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Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:18 pm
by Pigfarmer Jr
Aaaaah, refreshing.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:03 pm
by Lunkhead
I'm going to post the results and new title and songs tomorrow.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:00 pm
by Lunkhead
Songs posted.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:16 am
by GravityJohnson
Hi All,

Fractal Elves - Great bass riff and a real earworm. My only real criticism is the choice of sound for the trumpety sounding synth. I like what it's playing, just not the choice of sound. This is very catchy and fun though. Gets a vote from me.

Unsharp Mask - In terms of the production, the vocal is too front and centre for my liking, a little stereo widening and some more reverb would have helped (for my personal taste.) Overall not a bad tune. Another instrument to give it some extra texture would have been nice maybe, be that a guitar or maybe a pad of some sort.

The Gauchos - I'm a little torn on this track, I absolutely love the track from the quieter section onwards (0:54s), the opening section I don't feel works so well, particularly the drum style in that part. However, I like the rest of the track more than enough to issue a vote :)

Micah Sommersmith - Always interesting, always worthy of a listen. This is great, particularly love the slower section. The vocal melody in the first half quite reminiscent of System Of A Down's 'Chop Suey' somehow (yeah I know, a strange comparison). Lovin' this, a vote for sure.

Vom Vorton - Lovin' the wobbly bass, that's really great. Overall a decent catchy track, quite Magnetic Fields in style which is no bad thing at all! I like this but it hasn't totally grabbed me.

zczero - The vocal is way too low compared to the synth which makes it a tricky listen. Struggling to make out many of the lyrics I'm afraid. I kinda feel there might be a kernel of something really good in this that hasn't been fully realised somehow.

James Owens - Wow, this is unusual. A song of three distinct, separate parts. Certainly an unexpected change at the 25 second mark and then again shortly after. Again, I wonder if it could have all been developed a fair bit more, and the overall track lengthened. But this definitely got my attention, and that got to be a good thing. Vote.

Berkeley Social Scene - Proficient, competent, solid track, but never really grabbed my attention if I'm honest. It's no criticism, just personal taste.

ARSEnal - The first thing that strikes me is the muffled (maybe clipped) presentation of the vocal and the very distant drums. That said, I quite like the spoken word style of this and I did like this enough to listen to it about half a dozen times.

Macaque Attack - That's us. We were originally planning a sort of medieval fable type track but it turned more jazzy and bluesy as it developed. Definitely not our usual style.

A great set of tracks, everyone. Multiple votes issued. :D


Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:34 pm
by MicahSommer
ARSEnal - I like the MIDI arrangement, having done plenty of this kind of thing myself. It presents the melodies cleanly and lets them be clearly heard against each other. In this case, the overlay of instrumental sounds works pretty well, though after the solo opening I was hoping for some thundering drums to come in at some point. The lyrics are good; I really wish I could understand the line after “We shoot the cannonball.” (I just realized it might be “tetrahydrocannabinol”... maybe?) Pretty good stuff, please stick around!

Berkeley Social Scene - This has more or less what I expect from a BSS song: Solid production, good performances, a nice (though in this case too short, and also very strongly reminiscent of another melody that I can’t place) guitar solo, some clever chord progressions, and vocals that seem like they’re just outside the singer’s comfort zone. The chorus (“Foxglove, keep your love away from me”) feels like it’s supposed to be kicking things up a notch, but the fuzz guitar is such a uniform sound that it doesn’t have any punch, even compared to the cleaner guitars in the verses. Finally, the lyrics don’t really do anything for me. Sure, the “beautiful but poisonous” theme is strongly suggested by the title, but there’s not much done with it besides a string of femme fatale cliches.

Fractal Elves - I THINK this is my favorite song in the fight. Although the approach to the subject matter is similar to Berkeley Social Scene, it’s given a more interesting treatment here, with the singer acknowledging his own role in poisoning himself. Musically, the arrangement is simple but surprisingly effective. I love the bass playing that starts off strong and anchors the song throughout. The admittedly cheesy synth brass works for me, as does the changeup in the percussion that comes along with it. The singer’s voice is confident and assured in its little-bit-weirdness (though as a choral singer I have to cringe a little at “strangerrrrrrrrr”) and the melody is, like the arrangement, simple but effective. So… yes, I like this song a lot, and I hope to hear more from you in future fights!

The Gauchos - Nicely sprawling, with some great hooks. Some great multipart vocals, especially at 1:55 - 2:20. Lyrics are great, I like the stack of metaphors that make up the 10, 9, 8… countdown, as well as the line “I can’t seem to bring my mind / to tell my heart to take its time.” All in all, the music and lyrics work together really well to convey the fevered atmosphere you’re going for.

James Owens - This feels like someone fast-fowarding through a 10-minute prog rock epic. I don’t mind the change-ups, but it’s packed in such a short amount of time, and then you sustain the least interesting part for half the length of the song. I am intrigued by the lyrics; I imagine this guy has a long-term plan to poison various government officials and then seize power in the confusion, or something.

Macaque Attack - This strongly reminds me of “The Future” by Leonard Cohen, though without Cohen’s gravitas or gift for prophecy. The music is well put together and performed, but I’m not sure it suits the narrative, story-telling lyrics - I’m not invested in the story, and following along with the text in the forum I find myself reading ahead, not because I can’t wait to find out what happens but just to get on with it.

Micah Sommersmith - This started as an attempt to come up with an impressive-sounding accordion tune, and a chance to play with the Shepard scale in the accordion bass. Once I came up with the contrasting middle section I decided it might be worth submitting. The similarity to SOAD’s “Chop Suey” was entirely unintentional but is perfectly clear now that GravityJohnson has pointed it out, and I’m pretty okay with it.

Unsharp Mask - Is this a collaboration, or are you just trying out a new pseudonym? Anyway, those drums sound great and grab my attention right away. The instrumental parts are catchy and they fit together with the vocal line really well (the only exception I’d say is the odd rhythm of the instrumental part that follows “Don’t touch nothing without my Fox glove”). As for the lyrics… it feels like you’re going for pretty low-hanging fruit, and there’s no compassion or nuance in your satire like there was in your “Old Friends” entry. Then again, your target isn’t displaying much compassion or nuance either, so maybe it’s fair game.

Vom Vorton - Great synthpop sound, which is well produced and which your voice is a nice fit for. I’m not sure if the narrator is a literal dog or a human being, or exactly how metaphorical the lyrics are. I’m bothered by the pun at the end - not because of any aversion to puns (see my “Dad Joke” entry, or engage me in conversation for more than five minutes), but because it seems to come out of nowhere and is not set up by anything earlier in the song, as far as I can tell. I feel petty because the first 2:09 is great, but the ending really cheapens the song for me.

zczero - Continuing to branch out with more instrumental sounds is good. However, the incessant staccato rhythm gets pretty fatiguing, and your vocals are mixed so low that I can hardly make out any of the lyrics.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:18 am
by vowlvom
ARSEnal - super lo-fi, but appealing in a strange sort of way even if I’d like the vocals to be a bit clearer.

Berkeley Social Scene - really interesting chord progression, but I’m not hugely into the guitar sound and the vocal melody is a bit dreary. I like the shift to the higher register for the middle-eight though.

Fractal Elves - really fun, I like that the vocals, bass, brass and synth all have catchy hooks (and personally I love that brass sound, it makes me smile). I think some harmonies or other backing vocals (that aren’t just doubling the main melody) on the chorus could have taken this up another notch though!

The Gauchos - I like the tempo shifts, although the reverby mix that works so well in the spacy midsection feels a bit muddy in the faster bits. Really interesting songwriting though, and I really like the layered vocals at the end.

James Owens - I like all three sections of this but I’m not sure how well they fit together. The melody of the opening section is really familiar - borrowed from a classical piece or something? Then it explodes and drones its way to a close in 92 seconds? Pretty wild. I’m gonna vote for it.

Macaque Attack - somehow this reminds me of Nick Cave and (slightly) REM as well as the Cohen comparison above, which is pretty interesting, and I like the shuffly drums. I feel like it needs some more variation as there’s not much dynamic change for a fairly long song.

Micah Sommersmith - pretty irresistible. Short, sweet, witty.

Unsharp Mask - clever take on the title sets it apart from the pack, and I really like the middle section with the vocal echoes.

zczero - quite different from your other submissions, and I enjoyed it a bit more I think. The main keyboard sound is a little harsh for that repeated stabbing rhythm but I found this quite intriguing and enjoyable.

Vom Vorton - this is me. I’m challenging myself to make an all-electronic album this month (for NaSoAlMo) and this was the first track I finished. I’m pleased with the music, but I struggled with the lyrics so they’re basically a nonsensical concoction of the few vague ideas that I did have. VERY happy with that Magnetic Fields comparison above, thanks!

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:58 am
by starfinger
I have written some reviews. It dawns on me that I'm not the kind of person that will try to figure out what you're saying, so don't take it personally.


I like the weird sequences. I kinda like the general midi sounds. I
don't know what you're saying, and I am not going to find out.

Berkeley Social Scene

I like the 80's goth vibe during the verses very much. The chorus and
other more upbeat parts (including the guitar solo which is otherwise
really nice) continue the unease, but I don't know if I like the major
chords. I do like the song though!

Fractal Elves

Who are these dorks?


What if this had no drums? I like the part with the backing vocals
and the walls of guitar. Yeah this is good. It keeps moving.

James Owens

That's a long pad sound. I listened to this twice. It's not a
winner, but it sounds good and is nice and weird.

Macaque Attack

This reminds me of an unspecific Leonard Cohen song. So that's good.
I'm an impatient guy, and I'm looking at the thing that says there are
over 3 minutes left in the song. So that's not good. I can tell the
arrangement is complex and interesting, but I'm not able to maintain
attention enough to write more. Wait, I was wrong! It has played to
the end, and I can say that everything seems to have been pleasant.

Micah Sommersmith

Gee, I'm not sure what I think about this. The playing and the
singing are individually good. It sounds like some potentially clever
wordplay in the rap. I listened to it three times, because it's short
and it confuses my sensibilities. It is obviously good at being what
it is, but I am not comfortable.

Unsharp Mask

Ha. I like the lyrics a lot. I'm less keen on listening to the
lyrics. Is the microphone in your mouth? The music is good.

Vom Vorton

I'm definitely a sucker for the synth parts. Yeah this is like an
80's goth song videogame remix. Good job. Digital is better at some


You didn't do this for the reviews, did you?

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:28 pm
by lichenthroat
ARSEnal—I’m not sure how seriously this was intended to be taken. I kind of like the weird ending. The lyrics are amusing. The vocal is hard to make out on some (but not all) of my speakers/headphones.

Berkeley Social Scene—I keep changing my mind about this one. I like the chorus. Some of the long-held vocal notes are nice, too.

Fractal Elves—This is good! I like the quick vocal lines, like “each second.” The bass line is great, too. Like others, I’m not keen on the horns, since I think they make the song sound a little goofier than it really is. I do like all the other weird instrument sounds, though. Probably my favorite of this fight.

The Gouchos—This reminded me of an old Song Fight entry that I couldn’t identify at first, but it’s Josh Woodward’s “Spalding Gray Is Missing.” This song sounds very accomplished. I’m not sure how much I like it, but it’s definitely good, from an objective perspective.

James Owens—Very inventive. I wasn’t quite as taken with it as some of the other commenters, but I’ll give you props for creativity.

Macaque Attack—Sounds like Tom Waits. Your vocal sounds great. I’m not wild about this style of song in general, but this is executed very well.

Micah Sommersmith—Love the accordion line. And “I’m not the kind to knock your socks off; oh well, whatever, here’s some foxglove” got stuck in my head for a while. This doesn’t seem quite fully realized, but what’s here sounds good.

Unsharp Mask (me)—This is my moniker for my more straightforward, aggressive commentary (in contrast to what I flatter myself to think are my cleverly subtle normal Lichen Throat lyrics). I’m happy with the drums, content with the other instruments, barely tolerant of the vocal, and dissatisfied with the mix. As for the lyrics, I struggled a lot with what to do with the title, since I barely know what foxglove is. (I almost wrote about Mary Shelley’s little-known novel Mathilda, which briefly mentions digitalis.) And then once I had decided on a lyrical subject, I further struggled with how appropriate it was to make fun of people I think are making horrendous, unnecessary choices, but who may be disadvantaged in areas where I have been fortunate. I settled on trying to limit the lyrics to ideas that I can imagine one of my acquaintances actually expressing (in concept, not necessarily verbatim). I hope it’s not too mean-spirited.

Vom Vorton—This would fit right in at an electronic dance club, or so I imagine, since I’ve never been to one. I really like the chorus, both the music and the “stopped my heart like a foxglove” line.

zczero—I think this is the best of your songs so far. The instrumental sounds are too repetitive, but there are a few moments that genuinely sound like parts of a great song.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:27 am
by AJOwens
ARSEnal -- The lyrics take an imaginative approach to the title. I don't know if they require the disembodied vocals, but it's a riveting effect. The music is very layered, a little muddy, but with a rich, full palette. The top layer of the music feels a bit arbitrary near the end.

Berkeley Social Scene -- This has a clear, open arrangement, with a straightforward, tight rhythm section and a floating guitar full of sixths and major sevenths and stuff like that to soften it. Good contrast in the chorus, with some nice turns in the harmonies -- although just at "your love" they feel a bit crowded. The middle eight doesn't add a lot musically.

Fractal Elves -- This songs comes together very nicely. The chords are basic, but the unusual vocal melody and timing carry it, and the chorus is bright and lively with its punctuating, reggae-inspired brass. A very economical and effective arrangement.

The Gauchos -- The subtly yet intensely syncopated drums at the opening suggest a heart attack; they certain fulfil the suggestion of "more beats per measure." There are some extremely sweet moments in the vocals and harmonies. A lot goes on in the musical arrangements, but it all belongs together, and the ebb and flow of the song is very natural. Well done.

James Owens -- Not enough lyrics, but I couldn't pass up the major/minor optional challenge. In the opening, I was trying for a "deadly eccentric with an English garden" feel; if it's musically familiar to anyone, I don't know why. The rest is apparently program music for a heart attack and subsequent going-toward-the-light, but I didn't realise that until after I was recording.

Macaque Attack -- Most excellent work, especially on the brushes. As virtually everyone else has noted, this has a strong Leonard Cohen feel, certainly because of the dark Mediterranean-inspired music, but also to some extent because of the lyrics. The whole thing is very well executed, undeniably an outstanding entry. It does run a minute or two longer than the steady arrangement can support.

Micah Sommersmith -- It's always refreshing to hear some accordionic virtuosity in these mostly guitar- and keyboard-driven fights. This entry feels only partly realized, the busy accordion line being perhaps its main driver. It's a quite listenable entry. Rhyming "foxgove" with "socks off" is emblematic of the lyrical audacity.

Unsharp Mask -- The autochord / zither thing is employed well as a point of access to what is, in the end, a pretty good composition, not unlike the Ramones in its approach. The take on the title is clever, and the lyrics are wonderfully wry and economical -- "There can't be carbon up in the sky."

Vom Vorton -- An electronic synthesizer ensemble, with overtones of eighties disco -- at times I can hear the mirror ball realized in sound. The synths are used well to create various textures, keeping things interesting. The singing is a little pitchy, but it has a personable quality.

zczero -- The close-mic'd tentative vocals and sparing, sketched musical accompaniment remind me distantly of Nico. Rhythmically this is not exactly metronomic. the overall effect is poetic, but unfortunately the words are hard to make out; there is a strong midrange element in the vocal recording, typical of a softly-into-the-microphone technique, that could be helped by equalization.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:05 am
by HeuristicsInc
Macaque - nice sound. Reminds me of a band i can’t place right now [edit: vom said it, nick cave is who i was thinking of]. Interesting story. I’d like to hear the instrumentation change a little more. The solo at the end helps a bit.

Unsharp - ouch. Is this song completely the pun? I think this might be too much of a stretch.

Gauchos - no idea what you’re talking about, lyrically. The dropout around 1:00 is good for the dynamics. lyrical phrasing is not to my taste.

Zczero - no idea what you’re saying, lyrics not posted, did you want us to be able to understand it? Lead sounds are kind of clunky and too loud for vocals.

Arsenal - another one with muffled vocals, bring them up! Arpeggios are neat.

Bss - i like the music, but the vocals seem to mostly warble along in the verses. The chorus has more coherence to me.

Vom - i like the bass and drums, and those high pitched sounds in the chorus are cool. It’s fun.

James - in this louder section the pieces don’t seem to mesh. The synth part at the end is cool. Not that much of a song here, it’s kind of like 3 different 30 second songs.

Micah - great rhymes. Love the instrumentation on this, it’s a lot of fun.

Fractal - great bass. And i love when the higher synths come in. vocals are great, love the instrumental section. Great variety of sounds.

Favorites: macaque, vom, micah, fractal

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:09 am
by HeuristicsInc
MicahSommer wrote:Vom Vorton - ... I’m bothered by the pun at the end - not because of any aversion to puns (see my “Dad Joke” entry, or engage me in conversation for more than five minutes), but because it seems to come out of nowhere and is not set up by anything earlier in the song, as far as I can tell. I feel petty because the first 2:09 is great, but the ending really cheapens the song for me.

I felt this too, but didn't write about it, but then when you said it I wanted to come on here and agree with you.

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:36 am
by Lunkhead
Congrats to Fractal Elves!

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:50 am
by GravityJohnson
Congratulations Fractal Elves, both your song and band name deserve victory! :)

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:10 pm
by starfinger
Way to go, mysterious strangers!

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:09 am
by vowlvom
While listening to the new batch of songs, I spotted that zczero has posted some thoughts on these songs here: ... f13f2a6c26 (that URL was listed in the mp3 tags).

Congrats to Fractal Elves, well deserved!

Re: Take A Deep Breath And Smell Those (Foxglove reviews)

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:41 am
by Chumpy
Nice! I'm glad you spotted that vowlvom, I reached out to zczero on MusicBrainz and pointed him here. I hope he joins us.

Also: Congrats Fractal Elves, I also enjoyed your song!