Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

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Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by grumpymike »

Submit an original song by July 3rd at 11:59 PM (EDT) that fits the following criteria

Title: Summer Robot
Non-optional Challenge: Sonic palette comprised of instruments/sounds/timbres not used in previous rounds

Send your MP3 to nurein.sidefight@gmail.com

Good luck!
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by Evermind »

For those who may be asking: No, you don't need to find a new vocalist. Keeping your existing vocalist(s) is fine, and will not count against you in the challenge, for practical reasons.
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 Six "Summer Robot"

Post by vowlvom »

Are you after different vocal styles though? Or are vocals kinda outside of the challenge as long as instrumentation is fresh? Asking for a friend who wants death metal grunts and screams on every track.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by gizo »

Different instruments like "my other guitar", or different instruments like "ukulele"?
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by grumpymike »

Vocals done well in the spirit of the challenge will almost certainly give you an edge. However, none of us expect that to be the top of your list of things to do. The only real requirement is doing the challenge more impressively than 3 other contestants. Personally, I'd love to hear people try different vocal styles, but I assume that's going to be a major liability with marginal reward for most folks.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by vowlvom »

Thanks! Good challenge
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by grumpymike »

gizo wrote:
Sun Jun 26, 2022 10:27 pm
Different instruments like "my other guitar", or different instruments like "ukulele"?
Speaking just for me: this has more to do with the timbre/pitch/cadence to track role pairing than the actual implementation (instruments used).

Let’s say you usually use guitar for rhythm. In that case, if your song uses piano for rhythm and has some lead guitar parts, this is satisfactory. Though, replacing the lead guitar parts with uke would be better.

Conversely, if you usually use guitar for rhythm and use a distorted synth that sounds similar to your guitar, this is unsatisfactory. If you make the same song you usually make but play a ukulele like it’s a guitar, that is also somewhat less impressive than other approaches.

As judges, we’re all grading on a small curve at this point. I think you ought to go as drastic as possible while sounding good.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by gizo »

grumpymike wrote:
Sun Jun 26, 2022 11:01 pm
<snip> I think you ought to go as drastic as possible while sounding good.
Thanks - makes sense. I'll have a tilt.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by BoffoYux »

Round 6 will be moved to Tuesday 7/5 9pm EST because of the July 4th Holiday.



https://youtu.be/ffQk3skwH7s
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by noma »

I'm gonna guess the title was deliberately "Summer Robot" and not "Winter" or "Spring Robot."

M-Morty, come on, wake up Morty! *buuurp* Remember that Summer robot I built so your parents wouldn't notice when Summer is on an adventure with us? Weelll... That robot gained consciousness and... Turns out it's evil. *buuuurp*
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by furrypedro »

gizo wrote:
Sun Jun 26, 2022 10:27 pm
Different instruments like "my other guitar", or different instruments like "ukulele"?
My interpretation of this challenge when we discussed it was that your other guitars were off limits if you had already used one of them. The intention is to try and get arrangements that are entirely different from what you have used already. With all challenges there is a little wiggle room and it's up to you how close you want to go to the line. If you use an already used instrument, but are able to make it sound unrecognisable then you may get away with using it again. But I agree with what Mike said. If you can go totally radical and still make a great song then I think you'll be in good territory.
vowlvom wrote:
Sun Jun 26, 2022 9:47 pm
Are you after different vocal styles though? Or are vocals kinda outside of the challenge as long as instrumentation is fresh? Asking for a friend who wants death metal grunts and screams on every track.
Different vocal styles was not a consideration for me. Though of course, if you do try something different and do it really well then kudos to you.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by Lunkhead »

If one time we used steel string acoustic with constant fast chord strumming with a pick, could we use a classical guitar where I'm playing slowly w/o a pick and doing chords with fingers 2-4 and a bassline with my thumb? To my ear, those two things sound completely different, and the new song would be totally different from the old song in many other ways too. Maybe I'm biased because I'm primarily a guitar player, but, I have to ask.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by furrypedro »

Lunkhead wrote:
Thu Jun 30, 2022 9:54 pm
If one time we used steel string acoustic with constant fast chord strumming with a pick, could we use a classical guitar where I'm playing slowly w/o a pick and doing chords with fingers 2-4 and a bassline with my thumb? To my ear, those two things sound completely different, and the new song would be totally different from the old song in many other ways too. Maybe I'm biased because I'm primarily a guitar player, but, I have to ask.
I feel 99.9999% sure that I answered this question with my previous post, but to put it another way, what do you think we're trying to achieve with this challenge? And is the answer "another type of guitar"?

I have no doubt you could write a finger picky guitar tune that would be great, and that could be good enough to take you through to the next round, but I think probably everybody else's songs would need to suck a little for you to get away with that. I want something radically different. I don't want people unpicking the challenge on a technicality.

I realise this contradicts some of what Mike said above. But y'know, we're different and stuff.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by Lunkhead »

... get away with that. ... I don't want people unpicking the challenge on a technicality.
I really resent the assumptions there about my intentions and motivations. It was an honest question, because like I said, to me these things do sound wildly different.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by vowlvom »

Submitted! Absolutely loved this challenge, I was feeling really burned out but starting from scratch with a bunch of different instruments was a real shot in the arm. I had a ton of fun writing and recording this one, I hope that comes across to the listener!
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by gizo »

Stacking Theory is done and emailed.

I absolutely hated this challenge for quite a while, and then I ended up loving it

Life, eh?
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by mo »

Some quick hits before I jump in a car to drive back home:

Alleviators: Great concept, super fun, great execution as usual. I did think that it felt like it was setting up a story, so that it was the first song of a concept album, and as a result, I wanted to hear the completion of the story--like this song doesn't quite feel like a complete story or work all on its own. But like I said, do the concept album and I'll buy that shit, like twice.

Elks: Our approach to the challenge was that if were going to change the sound, we might as well change genre completely, which would make everything sound not just different, but fitting in a different way. Future Boy went all Donald Fagen on the grand pianny and I just kept the chords locked down, JB went for a Joni type vibe in this song that is apparently not, as I thought I was, the greatest song ever written about Marvin the Paranoid Android. But although JB wasn't writing about Marvin, in my heart, it's still about him.

Moss: This song is gorgeous and really sounds beautiful. All the sounds you've created are dynamite, and you should sell this synth sample pack. I can happily report that I will never sunbathe...er...again.

Stacking Theory: Another great idea for a song--I never had one of these but I think we had similar products, that whole summer vacation at home, playing with the slip and slide, kind of thing. The nostalgia is strong, and as usual you've evoked the mood to match.

Vom Vorton: Yet another banger, great energy again, and although I probably wouldn't have noticed a bunch of the choices you made if this weren't a competition situation, I did notice them and appreciated that you were thinking about things like, new time signatures and rhyme schemes. If you want to escape seasonal affective disorders, you could move out here to SoCal, where we don't have seasons...just disorders.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by glennny »

Rattlebox for the win!!!!

all the other songs are good, but Rattlebox gets moral victory (for me anyway)
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by BenKrieger »

glennny wrote:
Tue Jul 05, 2022 2:30 pm
Rattlebox for the win!!!!

all the other songs are good, but Rattlebox gets moral victory (for me anyway)
Ha! I've taken about 5 years off from songwriting, so it's great to be doing these again, it's inspired me to get working on a new record. I'll have to keep my eye on the start date next time and enter for realz.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by gizo »

I loved this round - so happy to hear so many different takes on the title (a title which, to be honest, I was not enamoured of when I started)

As I am a terrible reviewer, I have instead provided some very flippant gift songs for each of you. There is some link between each song and how you make me feel - sometimes more obvious than others. But know that I love you all.

Alleviators: You get ''The Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake' by Grandaddy .The opening line of that song breaks my heart each time, so I'm 100% on board with our animatronic brothers & sisters standing up for their rights.

Also - I will state that mood set, and the delivery of "you. are on. your own" is sublime.



Elks: You get 'On Horseback' by Mike Oldfield. It's complicated how we ended up there, but congratulations. Also you can have some Arthur Lyman too, to keep the mood going.

Also we all know this is really about the Iron Giant, which is how it should be.



Stacking Theory: Here you go, kid. I hope you enjoyed your stint at the big kids table, now get back outside.


Moss Palace: You took me straight to 'Gift Horse' by Black Box Recorder, but because you're much more wholesome than those pesky Brits, you can have Julee Cruise singing 'Falling' as well.

You are the 1000 Grit Sandpaper of this competition - so damn smooth. Lovely.



Vim Vam Vom: In recognition of your peppy horns you get some Dexy's Midnight Runner. And because I want to wrap you up and take care of you, you get a little treat from Melbourne - 'Restless', by The Ocean Party.

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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by grumpymike »

This is one of my favorite Nur Ein rounds ever.

I've just put up my own shadow song to demonstrate my attempt to try to "do something different". I'm allowed to be super late, because I'm a judge and I have a lot of other super important stuff going on. Of course, nobody is required to listen. I'm just dogfooding my own challenge, kind of.
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Re: Nur Ein XVII: Round Six "Summer Robot"

Post by Evermind »

The Alleviators
Interesting intro. Kick is a little blippy, could use just a teensy bit slower attack to fix that, but as I write this it's already starting to grow on me. Scansion is really weird in various places, like "securiTY's vulneraBLE". Vocal timing is off at times. I don't feel like there's enough to distinguish the sections (at least, the ones that aren't spoken word). The strings feel like they lag behind everything else because of the slow attack. I will often nudge the strings a bit earlier to offset a super slow attack like that. I like the treatment on the vocals.

Elks of the Economy
I appreciate all the work that has gone into making this sound different, and it surely does. Elks of the elevator! Also, wow. That chord chart. Concept is meeting a robot on the beach. I can tell JB is trying his best to keep up with the chord changes and does a very good job, but some of the vocal timing feels rushed, like "turn a page in the giant book". The timing gets a tiny bit loose in the percussion past the three minute mark, but only slightly.

Moss Palace
I like how nice a kick drum you were able to get out of tapping an SM58 with your palm. It's really weird, in a good way, to hear the artificial pitch corrected harmonies. I like the imagery you've used to describe people sunbathing, the phrases "a grand parade of flesh" and "emerging from the chrysalis of spring" are both really cool. I feel like there's some layer to this song that I'm missing, something more to the concept that didn't come through. Timing on the percussion feels a bit late in the last chorus.

Stacking Theory
Sometimes, when a beat is stilted like this one, especially with the "machine gun" effect, it lacks groove. This has plenty of groove, and it's fitting to have a robotic sounding beat in a song titled Summer Robot. I really love the way the instruments come in and out of the song, especially during the lines starting with "and give our mum and dad some space". I really didn't expect the sudden upbeat dance-fest chorus after the slow groove of the verses and the even slower, more mellow pre-chorus. I think the transition would have worked better if you'd used the prechorus to start building up from mellow groove to the high energy of the chorus, increasing the intensity of the music over the prechorus so that the transition isn't so jarring. I also think the ending chorus could have used something more, it didn't feel like it was much bigger than the previous chorus. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this song a lot.

Vom Vorton
Vocals are a little pitchy and feel a little buried in the mix. I like the sound of the brass and Mellotron flutes in here. Concept is two people with opposed seasonal depression, a cool concept. Song feels a little repetitive.
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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