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But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:22 pm
by Lunkhead
Songs to be posted shortly.

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:36 am
by vowlvom
Friends of Olaf - I really like the spoken-word-and-chugging-guitars vibe. The vocals remind me of Slint, but the music has more of a punk edge. The mix feels a little odd, maybe a bit over-compressed? But not enough to spoil my enjoyment, this was cool.

Micah Sommersmith - really gorgeous! Lovely piano playing, and arrangement as a whole. Lyric is sweet and heartfelt. Really enjoyed this one a whole lot.

zczero - very odd. Kind of an interesting listen, but it feels a little bit like it was just made up as you went along, there doesn't seem to be too much structure to it. Not sure if the glitchiness in the recording is intentional or not?

Lichen Throat - really enjoyed the lyric (love those Russian space program references), and the verse is cool, but the more raucous chorus sections feel a bit off somehow, the timing isn't the best maybe.

My Social Uniform - this is really cool. It feels modern but there's also quite an 80s pop feel to it, and the vocal is really clear and melodic.

Berkeley Social Scene - the Bowie vibes made me smile, and the e-bow (?) solo is ace. Another solid BSS song, maybe not my favourite but a good listen. That chorus feels like it's screaming out for some harmonies to lift it up a bit.

Thanks for the frisbee - hey, I remember your stuff from FAWM! This is really catchy, and the lyric and melody hit that melancholic sweet spot.

King Arthur - catchy, fun country-pop. Impressively slick for a last-minute entry!

Vom Vorton - this is me. Pretty happy with this one, I think it's the best lyric I've written in a while.

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:39 am
by Thanks For The Frisbee
Thanks for the review vowlvom!
A lot of great stuff in this fight! I hope I can do FAWM again sometime, it’s been a while :cry:

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:48 am
by MicahSommer
It's a slow week for reviews, it seems. Here are mine.

Berkeley Social Scene - The guitars are, as always, great, especially the jangly picking and that trans-Neptunian solo. The synth strings that start things off are pretty darn cheesy, which for me detracts a lot.

Friends of Olaf - I’m not opposed to this style of talking-song in principle, but either the performance or the story needs to be more compelling to hold my interest. The instrumental is fine, but it’s so far down in the mix compared to the voice that it never becomes more than background music.

King Arthur - These lyrics are great, and as someone born and raised in Ohio I appreciate all the specific references. The main hook “There is zero gravity holding us down” is memorable, but otherwise the music feels mostly generic, though well-produced and performed. I missed the real-life inspiration for the song - are people actually calling for Ohio secession?

Lichen Throat - You are a very good lyricist, and I love the changes to the chorus each time: Spend some time / Spend the night / Spend your life with me. This is a cute little love story and I’m definitely rooting for these star-crossed lovers. (See what I did there?) Your singing continues to improve in my opinion.

Micah Sommersmith - My first recording with my new-old piano and I’m really happy with how it turned out, I think the antique piano sounds lended itself well to the atmosphere I was trying to create. I’m pretty sure this is the first song I’ve ever ended with a fadeout. I used to be pretty militantly anti-fadeout but I’ve softened with time. I may have given myself permission for this one after watching this recent Vox Earworm video about fadeouts.

My Social Uniform - Great vocal performance and melody, solid instrumental. I like how the drum section at 2:26 leads into the piano chords and spacey pads in the bridge. The space metaphors do not all land with equal effectiveness (chorus = great; “I wanna be your satellite” = fine; “calculate your orbital velocity” = no thanks).

Thanks for the Frisbee - This is pretty nice, it’s like a 00’s indie singer doing a 90’s pop rock melody (the “I wish I wish” section especially). “Zero / hero” is on my list of banned rhymes, but that’s more my problem than yours. The GnG arrangement is nice but I wonder what it would sound like with a full band.

Vom Vorton - Your instrumental performance is top-notch. Are those drums live or sampled? If live, they’re really well-mic’ed; if samples, they’re really well-sequenced. Your voice is pretty darn good, though some of the high notes (e.g. on “poor sound quality”) are a little squiggly. The lyrics feel a little too clever to me - the main theme is one worth taking seriously (changing your surroundings, even going to outer space, won’t fix your personal issues) but a lot of the lyrics feel like jokes (“The air lock is not a despair lock”; “Even climate control cannot stop me feeling cold”).

zczero - What a weird song. I mean that in a mostly good way. You stick out from the pack with a song that is radically different from everyone else’s. I wish you had posted lyrics so I had a better idea of exactly what the story is. As far as I can tell, the lyrics don’t quite live up to the creepy tone suggested by the arrangement and performance. The sampled “Oh”s get a little bit wearying and a shift in the arrangement would have been welcome, but I was surprised at how engaged I was by this song.

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:14 am
by king_arthur
Micah - Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) had been talking about creating a fake secessionist movement to see if the Russian trolls jumped on it. They came up with a bunch of names (like "New Mexit") and were having online voting. Not sure if they even followed through on it, I've had too much political news lately and have just been avoiding it... but it seemed like a bit of a different approach to the SF title... and, of course,there's that "astronauts from Ohio" meme that was going around a while back ("why are they so anxious to get out of Ohio?")

Apparently, nobody even suggested "IdaGo," even though they could have gone on and on about how "this is being directed by Moscow..."

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:41 am
by Thanks For The Frisbee
Micah-

You are spot on with that that review!
I am a child of the 90’s and I wrote the “I wish “ section in 2001. I included it for fun :) I had been listening to old cassette tapes of when I first started writing songs( horrible songs) and I think they inspired me to dig into that 90’s -2000’s vibe. Very perceptive!
Also..I don’t really have the capability at the moment to add full band stuff. Working on it :)
Thanks for the review!

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:19 pm
by MicahSommer
king_arthur wrote:and, of course,there's that "astronauts from Ohio" meme that was going around a while back ("why are they so anxious to get out of Ohio?")

Once in college, I was at a conference with other young people from across the US and I overheard this brief exchange which I will forever cherish:

PERSON A: Did you know that there are more astronauts from Ohio than any other state? Man, what is it about that place that makes people want to leave the planet?
PERSON B: [long pause] I'm from Iowa.
PERSON A: [long pause] Damnit.

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:19 am
by vowlvom
MicahSommer wrote:Vom Vorton - Your instrumental performance is top-notch. Are those drums live or sampled? If live, they’re really well-mic’ed; if samples, they’re really well-sequenced. Your voice is pretty darn good, though some of the high notes (e.g. on “poor sound quality”) are a little squiggly. The lyrics feel a little too clever to me - the main theme is one worth taking seriously (changing your surroundings, even going to outer space, won’t fix your personal issues) but a lot of the lyrics feel like jokes (“The air lock is not a despair lock”; “Even climate control cannot stop me feeling cold”).


Sampled / sequenced drums, but thanks! I think I do have a tendency to overcomplicate my lyrics sometimes but I'm a big fan of mixing humour into a serious lyric so I'm happy to take that last critique as a stealth compliment ;)

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:11 am
by lichenthroat
Lots of good songs this week.

Berkeley Social Scene—I thought this was one of your better songs. I love the guitar tone and the transition from verse to chorus. I actually like the synth strings. Making the chorus a little more exuberant would be the cherry on top, but overall it’s a very good song. Vote.

Friends of Olaf—I’m not sure I understand quite what you had in mind here. It sounds like the intro to something, rather than an independent song. As an intro, it would work pretty well, but on its own it feels a little incomplete.

King Arthur—You have a good voice, and the vocal was performed well. The music, however, sounded a little perfunctory and didn’t seize my interest, though I though your arrangement was good. I liked the lyrics.

Lichen Throat (me)—I agree with Vom that something sounds off in the chorus vocal (in addition to the vocal problems I typically have). I can’t quite identify what it is, though. This the first time I’ve ever recorded with a real microphone, rather than just using the little microphone in my IEMS, so that may have something to do with it. Otherwise, I’m relatively happy with this one.

Micah Sommersmith—The new piano sounds good. This is really unlike your other songs I’ve heard. I kind of miss the accordion, but I like this, too. Your more restrained vocal performance is appropriate for this song and sounds great. Did you record two vocal tracks, or just process a single track in the studio? Either way, it works well. Vote.

My Social Uniform—The vocal is pretty good, and the song’s enthusiasm is endearing. I think it would help to have more differentiation in the rhythm during the chorus. Maybe go to double time or something.

Thanks for the Frisbee—This screams for a full band, but I really like it even as it is. Good melodies, good guitar playing. Vote.

Vom Vorton—Oh, yeah! I start smiling when the first vocal line starts. Nice chorus. This song puts me in a good mood and makes me bob my head. Vote.

zczero—Obviously you’re trying something experimental here. It’s not something I’d want to listen to a lot, but I applaud your creativity. I like the mood of the lyrics, especially at the end.

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:15 am
by MicahSommer
lichenthroat wrote:Micah Sommersmith—The new piano sounds good. This is really unlike your other songs I’ve heard. I kind of miss the accordion, but I like this, too. Your more restrained vocal performance is appropriate for this song and sounds great. Did you record two vocal tracks, or just process a single track in the studio? Either way, it works well. Vote.

Thanks LT! I did record two vocal tracks, which is not something I normally do but which seemed to work well for the effect I was going for.

There are some very gentle sustained accordion chords in the instrumental section, but the piano got the spotlight this time. Don't worry, I'm sure the accordion will be back at the forefront soon. :)

Re: But in all seriousness... (Zero Gravity reviews)

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:17 pm
by Lunkhead
Congrats Micah!