Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by furrypedro »

arby wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:26 am
Regarding the vocals, yeah I can see that. I think I turned DOWN the lo-cut filter or whatever the knob is called in Garageband because I feel like one of the strengths of my voice is that it is lower-situated than most women, so I wanted it to sound warm and rich. But I guess I overdid it because at the LP last night the vocal definitely sounded pretty muddy/muffled.
I have a pretty low voice too so I get that. If you have an EQ where you can adjust the cut-off frequency of a hi-pass filter (I.e. lo-cut) you should experiment with adjusting between the 80-200Hz range to see what suits your voice best. Chances are that the frequencies that make your voice sound rich are in the 350-600Hz range so you'll probably be safe cutting stuff below that (to begin with anyway, the subtleties of EQing are a bottomless pit that I am far from mastering).
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Evermind »

arby wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:26 am
furrypedro wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:15 am

Virgo Power: My interest continues to be piqued by the omnichord. Sadly the song doesn't do anything for me. After listening to a plethora of pretty accomplished musicians it feels a notch down in quality. But I hope you continue to produce these as I have little doubt there are some diamonds yet to come. On a technical note, you vocal sounds like it has too much low frequency stuff. I would suggest adding a high-pass EQ filter to it and setting the cut-off somewhere between 100-200Hz (play with it a little to see what sounds best to you) to make the vocal sound clearer.
Fair points. I am not nearly as accomplished a musician as most of the rest of you. Regarding the vocals, yeah I can see that. I think I turned DOWN the lo-cut filter or whatever the knob is called in Garageband because I feel like one of the strengths of my voice is that it is lower-situated than most women, so I wanted it to sound warm and rich. But I guess I overdid it because at the LP last night the vocal definitely sounded pretty muddy/muffled.
So, two more tricks for preventing the low end from getting too overwhelming: Getting too close to the microphone can cause a buildup of low frequencies, if you're less than 12-18 inches from the mic, you can back up a little. Secondly, you can apply a hi-pass filter to your reverb, so that it doesn't muddle up the low end. If your reverb doesn't have a HPF control built in and your DAW makes it a pain to hi-pass it, you can get the wonderful free Melda Production FreeFXBundle which has MCharmVerb in it.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by noma »

furrypedro wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:15 am
Nick Soma: I quite like the borderline minor-key/optimistic feel of this one. It has an understated feel but with some nice textures, though it lacks a strong dynamic shift, the energy level stays constant pretty much throughout. I think this has a similar feel to Third Cat's one last round and they ended up being eliminated. I hope you don't go the same way. I can hear some "other language" in the background somewhere. Feels like it was done to tick the box rather than as an integral part of the song.
Yeah, I have a feeling that I'm going to be eliminated for this one... It was a bold choice to use Lydian mode* and that Sanskrit bridge which, to me, feels integral to the song but I can absolutely see how others would disagree on this. The vocals are a little buried in the mix on purpose. This one is more about the ambience and tonal color/harmony of the guitar parts with each other and the vocals. But yeah. I liked that Third Cat song, too. Shame they got eliminated.

* disclaimer for music nerds: not sure if it's all Lydian.

Long explanation follows, for everyone who's interested:

The lack of dynamic shift is because this whole song is meant to suggest a peaceful garden, or the constant flow of water (I wanted to allude to a Zen garden here,) but it's also a problem with the Lydian mode. You see, C Lydian uses all the notes from G major, but with C as the root (like E minor has E instead of G) and this is quite an unstable mode, because unlike C major it has no F chord to lean on (the iv chord is diminished, or F#m7b5, which I actually use during the chorus), so everything really wants to resolve to G, which for this reason is kind of a "forbidden chord" if you want a Lydian sound. The Lydian is, on the other hand, loved by many for its bright dreamy sound. I just happen to like it a lot, and I used it in Nur Ein before, "Color Me..." it was, also a guest (or vocal sample) round. And the judges didn't like it too much either, I remember someone saying it sounded suicidal, which I swear wasn't in the slightest my intention. But as it happens, other people often seem to find my music more depressing than I do myself.

Instead of a shift in dynamics or instrumentation, I tried to make things a little more interesting without messing up the flow, by having the rhythm change for the two instrumental (there are choir vocals there the second time but no lyric) bridges which also prominently feature the E minor chord suggesting a shift to E minor before the Lydian verse/chorus parts come back in. And that Sanskrit part? It's the only part of the song that briefly uses the G chord two times. But I'm not sure if the rhythm works too well here. And it's also a short part, of course, but as I said above, it feels integral to me but the judges might not see it that way.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by arby »

Evermind wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:21 pm
arby wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:26 am
Fair points. I am not nearly as accomplished a musician as most of the rest of you. Regarding the vocals, yeah I can see that. I think I turned DOWN the lo-cut filter or whatever the knob is called in Garageband because I feel like one of the strengths of my voice is that it is lower-situated than most women, so I wanted it to sound warm and rich. But I guess I overdid it because at the LP last night the vocal definitely sounded pretty muddy/muffled.
So, two more tricks for preventing the low end from getting too overwhelming: Getting too close to the microphone can cause a buildup of low frequencies, if you're less than 12-18 inches from the mic, you can back up a little. Secondly, you can apply a hi-pass filter to your reverb, so that it doesn't muddle up the low end. If your reverb doesn't have a HPF control built in and your DAW makes it a pain to hi-pass it, you can get the wonderful free Melda Production FreeFXBundle which has MCharmVerb in it.
Welp, I definitely sing with practically "lips on mic" because otherwise I cannot hear the vocal in my headphones as I am recording - possibly a setting on the Tascam??? But if I turn up the level it starts clipping :( As for the rest of your comment, I have no idea what any of it means. I use Garageband and generally like a lot of reverb. I like to use the PlatinumVerb filter usually with the Ambience setting. Have no idea of how to put a hi-pass filter on the reverb.

However! I just checked what I actually did on Pleasant Row and it looks like I did Spreader "Doubling Like Vocals", EQ as "Warm Vocals" and the "Classic Vocal" preset. Look, I have ZERO idea of what I am doing in Garageband and tend to just click things and twiddle buttons like a monkey until it sounds good to me. See screenshots attached.

PS Turns out I was incorrect in my previous post and low-cut knob is turned up pretty high! BUT the "low" frequencies knob is also up pretty high. IDK!! Confused and frightened
Attachments
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by crumpart »

It’s hard to do anything really specific in GarageBand, because it’s deliberately designed to make things as simple as possible. I started feeling a lot more comfortable and really enjoyed learning how stuff worked when I switched to Logic, but that’s not everybody’s bag for sure. Lots of people make great stuff using presets in GarageBand.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by owl »

Do you have a separate output knob on your interface @arby? It should let you adjust the volume you’re monitoring at separate from the volume you’re recording at.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by ujnhunter »

Also re: Monitoring: I record my vocals with while monitoring with some massive compression and some slight reverb, but I turn them off in the mix... they're strictly so I can hear myself better. I also try to put one headphone cup like half on/half off of one of my ears so I don't feel like I can only hear in my head/headphones. Might help too.

Edit: Also... turning up the Track Fader on the Vocals (even if it clips Red during recording/playback) shouldn't actually effect the recording of the actual waveform of the vocals... so I also turn up my fader quite a bit... like 12db even... just during recording.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

arby wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:14 am
Welp, I definitely sing with practically "lips on mic" because otherwise I cannot hear the vocal in my headphones as I am recording - possibly a setting on the Tascam??? But if I turn up the level it starts clipping :(
Turn down the backing music, maybe?

I have an odd recording set up so I'm not much help with interfaces etc., but proper gain staging is very important for a couple of reasons and *may* be the main issue you are having. But I've found that getting the backing music to balance with the mic monitoring is most helpful.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Evermind »

arby wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:14 am
Welp, I definitely sing with practically "lips on mic" because otherwise I cannot hear the vocal in my headphones as I am recording - possibly a setting on the Tascam??? But if I turn up the level it starts clipping :( As for the rest of your comment, I have no idea what any of it means. I use Garageband and generally like a lot of reverb. I like to use the PlatinumVerb filter usually with the Ambience setting. Have no idea of how to put a hi-pass filter on the reverb.

However! I just checked what I actually did on Pleasant Row and it looks like I did Spreader "Doubling Like Vocals", EQ as "Warm Vocals" and the "Classic Vocal" preset. Look, I have ZERO idea of what I am doing in Garageband and tend to just click things and twiddle buttons like a monkey until it sounds good to me. See screenshots attached.

PS Turns out I was incorrect in my previous post and low-cut knob is turned up pretty high! BUT the "low" frequencies knob is also up pretty high. IDK!! Confused and frightened
I think the "lips on mic" is probably going to be your biggest issue, then, you'll have a serious case of "NPR voice" that way and it won't suit every song. Your TASCAM may have a control for monitoring volume, or may have a monitor / output balance knob, which should help you monitor your performance a little better. As others have suggested, you could also turn up the monitoring in GarageBand, if it has one (sorry, I have never used it so I can't give specific advice there). You could also turn the master fader down during recording. If all else fails, you can also just take one cup of your headphones off while recording.

I did some research on PlatinumVerb and Garageband. It looks like Garageband doesn't really let you apply effects to effects easily, and PlatinumVerb seems like it only has a high-cut knob, no low-cut, so I think the most straightforward way will likely be to use a different plugin that has that control. Garageband can use AU-format effect plugins (see Apple docs on it here: https://support.apple.com/guide/garageb ... 6a4e4d/mac), and I can recommend MCharmVerb, part of this free bundle: https://www.meldaproduction.com/MFreeFXBundle It's got low-cut and high-cut (aka high-pass and low-pass respectively) built in, which means you don't have to do a whole bunch of extra work to apply EQ to just the reverb and not the original recording.

What this means for you in the end is that the low frequencies (up to a point of your choosing) will not reverberate, making the reverb more airy and not washing out / muddling up the low end.

Also, don't feel too bad about twiddling knobs until you find something that sounds good, that's a time-honored tradition. ;)
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by arby »

Evermind wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:52 am
I think the "lips on mic" is probably going to be your biggest issue, then, you'll have a serious case of "NPR voice" that way and it won't suit every song. Your TASCAM may have a control for monitoring volume, or may have a monitor / output balance knob, which should help you monitor your performance a little better. As others have suggested, you could also turn up the monitoring in GarageBand, if it has one (sorry, I have never used it so I can't give specific advice there). You could also turn the master fader down during recording. If all else fails, you can also just take one cup of your headphones off while recording.

I did some research on PlatinumVerb and Garageband. It looks like Garageband doesn't really let you apply effects to effects easily, and PlatinumVerb seems like it only has a high-cut knob, no low-cut, so I think the most straightforward way will likely be to use a different plugin that has that control. Garageband can use AU-format effect plugins (see Apple docs on it here: https://support.apple.com/guide/garageb ... 6a4e4d/mac), and I can recommend MCharmVerb, part of this free bundle: https://www.meldaproduction.com/MFreeFXBundle It's got low-cut and high-cut (aka high-pass and low-pass respectively) built in, which means you don't have to do a whole bunch of extra work to apply EQ to just the reverb and not the original recording.

What this means for you in the end is that the low frequencies (up to a point of your choosing) will not reverberate, making the reverb more airy and not washing out / muddling up the low end.

Also, don't feel too bad about twiddling knobs until you find something that sounds good, that's a time-honored tradition. ;)
Ah, yes, I definitely have a playback volume level on each channel of the Tascam. For my first recording on "Drag Me Around" I had turned up the playback volume and turned down my recording level accordingly, but then all the levels were wayyy too quiet, so I had to rerecord. OK, I will try fiddling with both of those until I get a happy medium that allows me to sing from 12-18" away from the mic and still hear it. Also I did try putting on reverb whilst recording because it makes it sound SO much better but I wasn't sure whether that reverb was getting baked in to the track or not, or if it was just for my comfort/listening only. I bet Nivs knows, since it's his Tascam and he's much more familiar with it than I.

Thanks for the advice about the plug-ins, I'll look into it.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by glennny »

concerning Cavedwellers:

Dear Judge 3,
Thank you! You get it! You're the only one with the sophistication and soul to understand our song! You're clearly the most intelligent and musical of all the judges. You're clearly a scholar with exquisite taste!


concerning BSS:

Dear Judge 3,
What is your problem??? You clearly have no clue about music, and no taste whatsoever. It's amazing to me you think you can judge anything.

.....
Seriously: Thanks to all of the judges for all the thankless work. Thank you judge 3! I was just kidding about the BSS stuff.
Lots of good songs and acts this year. Keep up the good writing!

I love Nur Ein
cheers!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Geoff WreckdoM »

Guys! Thank you for organizing! Thank you judges (what I know is a tough job) for the reviews and feedback. Thank you everybody for listening and participating, especially the jerks for their most (mostly) enjoyable podcast and Boffo's listening parties. This was fun, really had a great time working on this. Now that we're out I'm sure next weeks challenge will be talk singing. :roll: Good luck everybody!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by j$ »

glennny wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:45 pm
concerning Cavedwellers:

Dear Judge 3,
Thank you! You get it! You're the only one with the sophistication and soul to understand our song! You're clearly the most intelligent and musical of all the judges. You're clearly a scholar with exquisite taste!


concerning BSS:

Dear Judge 3,
What is your problem??? You clearly have no clue about music, and no taste whatsoever. It's amazing to me you think you can judge anything.

-glennny
My pleasure, on both counts.

Its always weird seeing the other judge scores roll in, first thinking "Oh, I've got this wrong" followed by the inevitable reaction "Oh no, I'm right, f**k' em'). it's a subjective universe in which we reside.

j$
Last edited by j$ on Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Evermind wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:52 am
Also, don't feel too bad about twiddling knobs until you find something that sounds good, that's a time-honored tradition. ;)
Also, don't feel too bad about twiddling knobs until it sounds like a big pile of crap so that your original take sounds okay in comparison. Just learn from it so the next time you twiddle the knobs you'll have an idea of what *not* to do. (No, I'm not speaking from experience, why would you ask? :oops: )
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by arby »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:20 am
Evermind wrote:
Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:52 am
Also, don't feel too bad about twiddling knobs until you find something that sounds good, that's a time-honored tradition. ;)
Also, don't feel too bad about twiddling knobs until it sounds like a big pile of crap so that your original take sounds okay in comparison. Just learn from it so the next time you twiddle the knobs you'll have an idea of what *not* to do. (No, I'm not speaking from experience, why would you ask? :oops: )
Oh I am intimately familiar with that experience!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Brief notes on the songs this round. Yes, you deserve better.

Grumpy Mike - Dude. This is cool. Really cool. Then I read the lyric and I was like, what the flying fuck? Then I listened a couple of more times. And then I thought, this is cool. Really cool.


Crown Shy - Your vocal is sweet even on shitty work speakers. I think this is a solid song but I didn't enjoy it as much as some of your others. That being said, you deserve (and received) points for great implementation of the challenge.


Budget Bears - Cool rhythm, cool melody. I'm not a huge fan of that drawn out last syllable on some of the words, but that's a superficial nit to pick. I really liked the chorus on repeated listens.


Moss Palace - I liked the shorter lines. The vocal is well performed. On first listen (on the shitty work speakers) I felt the rhythm was a bit too.. erm, busy? or just a bit at odds with the lovely vocal. Listening back in the studio and I'm feeling the arrangement works much better. This song was at the bottom of my top tier.


see-man-ski - I liked this right from the first listen. The vocal phrasing and tone are good. You used the two foreign language lines well. All two of them. I love the vocal delay and melody. The sparse parts in the keys and guitar work very well for me.


Balance Lost - I like the tone of your vocal, but I felt it could be a bit stronger in places. The harmony didn't work quite as well as I think it could have (especially on shitty work speakers.) I like the guitars. This feels vaguely cure-ish to me but I think it's mainly in the guitars. I like your rhythm (as usual) and the chorus lyric and melody. This was hard for me to rank. This song was all over the place between first listen and last.


Ever Kenievel - I love the female harmony vox. I like verse melody and phrasing. The more I listen the more I like it.


The Lowest Bitter - I liked your take on the challenge. This one seems to be in your wheelhouse. That's a catchy melody, but I think it suffered just a bit on repeated listens. Maybe just a bit too repetitive or same sounding. That lead synth at 1:00 (and a bit later) masked the vox a bit (maybe just a level issue?)


Max Bombast - This reminds me of some song I can't think of for the life of me. Probably some 50's rock song..... or a typical 50's rock song. AT least in the melody. Another song that suffered on repeated listens when compared to some of the other songs. I'm a little mad that I was writing numbers down trying to figure out what the hell was going on until I heard the end. But I love your take on the challenge. Loved the little "how to make it count." "Baby what's your number?" "count the ways" etc.,


Nick Soma - Vox is buried just a bit but works well with the lyric. I like the music. I love the translation of the "other language", great choice. Solid entry but didn't really stand out for me.


Brown Word and the Big Whine - I like the guitars. Good story. Good implementation of the challenge. Didn't do much for me, though.


WreckdoM - The doubled vox works well. Seems like a fairly ordinary musical arrangement compared to some of your other songs, but that's just an impression. (I didn't go back and listen.)


Berkeley Social Scene - I like the guitars. Your mix translated better on the shitty work speakers than most entries. The vocal didn't seem to sit in there perfectly for me, though. Maybe a hair dry? I liked how the foreign language line was used. How many of those lines did you have, by the way? Solid but ultimately a middle of the road song.


Governing Dynamics - I liked the melody, but some of those notes seem just a hair off? Is it pitch or delivery? "Row" on the first chorus and other lower notes. Some good lines "chip my tooth on your decision" but the phrasing/timing might be just a bit off in a place or two, maybe. Did I mention I like the chorus melody. I wanted to like this song more than I did.


Cavedwellers - Interesting rhythm/melody combo on the intro. I have a lot of notes about the vocal not working for me, but those seem to be on the shitty work speakers. The doubling (octave?) is a nice touch. But, yeah, not working for me real well overall.


Heid - Nice John Cage cover.


Hot Pink Halo - Cool intro. Cool rhythm (It was cool to have this feel in the bunch of song.) but maybe a bit stale by the end?


Mandibles - Strong folk melody works with the guitar. The harmony works very well. Mando is a nice touch. I really like yuengling.


Virgo Power - Glad you're making music. Keep at it. I like the melody on the title line. The sparse arrangements you use sometimes suffer compared to more fully arranged and/or mixed songs. I'd recommend trying to get the tone/levels spot on with these types of arrangements.
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furrypedro
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by furrypedro »

Thanks for the reviews, PFJ!
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grumpymike
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by grumpymike »

Thanks, judges, furrypedro, Tommy G, and everyone else who's shared their reaction to this song. I had no idea it would catch on. My wife has been singing "NEIN! WE ROW!" all week.

At first I was going to do some lame Penny Lane inspired song and toss in some foreign lyrics - probably French.

When Cybronica kindly offered German singing, I immediately had this vision of "Rammstein" meets "Barbie Girl" meets "Literally, I Can't". I started laying some tracks and peed myself laughing multiple times - especially after singing "JOIN ME ON MY PLEASANT ROW!"

I almost didn't finish because I couldn't pull off that vision. Cybronica encouraged me to just forge ahead and here we are. I can't emphasize enough how much this song wouldn't have happened without her.

I think I owe it to everyone to share the original demo that I was stuck on.

It's accidents like this that make Nur Ein special.
2021-05-31-ne16_r3_pleasant_row.mp3
(3.79 MiB) Downloaded 16 times
Last edited by grumpymike on Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Adam!
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Adam! »

Come watch Max Bombast make it count:
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Lucky Spoon
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Adam! wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:52 pm
"You are the only reason I'm not gonna get kicked out"
Edited cleverly after scores posted ;)
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Cybronica
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by Cybronica »

grumpymike wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:44 pm
So many kind things
8-)
We make a good team. I’m so glad it came together!!
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seemanski
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Three "Pleasant Row"

Post by seemanski »

grumpymike wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:44 pm
Thanks, judges, furrypedro, Tommy G, and everyone else who's shared their reaction to this song. I had no idea it would catch on. My wife has been singing "NEIN! WE ROW!" all week.

At first I was going to do some lame Penny Lane inspired song and toss in some foreign lyrics - probably French.

When Cybronica kindly offered German singing, I immediately had this vision of "Rammstein" meets "Barbie Girl" meets "Literally, I Can't". I started laying some tracks and peed myself laughing multiple times - especially after singing "JOIN ME ON MY PLEASANT ROW!"

I almost didn't finish because I couldn't pull off that vision. Cybronica encouraged me to just forge ahead and here we are. I can't emphasize enough how much this song wouldn't have happened without her.

I think I owe it to everyone to share the original demo that I was stuck on.

It's accidents like this that make Nur Ein special.

2021-05-31-ne16_r3_pleasant_row.mp3
This absolutely blew me away. It was something special. Well chuffed for you both.

I'm hoping everyone sees this as a something to try (the word being try) to better in the rounds to come, I know I have.
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