Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

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BenKrieger
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by BenKrieger »

Submitted my shadow. Ended up including a few imperfect rhymes. Gotta serve the song, ya know?
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by arby »

BenKrieger wrote:
Sun Jun 19, 2022 4:42 pm
Submitted my shadow. Ended up including a few imperfect rhymes. Gotta serve the song, ya know?
same.

once again I struggled all week to come up with a song, and it wasn't until 7pm tonight that I had a working demo, with no words for the second verse. then i had to drive to Jersey and back for 1.45 hours, eat dinner and then i could resume. Recorded vocals for 2nd verse and some backup harmonies and then realized it was 11:30! so once again i have screwed myself by procrastinating until the last possible minute and then attempting a superhuman feat to get it to sound halfway decent. *sigh*

for what it's worth, my shit lined up on my demo a hell of a lot better than usual! but then i had to get the overdubs & backing vox to fit in and with 20 minutes to finish, and me frantically dragging things around in Garageband, my shit became imperfect again. oh well. when it works, it sounds ok. i am very well aware that there are times when it doesn't line up and therefore sounds terrible.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by furrypedro »

It seems Caravan Ray has kidnapped Glennny and submitted his own song :o
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by arby »

OK I decided to take a little time to fix mine - to the best of my current ability, without re-recording (since a) it's the middle of the night and b) I'm far too lazy). transitions are still awkward as hell but I THINK the synching is much better.

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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by Cybronica »

Mandibles sent in a shadow, but it doesn’t seem to have made it onto the nur ein Site - could it it be added?
“It's like opera for toddlers or something.” -furrypedro
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by sailingmagpie »

Also, the name of my shadow is incorrectly displayed. It should be chewmeupspitmeout, as opposed to in separate words/capitalised.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by Niveous »

Virgo Power- Updated
Mandibles- Added
chewmeupspitmeout- Fixed
"I'd like to see 1984 redubbed with this in the soundtrack."- Furrypedro.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by Cybronica »

Niveous wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:57 am
Virgo Power- Updated
Mandibles- Added
chewmeupspitmeout- Fixed
Many thanks!
“It's like opera for toddlers or something.” -furrypedro
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by vowlvom »

Have some quick reviews, why not.

The Alleviators - this is another very well-executed Alleviators track, but after the last few really hit me in my musical biases, this one is pushing in the opposite direction. So take my comments with a pinch of salt! The lead guitar feels like it clashes with the cool bassy riff to me, and the angstier vibes just don't really hit me right. I can hear the quality though, even if this is definitely not my favourite of your tracks.

Berkeley Social Scene - vocal timing and tuning are frequently way off, especially in the first verse and chorus. The fact that it gets a lot better later on is frustrating to me, it feels like such an easy fix with another take or two and a bit of comping. Other than that, this is pretty solid - I really like the melancholy, shimmery riff, it sounds good when the harmonies come in and the swoopy, subtle synths later on are a cool detail. But the vocal sinks it for me.

Cavedwellers - strong contender for my favourite of the round, top-tier Cavedwellers. The chiming guitars sound absolutely lush and the vocal melody is strong and memorable - looking at the lyrics before hearing the songs I thought the chorus lyrics were odd and wasn't sure how they'd work but in context they really do, and make a good hook. Slidy lead guitar works really well and the solo rips, definitely the best of the round. Nitpick: the "shit be cray" line sticks out like a sore thumb and takes me out of the moment at the start of that section.

Elks of the Economy - I think this is the best Elks song of the contest so far, it's full of lovely sonic details and the e-piano-shredding outro is killer. My other favourite bit is the harmonised ooooh that comes in at 1:56, it sounds so good, but this feels like you've stepped up your ear-candy mission to new levels. I wasn't a fan of this title really but I like your take on it.

Glennny - this sounds like a lot of work went into it, but the harmony non-rhymes feel a bit like they're signposting the gag a bit too heavily, especially since they crop up every single time. It's a solid track and you're doing good vocal work here but it just feels a little one-note, and the solo doesn't feel like a good genre fit to me.

The Lowest Bitter - I don't think these are your strongest vocals, they're not bad at all but they're not quite as punchy or confident as usual and there are a few pitchy moments. Other than that, I really like this - the synth melodies are good and even if the vocals were born out of last-minute frustration, they flow well and sound good in context. The noisy percussion that drives the stripped down verse is really effective, bet you wish you'd saved it for the sample round though, haha.

Lunkhead - so this is about some kind of person, right? Good use of quiet verse / loud chorus although it might have been nice to have more of a change-up for verse two and three, there's the little synth line but it does feel a bit like this song is repeating itself by the end. Although maybe that's just me reaching my maximum tolerance for guitar solos.

Moss Palace - the insistent drum beat takes this to a higher energy level than the last few MP tracks but the vocals feel like they're still in laid-back shimmery mode and it occasionally feels a little mismatched. "Seems like ages since we danced" in particular, there's something jarring there I found awkward. Other than that, another very slick production, I like the low pass filter bit and the drop-outs to the bassline are cool.

Nick Soma - the fuzz guitar drives the whole song and I don't particularly like the tone of the fuzz, which might just be me. Crunchy verse feels like it's building to a big chorus that never arrives, the chorus melody is quite nice and has grown on me across multiple listens, but the song feels like it needs to go up to a higher level I think. The little melodic bass fills are really cool and vocals sound good as ever, but this didn't quite hit the spot for me.

Stacking Theory - considering this is about your winter, it sounds very appropriate for my summer. Lovely hazy waves of fuzzy guitar and vocals (and fuzzed out organ) that sound like they're warping slightly in the heat. The descending chord sequence feels like something I've heard a lot, but I'm never too reminded too strongly of anything in particular so I think you've pulled it off well. Love the little 'oh no' / 'oh yeah' drop-outs. Good stuff, a strong return from your immunity break - my only real critique is that the end is so sudden, not sure if the NE player isn't helping there but I really want a little bit of silence at the end to appreciate what I've just heard before the next idiot comes crashing in.

Vom Vorton - I didn't spend as much time on this one due to the immunity, but I like how it turned out, especially the harmonies. The rhyming challenge was a lot of fun, really got me thinking differently. Also I was able to record the drums for this one without slowing the track down first, although still obviously lots of clean-up done afterwards!

chewmeupspitmeout - love the production, the synth bass sounds great and the glitchy interludes are really effective. Vocals sound good in the lower register but feel a bit overpowering when you go big and high, maybe they should come down a bit in the mix to compensate? Or it'd be cool if more distortion / glitch FX came in at that point to really embrace the chaos.

Mandibles - vocal melody in the chorus really reminds me of "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes, which is unexpected. I like the dreamy synths and oohs that fill out the mix around the piano, and the soft harmonies when the "strawberry moon" section begins are lovely.

Rattlebox - incredible intro, such exciting fuzz, it promises great things. But then the vocal comes in and it feels like you haven't quite figured out the melody or timing for this one yet, and I'm disappointed because I loved your other two but this one doesn't really work for me. It feels like it could absolutely rule with a bit of work though.

Virgo Power - fixed version is much improved but the verse and chorus still feel a little divorced from each other. Good vocal performance, the doubling / harmonies are effective but in such a stripped down mix it does stand out when the timing isn't quite perfect.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by BenKrieger »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:25 am

Rattlebox - incredible intro, such exciting fuzz, it promises great things. But then the vocal comes in and it feels like you haven't quite figured out the melody or timing for this one yet, and I'm disappointed because I loved your other two but this one doesn't really work for me. It feels like it could absolutely rule with a bit of work though.
I’m with you on this. The first section of the verses has a melody that I’m not crazy about. I don’t know whether I want to work on this one or plunder the best parts for another song. As it stands, CLIG is the only song from this Nur Ein so far that I’m considering recording a studio version of.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by glennny »

June Moon Review’n

sorted fastest to slowest. Sorry I didn't get to the shadows.

Nick Soma- 180 bpm: As I drive homa in my Tacoma I like to listen to Nick Soma. This tempo is fast it’s a blast! The tempo is right (outta sight!) The change-up is my favorite part, it’s art! No shocker to get an up-tempo rocker from you. The bass line has a little lick that reminds me of Jawbreaker -Want. Good tune! Good Job!

Vom Vorton- 169 bpm: Immune but still writing, that’s Song Fighting! (okay, now I'm abandoning the shoehorned silly rhyme thing) This is still a gem! Nice melody! Great singing. This would be a contender if you weren’t immune from winning. I’m curious what it would sound like if you spent more time on it. It sounds finished to me. You know, the 1st 20 days of June are still Spring.

glennny-160bpm- Shaving Cream. Be nice and clean. Shave every day and you’ll always look keen. (this is me leaning into comedy)

Moss Palace- 138 bpm- Like I said at the listening party: This sounds like one of my favorite 70’s bands trying to be contemporary in the 80’s. This is too Tropico, and I want more Crimes of Passion. Erin is killing it. Vocals are off the chart fantastic. I have a genre bias for this new wave stuff. This is not my jam. I don’t enjoy the detuned synth patch. I really don’t like the drum sound. That said, I think it nails exactly what you’re going for. It sounds like all that 80’s stuff I dislike. You guys are awesome though, no denying it.

Cavedwellers
- 131bpm- There was a moment in our FAWM album where we hit our stride and things were really clicking. This song feels like that moment. This feels like a Cavedwellers classic. I’m very happy with how this turned out.

BSS-121 bpm (approximately- varies with emotion)- Martin did the heavy lifting on this one. He wrote the song, and I produced. Geech on drums, Ken and Glen (me) on guitars. Ken is on synths. Not recorded to a click. I think it keeps the live feeling pretty well. Fun song! I’m pretty happy with the E-bow solo too.

Alleviators-120 bpm- Do you guys know the band Black Mountain? If not -Check out the song Rollercoaster. If you guys turned up the “heavy” knob 38% I think you guys would be in that territory. I love the vocals. This groove could stand to have dirtier sludgier guitars on it. Nice midtempo rocker.

Lowest Bitter 113 bpm- I have Ableton and a launch pad. You’re making me want to learn how to use it. I find the verse much catchier than the chorus. I think you’re being way too hard on yourself in your spoiler. I think this is too slow for a dance song. It’s a fun listen anyway.

Elks-108 bpm- This is also too slow for a dance song. Production is flawless. I’m not a big fan of this New Wave stuff. Yes, JB’s vocals are amazing. JB is an excellent singer. The truth is ever since my first listen to this song, all I want to hear is the synth solo at the end. There is a super tasty moment where Mo asserts that he is indeed in the band, that’s a great moment too. (2:18- great lick!) . I’m surprised at the length of this song, a faster tempo would help that. 3:30 to the end is by far my favorite part.

Lunkhead 104bpm- When my kids ask me what alternative music was like in the ’90s, I can now play them this song. This is awesome! At the listening party, I think Niv mentioned Nada Surf and Dishwalla. Maybe I’d throw in Superdrag. This reminds me of when the awfulness of the 80s was finally over and popular music was listenable again. Great song! Ripping solo!

Stacking Theory- 73bpm- Great recording. So slow. I like the whistling bit. Many rhymes are there, all in legal places. Seems like a successful bout at Lawyer ball. The production is great. This is pretty, but also a bit sleepy. I wish there were more dynamics in the vocals. There’s no despair, there’s no angst, it just seems a little tired and sad. I think you set the stage for dynamics like Fake Plastic Trees, but the tone never elevates from down and quiet. (you know, like you did in Floating in the Water) That said, I still enjoy it.

All the songs are rather good. This is a very tough one to predict. Good job everyone!
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by Cybronica »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:25 am
Have some quick reviews, why not.

Mandibles - vocal melody in the chorus really reminds me of "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes, which is unexpected. I like the dreamy synths and oohs that fill out the mix around the piano, and the soft harmonies when the "strawberry moon" section begins are lovely.
You’re not wrong. I was trying not to sound like Moana and then accidentally stole from somewhere else. I didn’t realize until I was mixing and didn’t have time to re-record, but I intend to rewrite that melody line at some point to make it sound less… plagiarized. (The irony is not lost on me)
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by Evermind »

The Alleviators
Snare sounds a little boxy. Scansion issue: "what anSWER you're lookin for". Vocals are pitchy at times, such as 1:35, on the word "wane". Mix feels a bit unbalanced to the right. I like the overall vibe of the song. I like that you've written in "June Moon" as "Luna in the sixth month". I wouldn't have marked you down for using "June Moon", but kudos for avoiding even internal rhymes. Not sure what your concept is but the imagery is nice, especially prechorus 1. Female vocals sound a little inconsistent in volume at times.

Berkeley Social Scene
Vocals sound a little boxy/nasal and buried during the chorus. They could stand to get some volume automation, or even just to have the vocal parts for the verses and choruses seperated into their own tracks and treated seperately. Synths coming in on the right channel at :28 are a bit too loud for something that seems like it's meant to be filler. The timing of all the instruments feel slightly off from each other. Concept is the harvest moon, and mortality / making the most of life. I feel like there's more to say about mortality and "taking time to smell the roses" that could be said here and isn't. The lines "Don’t sleep through this miraculous event / A good omen it is time to harvest" have a series of issues. The pacing is really awkward, and not in a cool David Bowie way. The wording where you use "it is" instead of "it's" feels unnatural. You stress the unstressed syllable in "harVEST". The guitar solo that follows feels a little aimless and off time, like it was an off-the-cuff single-take that just stayed in there. The chorus feels like it could benefit from some changes from one instance to the next.

Cavedwellers
I like the guitar tone at the start. The pacing and melody in the vocals for the line "June and moon and rhyme and scansion" feels very satisfying. I see you have sprinkled perfect internal rhymes all over the place. Cheeky. Full points on the challenge for you. The repetitious guitar line in the intro/verse are nice. Concept is a meta one, all internal rhymes and no end rhymes, tied to the unpredictable and at times disappointing nature of life. Nice.

Elks of the Economy
Would not have picked up on the sex rites concept without the liner notes, but I can totally see it. I like the soft treatment on everything. Twinkly synths, dreamy background vocal swells. I really like the sound of the bass. Everything is very clean production- and performance-wise. The keys solo outro is stellar.

Glennny
The way you've handled this challenge is amazing. Well played. It's kind of hard to hear the lyrics at times, especially at times when you go for low notes. You might consider pushing a little harder with your diaphragm on those low notes to get them a bit more audible, more breath support can help (what I think is) near the bottom of your range. You might also, if you want to fix it in post, just slice off that one word and boost the clip gain a bit. Little scansion issue on "cuSHY". Solo feels a little rough and aimless.

The Lowest Bitter
I like the found percussion sounds. There's a weird lispy sound to your voice, it sounds like it may have been over-aggressively de-essed, though this is less of a thing later on in the song, so maybe it's just the early part of the performance? Maybe recorded standing in a different place or facing a different direction? Vocals are pitchy. I like the extreme "zappy" pitch envelope on the synth at 1:43. "My voice is stolen valor" is a good lyric. Concept is good, I sympathize with it.

Lunkhead
I like the driven vocals. I like the synth echoing the vocal melody. Concept is Nur Ein burnout. I feel ya, pal. Good attention is paid to the level of intensity from one section to the next. I'll spare you the scolding this round.

Moss Palace
Synthwave / disco sorta feel on this. Synth "wow" detuning is a little overly aggressive at times. Vocals seem a little too quiet at times, like around 2:00. This kinda sounds like someone remixed a Fleetwood Mac song into a synthwave song and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Nick Soma
The guitar tone seems a bit "quacky" and nasal like maybe it was aggressively low-passed or even band-passed after being amped. Or maybe it's got an autowah on it? It feels a little underwhelming in the face of the power chord and palm mute chug riffs. Weird pacing on "curious one". Sounds like a perfect end rhyme with "spotted me" and "everything went blurry". Don't see any others, though. I see your liner notes mention that the same line repeats at the end, but to be pedantic in your favor real quick, *pushes up taped-up glasses* a word cannot be a perfect rhyme with itself or its homonyms, it is instead an "identical rhyme". Concept of the song is an alien blasting you in the face with a ray gun that expands your consciousness. Dang. Drums could use a bit more oomph. They feel kinda weak, especially for a punky sort of song.

Stacking Theory
The whispery, lo-fi "doo doo doo" is nice. The phasey vocals and slow strum distorted guitar and scratchy sounding... synth? in the background creates great atmosphere and the drop to "oh wow" preceeding the chorus is a nice way to push into the next section. The guitar seems to come in a bit late for the first chorus, though, which ruins the big impact you set up so nicely. Whistle section seems a little pitchy. Second chorus has a much more satisfying impact. Concept is being seasonally depressed. I feel you on that.
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 Four "June Moon"

Post by gizo »

Evermind wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:26 am
Stacking Theory
The whispery, lo-fi "doo doo doo" is nice. The phasey vocals and slow strum distorted guitar and scratchy sounding... synth? in the background creates great atmosphere and the drop to "oh wow" preceeding the chorus is a nice way to push into the next section. The guitar seems to come in a bit late for the first chorus, though, which ruins the big impact you set up so nicely. Whistle section seems a little pitchy. Second chorus has a much more satisfying impact. Concept is being seasonally depressed. I feel you on that.
Thanks for the feedback, Evermind! I'll go and check that chorus guitar and see what's going on... hmmm... The scratchy thing is just a vocal 'ooo' sample with some weird filter on it. Looks like I only fixed the pitch on one of the whistle tracks, whups! :(
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by BenKrieger »

So I used the lyrics as a launching point for rewriting my song. I had to abandon the challenge and add a few rhymes, but this song is waaaay better:



https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/W4Nmecezr6n3KpRF6
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by furrypedro »

Some reviews. Listed in order of ranking. Which means I was judge 4 (i.e. 4th from the left in the scoring table).
Very tough round to judge. There's not a lot between these songs and it could have been a very different order given another day of listening.

The Lowest Bitter: Really digging the glitchy percussion, and the main drums are dope as shit too, I actually wish they were pushed up more to make them more bombastic. Shiny synths are immaculate; I would expect nothing less. I feel like the challenge was a walk in the park for you and your stream of consciousness style of lyrics. Your unique style offsets the neuroses in your lyrics (which to be fair are only dialled to about 4/10 for this track). There is one thing that I can't deny irritates me about this track, I'm sure you do this all the time but for some reason it grates me this time, is the way you say "fing" instead of "thing". You didn't grow up in Chatham so you have no excuse. There are some repeated phrases which are almost choruses, but I also feel a proper hooky chorus would benefit the track. Those small peteycrits aside, this is pretty great.

Moss Palace: Oooh yeah, warm synthy synthwave. This is my bag. The verses drift by pleasantly enough without making too much of an impression, but you save the best hooks for the pre-chorus and chorus. "Feels like ages since we danced" is the memorable line here. The light sprinkling of guitar fit well with the otherwise electro arrangement, and I really love those tom rolls. There are a few nice production touches, not least the filter in the middle drop and the arp that comes in then, but somehow the mix doesn't seem as crisp as last week, mainly in lead vocal where I feel that something about the EQ doesn't quite let it shine in the same was as last week's song. Obviously it's a totally different arrangement so I understand not always the easiest to mix. Either way I appreciate the genre hop, especially to one that I love, and again this is a really nice song.

Alleviators: As Sailing Magpie pointed out to me there is a hint of the Joey Santiago about this. I wasn't a fan of those lead guitar bits much until he made that connection. I did like the dark jangling rhythm guitar though, and now the juxtaposition between the two guitars makes more sense to me. It's a nice break from the emo stylings you've been leaning on so far, and I think this showcases very nicely how to make a lyric sound cool without the need for rhymes.

Stacking Theory: When I first heard this I thought you're lucky Jon Porobil isn't judging it cos he'd be like "in Texas, June means summer. Disqualified!" The track has a kind of vapour-indie vibe about it. Those guitars have a satisfyingly full-bodied sound and the tremolo is a nice touch. Plus points for the whistling solo. I originally had this ranked above Alleviators but when listening to those two songs next to each other I found myself enjoying the drive and unusual chords in that one more, so I think repeated listens makes the chord pattern in this song sound a bit too familiar.

Lunkhead: In spite of my previously mooted desires for upbeat tunes I think this might be my favourite one from you this year. It feels like it's lifted straight from Melvin's back pocket. I like how the verses drop out the guitars and then they come back in with that Teen Spirit/More Than a Feeling rhythm in the chorus. The solo has swagger for days and the chorus is really hooky. I'm not sure about the nearly rhyme of "told and "scold-ing", doubt I'd mark you down over it but possibly worth a stern finger-wag. It has the feel of a line written to test the boundaries of the challenge, when I'm sure there's a better phrase you could have used to convey the same meaning. Anyway, that's not really a problem at all. Overall this was cool and everything felt in its right place.

Nick Soma: Been a while since I've heard this kind of power pop from you, Mr Nick. I dig the driving rock. Fun story. It's a tight enough mix which usually I would applaud, but here it's wedged between a bunch of other very proficient productions which leaves it sounding a little thin by comparison. I was a little surprised when I realised I ranked you this low but it says more about the strength of the competition than the quality of your song.

Elks: You guys seems to have a curse of the odd songs - Rounds 0 and 2 were good, while 1 and 3 not so much. Being an even week this one happily lands in the former camp. Your arrangements always offer interesting nuggets and this track is no exception, with a smorgasboard of instruments snaking throughout the track. Crucially the vocal/lyrical hook is memorable which is what pushes it into my good books. One point that I can't decide is a negative or not is that the electronics sound cheap and dated, but in a kind of Depeche Mode way which is quite cool, so it'll very much depend on my mood at the time whether I'm into it when I submit my final rankings. Like Nick's song, I thought this was going to be ranked higher but the competiton was strong this round.

Cavedwellers: I found this one memorable among the round mainly for the lyrical phrasing not really working for me. Where there are many examples of great rhymless lyrics in this round, this track felt a bit clumsy. Partly because I felt the phrasing was a bit off somehow, something which could probably be fixed with some small adjustments, but also because some words sound cool in a song regardless of their meaning and "scansion" (to my ears) isn't one of them. I didn't really "get" any of the lyrics which didn't help. Musically it's quite enjoyable. The twinkly opening guitars in particular hit my sweet spot, and the chord progression felt satisfying. The various layers of instruments all help to add colour without overpowering the song or conflict with each other.

Glennny: Very droll, Mr Phillips, very droll. I'm not super into the country stylings, but it's melodic, bouncy and has a hint of the Tennesee three about it so I'm not dead set against it either. The mix sounds a lot smoother than your previous entries so I can feel improvement there. I should've guessed someone would go with this idea of setting up an obvious rhyme and subverting it at the last second, luckily for you nobody else did it, and I must admit it did make me chuckle. Though 4 or 5 listens in inevitably the joke starts to wear thin. Slight complaints about the vocal/lyric include that in the first chorus I don't get what the implied dirty rhyme is, even after looking at the lyric. I feel the chorus should be the one that hits home best and this one totally went over my head. Second mini gripe is that the "spoiler" vocals are a teeny bit muddy so I have to strain to catch the punchline, which obviously isn't ideal. Overall, I'm not sure if the other judges are gonna go for this. I wish you all the best, and at least I got some mileage out of "lick her at a game of chess" and the implied C-bomb. Yeah I kinda enjoyed this, but my enjoyment could best be described with a bell curve graph (enjoyment/time). first listen, not so much, gradually got into it in listens 2-3, then got bored after that.

BSS: I quite like the spacey guitar sounds in this, but overall it just has too much of a feel that it's sticking to a well-worn path, and one that isn't particularly interesting. Mid tempo mild rocking with a four chord pattern for each section and a little breakdown in the pre-chorus. I think the rhymeless lyrics are decent, but nothing really great or unexpected happens anywhere in the song. I feel a bit harsh ranking it bottom because I wouldn't say this is a bad song. But when compared to each other song individually, I found myself preferring the others for a myriad of reasons, so this one slipped down the rankings.



----

Vom Vorton: Very catchy tune and great guitar sounds. Obviously this is just my personal opinion but I think this song really benefits from being bereft of the deluge of rhymes that play such a significant part in much of your ouvre, and the one time when you do start to rhyme it's done in a really creative way that I don't think I've heard before. So yes, you managed to find a loophole in the challenge to squeeze some rhymes in, but the way it was done was very cool. The rest of the song, particularly the chorus, demonstrates that a tune can retain all of its hookiness without relying on such cheap tricks, and this chorus is one of your best. There are some very familiar Vom-tropes throughout this, such as your intro technique (drum-roll, short intro section, verse), and the vocal/lyrical cadences, particularly the way the chorus resolves. Overall an enjoyable listen that would have ranked highly if you didn't have immunity.

chewmeupspitmeout: Ha, I've got a song on my next album which talks about the grass on Jackson's field. I will allow you to tell people I stole it from you. Big fan of the sensibilities here, synthwave inflected with some shoegaze guitar fuzz. It kinda feels like there's no bass in the mix though. I want to feel that synth and the kick drum in my gut more. The glitchy bits are really cool, and the way the song is structured is inventive. I feel like all the contestants this years are sticking way too strictly to a standard V-C-V-C-M-C template so it's nice to finally hear something that breaks away from that. The "run away" refrain at the end is great hook to leave us with as the song fades out. If you could get a guest to sing the second vocal line there it would be cool because they kind of overlap tonally muddying the sound of each. I like the double vocal line idea so it would be great if we could hear both of those distinctly.

Mandibles: This is a good showcase for you diversity when compared to last week's song. Sometimes the dramatic bits in the vocals can sound a little cloying but for the most part here they stay within a tasteful register, and the melodies are pretty good.

Rattlebox: I think there's a good song here, but there's just slightly too many imperfections between the sloppy instrumental takes, loose timing and melodies on the vocals, and a mix which makes the drums sound like you're hitting a box and has the guitars pushed a bit too far forward. It does have a good energy to it though and I think probably the bones of the song are good enough to be great if they were given a higher fidelity rendition. Edit: I just listened to the re-recording. Much better!

Virgo Power: I am really sorry that I made you cry! Sometimes I can be very flippant, this is true. Sometimes it's easier to convey kneejerk reactions to a piece of music (which I would say is not totally without value, but tends to be on the harsher end of the feedback spectrum), than to give a considered response which is more obviously constructive. This is turning into more of a pep talk than a review, so apologies for that too, but I recently got into the habit of singing into a tuner app on my phone when recording vocal takes (or just practicing) and this highlighted very starkly to me just how off-key my natural vocals are, and have been for years. It has forced me train myself to get closer to the correct notes I'm aiming for and while it's an arduous process I feel like my vocals have become significantly more palatable as a result. Not wanting to put too fine a point on it, I think this is a technique you might benefit from. Ultimately the most important thing when songwriting/recording is that YOU enjoy your creation. Whatever anyone else thinks should be a secondary consideration. I understand that it is nice when other people do like what you've made, and to that end most of my Song Fight career has been focused around trying to eliminate the reasons for people to criticise my songs, which eventually resulted in comments like "it's well executed but not my bag"-type comments, so you can't win either way really. The good thing about your song this week is that it has a unique sound and atmosphere compared to all the other songs. If you can retain that while trying to tighten up your delivery in terms of pitch and timing then that would go a good distance towards meeting your listeners in the middle.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by arby »

vowlvom wrote:
Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:25 am
Virgo Power - fixed version is much improved but the verse and chorus still feel a little divorced from each other. Good vocal performance, the doubling / harmonies are effective but in such a stripped down mix it does stand out when the timing isn't quite perfect.
Agreed. It almost feels to me as if the verses and choruses are from two different songs. tbh the bridge is my favorite part anyway. I think what I'll do at some point is use the bridge as a starting point for a totally new song. I know what you're saying about the doubling, that's my poor man's attempt at comping (per Sailing Magpie's review of my CLIG). I do not know how to properly comp AND I never have time, so I just record two or more whole takes and try vainly to get them to line up. the thing is though it very rarely bothers me when they don't line up, because then I can hear each individual take better. but I recognize that's just my weird ADD brain randomly enjoying something that annoys 98% of the listening public.
furrypedro wrote:
Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:28 pm
Virgo Power: I am really sorry that I made you cry! Sometimes I can be very flippant, this is true. Sometimes it's easier to convey kneejerk reactions to a piece of music (which I would say is not totally without value, but tends to be on the harsher end of the feedback spectrum), than to give a considered response which is more obviously constructive. This is turning into more of a pep talk than a review, so apologies for that too, but I recently got into the habit of singing into a tuner app on my phone when recording vocal takes (or just practicing) and this highlighted very starkly to me just how off-key my natural vocals are, and have been for years. It has forced me train myself to get closer to the correct notes I'm aiming for and while it's an arduous process I feel like my vocals have become significantly more palatable as a result. Not wanting to put too fine a point on it, I think this is a technique you might benefit from. Ultimately the most important thing when songwriting/recording is that YOU enjoy your creation. Whatever anyone else thinks should be a secondary consideration. I understand that it is nice when other people do like what you've made, and to that end most of my Song Fight career has been focused around trying to eliminate the reasons for people to criticise my songs, which eventually resulted in comments like "it's well executed but not my bag"-type comments, so you can't win either way really. The good thing about your song this week is that it has a unique sound and atmosphere compared to all the other songs. If you can retain that while trying to tighten up your delivery in terms of pitch and timing then that would go a good distance towards meeting your listeners in the middle.
thanks for this. yeah I gave a knee-jerk (flippant & mean) review to somebody for Round 1 so then when I got yours part of me thought it was just my karma. :lol:

yeah I actually did have my tuner app open while I was recording this, but I couldn't look at it because I was too busy reading my lyrics! LOL. also I am never actually sure what note I am supposed to be singing, because my theory skills are extremely weak and I just go by ear when I play Omni and find a melody that (I think) sounds good with it. like I have no idea how to tell what my note should be, would it be a note in the chord I'm playing? Or some other note that is in the key but not necessarily in the chord? 9 times out of 10 I ignore all keys and just pick my chords again based on what sounds cool to me. sometimes when I'm stuck I look at my key cheat sheet. I do own a piano though, so once I know what note I'm attempting to sing, I can play it on the piano and then write it out separately on my chords so that when I'm singing I can look at that and go ok, this is supposed to be a C or whatever.

also I agree, I'd rather be happy with my own song even if everybody hates it, so my only real goal is to (as you said) remove reasons to criticize them. but I think my true biggest problem (of many) is time management and that I'm extremely bad at it. I literally think about writing my song all week but it's not until like Saturday or Sunday that I actually start writing & recording. so by the time I have anything to even try to perfect, it's too late to fix the things I know are wrong with it. :roll: what I hope for in reviews is to find out new things I didn't know about that could be improved, or get some new angle on the song that I didn't think of, that could help me in the future.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by mo »

not to get too deep into a bunch of gibberish but the strongest sounding notes to sing on a particular chord will be chord tones (ie notes that are in that chord), which doesn't mean don't sing other notes, but as a very general rule, you'll find singing chord tones on strong beats will sound better, and notes that are out of the chord or even out of the scale will work best on offbeats (this is the specific secret to playing jazz solos, you can get away with a lot if you hit chord tones on strong beats). Singing non chord tones introduces tension, at different levels, which you can then manipulate to taste, and then resolve them (or not, also a legit choice).
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by owl »

Reviews!!! This was a really hard round to rank, a lot of very strong songs and I kept changing my mind on rankings as I went through these... I do think a lot of the rankings this round came down more to judges' personal musical preferences rather than any major issues with the songs/performances/writing/arrangements (sorry to the folks who were cut!)

The Alleviators - I really enjoyed the prechorus of this song and the grungy chorus, but I had trouble getting into the verses just in terms of personal taste, the wailing guitar and stop-start bassline didn't quite do it for me. The lyrics are fantastic, really enjoyed all the mysterious noir imagery and the chorus refrain "someone come feel something for me". The repeated refrains do a bit of the work that rhymes normally would--not my favorite approach to the challenge, but I didn't mark anyone down for that. Love the little vocal flourish around 2:08. This is really nicely done, but appealed to my personal sensibilities less than some of your other tracks.

Berkeley Social Scene - I like the sound of this instrumentation, it almost has a kind of 50's prom mood. The vocals and lyrics sink this for me, though. The vocals are really off key, and sound pinched and kind of nasal/whiney in spots. There doesn't seem to be any particular reason to add the "fucking" and "shit" in the lyrics here and it ruins any sense of melancholy or nostalgia that the rest of the melody and instrumentation were suggesting... it's very hard to tell what you were going for in terms of overall concept here. The lyrics could work well for an angry, noisy punk song but they don't seem to work well here with this sweet mid-tempo tune. It's particularly weird with the barbershop harmony parts coming in on "pay some fucking attention". The last verse is also extremely clunky. You'd never say "fireworks ain't nothing comparatively" in a real sentence, and "a good omen it is time to harvest" sounds like it was pulled from a medieval fantasy novel and is a weird contrast with "you won't see this shit."

Cavedwellers - Lovely guitars, I like the contrast of the chugging rhythm guitar and the sprinkles of sparkly arpeggios on top, with the nice slide textures later too. These are extremely Cavedwellers lyrics, very cerebral and opaque. I wasn't cra(z)y about the "shit be cray today" line, felt a bit cringey to me and in contrast with the Foucault and Yeats stuff kind of comes across as maybe a condescending dig at the plebs you can see from your ivory tower... but maybe I'm reading too much into it. I like the idea of a descent into free verse as a metaphor for the ideas about modern chaos (at least, that's how I interpreted the lyrics). The chorus is really catchy for something that doesn't rhyme. Maybe my favorite song of yours yet this Nur Ein.

Elks of the Economy - My favorite Elks song of the contest so far--the chorus is super lovely and catchy--really adored the "oh oh" part, and the instrumentation feels lush and full but still lets the song breathe. Lots of nice little details in the arrangement as ever, I like the sparse noodly bendy guitar things, the chiming synth arpeggios, the bits of rich harmony (especially the "ooh" around 2 mins in), the strings around "ever higher and brighter". The Rhodes solo at the end is awesome. I like the pastoral imagery in the lyrics this time around, and I think maybe the challenge pushed them in a stylistic direction I prefer compared to last week's approach. However, I'm not sure I would have gotten "sex rites" out of this without the liner notes...

Glennny - Clever, goofy take and I think you executed it well lyrically, but ultimately it just felt like a joke song without lasting value on repeat listens. I also think it could have been like half as long and still worked as well. It's pleasant to listen to in the parts where it's going (reminds me of Yo La Tengo's version of "Griselda") but even if you're just listening in the background, the punchline lines take you out of the song sonically. The lead vocal is hard to make out and sounds a bit weird in spots, I don't know if it was just aggressive comping or a noise gate or something but it sounds cut off strangely in various places. I'm not into this solo, doesn't seem to fit the style of the rest of the song at all. I think if you hadn't leaned quite so hard on telegraphing the jokes, it could have been more of a dry, funny, tongue-in-cheek take that would only reveal itself upon repeat listens instead of basically a novelty song.

The Lowest Bitter - This sonic palette is lovely, I'm very into the mechanical toy box percussion sounds flowing into the big synth layers and the breakdown stuff coming in again at 01:42. I really liked your lyrical approach here; I've definitely had this same thought and struggle when writing songs and it's one of those things you don't hear people writing about every day, much less with the whole moon metaphor and meta-discussion casually thrown in there as well. The vocal melody and song structure didn't feel super strong, the synth hooks are a lot more memorable but in contrast, the vocals felt like they could have either borrowed some of that hookiness, or leaned back the other way into full-on talk-singing or spoken word; they seemed neither here nor there in terms of the melody and delivery.

Lunkhead - Love this one, this is basically everything I wanted to hear in a song on the local alternative radio station circa 1996. Nice driving beat and loud/soft/loud dynamics, big crunchy guitars, angsty vocals. I know you said it's not about a person but without the liner notes in hand, this sounds like a complaint song about an overbearing Korean boss lady and kinda makes me think of "The Devil Wears Prada," which takes the teeth out of the cool alt-rock a little bit (particularly the word "scolding," which is not a particularly badass word). I do always like seeing songs that actually express people's personal emotions and struggles, though, so reading the liner notes makes the approach more appealing than what you hear at face value. The non-rhymes work well, good delivery and near-rhymes or internal rhymes on phrases like "something to nothing" or "satisfied"/"without a fight".

Moss Palace - I super love the detuned synth here and the lush 80's sound of this track. Minor nitpick, but the lead vocal sounds a little muffled, not quite as crisp and clear as I was expecting. The "see the moon..." chorus melody and vocal performances are fantastic, full of emotion and a kind of desperate melancholy that's perfect for the style of the song. Killer harmonies. The fadeout/fadein filter thing is a nice way to mix up the arrangement and give this an extra-epic feel when everything roars back in. The ending is a little puzzling to me, it feels like it just kind of peters out, like you ran out of time to figure out a proper ending. The lyrics are great; lots of nice imagery (again very 80's, I feel like I'm in a Nagel painting)... they flow wonderfully and you would never notice the lack of rhymes. This also spent some time in the top slot of my rankings as I kept moving songs around.

Nick Soma - Fun, poppy, upbeat, very listenable. I think the unrhymed lyrics stood out a bit more in this track than in others, they were generally delivered well, but tended to feel a bit improvised instead of deliberate. The narrative could also probably have used some editing--"and so I walked" through to "as far as I could tell" all kind of seems like filler, more than half the song is repeated descriptions of the narrator's revelations that don't actually say anything about what they learned. "Green guy" kind of felt awkward to me, both the stresses and the phrase itself. The first couple of times I listened to this in the background, I was convinced this song was about Doctor Who and had kind of missed the part about the green guy? I guess it was the "time and space" phrase that made me think of that. I love the "drowning / soaring" bit, the melody and vocal rhythms lined up really nicely there.

Stacking Theory - This one grew on me over time. I found the phaser effect on the lead vocal kind of unpleasant to listen to at first, but this is dripping with Mood and Texture in a way that ultimately won me over and pushed it up in my rankings. The whistling is really pretty, and I love the big washes of dreamy noisy guitar and the pulsing repeats of the subtle panned "June moons". It's full of feeling, and a lo-fi, shoegazey, almost psychedelic aesthetic that appeals to me a lot just in terms of personal taste. The take on the lyrics is good, not one I would have anticipated as a citizen of the Northern Hemisphere. I'm not sure I could sing any of this melody back to you later, but I could remember how the song made me feel. This does end very abruptly, was that intentional?

Vom Vorton - I dig that kinda Dr. Dre sounding synth. Good guitar jangles. I love the chorus, it's super hooky! Your approach to the challenge works really well, lots of good slant rhymes and internal rhymes and as a listener I never notice that it's not technically rhyming. I like the lyrical angle and there are a lot of nice lines in here; the "tea leaves"/"brewing" line is clever, also really liked "I'm doing all I can, which is to say I'm doing nothing."

chewmeupspitmeout - Super cool sound here, the synth bass is intriguing and your vocal over the sparse intro is haunting. The glitchy stuff works nicely with the Donnie Darko/"clocks ticking out of synth" stuff going on in the lyrics. I really like the passion in the vocal performance where you get a bit louder. There are some rough spots in it, like your voice feels a little out of control on "your house" and there are a few inconsistent moments as far as pitch and volume. The lyrics are great, full of eerie images and sadness. Love the sound of everything layered up in the outro, especially that detuned pad layer.

Mandibles - Nice strong melody (I do like that Four Non Blondes song!) I love the bubbly little synth arpeggios that give this a vaguely new age feel and wish you'd leaned into that part of the arrangement more than the piano ballad stuff. It's a sweet lyrical idea, although I definitely find it hard to get into any lyrics using the word "twixt". I think it would go over super well at a SF/F convention. The vocal delivery is really nice and soft on the sparser chorus at the end.

Rattlebox - Big GBV energy. I love the aesthetic of the fuzzy guitars and poppy melody. It's a rough recording/some rough performances, but I like the song itself a lot, great lyrics and feel. I just listened to the redo and it's obviously a cleaner mix/performance, but I actually prefer some of the original lyrics.

Virgo Power - I like your vocals on this, I think it's a good range for you, they sound nice and strong and clear. Not everything lines up, which you know already (I'll have to go back and listen to the fixed version). OK, listening to the fixed version: the transitions into/out of the choruses are still very awkward and there are still some weird spots as far as timing--I think you could work more on those transitions or even break this up into two different songs. I like that this is about your wallpaper (I assumed "Jake" and "Cheridah" were some kind of fanfic reference till I looked at your liner notes), you should post a picture of it! "Some of the saddest songs sound like jokes" is a cool line. The lyrics seem to bounce around between different things they're focusing on--personal mental health, difficulties in a relationship, hiding your struggles--and maybe narrowing the focus could help it feel more cohesive.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by gizo »

owl wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:51 pm
Stacking Theory - This one grew on me over time. I found the phaser effect on the lead vocal kind of unpleasant to listen to at first, but this is dripping with Mood and Texture in a way that ultimately won me over and pushed it up in my rankings. The whistling is really pretty, and I love the big washes of dreamy noisy guitar and the pulsing repeats of the subtle panned "June moons". It's full of feeling, and a lo-fi, shoegazey, almost psychedelic aesthetic that appeals to me a lot just in terms of personal taste. The take on the lyrics is good, not one I would have anticipated as a citizen of the Northern Hemisphere. I'm not sure I could sing any of this melody back to you later, but I could remember how the song made me feel. This does end very abruptly, was that intentional?
Thanks for the feedback, Owl! <3 I understand what you mean about the 'forgetability' of the melody. I can barely recall it myself!

In regards to the ending - I was going for a plaintive call to snap me out of my reverie, but I think I cut the track to short (probably because I'm too often cutting at the end of a fade-out)

Side note: thanks to all the judges, you're amazing. And if Judge 1 has any specific thoughts on Stacking Theory's track, I'd love to hear from you! ;)
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by BenKrieger »

owl wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:51 pm
I actually prefer some of the original lyrics.
Yeah, I lost the line “I’ve got a disagreement with the sun,” which I really liked, but I think the redo gained a lot in the hook department.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Four "June Moon"

Post by arby »

owl wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:51 pm
Virgo Power - I like your vocals on this, I think it's a good range for you, they sound nice and strong and clear. Not everything lines up, which you know already (I'll have to go back and listen to the fixed version). OK, listening to the fixed version: the transitions into/out of the choruses are still very awkward and there are still some weird spots as far as timing--I think you could work more on those transitions or even break this up into two different songs. I like that this is about your wallpaper (I assumed "Jake" and "Cheridah" were some kind of fanfic reference till I looked at your liner notes), you should post a picture of it! "Some of the saddest songs sound like jokes" is a cool line. The lyrics seem to bounce around between different things they're focusing on--personal mental health, difficulties in a relationship, hiding your struggles--and maybe narrowing the focus could help it feel more cohesive.
thank you for including the shadows in your reviews! also thanks for your kind words.

"Forget it, Jake" is a reference to this classic movie ending:

I only realized after the deadline that I could have changed "Jake" to "June" to get a title reference in instead.

I thought that the various parts were lyrically unconnected until I was just thinking about the bridge vs chorus. the bridge is my favorite part of the song by far, that's the part with the line "some of the saddest songs sound like jokes" - which btw is a comment on the earlier fight between furrypedro and BYD, because so many of my favorite songs sound very comedic until you listen to the lyrics (tons of TMBG spring to mind) - and then I realized that the chorus actually relates to this to, the part about "sometimes nonsense means everything". I was thinking of the nonsensical use of Cheridah when I wrote it, but I think it also goes along with the saddest songs thing bc sometimes the ones I like sometimes seem like nonsense or childish/goofy/joking but actually are very sad. some examples:









however I do think the verses are totally unrelated and are basically from a different (and much less interesting imho) song.

Attached pic of the Cheridah wallpaper! I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to use it. (I love wallpaper but hate commitment so basically I just collect samples and think about using them for so far years with no results. Ha!)
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