Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by adamadamant »

Late and poorly informed, but here are my reviews!

Song of the week probably Stacking Theory, a well deserved 2nd place.

The Alleviators - I'm a big fan of the female vocals, the whole vibe is very chill and well spaced out.

Berkeley Social Scene - A bit static. The vocals are doing that nice rising bit but the other instruments don't back them up. Decent though.

Boffo Yux Dudes - It sounds like you're running out of breath a little bit. Bit of a juggernaut beat, maybe could do with some space.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - I quite like the bare production and the agressive delivery. That synth pad needs to go IMO. The main chorus line is a bit meaningless - "to be larger than life etc".

Cavedwellers - Nice surfy harmonies. Good guitar work. Could be a bit more dramatic on the vocals. Very competent.

Elks of the Economy - Electro-funk sea-shanty? I feel like the bass should hit me in the face more. Generally very appealing though. Good guitar wrangling; wah-wah-wonderful.

Glenny - I like soaring guitars. This one chugs along. Doesn't quite excite me but it is good.

Jon Porobil - Nice confident intro. Vocals come in a bit soft. Not bad company for the bottom of the table.

Lichen Throat - Love the finger picking. The spoken intro is really nice. Your singing lets you down. The unsual rhythm and sparse arrangement is very cool and stands out.

The Lowest Bitter - I like that you sing along with the synth. People don't duet with their instruments enough IMO. The bridge(?) is a bit empty and exposes some uncertain vocals. The rest is nice and full and busy in a fun way. Lovely guitar solo-ish towards at the end.

Lunkhead - Those guitar licks! I feel like I'm playing Crazy Taxi and it's 1998 again. Super! A bit too long maybe...

Mandibles - I like the man becomes a myth bit. Epic. It's putting me in mind of The Zombies in a good way. I feel like this needs a big guitar solo. Has staying power.

Moss Palace - The piano bit is a super tune. Lovely vocals clearly. Good mood change in the bridge.

Nick Soma - Lots of strong rhymes here. Maybe a bit too slow for my taste. Good percussion.

Night Sky - Quite jolly. I like the little brass instrument. Chorus is sweet although the verse is a bit flat.

Stacking Theory - Lovely "ah"s. Just good healthy stuff.

Virgo Power - Spooky! Maybe a bit too long?

Vom Vorton - Boingy-woingy! I'm not sure what the main refrain really *means* but it sounds nice. Good energy.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Evermind »

adamadamant wrote:
Thu Jun 02, 2022 2:00 am
Evermind wrote:
Wed Jun 01, 2022 9:16 pm
Adam Adamant
Kick drum rings out too long, may be a side effect of compression. Off-key melody on the refrain. Pitchy vocals. Vocals could use some high passing, they're very boomy. I don't hear any palindromic musical phrase in here, and I don't have any lyrics/liner notes to reference.
I did post in the thread pointing out the palindrome so always worth checking if you're not sure. It's the guitar line over the chorus though.
Ah. I was worried this might happen. I looked at the liner notes provided alongside the lyrics in the lyric thread for this round and encouraged people to point out their palindromes to make it easier for the judges to recognize and reward challenge completion, but I didn't look in this thread, so I didn't see yours posted. Mea culpa.

I don't know if this is a comfort or not, but I checked my scoring rubric and your ranking would not have changed if I'd identified your palindrome.
I am definitely too square for how experimental this is, but I can imagine that if I was in the right state of mind, the section starting at 2:20 might transport me to another dimension - jeffhenderson
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by adamadamant »

No worries, I'll try to post in the lyrics thread for the next round, I forgot about that.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by JonPorobil »

Congrats to Moss Palace and Stacking Theory. Again my favorite of the round came in 2nd. Go figure! I liked almost all your songs. Even the two eliminated competitors upped their game considerably between rounds 0 and 1; this round gave us the best Lichen Throat song I've heard yet. I probably won't post full reviews for this round, as I'm balancing the next song with some weekend plans, but I just wanted to post that general vibe. As for mine...

For years, every time I would enter a Song Fight or a Nur Ein round, I'd listen to all the songs, listen to everyone else's, and still think mine was in the top tier, although by most objective measures it would be barely competent. I was too enamored of my material and couldn't see past that to the flaws. As time went on, I started to just assume by default that I would place lower than I was expecting. Then, two years ago, it was like something "clicked," and I got that weird feeling - "Is it just me, or am I winning this thing?" And then, sure enough, my results kept getting better. So I've been learning to trust my own self-assessments. And this week, my self-assessment was brutal; I expected to be cut. And sure enough, the proverbial guillotine missed me by a scant five points.

I'm grateful to have squeaked by, and for the opportunity to once again confirm that my self-assessment mechanism is well-calibrated. I knew early on that this wasn't my round. I never had that "aha!" moment that accompanies the best Nur Ein songs, and I wound up settling for an "okay" idea without ever landing on one I really liked. Then I managed my time poorly, so my recording has timing mistakes, singing mistakes, and an overall poor mix with one glaring unforced error in it. And on top of all that, the song came in at like five and a half minutes, so I made some clumsy cuts to keep it from being even more of a slog, and that turned the structure and lyrics into a bit of a mess. For the first time in a while, I stopped taking notes for future edits, because in the final hours before the deadline, I knew it wouldn't be worth trying to fix this one afterwards.

All of this to say, the results sounded about right. Thanks to the judges for the spot-on feedback, and for all you've been doing to keep this show running. I'll see you all in the next round. NUR EIN!!
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Stages, an album of about dealing with loss, anxiety, and grieving a difficult year, now available on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms! https://jonporobil.bandcamp.com/album/stages
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by furrypedro »

That shadow review I forgot to post.

Rattlebox: Who the f is Rattlebox? Aha it's good ol' Bennykreegz! Pleasure to have you around sir. Wish this was in the fight, but a welcome shadow indeed. You have a special knack for slightly imperfect indie pop nuggets and this fits that bracket like a glove. I dig the pedestal/vestibule rhyme regardless of how well it rhymes, and the "never de-never decide" line leading in to the lift at the chorus is a sweet touch of songwriting. A wonky gem this is and a keeper.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Cybronica »

Finally getting round to these, since we don’t have the next challenge yet. Once again in order of the judge who liked Mandibles best:

Moss Palace: I love the funky groove on this track. The brown on the bass is delicious. The “Ooh Caesar “ moment is stunning. The whole chorus is great. The mix is well balanced throughout all frequencies, which I’m sure you already know. The lyrics for this song are great, too, and a great improvement from last week. I love the historical element and how you tied it into a bigger picture. Well deserved win, good job!

Stacking theory: the effects on the yeah vocals is so cool. What is that- the same sample pitch shifted to make chords? How you balanced the vocal effects is pretty cool throughout, actually. I would have liked some less affected vox at some point, to really bring out the coolness of the effects. Either in a chorus (but, is there a chorus? Can’t quite pick one out), or a bridge. The chime could have been cheesy, but it wasn’t; it was a nice touch.

The alleviators: your voices blend a lot better this round, which might be because the lower voice came in first, but also the higher voice is a bit more breathy than it was in round 0. I would have liked the opposite, personally (high stayed the same and the low voice was a little less breathy), but I think that’s just how Travis’s voice sounds (this is Travis’s band, right?), and you gotta sound like yourself! Love the easy going vibe of the song. “Greek chorus can’t see the forest for the fashion” is such a great line, I love the internal rhyme and how it give a little bait it switch with the end of the phrase.

mandibles: I’m really pleased with this song, but it does feel like a first draft. I’d like to remix to balance the vocals and, more importantly, add a bitchin’ guitar solo. I’m very happy with how the lyrics came out- i was really trying to capture how a story changes as different tell it over and over. I know people didn’t much like opera vocals, but honestly, I’d really an entire opera chorus singing the last verse and chorus, pulling back on the the final pre. I think it would have been amazing to hear.

Glennny: you win for most stuck in my head this week! Love the rock in this, and the call and response with the guitar is really great. The autotune is super aggressive. I understand turning towards it, but it really pixelate the sound. Maybe slow down its attack a little?

Vom Vorton: i love your peppy songs about cats. The harmony vocals of the pre/chorus are really lovely, and I love how dreamy they get. Your synths sound so good, and I love how weewoowee they sound. A technical term, I know. This song, in a word: Jaunty

Cavedwellers: this feels so powerful, the song is dripping with gravitas, and the lyrics are heart wrenching. I will have to agree with other reviewers: the “I preferred beck and page “ line sounds like it should be a big grand insight, but it feel like a throwaway line. The flutes are *chefs kiss* amazing. I can’t get over how good they sound.

Virgo power: this is hands down the best vocal I’ve ever heard from you, ever. There’s a lightness to the vox that isn’t present in your previous songs. But, lest you think I’m saying I like a quieter sound (which it isn’t), Let me be very clear: I’m not saying they are quieter, I’m saying you aren’t leaning on them/pressing on your throat for support/forcing the sound out. You’re letting the sound happen in its natural form, and it’s beautiful. It’s also more consistently in tune. That center panned voice added at the end is a little hot in the mix, but still sounds good. The bridge where your guitars (?) come in, sounds really out of tune, and I can’t tell if that’s on purpose. If it is, success! It’s very unnerving, great text painting, good job!

Lowest Bitter: the opening arpeggiators are simply scrumptious in panned headphones. I love how you stack and orchestrate your synths. You also always do a fabulous job of matching your timbres with your vocal timbre. It really makes your sound gel so well. “Mundane and the supramundane” always SOUNDS like it should be a clunky line, but isn’t. You deliver it well. “Lap it up” is always a little flat. You’re reaching for the note from below, imagine yourself landing on note from above (I like to imagine a ballet dancer landing en pointe). It helps to mix In a little headspace (vocally, not mixing wise) to get those higher notes perfectly in tune.

Boffo: oooh i LOVE that low voice open, whispering in my ear. The way you build the melody to tie it back to the higher range is really affective, and keeping it in the backing vox is a great way to keep the sound in the texture. I don’t mind the “are hopelessly tossed” line (if I did, I’d be a hypocrite, see Mandibles’ never knew the guy’ with the line “my life is tossed”). Passive voice is not inherently bad, just gotta be used strategically, which you did. This is a nice deviation for your usual. I like your usual, I like this, I think I just like your band.

Lunkhead: love the driving rock grooves. Sometimes your vocals feel a little set aside from the rest of the music, but I’m not getting that here. You mixed them really well, and the doubled vox and the slight distortion on them matches the timbre well to the crunchy guitars and relentless snare. I like the lyrical idea, but every time you sing Obama it pulls me out. Not sure why, just feels too… I dunno. Out of place. Not that it necessarily is, I’m just grasping at straws as to why I have that negative reaction to it (being very pro-Obama in my day to day life). Love the guitar riff especially.

Night sky: that’s a strong choice for a lyrical reference right of the bat. It feels like the lyrics are just there to fill up the music, while the music is just a step wise motion up and down over and over. I suppose this song suffers from a lack diversity. It just feels like the same thing over and over, and even my intense love for your sax playing can’t bring it back for me.

Lichen Throat: you have a Great voice over voice. The opening is super dramatic, and sets us up for a great story, and you deliver. Your melody is really good- yours haven’t always fit in your music well, but this one is really rhythmically locked in. Yes, it suffers a bit from your performance, but that, too, is improving- your sense of Rhythm is better than in the last, and your short nots are mostly in tune. The main issue in this vocal performance is your sustained notes; they fluctuate around the pitch instead of vibrating at the center of it. I don’t know if you do any vocalizes or warm up, but if you do, try incorporating some sustained pitch exercises, like buzzing on a “z” or lip trills.

Nick soma: the sweet tone of this song is really nice, and the twinkly palindrome in my right ear gives it an added sense of nostalgia. Your lyrics flow really well- your use of rhyme and assonance is pleasing to listen to, but if I think about them, not sure how I feel about the syllabication of “apotheosized.” This song in a word: pleasant

Elks of the economy: This is Jolene over the bass from another one bites the dust. Both great songs, so of course this song sounds good. I have trouble hearing past the blatant plagiarism.

BSS: this is a pretty good standard rock song, pretty forgettable until you hit the Come on Eileen melodic. That, to a lesser degree than elks’ song, takes me out a bit, due to the overly recognizable nature of the line. Even come inside are reminiscent of it. I don’t mind the double dipping- given the the titles, it’s like they WANTED us to do that. The c&p canon at the end is my fav part.

BWBW: I don’t mind the vocal affectation you take, but if you’re going to layer your vocals like this, you gotta match up how your speak/sing lines move. Otherwise they sound messy and unfun to listen to. It makes it hard to enjoy the music, like the awesome bass line. Great bass solo! I’m hearing notes of 80s Bowie in the instrumentals. Love that.

Jon Porobil: the rock instruments are really great, love the intro, and I like how you changed up your vocal timbre with technique and mixing effects to match it. Only issue is the vox pitchiness is really obvious in the song. I think it’s a support issue, so make sure you’re giving enough air to your sound to carry the voice without wavering. You get get there a bit with the penultimate line, but go flat from lack of support on the last note. This is darker than your usual songs, and I like it a lot.

Adam Adamant: This sounds… a bit lack luster. Your voice sounds unsupported, and it think it’s leading to the wavering, occasionally pitchy quality to your vox. Ex- you’re consistently flat on “died” as you reach for the high note of the chorus (except for the last one, where you push to hard and go sharp). Yet, in the bridge you’re giving enough air and the pitch is under control. A lot of potential hear, so long as you don’t knee cap your vocals.

Rattle box: another catchy song from the round! I really enjoy this song. The chorus is a real ear worm. I think the drum machine is a bit hot in the mix. It dominates a lot, and I want to hear more of that beautiful guitar line. Seriously! Love that tone. See the the previous two reviews about undersupported vox. You have really ambition melodic goals, and I love it. You sound a bit out of breath though, and that’s making the higher notes harder than they have to be.
“It's like opera for toddlers or something.” -furrypedro
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by jb »

Say what?

Insert lengthy discussion of coincidence, reference, homage, and plagiarism here

jeez
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Cybronica »

jb wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 1:21 pm
Say what?

Insert lengthy discussion of coincidence, reference, homage, and plagiarism here

jeez
Are you part of elks of the economy? Fair, I know you got the short end of my reviews stick this week. I’ll listen extra long to your floating in the water and give it a longer review.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by jb »

Short reviews are fine. *shrug*
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Geech »

Cybronica, I have questions about the BSS review.

What part sounds like Come On Eileen?
What does "Even come inside are reminiscent of it" mean?
And what is the "c&p canon"?
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Cybronica »

Geech wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 3:31 pm
Cybronica, I have questions about the BSS review.

What part sounds like Come On Eileen?
What does "Even come inside are reminiscent of it" mean?
And what is the "c&p canon"?
Your palindrome reminds me very strongly of the tu-ra-lu-ra section. The other two lines are victims of autocorrect and me not proofreading before posting- should have said, “Even come on’s are reminiscent of it,” meaning after I heard the tu-ra connection, the come ons in your lyrics made a lyrical connection to it I couldn’t shake. The other one meant to say “c&r” ie call and response, and is referring to your coda/final chorus. I thought of it as a canon, though I suppose it really is more a call and response.

And to clarify, since it did come up in my reviews twice- I totally understand that 12 is not very many notes in a scale, and given the nature of creativity we can’t help but borrow and steal from time to time without realizing. Ex, the first line of mandibles’ floating in the water shares a harrowing commonality with a certain Disney hit that I will never be able to unhear. We all do it, I just call it out when it is strong enough to break me out of your song.
“It's like opera for toddlers or something.” -furrypedro
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by gizo »

Cybronica wrote:
Tue Jun 07, 2022 11:18 am
Stacking theory: the effects on the yeah vocals is so cool. What is that- the same sample pitch shifted to make chords? How you balanced the vocal effects is pretty cool throughout, actually. I would have liked some less affected vox at some point, to really bring out the coolness of the effects. Either in a chorus (but, is there a chorus? Can’t quite pick one out), or a bridge. The chime could have been cheesy, but it wasn’t; it was a nice touch.
Wow - thanks so much - I've really appreciated all the kind words and response to this song.

I'm afraid the vocal work is pretty primitive - I'm just recording myself doing some ooh's and aah's and such, and cutting them into little beat-sized portions. Then a bit of Logic's Flex Pitch to tune myself. And yes, I copy and paste and pitch shift them around to make chords. It's something I played with in SpinTunes 18 R4 'Holding My Own', and the Bonus Round (where I was covering See-man-ski's delightful 'Love Is'), and decided to keep playing with.

(Image below of the early stages of 'Holding My Own')

(Exciting side note: for 'Floating in the water' I discovered Logic also lets me quantize my melody to scale, which was exciting and possibly overused)

Is there a chorus in this song? I dunno. There's 4 chords, on repeat. I used the following Verse, Chorus, and Bridge ideas to think about it while I was working on it:
* Verses - 'wake up', 'make toast', and 'go to sleep'
* Chorus - 'Looking for a sign'. It's a chorus that gets a bit longer each time it shows up
* Bridge - 'is there a way we can put this to rest?'

But yeah - it's just a song, and I'm glad it worked for folks. And honestly the words of 'Holding My Own' came back to me when the results for "Deified' were published. I'm staggered and chuffed and incredibly grateful - I never thought that I'd be here, holding my own, with the talent that you all have.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Cybronica »

Blah blah review blah
[/quote]

Wow - thanks so much - I've really appreciated all the kind words and response to this song.

I'm afraid the vocal work is pretty primitive - I'm just recording myself doing some ooh's and aah's and such, and cutting them into little beat-sized portions. Then a bit of Logic's Flex Pitch to tune myself. And yes, I copy and paste and pitch shift them around to make chords. It's something I played with in SpinTunes 18 R4 'Holding My Own', and the Bonus Round (where I was covering See-man-ski's delightful 'Love Is'), and decided to keep playing with.

[/quote]

I love this effect, and have been interested in trying it out, but it’s so labor intensive I’m not sure I’ll get it into a sf or nur ein any time soon. Does anyone know if there’s a way to map a sample to a midi that i could play on my keyboard?
“It's like opera for toddlers or something.” -furrypedro
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