SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

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leighdf
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SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by leighdf » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:10 pm

Strange New World: You are an alien visiting the Earth. Write about what you found.
(This is a topical challenge. The song's name does not have to be "Strange New World", nor is that phrase required to be in the lyrics)

Details on submitting are here: https://spintunescontest.blogspot.com/2 ... lenge.html
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:58 pm

Hmm. This one has some potential.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by fluffy » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:40 pm

Wow, if it weren't a flagrant rules violation I'd be tempted to just submit Made From Corn.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:29 am

@fluffy, I enjoyed listening.

I've already written a song and even started recording it. Spent the greater part of yesterday on it. Ever have the issue where you work on something, you like it, but you know it won't be ranked super high? Yeah, that's me. Ah, well. Onward and, erm... downward? I always never say.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:31 am

fluffy wrote:Wow, if it weren't a flagrant rules violation I'd be tempted to just submit Made From Corn.
If it’s a shadow entry, you can do that. But past songs wouldn’t get you to the next round.

Some folks have put in several songs for a round, but you need to pick which one ‘counts’ for judging.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by vowlvom » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:49 am

Just sent in my submission. It's an odd one.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by leighdf » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:11 pm

Few people have sent a band pic. Those that did (mostly) didn't send it to Bandcamp specs (1600x1600). I can re-size small pics, but they will be blocky. If they're not square, I just fill it in with white bars. If you do NOT send a pic, the Album Art will display on your track.

Also, I've gotten a few entries that are compressed (MP3, M4a...) I convert those to AIFF with Audacity and post whatever it spits out. If you're lucky, there won't be a sampling issue that makes you sound like a colony of ants.

Also, I've gotten entries with no lyrics. It's not a disqualification so long as the lyrics are sung, but the judges will be appreciative if they can actually read along.

PLEASE read the submission guidelines. Just sayin'.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by thirdcat » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:05 pm

Sent mine in, I tried to find a direct link to the download via soundcloud but haven't been able to figure that out. Hopefully it's alright that I just sent the link to the track (it is set to for download permission.)
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by BoffoYux » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:17 pm

BYD is in. I'm not sure if this one is in our wheelhouse, or way outside it. But it's submitted in any case!
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by leighdf » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:36 am

BYD IS in.
The listening party is tonight at 9pm Eastern time, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzY83XMA4ko

Contestants:
The following bands and composers successfully made the deadline and submitted entries to Round 1. You'll find bio information with their songs on the Bandcamp page immediately after the listening party.
  • PigFarmer Jr.
    Menage a Tune
    Mandibles
    Faster Jackalope
    Brian Gray
    Vom Vorton
    Rob from Amersfoort
    Zoe Gray
    Good Guy Sôjàbé
    Running Green Lights
    Lichen Throat
    Temnere
    Third Cat
    Glen Raphael
    ShyFox
    Jocko Homomorphism
    Marlon
    Governing Dynamics
    Boffo Yux Dudes
    Ominous Ride
We also received shadows from
  • Red Watcher
    PigFarmer Jr
    Micah Sommersmith
    Heather Miller
Best of luck to everyone!
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by vowlvom » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:08 am

I started a new job last week with less music-friendly downtime and more of a commute, so I figured listening to these in the car would be the way forward. So, firstly, thank you Spintunes entrants for submitting the perfect amount of music to completely fill a CD-R! And also for so much of it being really great! I thought I’d write some reviews to show my appreciation.

PigFarmer Jr. - Alien BBQ - this is a lot of fun, and I like the very specific take on the challenge! Short and sweet, made me smile.

Menage a Tune - It's a Strange New World - nice jazzy arrangement and a pleasant listen, although there’s not quite anything here that really stuck in my head across several listens.

Mandibles - Dihydrogen Monopoly - I think this one might be my second favourite, and with a slightly more varied arrangement it’s the only one that maybe could have challenged my #1. I love the lyrics and songwriting but I just wish it had a bit more dynamic change to it or something… if the space-radio vocal FX dropped out and some drums kicked in after the first chorus or something I think this would be absolutely stellar. It’s already very good indeed.

Faster Jackalope - First Impression - there’s a lot to love in this one, the intro is intriguingly spacy and then that AMAZING guitar riff kicks in, with more delicious slidy lead guitar to come. The shift between the two vocalists kinda leaves this feeling like two songs stapled together in a slightly haphazard fashion to me and it doesn’t quite work. Although part of that is the abrasive synth sound in the chorus (?) which I find really offputting. I like more of this than I don’t, though, and I far prefer “too many ideas” to “too few”!

Brian Gray - For the Glory of Gleeble Glorp - I wish this one had a slightly punchier mix, especially coming after Faster Jackalope’s high-volume slickness, but I basically love everything else about it and it’s probably my third favourite from this round. The lyrics are wonderfully geeky, the keyboards are great and it’s packed full of hooks.

Vom Vorton - Watching the Skies - it’s me! I really forced this one out after struggling for ideas all week and I think that shows, although the end result isn’t too bad I really feel like I could have done better with this challenge.

Rob From Amersfoort - The Aliens Are Coming - classic RfA, fuzzy, melodic and inventive. The rising melody on the “they’re coming… soon!” section is my favourite bit.

Zoe Gray - wonder - this one is astonishing. Over the course of listening to it many, MANY times over the last few days I came to realise that it wasn’t just my favourite song in this round but one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. There’s a lot of cynicism in these songs (my own included) and the hope and optimism in this one is beautiful and refreshing. A++++, six stars out of five.

Good Guy Sôjàbé - Godspeed - this falls into the “very well executed but I’m just not into it at all” category, which I would have no idea how to handle if I was actually judging this competition, but I’m not, so I can just say “sorry, this isn’t for me”. I appreciate the craft though.

Running Green Lights - Alien - there’s an appealing melancholy to this one, but the vocal effect grates on me long before the end which made this one I struggled to enjoy on repeat listens.

Lichen Throat - Here to Say Hello - some interesting variations on the Lichen Throat sound here, I like the chorus and some of the lyrics are really inspired. It really needs some dynamics though, it sounds squashed to bits (although it sounds better now that I’m listening at home, compared to how it did in my car). That tourist / Arcturus rhyme is great.

Temnere - Hi Tek Ray Gun - another one where I have some genre-bias I can’t fully put aside but this clearly rocks Extremely Hard and the riffs are appropriately awesome.

Third Cat - Our World - after a couple of listens through these tracks without consulting a tracklist I couldn’t actually figure out which one was Third Cat, which is weird? Your vocals are clearly recognisable now that I know this is you, but I can’t say this song really does it for me like many / most of your others do. The vocal melody feels a little uninspired. I like the lyrical idea though.

Glen Raphael - Humans Seem the Same to Me - after first listen I thought this one was well played, nicely folky but nothing I could see myself particularly returning to. In actual fact I’ve enjoyed this one a lot every time it has come around in the track list. The guitar sound is lush.

ShyFox - Can We Be Friends? - I used to have a housemate who listened to music that sounded like this all the time, although I can’t remember who any of the artists were. I like it quite a bit, although the sci-fi vocal FX interjections don’t do it any favours IMO.

Jocko Homomorphism - I Won't Displace - I admire the weirdness of this one but don’t really find it much fun to listen to. The birdsong dominates the mix a bit too much as well I think.

Marlon - A Message, Dear Leader, From Your Humble Servant Xebax - it will probably come as no surprise to learn that this one didn’t really work for me when I was listening in the car. Listening properly now, the lyrics are pretty witty, but… well, there’s not much else, is there?

Governing Dynamics - Unsatisfactory - I like this one a lot, it’d be in my top 5. The guitar playing is lovely and I like your voice a lot. The whole thing reminds me a bit of something but I can’t quite place what it is. Maybe Red House Painters but not quite, I don’t think. But yes, this is quite lovely.

Boffo Yux Dudes - Message to the Hindmost - another one where I wish the mix was a little punchier, I like the song quite a bit though - especially once it reaches the “dance the night away” bit, which is ace.

Ominous Ride - The Game - a little overlong maybe (although you have a lot to say so maybe not) but this is impressive stuff, smart and savage lyrics, well performed. I have to deduct a couple of points for that “death” / “wrath” rhyme which doesn’t work at all, but only really because the rest of the lyrics are so sharp that that one stands out.

Shadows:

Red Watcher - Abduction - extremely well produced and I love the way you bring the intensity on the chorus! For some reason every time I hear this song I kinda think “which one is this again?” until like a minute into the song when it clicks, which is weird as I really like it?

PigFarmer Jr - Missouri 1980 - from the first couple of listens I was pretty sure you’d submitted the better song of the two but I think this one has more lasting appeal, maybe? The chorus melody is a really strong hook.

Micah Sommersmith - Song About a Stranger - the mix of piano, accordion and layered vocals is immediately intriguing, and the lyrics are very relatable.

Heather Miller - First Glimpse of Green - lovely writing and beautifully folky, melancholy performance. I like this is a lot. “I will never understand why you work so hard to shape / what already is beautiful as if it were a mistake” - great lyric.

Matchy Matchy - Everything Everything Everything - this is wonderfully cynical. In between the sweary anger of this one and the incredible optimism of Zoe Gray’s song, all life can be found, haha. The stabby organ (?) sound on the last lines of the chorus is amazing, and the middle-8 is perfect.
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Re: SpinTunes 15 Round 1 Challenge

Post by Cybronica » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:18 pm

Thought I might try my hand at writing some reviews! These aren’t critiques, just my impressions done in the order of the listening party. As i was listening off of the YouTube’s, i didn’t have the lyrics before me, so review are based on what i could hear. I did not get to the shadows- ran out of time! Sorry! Enjoy!

Alien BBQ
Fun idea! Very catchy, and I like the way the accent comes across in the singing. The music definitely sounds like the southern blue grass style fitting for the subject. Love the final belch!

Strange New World
I like the jazz feel to this. The piano is superb so kudos to the player. I like the wordplay throughout, and the MT reference at the end! The instrumentals balance well, but there’s something about the vocals that puts me off- it might be that the recording is a little dry? Although I think it might be that the singing often falls into that talking-singing style of which I’m not biggest fan. It just makes it a little pitchy.

Dihydrogen Monopoly
Can’t really review the song I worked on... I hope you guys like it! We were trying to subvert the prompt by steering the subject away from humanity. I had fun playing with the levels on the vocals to make it sound like a radio transmission. If I were to keep working on it, I probably would not have put that filter on the chorus, and would have brought up the volume of the French horns in the chorus, too, to add a little variety.

First Impressions:
Love the opening. I might be biased because Faster Jackelope and Mandibles share a member, but I’m a big fan of the instrumental style. Also I LOVE the vocal style of the second singer. It’s so... round? Idk I spent a lot of time at singer workshops so maybe I focus to much on vocal style. Also it was Political. My style.

For the Glory of Gleeble Glorp
I like the fusion of 80s music and musical theater. Vocal harmonies are very pleasant. the juxtaposition of happy music and insidious “we’ll help you by enslaving and killing you”-vibe are a great frame, and I mean, who doesn’t want to sing “ Glory of Gleeble Glorp” over and over? What can I say- I’m a sucker for a catchy tune!

Watching the Skies
Classic Vom style. Love it. I like the hitchhikers guide theme. Much more satisfying an entry than “Mostly Harmless.” Love the backing vocal bops.

The aliens are coming
Good old fashioned political commentary in the opening lines. Love that. Feels more like it’s from the humans perspective than the aliens though. Or maybe it’s a third person? I like that theyre hungry for meat and bougelais.

Wonder
This song strongly reminds me of the songs in Steven Universe, and therefore I love it. I also love it because it’s incredible. Excellent singing; I love that it’s not just a commentary on humanity, but on the planet itself, it beauty and terrifying qualities; the chorus is beautiful, and I am delighted to have it stuck in my mental jukebox. This might be my favorite.

God speed.
This feels very bowie from the Berlin trilogy with a hint of evanessence. I love the dreamy drifty guitar and synth. Amazing guitar solo.

"Alien"
Cool openning. It reminds me of driving through an urban highway at night. I love the vocal effects. The singing is great, too. The vocal fx sometimes takes the oomf out of the down beat. I love the echoy outro.

Here to say hello
I like the premise. An alien who is a big fan of TV makes a lot of sense to me considering how we broadcast all our stuff into the ether. Not a fan of the vocals. It sounds like you're just mumbling it to yourself as you do work around the house. It gets better in the chorus, but the verses are really off putting with their pitchiness. I like the song other wise.

Hi tek ray gun
Excellent metal. Can't really hear any of the words but I like it! Decent screaming vocal technique. Big fan of the polyrhythms in the percussion.

Our World
I like the synth harpsichord.

Humans seem the same to me
I am a sucker for the folk song feel. Love the song, especially when the 2nd vocal came in. Do more of that!:) I Wil say that the premise strikes me as a return visit as opposed to a first visit, but we each have our own interpretations.

Can we be friends?
Well constructed song. It's got that early 2000s feel to it. Not my thing, but it is well done! I do like the chorus for the harmonies.

I won't displace
Birds synth? Xylo? Old timey singing? Gilbert and Sullivan style music? Checks all my boxes. Repetitive, but the B section (I hesitate to call it a chorus) kept it interesting for me. I was a fan of the descending bass square wave. It's a nostalgic sound.

A message dear leader from your humble servant
Its really cool how you did the a capella with the clappercussion, but I found my self wanting more out of the song. Mainly an instrumentation, but also just more of the vocals because sometimes they were hard to hear over the clapping. I like the lyrics.

Unsatisfactory
I actually found this very satisfactory! ;p I think this one would translate well to the general public of music without needing to hear the prompt for context. it also has that urban driving at night feel that I find very soothing. It's a soothing song. I feel soothed.

Message to the hindmost
Cool conversation effect. I liked the song, but I didnt? The melody was interesting, but the singing was not my fav, and the music was good, but it left me unnerved. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

The game
Ooh cello, paired with good rapping, with an accelerating onslaught of political commentary! Love this. The singing breaks are great. I love your voice! It's lovely to hear. I like the end of the story. Really excellent. Am I hearing x files in the background, or just something similar? Excellent work.
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