Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by noma »

A few notes on my entry and its palindromes:

This song is kind of unfinished, originally I wanted to add keyboards but I was running out of time. Though listening to it now, the empty hollow sound of it reflects the lyrical theme nicely, I think. The ascending/descending phrases in the music are also meant to illustrate this theme ("Yesterday's heroes will be vilified"; "Another one's ascending the throne.")

The palindromes are as follows:

Palindrome 1: First heard at 0:18 into the track, the guitar in the left channel goes: C#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E-D#-C#-B-A-G#-C#
Palindrome 2: Playing at the same time, the glockenspiel theme goes: B-A-G#; G#-A-B. This is the only palindromic phrase in the song that descends, then ascends instead of the other way around.
Palindrome 3: The guitar melody in the instrumental bridge starting at 2:54 goes: C#-D#-E-B-C#-D#-F#-D#-C#-B-E-D#-C#.
Palindrome 4: The drums in the outro starting at 3:47, specifically the toms which go: low-mid-mid-high; high-mid-mid-low. Since this phrase accompanies the guitar/glock riff, there are three palindromes playing at once in the outro.

Honorable mention: The melody played in unison by the guitar and glockenspiel in the chorus is almost a palindrome, but missing the final E note. It goes: E-F#-G#-A-G#-F#-E-G#-A-B-A-G#. EDIT: I realized that I was wrong and this melody is indeed composed of two actual palindromes following each other. Yay! 1 - E-F#-G#-A-G#-F#-E and 2 - G#-A-B-A-G# (just a diatonic scale though, and the second one is only five notes long. Meh.)

EDIT: Some more context for the Machiavelli quote, as my lyric says: "Machiavelli said it's better to be feared than loved - and it's best to be deified." The last part, of course, he didn't actually say; the quote goes, "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both." - But if one can be both, he implies, that would be best. So, if you can convince the people that you are a god, i.e. you are deified, you will be both feared and loved, and nobody will question your authority.
Last edited by noma on Mon May 30, 2022 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by arby »

grumpymike wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 6:26 am
arby wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 1:08 am
Welp, this is one of those rounds where as soon as I start listening to everyone else's songs, I immediately kick myself for not googling the most basic thing - how to fucken pronounce deified. I just assumed it was DAY-ified with a long "a" (like it is in Latin - Deus Ex Machina), but half of you guys are pronouncing it DEE-ified! wtf (one belated google later), apparently I am secretly British :roll:

Anyway I just listened - some great riffs! I might do some reviews later...
I liked “Friyay” so I wouldn’t worry about it. Though, why would you only pronounce half of the word like Latin? Shouldn’t it be more like day-i-fee-ade?
:lol: :lol: no idea! I guess for me it was because I was rhyming with "reified"? (now suddenly unsure how to pronounce reified :lol:) but also there are a ton of words that I've only read and never actually heard out loud, so I think I know how to pronounce them but I'm unknowingly wrong. this usually bites me in the ass during songwriting contests when I least expect it.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by arby »

adamadamant wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 2:48 am
gizo wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 1:53 am
vowlvom wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 1:21 am
As a totally unbiased, possibly mildly British person, I think you NAILED it.
I have a lot of opinions and one of them is that Vom is right.
And here's me actually rhyming deified with "day".
Aww, thanks Vom (and gizo)! As a cat person, of course I liked your song. I think it's required by law if one worships the feline (see my profile pic -1 of 4!) :D

Adam, your pronunciation of course gave me no qualms - it wasn't until Alleviators came on (I was listening in alphabetical order) that I went heyyy waitaminute..
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by arby »

I did it, I wrote reviews! Overall this round I was really impressed by the guitar work on a lot of the songs. Plus the palindromes were largely very well done and enjoyable to listen to. Nice job, everyone!

Adam Adamant - This had a lot of potential. I adore the palindrome guitar riffs on the verse, and the rhythm guitar reminds me of U2 somehow, but the vocal is pitchy. The music overall is great. The timbre of his voice is nice, and the melody itself isn’t bad, it just suffers badly from being out of tune.

Alleviators - I like the music of this one a lot. Very soothing and pretty. The vocals are a little twee for my taste though. Too modern with the affectations. But it’s not a bad song at all. The guitar work is lovely.

BSS - Again I like the guitar sound - so jangly and fun, love that 2nd chord change in the chorus. This is pretty catchy. The vocals again are a slight sticking point though. That “Uh huh” and “Come on!” is just kind of cringe to me. I feel like it would have been okay if sung with any conviction, as it is it just sounds weak. This has a lot of potential. Overall though, one of the better BSS songs I’ve heard.

Boffo Yux Dudes - I like the chiptunes-y sound of the opening keyboard riff. The melody is interesting on this one but I feel like the super-low start is not flattering to your voice. You sound like you're scraping the bottom of your range and are pitchy as a result. Nice drumming. I would have said “We have no choice”, for some reason the phrasing of “we lose our choice” just sounds weird to me, but I didn’t study the lyrics to see if it makes sense. The backing vocals just sound muddy, I can’t really hear them well enough to tell what they’re trying to do. Needs better production. Still I enjoyed this one. Rare to hear a serious BYD song.

Brown Word - I wanted to like this one. The music was good, and then the vocal comes in. I agree 1000% with what furrypedro said about Round 0 for Brown Word, I feel like you sing with this weird affected “rocker” styling that a) doesn’t suit your voice and b) doesn’t sound particularly good. I’d be interested to hear what you sound like singing straight. The bass is very prominent on this one, which I think is not a bad choice, and the tone of it sounds really nice, but the playing strikes me as slightly awkward/not the greatest bass lines.

Cavedwellers - The opening of this sounds so familiar to me, but I can’t place it. Again, pretty guitar. The melody of the verses isn’t really doing it for me. I will say the pre-chorus and chorus are catchy. The guitar at the end of the 2nd pre-chorus is GREAT. Flute(?) solo interesting. I don’t hate it. It’s going to drive me crazy trying to remember what this sounds like.

Glenny - I LOVE these palindrome guitar riffs in the verses! The lyrics are kind of a bog-standard love song, though the “line fell into ruin, even though I did the math” is pretty good. I do enjoy this song though.

Elks of the Economy - I noticed some of these lyrically fell into the same vein of “Aren’t I great”, and this is perhaps the most bombastic. bass line reminds me of "Another One Bites The Dust". now I can't unhear it. This is not a bad effort. I would listen to this again.

Jon Porobil - This riff reminds me of something but I can't place it. Vocal is weak, nasal and pitchy. I feel like this could have been a lot better with a decent vocal. I like the melody of the chorus a lot, but it’s sung poorly :/.

Lichen Throat - speaking of sung poorly.. I’m sorry. I like the music of this SO MUCH, and the spoken word intro is cute, but the vocal is soooo out of tune it just wrecks it for me.

Lowest Bitter - I like the chiptune-y sound of that synth a LOT. singing is ok. pitchy on the bridge. this is a catchy song though. overall good effort. But I feel like the lyrics are a little try-hard. “Adjuration”, really?

Lunkhead - Nice guitar wankery at the beginning. Chorus is catchy but the verses don’t really hold up as well. I do like that riff. This is p. good overall though.

Mandibles - I love that main riff and how it sounds like it's being played on harpsichord. Nivs and I were listening to this in the car and he said it sounds like something from Hair, I totally agree. This is really good for Mandibles, whose aesthetic doesn’t usually jibe with me. The only part I don’t like is the high operatic backing vocal on the bridge. I don’t know what the lyrics are talking about, sounds like maybe Hercules and the Hydra?!? Too lazy to look up the lyric post for clues. Anyway good job Mandibles, I enjoyed this one a lot.

Moss Palace - Nivs says this sounds like a long lost Tori Amos song, and now I can’t unhear it. I had said Erin sounds like Natalie Merchant. anyway I like this a lot. so much going on in the arrangement, in a good way. I like songs where my ears are entertained throughout, which is ironic because my own songs are so fricking minimalist, bc I lack the ability to make them complicated. anyway I’m jelly.

Nick M. Soma - Very pretty intro. I feel like the verse is kind of boring melodically though. IDK he sort of loses me when he starts singing. The pre-chorus and chorus are better. Any time it’s just instrumental I enjoy it a lot. I like the multilayered guitars. *ears perk up* what’s that chiming, is that Omni?!

Night Sky - I find the verse melody and way it’s sung extremely grating. It’s like a sailor’s sea chanty, ​sung by Oompa Loompas. I can’t with this, I’m sorry. The music is not bad, but the vocals make it unlistenable for me.

Stacking Theory - very weird, but I dig it. I feel like I won’t listen again too often becuase of the Oh Yeahs might become very annoying, but I enjoy the way the instruments stacked up (pun intended) through the song. And i like the telephone effect on the lead vocal a lot.

Virgo Power - it's-a me! I spent a LOT of time trying to comp the double-tracked vocals without re-recording (bc lazy) before I finally just decided to copy the ones where I got the timing right. there are still some infelicities but I feel like I had a decent idea for once, worked hard and I learned something, which is I can make Omni (or in this case Q-Chord) sound like a LOT more instruments than I realized! It's all Q-Chord, all the way down. Also I like my song. My concept was the song is from the point of view of an ancient Egyptian who is dead and being mummified. So she's being both "reified" (physical body turned into a thing, a mummy) and "deified" (going to the afterworld to be with the gods, yeah ok that part is a slight stretch). My palindrome is in the riff in the bridge, I THINK I played F# G A Bb | Bb A G F#. So anyhoo this round feels like a win-win for me.

Vom Vorton - This also reminds me of something and I cannot for the life of me put my finger on what. early Blur, maybe? Nice synth riff. I like this. I feel like the backing vocals get a little chaotic towards the end, but I enjoyed this one.

Rattlebox (shadow) - nice guitar work again. I like the chorus on this one too. The drums get wearisome just bc they don’t vary and they’re so prominent in the mix. But this is a good song with a lot of potential. This sounds like an Andy Partridge demo, which is one of the highest compliments I can give btw.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Pop Machine »

Al from BYD here. Thanks for the reviews, arby. Always good to get feedback.
arby wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 7:49 pm
Boffo Yux Dudes - I like the chiptunes-y sound of the opening keyboard riff. The melody is interesting on this one but I feel like the super-low start is not flattering to your voice. You sound like you're scraping the bottom of your range and are pitchy as a result. Nice drumming. I would have said “We have no choice”, for some reason the phrasing of “we lose our choice” just sounds weird to me, but I didn’t study the lyrics to see if it makes sense. The backing vocals just sound muddy, I can’t really hear them well enough to tell what they’re trying to do. Needs better production. Still I enjoyed this one. Rare to hear a serious BYD song.
Thanks, we tried something different here (can't accuse us of not belly-flopping outside our comfort zone on occasion), hope some folks like it. Glad you seemed to, overall.

Surprised/not surprised about the production note, as I have a tendency to layer stuff on pretty thickly and stuff gets muddy, but thought I did a better job than usual about keeping elements more discrete. I'll have to keep that in mind.

I mainly came to say that "we lose our choice" is absolutely a deliberate word selection and that "we have no choice" would not really be appropriate. The lyrics, broadly, are about what gets lost in the translation from divine communion to written dogma; the notion of trying to take an experience that is on the edge of indescribable and locking it down with mere words. We DO have a choice on how to communicate something, but when we lock it down by describing it one way, we perhaps lose out on the choices to communicate/experience it in other ways. You can argue the concept, but that's where the words were coming from, at least.

So there you have it. Boffo Yux Dudes, with nary a fart joke or Don Martin sound effect within earshot. Turns out we can be kinda normal after all.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by arby »

Pop Machine wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 9:03 pm
Al from BYD here. Thanks for the reviews, arby. Always good to get feedback.

Thanks, we tried something different here (can't accuse us of not belly-flopping outside our comfort zone on occasion), hope some folks like it. Glad you seemed to, overall.
Oh yes, I absolutely did!
Pop Machine wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 9:03 pm
Surprised/not surprised about the production note, as I have a tendency to layer stuff on pretty thickly and stuff gets muddy, but thought I did a better job than usual about keeping elements more discrete. I'll have to keep that in mind.
Yeah, no, you did, it was just I was wondering what exactly was going on in the background this time, I thought it sounded kinda cool but I couldn't really tell what was going on, and I would have liked to!
Pop Machine wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 9:03 pm
I mainly came to say that "we lose our choice" is absolutely a deliberate word selection and that "we have no choice" would not really be appropriate. The lyrics, broadly, are about what gets lost in the translation from divine communion to written dogma; the notion of trying to take an experience that is on the edge of indescribable and locking it down with mere words. We DO have a choice on how to communicate something, but when we lock it down by describing it one way, we perhaps lose out on the choices to communicate/experience it in other ways. You can argue the concept, but that's where the words were coming from, at least.
Ahh, I see. OK totally makes sense - cool concept! thanks for explaining!
Pop Machine wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 9:03 pm
So there you have it. Boffo Yux Dudes, with nary a fart joke or Don Martin sound effect within earshot. Turns out we can be kinda normal after all.
Refreshing!
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by arby »

arby wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 7:49 pm
Jon Porobil - This riff reminds me of something but I can't place it.
trying to fall asleep when I realized what it reminds me of: "American Woman"
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by vowlvom »

Ah, go on then.

Adam Adamant - similar thoughts to your previous song, really: I like the sounds you're playing with here, the mix of lo-fi guitars and synths is really appealing and I like the way you've broken up your palindromic riff, something I don't think anyone else tried. The vocal melody feels like you're working it out as you're going though, it feels tentative and indistinct, especially in the early verses and the closing lines. Lyrics not posted, they sound fine without anything particularly catching my ear in a positive or negative way.

The Alleviators - this sounds gorgeous, really warm guitar sound and the harmonics and tremolo e-piano are perfect additions. Really nice palindromic riff and good vocal performances. Lyrics are poetic and interesting. Only real critique is that the drums and guitar could feel a little more locked-in in places, I particularly noticed this in the outro. One of my favourites of the round.

Berkeley Social Scene - the lead guitar is so shimmery, catchy and generally Good in this one. The palindromic riff over verse two is a total earworm. Guitars generally sound really nice and the backing vocals add a lot. Best BSS song I've heard for a while.

Boffo Yux Dudes - this is solid, I like the burbling arpeggio palindrome running in the background. I wish the vocal melody had more of a hook to it, it's effective how you build the intensity as you go up to the higher range but there's not much here to stick in my head afterwards. Drums feel overly busy again, might be easier to build the song if it started out with a simpler beat.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - I'm assuming the bassline and synth are both hitting a bunch of palindromes here? Unfortunately they don't feel particularly musically satisfying to me, the melodies are wandering around rather than hitting on anything satisfying. Kind of a tough listen.

Cavedwellers - some nice guitar work going on here and the mix is clear and good, but there's something kinda plodding about it, like it's stuck in half-time. I feel like maybe the drums need to be higher in the mix, or switch to a heavier beat when the distorted guitar comes in to give this a little more forward propulsion. It has grown on me over the course of a few listens but I definitely preferred your round zero track. Flute section is lovely though!

Elks of the Economy - fun take on the title, the braggy verses work well and the disco vibes are strong. The chorus doesn't quite lift like I want it to though, I wish there was a stronger hook there. The robotty vocal processing in the "keep your eyes open wide" section is really fun.

Glennny - I am not into this at all when it is wheeling out palindrome after palindrome in the verses, it just feels like "how many of these can I cram in?" rather than "how do I make a good song that includes these ideas?" but the pre-chorus and chorus are excellent and win me back over again, as does the harmonised palindrome riff right at the end which sounds great.

Jon Porobil - so much reverb and delay going on here, I am not a fan of the mix, which I feel is kinda "foggy" rather than muddy? But that probably isn't a useful distinction? The melody is solid but it doesn't feel like this arrangement gets the best out of it. The palindrome guitar solo / breakdown is cool, however.

Lichen Throat - love the spoken-word intro, very enthusiastic delivery and it sounds cool. Then the drums kick in and I'm lost, is this in an odd time signature? It feels drunk, and I feel drunk, and not in a good, party-time way, but a "I don't feel good and I want to go home" way. Oh I've just checked the liner notes, 11/8? This one is not for me.

The Lowest Bitter - your palindromes are catchy hooks which is consistently my favourite approach to the challenge across this round, and it makes for a ton of ear candy when they're layered over each other. Love the rattly snare drums too, and the lyrical theme is Very You. One of the best.

Lunkhead - good palindrome riff, good fuzzy energy, doesn't quite grab me as much as your R0 song but I'm not sure why. Maybe because I find the subject of the song less endearing than round zero's mass murderer? Still very good though.

Mandibles - I like this SO much more than your previous song. The layered vocals sound really good and the palindromic vocal melody is a different take, it's really satisfying how it resolves on "outlast me". I have to agree with arby about the highest vocal line though, it feels like it's not quite locked in with the other layers timing-wise or maybe because it has more reverb or something, it just feels out of place.

Moss Palace - that piano palindrome riff is really fun, and the palindrome vocal bits are strong hooks. Great vocal performance as ever, excellent mix, not much to critique here!

Nick Soma - really like this one, I'm glad you ended up leaving a ton of space in the mix (intentionally or not) as it creates a really interesting vibe and your voice sounds great with the wobbly guitars and glockenspiel weaving around it. I love the way most of the lyric feels quite intellectual and then you've got "scary times" in there, that made me smile. I think this is my favourite of the round and definitely up there with the best I've heard from you.

Night Sky - the rhythm of the verse guitar / vocals on this really reminds me of "Nobody's Empire" by Belle & Sebastian. The chorus / B section melody is pretty catchy. Something feels missing though, it feels like this song needs more going on to really click together, or something. Not bad, but weirdly unsatisfying.

Stacking Theory - love the layered / vocoded / sampled vocals, this really stands out from the other songs in a good way. Sweet lyric, too. Another one I've really enjoyed each time it came around.

Virgo Power - the doubled vocals add a lot to this, it's mysterious and intriguing. The q-chord is doing a pretty good guitar impression in that bridge! The shift in mood in the outro is also unusual and effective. Honestly I do kinda wish some drums kicked in somewhere in the middle chorus / bridge but I admire your commitment to the drifting sounds.

Vom Vorton - it took me ages to write lyrics for this one, so while I was struggling I ended up adding more little layers like the "hey!" stuff and doubling the synth riff with nylon-string guitar, which was fun. I think it ended up being a little different from most of my stuff, I'm pleased with it.

Rattlebox - this is one of the catchiest songs of the round, if it was in competition it would be one of my top picks. Although if it was in competition I'd probably critique it a bit harder for some of the vocals / guitar feeling a bit first-drafty, but despite a few wobbly moments I really like this. Hope we get more shadows from you!
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by arby »

just realized what this week's Mandibles tune reminds me of. I bet you guys would KILL a cover of this one:

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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by glennny »

Here’s that song the Jon Porobil guitar line reminds me of:
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 XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by JonPorobil »

glennny wrote:
Tue May 31, 2022 6:13 pm
Here’s that song the Jon Porobil guitar line reminds me of:
Oof, busted. Yeah, it was one of those moments where I realized I was drawing from an influence pretty closely, but instead of reworking the idea, I just leaned into it. The similarity is undeniable, but I was hoping my song was at least enough of a variation on the theme not to be considered a ripoff.

I'll take my lumps and accept this round wasn't my finest hour. I had fun with the guitar part and slapping the bass, but I'm not sure there's much else to salvage. Giving the round a good, brutally honest listen, I can't state with confidence that I'm not in the bottom two. Most of you guys brought your A-games, and I just limped over the finish line to have something turned in.

I especially liked Stacking Theory this round. Good job, everyone! NUR EIN!
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Niveous »

At least, if you're going to rip off a Who song, you picked the best one.

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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by grumpymike »

Speaking of borrowed compositions, what does Stacking Theory remind me of this round? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure it out.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by gizo »

grumpymike wrote:
Wed Jun 01, 2022 2:11 pm
Speaking of borrowed compositions, what does Stacking Theory remind me of this round? I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure it out.
I’ve been told Yellow Ostrich?
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by grumpymike »

I’m almost too embarrassed to share my realization that it’s a Song Fight song. Surely, you never heard Melvin’s Love Me a Little Bit More. Quite a lot of similarity when you put the surface aesthetics aside.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by gizo »

grumpymike wrote:
Wed Jun 01, 2022 2:28 pm
I’m almost too embarrassed to share my realization that it’s a Song Fight song. Surely, you never heard Melvin’s Love Me a Little Bit More. Quite a lot of similarity when you put the surface aesthetics aside.
Oh wow. I see what you mean. And what a great song! Thank you!

I was away from SF back then - Lollypops was born in late ‘08 and was going through her ‘screaming 24/7’ phase. Poor kid. She’s better now though.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by glennny »

That’s funny, because at the time I told Melvin his song reminded me of I like Traffic Lights.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Cybronica »

arby wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 7:49 pm
I did it, I wrote reviews!

Mandibles - I love that main riff and how it sounds like it's being played on harpsichord. Nivs and I were listening to this in the car and he said it sounds like something from Hair, I totally agree. This is really good for Mandibles, whose aesthetic doesn’t usually jibe with me. The only part I don’t like is the high operatic backing vocal on the bridge. I don’t know what the lyrics are talking about, sounds like maybe Hercules and the Hydra?!? Too lazy to look up the lyric post for clues. Anyway good job Mandibles, I enjoyed this one a lot.
Thank you arby, and everyone who has written reviews so far!! You are right on the money, it’s an imagining of how the hydra myth came to be. And regarding the song you posted, I’ve never heard the song, but it’s just what I was going for - like the fantasy cartoon epics of the last century (specifically had the below in the back of my mind while working on it)

https://youtu.be/FdLEKZ932bQ
“It's like opera for toddlers or something.” -furrypedro
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by furrypedro »

Much better showing this round. Well done all.

I've listed these as I ranked them, although I did shuffle these around quite a bit so inaccuracies are possible. The consistent quality of the entries made it very tricky to decide the rankings, particularly in the middle range.


The Lowest Bitter: Banger! You know I'm a sucker for a funky drum beat and this is a refreshing rhythmic switch-up from you. The synths are majestic as always, and this is absolutely laden with huge hooks. I like the "mundane and the supra-mundane" line, though I thought you were gonna rhyme the next line using desire/fire, instead of mundane/flame, but both work. Nothing that I dislike here - you fucked up there, didn't you?

Stacking Theory: My attention was grabbed right from the start because of the vocal samples. I really like how this builds and just a really sweet song. Kinda reminds me of Pickle Darling between the bedroom indie vibe and Oceania accent. The melodies are very sweet and I really dig the simple beat and how it occasionally drops out on beat 1. The extra bits of percussion are a nice touch. This is a great example to some of the other entrants on how to keep an arrangement interesting from verse to verse.

The Alleviators: The intro to this is a great example of how to hit my buttons with a slower number. The guitars all throughout are glorious here, both the folky bits and the post-rock electric guitar twinkles. When the chorus hits I was a little disappointed first time as it descends into fairly generic ploddy slow rock. It does improve with repeated listens thanks to the strong melodies and tasteful lyrics, but I would have perhaps preferred if you'd have stuck with minimalist percussion for this track as I feel the on-beat snare drum contributes to the rather wearisome rhythm. That one gripe aside, the performances here are spot on and there isn't a hint of the amateurism that can often weigh down SF/NE related songwriting. Really good job.

Glennny: The immediate thing that stand out about this is that it's in a key which suits your voice. I'm on the fence about all the vocal processing, but for the most part it sounds good, just slightly lacking clarity. I initially had this ranked below Cavedwellers because I was blinded by all their shiny guitars, but I prefer this as a song. It bounces along at a satisfying rate, all the sections have good hooks, I was almost thinking you should have saved some hooks for later rounds since this song is packed with them. Even without the vocals it's trademark Glennny with all the licks and guitar harmonies. Good fun and upbeat. Noice.

Moss Palace: All the additional backing vocals in this are really great, like the wordless bits in the verse and doubling of the chorus. All the sections flow together very well and each bring something to the song. Performance and production is top drawer as usual. The one peice of criticism I would give is that, like the Lunkhead song, there's very little to differentiate the verses in terms of arrangement. I think perhaps the guitars come in too soon. You could probably have held off on them until the second verse to give a feeling of progression or build throughout the song.

Vom Vorton: This is cool, but it still feels like you're in 3rd gear. You're freewheeling, holding back, phoning it in. You can write these fun little indie bops in your sleep, and this is indeed a fun little indie bop which I enjoy, but the bands I've ranked above you felt like they put a lot more effort in so I wanted to reward them accordingly. This is however, another tune where the palindromic melody does actually feel like it adds something in those short synth breaks. I actually noticed it without trying. So yeah, challenge complete!

Lunkhead: Power-pop-by-numbers. This is a solid tune and well-recorded. You could probably coast through to round 6 just churning these out, but in my mind I feel there could be slight diminishing returns. No doubt that comment will come back to bite me in the ass when you do a reggae song next round. This is enjoyable, though I did want for some dynamic variation or bells and whistles. For example, it would have been cool if the guitars had dropped out for the second verse to make space for some repeating synth hook, and then have the guitars crash back in for the chorus [/executiveproducing]. Of course, you being a NE veteran, you know the importance of not blowing your load too soon and using up all your best tricks before you need them. I get it.

Nick Soma: Quite a pleasant mournful rock song. The jangling guitars drive the chord progression forward effectively and the vocals are well written and well executed. Not sure about the congas, but a switch-up in the arrangement is usually welcome. Nice touch with the glock too. I had a hard time deciding who to rank higher between you and Cavedwellers, as their production is a touch shinier, but your stronger lyrics/melody gave this song the edge.

Night Sky: I have to give you kudos for making the palindrome really obvious and making it actually make the song more memorable for that. Except for this song I've pretty much totally ignored the challenge (which I perhaps shouldn't as a judge), but I think you've executed it most effectively and so I increased your ranking a couple of places based on that. Apart from that the song does it's job, it's inoffensive if unremarkable, but the verse melodies and another sax solo give it a bit of an edge in this field.

Cavedwellers: Trademark sparkling guitars are the high spot here. The song is quite nice in a 70s middle of the road rock-type way. The melody on "death will make it true" sounds familiar. I'm not particularly inspired by the rock bio theme of the lyrics, but there are some nice lines in here. "A hustler, ringers in from Tulsa" has a good ring to it while sounding slightly oblique (in a good way), but "I preferred Beck and Page" is a bit of a clunker, which is unfortunate since it's featured prominently. Top drawer production and nice flute solo.


BSS: I flip-flopped about this song. I think the music is for the most part fine, and the guitar overdubs add some really nice colour to the arrangement. Everything else is tight if unremarkable. I have a bias against Geech's vocals as they are a shade too hammy for my tastes, and those "come on" parts sound really lacklustre. Technically the delivery is good from a pitch perspective, the chorus is pretty catchy and the harmonies also help the song to build as it progresses, which is important as the rhythm section does very little dynamically. So overall, some good stuff, nothing terrible.

Boffo Yux Dudes: A fairly tight little number here. I like the arpeggiated keys, and the beat keeps things moving along at a decent pace. The overlapping vocals in the chorus is a nice touch. "Across the seas we're hopelessly tossed" has too many syllables in it, but I like that the song seems to fit with the theme without hitting us over the head with the title. I had this neck and neck with BSS but ranked them one notch higher thanks to their clearer mix.

Adam Adamant: This is a mixed bag. One one hand I like the way everything is mixed. The guitars have plenty of tone (though they get a bit clippy as as the song goes on), and the drums and bass sound good. Performance-wise there's very much a first take feel about the guitars and vocals. They feel like a guide take that you were planning to come back to but then never got around to it, which is a shame because there are parts when it seems you're not sure what melody you're trying to sing. A second attempt when you'd got the melody crystallised in your mind would have done the world of good I think. Those haunting lead guitar melodies in the chorus are great though, particularly the bit on the second repetition of each chorus. This is one where I feel like it's a bit weak this time, but I want you to make the cut in the hope you can raise your game next week.

Mandibles: This is totally dripping in 70s folk-rock vibes, like, I dunno Mamas and Papas meets Procol Harum. It's pace gives it a protracted and weary feel and it feels overblown in places, but it's executed fairly well. The chorus has a certain amount of gravitas and I like the flangey effect on the guitars.

Virgo Power: The vocal performance here is definitely a step up from last week. Also, while the music is mostly in the fairly high register, there's nothing piercing or harsh, so mix-wise this is fairly decent. The track is atmospheric and an interesting diversion from the rest of the field.

Jon Porobil: The melodies in this song are moderately memorable, possibly stronger than some ranked above you, but in spite of that it's not really capturing my imagination. I possibly would have got more on board with this song, but the recording feels so sloppy and loose. There's too much reverb on the lead vocal, the timing is slightly off, especially on the bass which seems to be doing too much. While I've tried my best to appreciate it objectively, there's just nothing here that I really like.

Elks of the Economy: The first and lasting impression of this is that rampant overcompression. I mostly want to consider the production secondary to the songwriting but in this case the production has such an overbearing influence on the song that I can't ignore it, and there's stuff pumping and dropping out all over this since it's so squished. I appreciate the funky disco groove and the Nile Rogers-esque guitars. The vocal is not my bag; something about the delivery doesn't do it for me and it suffers from the mix which buries the vocal too much. Mostly it just lacks the killer hooks that your Friday the 13th entry had. The performances are mostly very good, although there are a couple of fills which stall a bit. Overall, I was left with a feeling of a weak song that leaned on production to sound good, and the production was fudged, so you're left with not much. The more I listened to it the further it dropped in the rankings.

Lichen Throat: Wow, this is a whacky time sig. As is often the case, there are some interesting guitar lines in here. Since you often struggle to get the vocal timing right on a 4/4 beat, this smacks of trying to run before you can walk. I applaud your ambition, but sadly no cigar.

Brown Word and the Big Whine: Struggled with this song. It meanders along and doesn't seem to find any solid foundation or high spots. The intro had me intrigued but the rest of the song fails to deliver anything beyond that.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by Evermind »

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.

The Alleviators
Great sounding guitar. Vocals are really clean. Male vocals are much better performed and produced than the last track. Execution on this track is spot on, and I hear the palindromic melody in there. Palindrome: check. The song is really well written, and there are some great bits of lyrics in here, like "It's a given, that I'm livin' for the payoff / Serotonin, in a button, never enough". Very strong entry. Not really picking up on the meaning of the song, it feels like there's some story to this that I'm not getting.

Berkeley Social Scene
Vocals don't sound quite on pitch, and they're too loud in the mix. Sounds like forced artificial vibrato. Odd syllable stresses like on "sceneRY" in "push everyone back TO the sceneRY". The "come on" seems like it's supposed to be really energetic but the delivery comes off half-hearted. Song is about Elon Musk I think?

Boffo Yux Dudes
Palindrome: check. I'm a fan of the instrumental parts but the lyrics seem to mostly express the same thought in different ways throughout the song and we don't hear new ideas past the second verse or so. The lyrics also suffer from some issues (e.g. "While across the seas we're hopelessly tossed" is an awkward phrase inversion, seemingly for a rhyme's sake).

Brown Word and the Big Whine
The vocals seem out of tune with everything else. Scansion issue: aveRAGE. Bass seems to dominate everything in the mix. I feel like there's some concept I've missed here.

Cavedwellers
Reminiscent of REM at the start. Unique take on the title! Woodwinds in the bridge are a nice little touch. The liner notes say that the bass line in the chorus is palindromic, but it doesn't really seem like it on first listen. My big issue with this song is that there's very little contrast between the verse and chorus sections, everything feels so similar except the prechorus, which changes the pace a little, and the bridge which adds those nice woodwinds.

Elks of the Economy
Got my head boppin immediately. The whole mix seems to be ducking from the economy sized kick. The vocals seem off time in the first chorus, and the section after the chorus has a synth that's too quiet. Lots of musical palindromes sprinkled throughout, challenge very much met. The lyrical concept is swagger, and I'm seeing some cheeky lines in here but nothing of real substance. It feels like the sort of song that could work if the execution was really nailed, but it wasn't.

Glennny
Palindromes everywhere, even little references to "up and down/rise and fall" in the lyrics, challenge: very check. I like the harmonies around 2:10. The little palindromic guitar interludes are fun, but quickly outstay their welcome. Vastly improved execution from last round, very clean performances and mostly clean mixing. Concept seems to be maybe a toxic relationship? Possibly reference to a biblical story?

Jon Porobil
I-IV-I blues progression. Vocals are a bit pitchy here and there, and too quiet / loud at various times. Guitar solo has a bass guitar shadowing it that doesn't quite stay in lockstep. Everything is a little oversoaked in reverb.

Lichen Throat
Pitchy vocals, rushed phrases to fit the meter, but really cool instrumental work on this one. Have you considered writing your vocal part using some instrument like you do with the other instruments, adjusting (or writing) your lyrics to fit the instrumental part, singing along and trying to match that programmed instrument as best you can manage, then taking out the instrument placeholder? Your vocal melodies tend to seem somewhat improvised. I like the story you've chosen, and appreciate that you've provided context in the liner notes so I can "get it" more.

The Lowest Bitter
You certainly put a lot of palindromes in there! Challenge super duper met. There's some weird resonance in the chorus that's really throwing a wrench in your chorus. The delivery on the chorus bits where you describe having sex with a god feels really odd when you're using your trademark casual delivery. It doesn't work for me. I think this is one of those Nur Ein songs that tries so hard to meet the challenge that making the song enjoyable became a secondary goal (and I say this with one of my own songs in mind where I *totally* did that).

Lunkhead
Not a big fan of the lines "I need you to like and subscribe / You’re just the rungs on the ladder I climb". The lyrics are pretty ham-handed, and are pretty generally applicable to a wide variety of media figures. I'm not sure if that's the point, or if you had someone in particular in mind, but when the whole song is just some person (or generalized sense of a person) describing how awful they are for the entire song it gets tiring. Performance and production values are good, though, so you have that going for you.

Mandibles
Vocals are mixed just a little too loud. Concept is the development of a myth from an ordinary act inflated over time. One of the best ways I've heard the challenge satisfied in this round.

Moss Palace
Palindrome right up front. Check. Backup vocals are a really nice touch. Great sounding vocals. Would love for the piano to be pulled up a few dB. Chorus made me want to turn up the song. Great chorus on this. This song drips groove and I love it.

Nick Soma
I like the progression from verse to prechorus to chorus. The arrangement and mixing is pretty dark, I would like to hear some other element in here to hold the top end. The bridge section seems to be more like a pause than a connection or a buildup, as it is I don't think the bridge justifies its existence in the song.

Night Sky
This song is chock full of palindromes. Check. I think this is another song that falls victim to the problem of trying to achieve the challenge so hard that the song itself becomes an afterthought. The repeating palindromic vocal melody wears out its welcome pretty fast.

Stacking Theory
The "yeah" being used as a sample here really needs an attack adjustment, it comes in so suddenly it sounds like there's a glottal stop with every yeah and it sounds very uncomfortable. Once the other instruments come in it kind of works. Once the verse starts I'm really into it. I like the way the sections of the song change in intensity. This could use a lot more attention to detail but I'll be damned if I don't find it charming as hell.

Virgo Power
Your Omnichord (hey! I know what this is now! It isn't a toy piano! :) is overwhelmingly loud in the mix, or possibly just overly bright. The doubled vocal takes panned hard left and right aren't close enough in performance to feel like one voice. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not. There's a cool creepiness to this. I think the not-quite-the-same vocal takes work in the creepy context. The song structure on this is really cool, and the introduction of the individual elements of the song is really clever, and the slow buildup works, but there's some stuff going on that ruins the experience. For example, when the guitar is introduced, there's some off-key notes in the vocals. Also, the "I'm so happy to be dead" overstays its welcome. There's a lot of incredibly cool ideas here and you have done a great job building intensity but the song needs more work to really realize the great ideas you had for this.

Vom Vorton
Song about worshipping cats. Hm. I can dig it. At times the backup vocals overwhelm the lead vocals. "I've seen you lose your shit at the sight of a pigeon but I believe in you more than any religion" really encapsulates the cat owner experience. I like that the synths have kind of a meow-meow sound, tying sound design into your song concept is very cool.

Rattlebox
Pretty cool that you submitted a shadow when you didn't submit a R0 song. Your song is mastered very loud. The vocals are mixed too loud in the verse and the guitar is buried. Same kick-snare drum pattern for the whole song. Some pitchy vocals. Very guitar-focused song. Some mistakes in the guitar performance.
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 furrypedro »

I just realised I accidentally omitted my Rattlebox review when I posted. I'll add it when I get home.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round One "Deified"

Post by adamadamant »

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.
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