Nur Ein X - Round Five

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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby j$ » Wed May 27, 2015 1:37 pm

Naturally :) I would also point out that maybe, maybe, there was a reason that I chose not to post my reviews in alphabetical order this time round. I mean, do the math(s)! To quote The Artist Formally Known As HNI:Dan, "Math=666" ...
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby frankie big face » Wed May 27, 2015 1:38 pm

Oh, and hey, sorry about all those bells this week! I fired everybody in my in-house bell choir.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby Generic » Wed May 27, 2015 1:48 pm

Reviews from a judge!

Overall comments: I don't know what it was about this week, this title, or this challenge, but it inspired some of the best vocal performances of the year from most of you. I'm really impressed with those of you who shored up and gave their performances all that extra oomph. I also noticed that most of these songs featured background synthesizers, which was a strange coincidence.

I confess, the title "Two Day Shadow" was my suggestion, and I guess I should have known that it would mean we'd get a bunch of songs about beards. I tried to be charitable and not hold it against any one of you, but I won't mind if I never hear another song about facial hair ever again. Anyway, we're at the point where the competition is so fierce that even the song at the very bottom of my ranking is one that I liked a lot and I'm going to be sad to see anyone go. But hey, rank them we must, so here we go!

À Tous Les Monsieurs
It seems as though you've traded your musical complexity for lyrical complexity. I never was a big fan of Joyce, so I'm not sure if "Moi Faire" is an allusion to something in particular from his work, or if it's unintentionally awkward French. I do know he was a famous polyglot and wordplay fanatic… Anyway, many of the images in the lyrics also reminded me of Michael Chabon and his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which also featured a motif of punctuation marks being used to describe physical details ("a hyphen of a mouth," for instance). Perhaps I'm not in the right mood to receive this, but I thought the conceit got repetitive by the end. Musically, this is sparser and simpler than your previous work, and the vocal performance is a bit rougher. The comparisons to Leonard Cohen are definitely apt, and I'm hearing a bit of Loudon Wainwright III, as well.

Balance Lost
This song kept rising up in the rankings as I listened more. At first I wasn't fond of the tempo changes and the overstuffed energy, but the more familiar I got with the song, the less these bothered me. I do still think you oversaturate your mixes - maybe it's too much compression in the master? I love the percussion (those handclaps and the lightning-quick snare fills, especially), and your vocal performance this week is the best I've ever heard from you (seems it's that way for almost everyone this week, actually!). I'm still not 100% sure I get the lyrics, but that's fine; there's something deep going on here, and I get the sense that you know. I do admire your concision.

Carlo Bruno
This song kind of gets the shaft in my rankings, which is an unfortunate side effect of the competition getting so tight. Being near the bottom doesn't actually mean I didn't like the song! Listening to these songs, it's become apparent to me that one of your greatest assets is your ability to create an actual groove. You're not just stringing sections together, but filling in just the right gaps to make the music compelling. This song has an interesting groove, and I like your lyrics, but unfortunately, to my ears your chorus sounds like a coda. When that first chorus kicks in, something about it hits my ears in such a way that it makes me feel like the song is ending… then it starts up again. That's a frustrating problem, and it's not necessarily your fault. I would suggest maybe cutting the first chorus completely - the end of the verse resolves well enough that it wouldn't feel like a letdown to cut straight from that to the drum solo, then the second verse, then the… well, it wouldn't be a chorus anymore since it would only come up once, but end on that section. There's a lot to like in this song, a lot that's worth hanging onto. I'm sorry you wound up getting eliminated for this, but y'know, someone had to go.

Cavedwellers
In my rankings, your song benefitted from resonating with me personally ('nuff said, I hope). Your lyrics have a lot of clever rhymes, but they're sometimes a bit inelegant. Nonetheless, I like the approach, especially the "Every other morning" hook, the background vocals, and the melody is quite catchy. Remember when I wrote about the time signature changes in your "Average Circus?" I said that something about them just didn't flow with me, and it felt like the time signature changes were actually pulling me out of the song. This time I feel the opposite is true (by the way, I'm really looking forward to hearing how you tackle this week's challenge); the transition to 3/4 flows perfectly, and it was exactly what the song needed. I think, at the end of the last chorus, you could have used one or two more iterations of the "Every other morning" line, perhaps with some melodic variation to really make it a finale. After a first listen, I thought that Ken's song would be the one most likely to be stuck in my head, but it's actually your melody that's been bouncing around in there most of this week. I also really like the call-and-response vocals in the chorus, although the dyad "shave my" is awkward to sing in sixteenth notes in a falsetto like that. It's peppy and bouncy and a little dark - I almost feel like you're intentionally playing to my tastes!

Frankie Big Face
Is it appropriate for me, as a judge, to pick the same #1 three weeks in a row? I fretted about that for a little bit, but this is honestly my favorite song this week, and it's not even really close. I love the lyrics (they resonated with me for reasons similar to why the Cavedwellers song did… Have I ever mentioned that my ex-wife hated your music? I should have known it wouldn't last). The pacing, the huge buildup of voices in the chorus, the double-time synth element, the "Cast no shadow at all" part… all great. I like ending on the first stanza again and that little grace note on the bass that ends the whole song. In my car stereo, the overlapping vocals between "Do it tonight" and "I know your heart is aching" sounded a little awkward, like your vocal parts were fighting for space in the mix. When I switched to headphones, it was strangely not a problem anymore. Not sure what the deal is with that… Anyway, I don't have much else to add, critically-speaking. Great work! Well on your way to a three-peat now!

Ken Mahru
Your lyrics are a bit blunt, but for this subject matter that seems to be the point. Your vocal delivery has a lot more oomph than usual, probably because you were trying to sound "creepy," like the narrator is wearing a leisure suit. You have a little Dick Valentine in your vocal delivery, and it's a good call, because it builds a character and makes the performance compelling. Also, the guitar part reminds me of something… Ah, yes. I also just noticed that your genre is listed in the ID3 tag is "Classic Rock." Hard to argue with that, but I wonder if JB's moratorium on Classic Rock means he has to shut you out now. Ok, I'm rambling and not really being constructive. I like this song a lot. I wish the first half of the chorus could have ended on a word that rhymes with "twin" so that the "Mick Jagger's evil twin" line could work a little better. It's a great image, but I can't get past how it breaks the rhyme scheme. Actually, now that I'm looking for it, I notice that the rhymes are pretty weak or nonexistent throughout. I wonder if that was a factor in other people not liking the song so much. Other than that, I don't think I have any complaints.

Nick Soma
This song is so much fun that I don't even care that it makes very little sense. I love your vocal performance (especially on the line "'Whoops,' I thought, 'I guess I made a mistake'" and every instance of the word "abomination"). It seems you jump around a bit between Biblical eras, because I'm getting a little Ten Plagues vibe in one verse, and then Jesus coming out of the cave in another verse, but it's all fine. What's the hidden message? I like that you give yourself extra challenges sometimes, but then I wind up scanning your lyrics too much and feeling like I'm doing a homework assignment. Anyway. This is a little out of genre for me, so I don't have much else to say in terms of musical critique, but I did like it quite a bit, and I'm glad we get to hear you in Round Six.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby noma » Wed May 27, 2015 2:05 pm

Thanks for all your reviews!

Generic wrote:What's the hidden message? I like that you give yourself extra challenges sometimes, but then I wind up scanning your lyrics too much and feeling like I'm doing a homework assignment.

Oh, it's not in the lyrics ;) Lo! a spectral vision's rising! (2:07-2:18, right channel; logarithmic scan) - maybe that's a bit nerdy... I can give you further explanation if needed. Sorry if it distracted from listening. :oops:
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby Generic » Wed May 27, 2015 2:15 pm

Ok, I was on the right track. On my last listen, I noticed something a little strange in my ear during that section of the song, and thought to myself, "Maybe that's where the message is. Do I feel like importing it into my DAW and finding out? Nope."

It didn't distract from the listening experience. If you hadn't mentioned there was a secret message, I'm sure nobody would have been the wiser.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby à tous les monsieurs » Wed May 27, 2015 2:52 pm

Caravan Ray wrote:

Has the relationship between FBF and ATLM ever been fully explained? Did I miss it? I seem to have the idea from somewhere that ATLM are students of FBF . Is that right? Or are you just mates?


I had to look up the definition but I think we are just mates.

We teach in the same school. That would explain the students that I co-opt into performing on my tracks. That must be where the confusion comes from.

Although we regular argue about which one of us is the student and which the master. I think we have agreed that these roles have developed into an ouroboros. The snakehead or the tail? Student or master? Our relationship is very Zen.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby à tous les monsieurs » Wed May 27, 2015 3:07 pm

glennny wrote:
My favorite moment of all the songs was Erik's guitar solo in the ATLM song. T.


Thank you, Glennny. That was also my favorite compliment of the whole game!

FYI, I am primarily a jazz guitar player. This songwriting thing is brand new to me as of Round Zero. The most natural part of this process is when I give myself an open section to improvise melodies on my guitar. (Except for the bluesy nonsense of "Banshee". That was more of a joke.)

The rest of the pop songwriting process can be tedious but is getting a little easier.

Thanks to all of those who listened this week.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby frankie big face » Wed May 27, 2015 6:58 pm

Erik is the guy I call when I need encouragement to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a guitar. Five minutes of talking to him and I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT.

I'm the guy he calls when he needs to sit in silence in a child-free house. He usually asks me to leave as soon as he gets here.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby noma » Thu May 28, 2015 12:51 am

à tous les monsieurs wrote:FYI, I am primarily a jazz guitar player. This songwriting thing is brand new to me as of Round Zero. The most natural part of this process is when I give myself an open section to improvise melodies on my guitar. (Except for the bluesy nonsense of "Banshee". That was more of a joke.)


I would like to thank Erik for inspiring me to do some more jazzy stuff (at least I plan on doing so in the future.) Keep up the good work! Your "Byron Bay" was my favorite song this Ein, along with Cavedwellers' entry for the same title. The only thing that bugs me about your music is your faux French, but I doubt I can make you stop doing that, huh? ;)
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby furrypedro » Thu May 28, 2015 2:29 am

j$ wrote:
furrypedro wrote:...Fuck d'you know about the "Medway scene" ;)

That it died when Cuss Words did?

Ah yes, Cuss Words. That bastion of creative diversity. Maybe I can take a few tips from them on genre-hopping.


à tous les monsieurs wrote:This songwriting thing is brand new to me as of Round Zero.

This is impressive and intimidating. So anyway, I was thinking about getting a new Gibson 335...
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby j$ » Thu May 28, 2015 2:31 am

furrypedro wrote:
j$ wrote:
furrypedro wrote:...Fuck d'you know about the "Medway scene" ;)

That it died when Cuss Words did?

Ah yes, Cuss Words. That bastion of creative diversity. Maybe I can take a few tips from them on genre-hopping....


Couldn't hurt to try :)
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby furrypedro » Thu May 28, 2015 2:49 am

j$ wrote:Couldn't hurt to try :)

Sadly, you can't hear me getting naked on the recordings.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby Generic » Thu May 28, 2015 10:10 am

furrypedro wrote:
j$ wrote:Couldn't hurt to try :)

Sadly, you can't hear me getting naked on the recordings.


Hey, I've got one for that too:
"Warren Zevon would be proud." -Reve Mosquito

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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby j$ » Thu May 28, 2015 2:44 pm

Oh Jon, your song choice couldn't be more inappropriate to our (albeit weird) conversation if you'd tried - but thanks for your input ;)

I mean, seriously BEST BAND EVAH R.I.P. Certainly one of my top three live performances ever, in a shitty pub in Deptford. So again, thanks for the totally inappropriate Barenaked Ladies link.
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby frankie big face » Fri May 29, 2015 4:21 am

Get a room, you three!
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Re: Nur Ein X - Round Five

Postby Generic » Fri May 29, 2015 6:22 am

It's true I don't know the bands you guys are talking about. I was just springboarding off Pedro's joke about getting naked on the recording - in the song I posted, the Barenaked Ladies injected some comic energy into the recording by literally stripping naked in the studio. Obviously I missed some context to that joke, but it amuses me that I can take it literally and still find something that fits.
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