Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

And if you fail, then we'll all fail together.

But if we win, if we dare to win, then we'll all win together.

Unless you don't get enough votes. Then you lose like most of us.
Last edited by Lunkhead on Mon May 31, 2021 10:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: make normal
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Please post your lyric here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12101
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Lunkhead »

Songs posted!
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sleepysilverdoor
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Here I was thinking my own entry was strong but holy shit this fight has a LOT of really strong entries in it. Highlights so far have been Moody Vermin's prog explosion (that whole tone section was very "ConstrucKtion of Light" era King Crimson sounding), Heine's delightful entry that brought to mind many an evening playing Brian Jonestown Massacre albums when I was working as a college radio DJ, Amby's unfinished indie marvel...

seriously dadgum M.V., how in the what how did you do that.
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Heine
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Heine »

sleepysilverdoor wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 5:24 am
...Heine's delightful entry that brought to mind many an evening playing Brian Jonestown Massacre albums when I was working as a college radio DJ...
Thanks for the kind words, man! You really made my day. Never thought you would like it because it's so much different from your work.
Btw. yours is grooving really hard - did you play the drums on a kit? If so (or even just programmed that way): kudos!
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Heine wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 10:49 am
sleepysilverdoor wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 5:24 am
...Heine's delightful entry that brought to mind many an evening playing Brian Jonestown Massacre albums when I was working as a college radio DJ...
Thanks for the kind words, man! You really made my day. Never thought you would like it because it's so much different from your work.
Btw. yours is grooving really hard - did you play the drums on a kit? If so (or even just programmed that way): kudos!
No problem! Yeah, my music taste is significantly more diverse than my songfight entries let on. Lately I've been listening to a lot of western swing. I spent most of April on a Kate Bush binge (mostly thanks to Owl). I just make heavier stuff because I find it fun to make haha!

As for the drums, yep! It's all live instrumentation with very minimal time correction -- I did comp the guitar parts so I didn't have to play it perfectly all the way through, but the drums and bass were both single takes. I put a bit of multiband compression on the snare and the kick channels to bring out the attack on the kick and the crack on the snare. I also double sticked most of the snare hits and hit them as rim shots so it'd be super punchy. The bass guitar was run through a distortion pedal, and then I sidechained the kick drum channel to the bass channel to get the bass frequencies out of the way. The chiming guitar part was run through a signal chain that went autowah -> reverb -> chorus. And I think the lower guitar stuff was just a bit of overdrive.
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Smalltown Mike »

A lot of quirky shit here, kids, a lot of singing just out people’s ranges (yea, I’m one to talk) and a lot of heavy guitars.
Amby Moho
Your vocals could come up a bit, I think. This all interesting and quirky and all that; I think I need to hear it the context of a full album to see where it fits in, what the overall groove of the band is. I think I don’t really get it on its own.
Paco del Stinko
Delightful bassline. Great rhyming, great melody especially in the bridge. Nice work. Sounds good as always.
Duncan Martin
This is really nice. A couple times the melody goes somewhere I don’t expected it to — like the “backing track” line. It becomes friendlier, less sad. It amuses me to think of you thinking: “Now, what rhymes with ‘urinal trough.’ “ The lyrics are nice, great delivery. It ends a little abruptly, though.
The Magnetic Letters
Really nice, clean, convincing vocals. I could listen to an album of this —I wish it was longer.
Brown Word and the Big Whine
The reverb on the guitar really makes for a muddy mix. Not my favourite one of yours.
The Library Dogs
Great work. Maybe I’m not a huge fan of the high harmonies in the chorus but it’s well done. Might be nice to hear the chorus change halfway through just for variety. The leads are nice, nice all around. And your rhyming is great. Not crazy about the spoken “moment” part near the end.
Phlebia feat. Sweeney Toad
That snare is really ringing, distracting even. I’m finding the vocals really obscured, maybe also too low; I don’t think I’ve gotten one word in this. It’s all interesting, I just think the mix needs to be clearer.
Governing Dynamics
This is tough — sometimes I listen to it and I really like it, sometimes I don’t. The straining vocals don’t work for me. The mix is pretty good.
Robyn Mackenzie
HOW DID SOMEONE MAKE JUST THREE QUARTERS OF A PHONE CALL? I like the concept but it doesn’t actually make sense, I don’t think. I like the idea: if I had a dollar for everytime you called, I’d be in debt … I’d owe you money … but the three quarters doesn’t make sense. But this is good. I think you’ve doubled your voice throughout, maybe vary it up? This is great.
Yaks of the Industry
This is great. I think the vocals are slightly too loud in the verses, but sit right in the chorus. I like the instrumentation in this a lot. The whole thing has plenty of 80s in it without going full into a charicature. Love the quarters sound effect.
Somewhere Off the Left Coast
Well done, great sound, well-recorded. I have a genre bias against this style of singing — the enunciation current pop music adopts. You have a great voice and it’s well done and recorded, but the way some words are sung grates on me. (I’m trying hard not to sound like a guy complaining about the way the kids are singing these days.) Sounds like it’s not finished — but great work, the bias is mine. The melody is lovely. I guess if I was being really picky I would ask why only three quarters of this is burning down.
Pigfarmer Jr
I like the opening riff, but I feel like the drums let me down. They’re not as hard hitting as I wanted them to be. I’m not sold on your singing with this song — although I think it’s just the verses that don’t work. It’s not your voice, it’s your voice with this song.
Cookie Blue
The heavier guitar in this is a nice touch. I think the vocals and everything really needs some variety, some emotion; they sort of stay the same course throughout.
WreckdoM
So good. Your weirdness has my number. Great in the headphones. Great bassline. Can you really get a small cup of coffee for 75 cents? I didn’t need the sample at the end. Great tune.
Night Sky
Great, clean start. It would be good to use real hand-claps in this one, just record 10-takes for a couple bars and loop it. Might also be good to bring the claps in and out so they’re steady throughout. Whistling is great. The vocals need some variety in delivery and melody.
Sly Eli
Yes, this is nice. Not crazy about the metal pipe that keeps falling. (I’m outside with headphones, and thought it was a neighbour.) Not the chorus I thought I was going to get, but it’s really good. Really glad you came back to the haunting verse. BUT what if the dropped pipe only came in for the second verse and then only sometimes? I think it’s just too much.
a.flaim
Music is great. You must not have neighbours. A lot of great stuff here. The song itself and the mix are really strong BUT the vocals are a bit off-key and strained in spots, and that really detracts.
heine
I’d probably dial those drums down a bit; they seem pretty hard hitting for this tune. Nice change into the “all we need” part. Like the “hey” part. I do like the way this switches around, but the end harmony part seems to come from out of nowhere and go on a little long.
Moody Vermin
I dig this weird little riff and all this lovely stuff in my headphones. Great work on this. A lot of great stuff going on.
Red Bicycle Car
Cool sound, but this needs to go somewhere. The male vocal need more presence. This feels like the start of a interesting idea.
The Sewer People
Me and Rob. I was supposed to sing something on the end but there was no point after Rob laid down that lead.He said he was in a mood.
Punk rock is for children. Grab a six-pack at Half-a-Dozen Records.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by sleepysilverdoor »

Smalltown Mike wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 5:17 pm
That snare is really ringing, distracting even.
Hell yes it is!
"There's a lot to be said about a full-on frontal assault on the ear drums" - Pigfarmer Jr.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by mholland »

Smalltown Mike wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 5:17 pm
Night Sky
Great, clean start. It would be good to use real hand-claps in this one, just record 10-takes for a couple bars and loop it. Might also be good to bring the claps in and out so they’re steady throughout. Whistling is great. The vocals need some variety in delivery and melody.
Thanks! Hand claps were real... 8 takes panned all over the place. Had to EQ out a lot of mid-range because the room sounded terrible, but I stuck with them, because literally everything that wasn't a 2x4 slide bass was recorded acoustically. So, for the record, zero MIDI in this one. Agreed on the vocals, like I said in the pre-fight, I added them at the very end after living with the song as an instrumental for the better part of the week.
Night Sky is Sally on lyrics, Steve on drums, and Matt on the other stuff
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by robynmackenzie »

Smalltown Mike wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 5:17 pm
Robyn Mackenzie
HOW DID SOMEONE MAKE JUST THREE QUARTERS OF A PHONE CALL? I like the concept but it doesn’t actually make sense, I don’t think. I like the idea: if I had a dollar for everytime you called, I’d be in debt … I’d owe you money … but the three quarters doesn’t make sense. But this is good. I think you’ve doubled your voice throughout, maybe vary it up? This is great.
HA! I didn't even think about interpreting it that way. :mrgreen: It's actually about sexism and the wage gap, so that's where the "three quarters" figure comes in. On average, women in the US make 82 cents for every dollar a man does, which granted is a bit more than three quarters, but the gap is also wider for women of color. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had a lot of fun with the chord progression.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Merle Fyshwick »

Ambymoho - Good beat, nice harms, crunchy bass. The slightly wonky tuning (?) works well. The delicate vocals contrast nicely with the aforementioned chunkiness.

A. Flaim - Tight production. And really a complete punk rock package - good momentum and energy. The vocals are a little flat, but that's the punk aesthetic.

Wreckdom - Ha ha - John Waters clip! Female trouble? Pretty good. Nice little bvs - is it you pitch shifted? Almost sounds like someone else. 'Root like a pig', hehe. I know pigs 'root' for food...hang on, forget it. Brilliant.

Heine - Cool little rock opera. Pretty diverse for a sub-three minute song. Lyrically I like the contrast between the pessimistic 3/4 at the start and the hopeful 4/4 at the end. Nice.

Duncan Martin
- Cool three-four tune. Strong Callahan vibe, but I reckon I prefer yours, since it has the line 'slice of cheddar and a pickle'. Ecuadorian panflute bands - those guys get around. Wicked lyrics - I'm there in my mind.

Library Dogs - This is a sneaky one - it starts off okay (though I'm not a fan of chorus-y effects typically), but then the chorus with the nice harmonies kick in, and it really lifts. Is it an auto harmoniser? Doesn't matter if it is, just curious. Think I dig the spoken bit, wasn't expecting it.

Phlebia feat. Sweeney Toad - That's a pretty good nu-metal chorus! Very impressive how much Song Fighters like you guys can achieve in a week-ish, especially a collab. My only criticism is that when I listened through headphones it sounded almost too crunchy for my ears. But through speakers it was fine. Maybe I'm too sensitive.

Redbicyclecar - That vocoder-arp is pretty mad. Nice subtle Gorillaz melodica line. It builds when the lower vocals start, and I expected it to keep building but sort of drops out. Still good, though.

Yaks of the Industry - Yeah, one of my favourites. I am partial to using keyboard rhythm tracks, and that's what this sounds like to me. Does sound like it might be distorting a bit, especially at the start. Reminds me of Machiavelli-era TISM.

Moody Vermin - Whoah, five and a half minutes! Is it about video games? If so, I'm on board. Yep, good-o. Would like to clear something up: were games really only 25c?! That's what I always hear. The cheapest games here (Aus) was 60c, early 90s, for OLD arcade games, otherwise all one or two dollars. Anyway - epic tune.

Robyn Mackenzie
- Great chorus, a bit Superjesus - tight harmonies and I like the not even getting a whole dollar line. The tuning on the lead guitar is a bit sharp, only saying 'cause it's a really good song, like I'd be impressed if I heard it one the radio. Great.

Cookie Blue - This pretty good. I dig the progression. Some kind of fancy time signature... 6/8? Way more personal than my half-arsed effort.

Pig Farmer Jr.
- Yeah, dig it. Rocking. Concise. It's like the logical conclusion of all the 'devil may care' punk rock songs. Hope you're going okay dude.

Night Sky - Dunno quite how to classify it. Old timey American folk music? If the recording was more scratchy I could imagine it being a whatshisname...Alan Lomax archival recording. It stands out from all the other entries in a good way.

Mag Letters (me) - Pretty dumb, but I like the fake pedal steel. My 'tribute' to the late Jim Steinman.

Brown Word and the Big Whine
- It's not as polished as some of the others (production-wise), but that doesn't hinder it; might even help it. Nice bass. The chorus is good. I really dig the spoken bits - made me smile. You're probably gonna hate this, but That Don't Impress me Much is a guilty pleasure, and it reminded me a bit of that.

Governing Dynamics - I like it, and I think it's a good song (plus it's about video games)... there's something that grates a bit audio-wise; it may be clipping, something easily remedied anyway. It captures the bittersweet arcade nostalgia really well.

Sewer People - Lots of space, which I think works with the narrative. Can almost picture the venue. In my mind I can see the Buffalo Club in Fremantle for some reason. Hehe flirting with copyright danger with those samples!

Somewhere Off the Left Coast
- I like the octaved lead guitar. I also like your voice and the vocals are very 'present', maybe a bit much, but that's no biggie.

Sly Eli - This one doesn't go where I was expecting it to! I dig the formant...uh...scooping in the chorus ('hurt'). The lyrics are ambiguous enough to evade my casual scrutiny; I guess that lends a song longevity, not tying it to a particular point in time. Nice.

Paco Del Stinko
- Another video game one - yeah! Made me smile. NBA Jam made you pay even if you won (I think). Always thought that was a lousy move by Midway.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by cookie »

Merle Fyshwick wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 11:16 pm
Cookie Blue - This pretty good. I dig the progression. Some kind of fancy time signature... 6/8? Way more personal than my half-arsed effort.
Thank you for the review. Yes it's 6/8 (4+2 beats per measure) and the lyrics are very personal this time. I've been through a lot of shit during the past years but I'm recovering.
come to the dark side.
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Heine
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Heine »

Nice fight. Some fine stuff here to find! Here are my thoughts/reviews:

a.flaim – Is it melodic core or punk? Fine playing. You've got the right voice for this genre (but some parts really need some vocal tuning).

Amby Moho – Polyphone singing. Very interesting polyphone bass/guitar playing. This one is strange but great. Quite proggy.

Brown Word and the Big Whine – Are the drums self-played? Nice synth sparks. I would try to shape the guitar sound a bit.

Cookie Blue – 'With or without you' in 6/8? Okay, a different vocal line. Very well sung. I really like your voice. Nicely recorded. I like the overall sound quality.

Duncan Martin – Very laid back. Even though I didn't get all of your lyrics this time I really appreciate its richness. You use a very colorful language, lots of details and idioms which makes it always interesting for me to listen to.

Governing Dynamics – Hearing this makes me want to listen to my Pavement CDs again. Nice.

heine (me) – It starts a bit silly and is maybe way too naïve. But this time I didn't think too much about it, no filters in my brain. Just recorded it how it came to my mind. And it ends the way it started… but a little different. At least it's quite rich in variety for its shortness.

Moody Vermin – It starts like some fine prog but then… I'm still not too sure about what shoegaze is, but as far as I think it touches this genre. There are even some ethnic elements. There is so much to discover! But it all sticks together which is kinda cool. It's the longest number in this fight but sometimes you simply need some space and time to build up an atmosphere – nothing wrong about that. And it sure develops; the chorus gets better and better with every time. Very good. And perfectly done!

Night Sky – I like the whistling. Then it gets into a Mungo Jerry-ish thing. How I wished that there was a little change in chords or instrumentation. But… ahh. the whistling's back, I'm reconciled.

Paco del Stinko – Well, as you said: the playing is a little loose. (But that's also my trademark in general.) As far as I remember this seems to be one of your lightest numbers. It's catchy and gives me a happy feeling. What more is left to desire?

Phlebia feat. Sweeney Toad – A bit noisy and industrial. But it really grooves! I really like the playing and production of the drums. Well done! I also enjoyed the melodic delay guitar a lot. And the chorus, too. You seem to be a very fine collab-team.

Pigfarmer Jr – Die tonight? :o But it simply rocks. Great!

Red Bicycle Car – Interesting. Heavy vocal effects even though very melodic. Very short, could be a little bit longer. This one touches the kraut or cosmic music that was made in the late 70s/early 80s. That's why I like it that much!

Robyn Mackenzie – This one reminds me of a bunch of songs but I really like it. Lyrically it is maybe the strongest and most political this time. There's something about the bass I'd like to shape and sharpen. The vocals seem to fly a bit above the music – I would try to melt it all more together; I think I would play around with some compression on the master or at least mix the vocals just a tad quieter.

Sly Eli – Well recorded (and as always) very well sung. Is it an ambos? This makes it something special that sticks in one's head. (Got to get out The Catch' 25 years, again ;) )

Somewhere Off the Left Coast – And the Master of Loudness War this time is… Hey, come on, it should be such a nice, calm and silent track... Is it the noise gate that works a bit sloppy in some places? Why does it end that abruptly? But besides this it sounds very modern like something actual they're playing on the radio. It sure has a catchy chorus.

The Library Dogs – Wow. This is different. Spanish guitars, shaker, a cool melody line, very cool harmonic voices, a strong chorus. If this ain't a winner then I don't know.

The Magnetic Letters – ¾, it sounds very American. The lap steel guitar is just fake? Nice touch anyway. Very well recorded.

The Sewer People – A little reggae, some rock. I really enjoyed the citations; that really made me laugh out. Cool. Even gold!

WreckdoM – Funny samples. Funny song. Groovy. I don't know why but this one makes me want to hear it sung by Lou Reed.

Yaks of the Industry – Oh, another very loud one. There should be a law. Loud is not better. Compared to the quieter mixed songs it feels more stressful and exhausting to listen to. (Is it only me? Or anyone else who feels this way?) Apart from this it is a very fine production. Well arranged, played and sung. The money sample fits right in. Great. This is pop music in its best way.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by WreckdoMelle »

Heine wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 12:22 am
Brown Word and the Big Whine – Are the drums self-played? Nice synth sparks. I would try to shape the guitar sound a bit.
The drums are MIDI. Alas, I've never been coordinated enough to drum successfully. This is one song where I will go in and try and re-amp the guitar. I already did it once and it seemed to stay muddy. I think I was paying more attention to my Nur Ein entry and neglected this one as a result. Blaming tired ears and attempting a different amp sound than I usually use. :)
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Heine wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 12:22 am
Pigfarmer Jr – Die tonight? :o
Imagine, if you will, an alien civilization that finds humans a danger to themselves, and unfortunately, potentially to others in the galaxy. Someone drew the short stick and had to do a kamikaze run at the earth to end the menace. I wrote a song about that.
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Heine
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Heine »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 2:16 pm
Heine wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 12:22 am
Pigfarmer Jr – Die tonight? :o
Imagine, if you will, an alien civilization that finds humans a danger to themselves, and unfortunately, potentially to others in the galaxy. Someone drew the short stick and had to do a kamikaze run at the earth to end the menace. I wrote a song about that.
Happens everyday. :D My first thought was that it's about Space Invaders or something like that. Good old arcade games.
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Heine wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 1:37 am
My first thought was that it's about Space Invaders or something like that. Good old arcade games.
I once got in trouble for leaving the t.v. on with the atari 2600 going so I could show my dad my space invaders high score. (Remember when you could burn an image into the background of a t.v.? No? Just me? Yes, I'm feeling old. Why do you ask?)
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Heine
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Heine »

Pigfarmer Jr wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 2:56 am
Remember when you could burn an image into the background of a t.v.? No? Just me?
Sure I know. I guess that's why they invented those screensavers...
Back then there were no monitors; I had my Commodore 64 plugged into a TV. (I still have and it still works!)
Those were the days...
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Oh, aye. I have 64 somewhere but it's not my original one. I also had a big console TV but you couldn't see the corners of pacman because the screen was rounded. It was old, old at the time and that was a loooooooooooooooong time ago. Ah, the goodle days.

If it's okay with you, from now on my song is about space invaders.
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mholland
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:18 pm
Instruments: Saxophones
Recording Method: Scarlett 2i2/Tascam FireOne, Logic
Submitting as: Night Sky
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Location: Davis, CA

Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by mholland »

Merle Fyshwick wrote:
Wed May 19, 2021 11:16 pm
Night Sky - Dunno quite how to classify it. Old timey American folk music? If the recording was more scratchy I could imagine it being a whatshisname...Alan Lomax archival recording. It stands out from all the other entries in a good way.
I don't know how to classify anything I do except that it's American, old-timey or otherwise, and I'm happy that you feel this one stands out in a good way. The honest story of this song is that I finally finished a tenor ukulele that I started building from a Stew-Mac kit three years ago, and I just let the instrument lead me where it wanted to go (in other words, things that you can play with two fingers on the left hand).
Heine wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 12:22 am
Night Sky – I like the whistling. Then it gets into a Mungo Jerry-ish thing. How I wished that there was a little change in chords or instrumentation. But… ahh. the whistling's back, I'm reconciled.
You might like prefer the instrumental version, which has about 16 seconds more whistling. Normally I would use more than two chords, but see above re: letting the ukulele tell me where to go. Ultimately I limited the instrumentation to things I built with my own hands (ukulele and slide bass), my own hands themselves (hand claps), my unfortunate vocals, and Steve's drums.
Night Sky is Sally on lyrics, Steve on drums, and Matt on the other stuff
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Heine
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
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Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by Heine »

mholland wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 12:06 am
You might like prefer the instrumental version, which has about 16 seconds more whistling.
Yes, it's even nice. Now I discovered the slides (with the bass?). Very cool, but a bit burried in the mix.
So, that way I came to listen to your "I'm covered in it now" and your fine sax playing. I've recently listened to a lot of Traffic records. And their musical spice was flute/sax/keyboard-player Chris Wood. So, I had the idea to ask if you'd like to... collab?!? I'd be happy to get a mail fom you some day!
www.heine-musik.de - Paragon of Teutonic Gloominess
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mholland
Somebody Get Me A Doctor
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:18 pm
Instruments: Saxophones
Recording Method: Scarlett 2i2/Tascam FireOne, Logic
Submitting as: Night Sky
Pronouns: he/him
Location: Davis, CA

Re: Try and at least give us (Three Quarters reviews)

Post by mholland »

Heine wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 9:01 am
mholland wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 12:06 am
You might like prefer the instrumental version, which has about 16 seconds more whistling.
Yes, it's even nice. Now I discovered the slides (with the bass?). Very cool, but a bit burried in the mix.
So, that way I came to listen to your "I'm covered in it now" and your fine sax playing. I've recently listened to a lot of Traffic records. And their musical spice was flute/sax/keyboard-player Chris Wood. So, I had the idea to ask if you'd like to... collab?!? I'd be happy to get a mail fom you some day!
Absolutely! I'll drop you a PM.
Night Sky is Sally on lyrics, Steve on drums, and Matt on the other stuff
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