title and challenge will be announced and the participants will have until Sunday May 16th at 11:59PM (Eastern Daylight Time) to create a song which uses the title and completes the challenge. The competitors must submit their songs via e-mail to nurein.sidefight which is a gmail address. The songs will then be posted at the Nur Ein website (http://nure.in) and the next title and challenge will be announced at the same time.

The Judges will have the next three days to listen to the songs. They will rank the songs from best to worst. If there are more than 25 entries into Round zero, the judges will eliminate the lowest ranked competitors until there are 25 competitors in Round 1.

Here's the schedule:

Round 0:
May 10-May 16
Judging May 17-May 19
<X> bands, <X-25> eliminations

Round 1:
May 17-May 23
Judging May 24-May 26
25 bands, 5 eliminations
Judges favorite gets immunity

Round 2:
May 24-May 30
Judging May 31-June 2
20 bands, 4 eliminations
Judges favorite gets immunity

Round 3:
May 31-June 6 (the guest round!)
Judging June 7-June 9
16 bands, 4 eliminations
Judges favorite gets immunity

Round 4:
June 7-June 13
Judging June 14-June 16
12 bands, 4 eliminations

Round 5:
June 14-June 20
Judging June 21-June 23
8 bands, 3 eliminations

Round 6:
June 21-June 27
Judging June 28-June 30
5 bands, 3 eliminations

Final Round:
June 28-July 4
Voting July 5-July 7
2 bands, 1 elimination

The final round is a battle between the two remaining competitors with the votes of the eliminated competitors and the Nur Ein Judges choosing the winner (one vote per "act," whether you're a band or a solo competitor; if you're a duo, trio, quartet, quintet, or more, you'll need to discuss internally how to allocate that one vote).

You'll note that the judging period is longer this year. This is to give the judges more time with the songs, for less rushed decisions.

As for shadow resurrection, the judges will be discussing how it will go this year. An announcement on that front to come.

This year's judging team will consist of:
Jon Porobil (Nur Ein XV champion)
Johnny Cashpoint
Pigfarmer Jr.
Sausage Boy
and Niveous

The game is on. NUR EIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by gizo »

Oh shut that’s an intense schedule I might be dead already just reading it.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by JonPorobil »

Interestingly, this year's judging panel is 3/5 the same as the one in Nur Ein X. Pigfarmer Jr., Johnny Cashpoint, and I all judged that year as well. However, that was the first year Niveous sat out judging. Glad to see you on the other side of the table again for this one, Niveous!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Niveous »

Thanks Jon. I'm actually quite excited to tackle this year's Nur Ein.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Paco Del Stinko »

Sausage Boy: Wow!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by DutchWidows »

Dim newbie question - is submission of a Round 0 song effectively the first point at which your entry is declared, or is there a need to state beforehand that you're intending to enter?

Up for entering, but everything is work-dependent at the moment, so can I decide once I get into next week and see how the land lies?
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Niveous »

You don't need to declare beforehand. Just enter your Round Zero.

Hopefully you'll get a chance to enter. Dutch Widows were definitely a fave of mine from last SpinTunes.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by DutchWidows »

Perfect - thanks Niveous!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by JonPorobil »

I really liked how last year's judging panel all posted introductions about their personal song preferences and general approach to judging, so I'll take this opportunity to do the same here.

1. Fundamentals. - Make sure your instruments are all in tune, that you're singing on key and performing to the beat. Songs that meet this standard will almost invariably rank higher than songs that do not, even if they are "better" in other aspects. As part of this, please take some time to rehearse your song, once it's written, if time allows. More rehearsal means you'll be more familiar with the material, which will show in your confidence performing it!

2. The "Emotional Core." This was hard to articulate, to be honest, but it's super important to me. Almost all good songs are in some way an expression of a feeling. Are you happy? Angry? Sad? Nostalgic? How are you feeling that's making you want to sing the song, and how am I supposed to be feeling listening to you sing about it? I tend to like songs for which the answers to these questions are clear on a first listen.

3. Dynamic range. Not every song needs a really quiet part, then an all-out-ending, but a lot of my favorite songs have pretty big variance in "loudness" throughout. Consider especially whether there's a part in the structure where you as a vocalist can really let loose and belt out the lyrics. Not every song will have this kind of opportunity, but seek them out! Maybe the lack of these moments might be indicative of a problem with the song's emotional core (see #2)

4. Production. Not as important as you might think! Mixing is hard and we're not all great at it, especially on a tight deadline. I mainly care that your song is "legible." Meaning, can I hear the parts? I should be able to clearly hear and make out the lead vocal line and whatever the primary instrument of the piece is. If there's a snare, it should be clear throughout the mix but not overpowering. And there shouldn't be anything "painful" like a piercing high frequency mixed too loud. If I have comments about the larger balance, I'll probably write them down, but as long as the song is more or less clearly audible based on the standards above, your mix probably won't be a major factor in my rankings.

5. Genres. I try to go into song reviews with an open mind, but like most listeners, I have some song genres that I'm more comfortable with and respond to better, and others that I'm less comfortable with and struggle to find something to say. I like straight-ahead "classic rock" style music, I like pop, power pop, synthpop, some country, folk, folk-rock, folk-pop, rap and hip-hop, some jazz, funk, and lately I've been really into classic soul music. Genres I often fail to respond to include metal, overly experimental "noise" pop, ambient, most EDM, and basically any style where the primary mode of vocal performance is screaming. I will endeavor to give the fairest of fair shakes to this, but sometimes my feedback might amount to "I'm not sure why you did it [such and such a way]" when the answer is likely to be "...because it's a metal song?" I apologize in advance for the times when this will inevitably occur.

6. Challenge and Title. Ah, here we go. The bread and butter of Nur Ein. I tend to treat your handling of the title and challenge as kind of an intangible X factor in the judging. Sometimes it's straightforward enough - the challenge says you need to do such and such a thing, so you did such and such a thing, and that's that. Sure, that's fine, you'll get your credit. But usually there are entries that pull of the challenge in an unexpected way, or with a high degree of panache. And every once in a while, you get a transcendent one where the use of the challenge is such an integral part of the song that it wouldn't even make sense without it, and that's where the genius comes in. These, such as JB's "The Blitz," Milo Dunderville's "Spanish Lessons," or Ross Durand's "Architect," are some of my favorite Nur Ein related songs ever, and often achieve high scores from all the judges as well. I'll probably make another post in which I was rhapsodical about my favorite title/challenge combinations and people's takes on them later.

Finally, I'd just like to note that this isn't an exact science. Every year, someone takes some criticism hard and tries to argue with it, either by saying that the reviewer missed the point, or by pointing out other good songs that do the same thing that the reviewer criticized. I encourage you all to resist this temptation, mostly because it doesn't work. For the most part, you can't argue your way into someone liking your song better. My impressions are my impressions, regardless of whether they fit a rubric.

With that said, it's time for everyone to bring their A-games.

NUR EIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Good news: you have some good judges.
Bad news: you're also stuck with me.

I don't have a hard set criteria for judging. I have judged before. But I think it's considerate to let you know how I approach judging.

Do I want to hear this song again?: I typically start with asking myself this question. Sometimes this gets altered a lot by other concerns (see below) but usually this is where I start.

Performances: Passionate performances outweigh technical performances (within reason.) Is your timing imperfect in places but you bring the feel? I like that. Is everything perfect but maybe seems too stilted? I tend not to like that. Does your performance have both a good feel and technical mastery? I tend to love that.

Genre: I like a lot of different styles but I don't like all genres. I've never pretended to. I'll try to overcome my biases by focusing on other factors such as: meeting the challenge well, writing a technically better song, being unique without being blatantly abrasive (unless that's the goal of the song, but you'd better do it well), etc., but if two songs are about equal in writing quality and one has very well done death metal vocals that no-one can understand then it might just lose the tie breaker to a different style I find less harsh.

Challenges: I hate DQing folks. It has to be a blatant violation in order to justify it, imo. If two songs are roughly ranked the same but one meets the challenge well and the other is on the fringe then the former will win the tiebreaker. (I'm a Commercial Driver's License examiner for the City of Columbia. We are taught that we don't count an infraction unless someone is OBVIOUSLY crossing a boundary line or hitting a cone. But don't push the boundary or you may hear the whistle.) That being said, I think the judges this year might be weighing how the challenge is met a bit more heavily than in some other contests I've judged.

Production: This one is the most subjective, I think. There are iPhone recordings I love. There are full band performances that are technically great but feel a bit stale that I tend to dislike. But in general, the arrangement should fit the song and should be performed, recorded and mixed well. It's perfectly fine to do a sparse arrangement (G&G etc.,) if the song calls for it. But don't be surprised if a better arrangement and more fully realized recording wins the tiebreaker if all other things are equal.

Sometimes I go back and listen after a challenge is completed and question why I ranked a song in a particular place. With only a couple of days to listen and rank this probably happens more often than I'd like. Sometimes I rank a song that is an outlier (it's higher or lower than the other judges.) What I promise to do is take notice and evaluate how I judged these songs. It might not make a bit of difference and it definitely won't change the current rankings, but at least I'll put the effort in to evaluate my own performance as a judge in order to improve or at least be consistent.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Niveous »

I wanted to put out one of these "getting to know your judges" things earlier but it has been a wild week full of learner's permits, storage units, and being a contestant on a trivia podcast. But here we are about to reach the starting line, so here's a little bit regarding me.

My musical bias: I listen to a little of everything. I think the only genre that would probably immediately earn my ire is smooth jazz. I know that leaves a lot of genre room and I'm okay with that. Music is diverse and I appreciate that.

But if you're trying to figure out what I like, here's a link to a Spotify Playlist called "This is my favorite song by..." and it's got a bunch of songs which are my favorites by several artists. Does it mean it's indicative of every single thing I like by that artist? Nope. But it's a start.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4H5eB ... =copy-link

Production: I've heard glossy stuff I love. I have heard lofi trash that I've enjoyed. For me, just don’t make any production errors that make the song hard to hear.

Challenges and Titles: You come to the Nur Ein to do challenges so my judging is going to look hard at how you handled them.

Do I wanna listen to this again: Yes. Make songs I wanna listen to again.

Performance: You don't need to make the most complex song in the world if you perform it well.

Music is incredibly subjective. Judging it is weird. I'm going to try and that's all you can ask of me.

Be creative. Experiment. Enjoy the Nur Ein experience and DON'T stop if you get eliminated. Nur Ein is about the creative push.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by sausage boy »

Hello. My name is Sausage Boy. The other Nur Ein judges found me frozen in ice and, after thawing me out, recruited me to help them judge the competition.

To those newer than a decade, you might be thinking “who is this idiot?”

For those older than a decade, you might be thinking “oh no, this idiot?”

To answer that first question; a SongFight legend. In a way that is like, that kid at school who pissed their pants during assembly 20 years ago and is still talked about for it.

To answer the second question; yes.

The point is, what am I looking for? I love creativity, and my whole SongFight jam was seeing how cleverly the titles could be interpreted. So that is where you will immediately hook or lose me; in how you approach your entry.

I have a pretty strong threshold for weird stuff. Both in content and musically. So sounding like fighting cats recorded through two cans connected by a string isn’t going to immediately lose you points.

Having a fairly humdrum interpretation of the song title, on the other hand, will.

All other aspects of the entries; production, genre, application of the challenge, hell... instruments being in tune; get filtered through this conceptual prism. If you don’t have a creative concept, it won’t matter how well recorded or catchy your song is.

Give me your clever ideas.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Caravan Ray »

sausage boy wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 5:27 am
Hello. My name is Sausage Boy.
I can’t believe they made you a judge. This is rigged. The thugs from the scallop industry are behind this.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by sausage boy »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:51 am
sausage boy wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 5:27 am
Hello. My name is Sausage Boy.
I can’t believe they made you a judge. This is rigged. The thugs from the scallop industry are behind this.
I've been here for at least thirty seconds.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Caravan Ray »

sausage boy wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:34 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:51 am
sausage boy wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 5:27 am
Hello. My name is Sausage Boy.
I can’t believe they made you a judge. This is rigged. The thugs from the scallop industry are behind this.
I've been here for at least thirty seconds.
Red house - put your bins out.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by sausage boy »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:46 am
sausage boy wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:34 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:51 am

I can’t believe they made you a judge. This is rigged. The thugs from the scallop industry are behind this.
I've been here for at least thirty seconds.
Red house - put your bins out.
LAVENDER
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Caravan Ray »

sausage boy wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 2:27 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:46 am
sausage boy wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:34 am


I've been here for at least thirty seconds.
Red house - put your bins out.
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ASSAULT!! ASSAULT!!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by crumpart »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 2:43 am
sausage boy wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 2:27 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:46 am

Red house - put your bins out.
LAVENDER
ASSAULT!! ASSAULT!!
:? :? :geek: :?

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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Caravan Ray »

crumpart wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 2:56 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 2:43 am
sausage boy wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 2:27 am


LAVENDER
ASSAULT!! ASSAULT!!
:? :? :geek: :?

(I'm sorry you touched me officer.)
Right up the bracket
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by Caravan Ray »

Surely there are only about 12 people in the world who remember “Get This”. How can 3 of them be here?
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by sausage boy »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 4:30 am
Surely there are only about 12 people in the world who remember “Get This”. How can 3 of them be here?
Causation is not correlation.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Starting Line

Post by crumpart »

sausage boy wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 5:04 am
Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 4:30 am
Surely there are only about 12 people in the world who remember “Get This”. How can 3 of them be here?
Causation is not correlation.
It was the biggest thing on the footy field.
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