Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

There can be only one.
User avatar
Lucky Spoon
Marmoset
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:48 pm
Instruments: B-b-b-b-bass
Recording Method: Alesis io|26, Reaper, Rode NT, Pixies
Submitting as: Lucky Spoon, Rabbit vs Table
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Adam! wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 11:49 pm
What an incredible batch of songs. Best round 1 ever?

My lyrics were their own liner notes, but here's what really happened:
Watching you run so close to the deadline made me anxious and I had to stop watching and go work on my song.
Apollo14... Keeping mooses safe since 1992. Full album here

Sneaky Bear Music Video - He's just a #SneakyBear
User avatar
Generic
Gorilla
Posts: 5451
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 11:45 am
Instruments: Piano, Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin, Accordion, Bass
Recording Method: Cubase 5AI, Cubase 6
Submitting as: Jon Eric, Hunky
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by Generic »

owl wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:58 am
Jon Eric - This is an extremely Mountain Goats song in so many ways. It reminds me a lot of “Up the Wolves,” maybe a bit of “Magpie” in the phrasing. And, well, I like the Mountain Goats, but this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Why, whatever do you mean? Is that a band? What a silly name for a band! :lol:

Plus, if anything, this should remind you of "Sax Rohmer #1."

Not that I'd know anything about that. :lol:
"Warren Zevon would be proud." -Reve Mosquito

Jon Eric - Get your feel on.
Website powered by Spud's Amazing Website Machine.

Circle of Titles!!!!!!
owl
Capuchin
Posts: 685
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 1:29 pm
Instruments: vox keys uke guitar
Recording Method: REAPER
Submitting as: Vowl Sounds, miscellaneous owl
Pronouns: she/her
Location: Madison, WI
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by owl »

Generic wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:23 am
owl wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 11:58 am
Jon Eric - This is an extremely Mountain Goats song in so many ways. It reminds me a lot of “Up the Wolves,” maybe a bit of “Magpie” in the phrasing. And, well, I like the Mountain Goats, but this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Why, whatever do you mean? Is that a band? What a silly name for a band! :lol:

Plus, if anything, this should remind you of "Sax Rohmer #1."

Not that I'd know anything about that. :lol:
I stand corrected, haha :D
Cybronica
Marmoset
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 2:38 pm
Submitting as: Mandibles

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by Cybronica »

I finally finished my reviews! Huzzah!
8th Grade Team - no lyrics posted! :( I found this utterly charming! A song about parachuting, done in the style of a kids song. It’s fun. I really like your wide panned distorted vocals, and the ‘this is the best/worst part’ is my favorite. The song is seems simple, but you put in little details that are really scrumptious, like the low harmony in the second verse. I would have ranked this higher, but hey, I am not a judge!

Balance Lost - your vocals strongly remind me of dizzee rascal on you got the dirtee love from the Brit awards in 2010. This is another cool idea that was well executed and i dont have much to say. The end was cool in a 2001 a space odyssey kind of way. Well done.

Berkeley Social Scene - spy song! This song is good, though I do miss the live sound of the bss songs. Alas, COVID! It does bother me that burn it and unit do not rhyme. I really like the instrumentals, and the unison at the start is pretty interesting. I find the vocals wanting, but what, I cannot put my finger on. Maybe it’s that the hook isn’t hooky enough. I want more of a Change up in the vocals. “Bring her back alive!” Was exciting. I wanted more! And the second time you sang it was cut off too soon.

Cavedwellers - I like the tension between the driving drums and the laid back blue note-y guitar that comes in over top. It’s like youre itching to go and do something, but you’re stuck in a holding pattern and can’t break out of it. Just how you feel when something catastrophic happens and you can’t do anything to fix it. Truths singing is lovely to listen to, and I am a fan of the wide pan in the chorus. I also really like the 332 in the chorus. Sometimes the lyrics sound a little clunky, particularly ‘funeral home.’

Frankie Big Face - I love the image of a dog eared mind. The weaving upward guitar riff is my favorite part of this song. It’s really lovely to listening to. Actually, all the sounds you use are an aural delight, like the backwards sounds you throw in. You left dead air on the back end though! :(

Glow Worm - ugh. this is just so good. Your Control over your voice is excellent, and the arrangement is a perfect match. I mean, the synth matches your voices timbre so well. The turn you do on ‘cry’ in the chorus is very evocative, and the way you sing ‘I am bold I am brave I am beautiful,’ has become a refrain/mantra in my head. I love it. Your backing vocal flourishes are quite tastefully done. The lyrics are beautiful, telling an entire story without saying too much. Shall I gush more? I could, but I think you know you’re good. Where did you guys go with a so great a music minor program?

Goodbye Bandita - i like the take. The vocals bother me a bit, though. The sound is pinched and overly nasal in a way that I think is not true to your actual sound. I can hear a timbre kinda like a soprano Cher, but you need to release the pressure and let it happen naturally. Try sitting/standing up straight and making sure you have a solid breath under you. I like the call and response, but I think it goes twice as long as it should at any given time. Good sounds Im the arrangement, too.

Grumpy Mike - great song, I like the theme of upbeat annoyance that plays throughout. I personally like wide panned vocals, so no complaint here about that. The high guitar riff is catchy and fun. Not much to say here. I thinks it’s fun, and I don’t have much to suggest.

Inflatable Vegetables - your vocals, when compared to the rest of the sounds in the song, sound a little like you’re singing through a cloth. I think it would help if you maybe... bumped up the reverb? Recorded in your bathroom? Sing closer to the mic? Increase the upper partials in the EQ? Not sure the best fix, but it makes the vocals sound a little like karaoke. I think the first verse could be cut- no need to set up the story, the point is already clear. The processing on the rap breakdown is cool, but it makes it hard to understand. At the end of the chorus (especially at the end) I want to GO for the high note. You pulled the punch, and it’s very unsatisfying. The song has a good beat. Like a funky town era dance song.

Jon Eric - thanks for posting your liber. Notes- understanding what this is about makes me like it more! I really like the subject, and I think you write about it well. My first impression is that the sounds sound a little distant.

Jules Iolyn - I really like your voice! It’s rather Norah Jones, especially with the sparse, intimate instrumentation. You are a little pitchy at times- might be that you need a little more practice on the song?a week is a short amount of time to get it written and in your voice. The lyrics, I can tell you wrote them with a mind first to how they sound rather than what they mean. That is to say, they are a bit vague and on a cliched subject, but the sound of the phonemes is lovely and make a wash of sound in your voice over the meditative guitar line that makes me feel content and relaxed.

The Lowest Bitter - I really love this song; I didn’t read the lyrics until... just now, so I had a lovely experience of having it slowly unfold and realize what it was about. I have a tendency to not notice the lyrics on the first few listens, so the first lyric I noticed was the bit about your dad and the axe, which is just a wonderfully vivid image. Having just read your liner notes, it made me love it even more. Thank you for sharing this personal story with us. I like the song musically as well. It’s not a pristine production, but honestly, that just adds to the genuineness. The strings are very synthy, but that’s about it for what bothers me, and it’s not a big issue. I love how you layer the vocal lines to keep from clipping off the ends of the lines.

Lucky Spoon - this song is great. Like, 80’s rock with a little country peppered in for flavor. I think the lyrics are sweet, and he sentiment is nice. I don’t think you need to know the backstory to get the song, which is a boon in its own right. Your voice is great; I love the little tremolo at the start that adds to the sincerity. The choir- is it a synth, or did you sing it and process it? Great song. Hmm, a criticism.... too much time at the end? Eh.

Mandibles - Us! Estaphonia sounds great on the lead vocal. I came up with the first verse and half the chorus in a ten minute sitting, and we built the rest around it. Estaphonia and truth play tenor uke and banjo respectively, and I really like what they did. I wish I had thought to distort the vocals in the bridge! That would have been cool.

Max Bombast - this has a good groove, but the self aggrandizing is a little much. Exquisitely mixed, and very well sung. The p’s sometimes pop a little more than id like them to, particularly at the start. “But next, and this part's essential,
Never play a show and start to go mental” is my favorite lyric. Such a great patter! This song is entertaining, but doesn’t have staying power for me.

Micah Sommersmith - oh! TMBG submitted a song! (I realize this can be a polarizing comment, but from me, it’s a compliment). The bass line gives me life- I’m taking notes! I like the through composed yet also strophic nature of the song, and the gradual build that it creates, that accelerates when you start shortening the steps. The shakers make a great emphasis when you bring them in. The lyrics are pretty saccharine, like the sort of cheeky goodness that captain hammer sings in dr horrible (that’s the second time I’ve referred to that in these reviews... must be on my mind). I think they don’t bother. I am a big fan of the line ‘seven is the obvious rhyme.’

Moss Palace - this song is exceedingly pleasant to listen to. The line in the e guitar at the start is lovely. The bass throughout is like a heartbeat and holds together the piece very well. This song is meditatively morose, and definitely paints an entire mood. Unfortunately, I find this song rather forgettable. Your voice is lovely, but you stay at the same dynamic/energy level the whole, which despite the changes in the instrumentation, makes the whole song feel rather one note. I will say I like the high note at the end- do more of that! It’s a great color change. If you hadn’t labeled them in the lyrics, I never would have found the instructions. Those lines are pretty standard love song lines, and not very instructional. Production is great- your use of vocals echos is one element that stood out to me.

Nick Soma - I LOOOOOOOVE this song. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best combination of challenge and title. I love how it is from the point of view of the handbook (check page 90, etc is a really nice touch). The music is utterly delightful; laid back but still with a good forward momentum. I love the sounds you use throughout the arrangement. The summoning sound and melody very much reminds me of music from dr. Horribles sing along blog. I like your voice, though at times the tuning goes out, and the declamation of the syllablesdoesnt work out the best. I think both of those could be fixed by further takes to really gel where your voice needs to go on each line.

Nuke Skyblaster Reporting For DUTY!! - what an interesting song! I really enjoy listening to it. Did you record the vocals, or did you pull from a YouTube video? Either way, you mixed this amazingly. I mean, holy cow. The whole arrangement is so great to listen to, especially in headphones. Great build to the orchestration, great use of panning, great layering of the vocals. And it’s hilarious! I love sneakily raunchy materials! I suspect if I were a judge, this would have ranked high from me.

Pigfarmer Jr. - first of all, just because it was made into a jingle, doesn’t mean there’s now a moratorium on repeating fa mi re do, especially since you don’t do the part of the jingle that defines it (the upward second part). Is it simple, a little much? Yes, but nothing wrong with that. Some songs are not as complex as others. This song is fine, and the playing is good, but I want more of a change up. Chunking chords with lots of echo is a cool effect. Your vocals don’t always line up with the instrumental. The title feels a little shoehorned in but the challenge is done well. I REALLY really woth you had added some vocal harmonies! I kept singing them, wishing they were there!

rain - great forward momentum, good balance in the parts, love the drums, and the bass line. Vocals are awesome. the filters/effects you have on them are particularly good- not to distorted, but enough to catch interest. What do you use to process them? The fake ending and coming back in a different time sounds great. The first time I listened to the song I thought, “aw its already over... wait there’s more!”

Rob from Amersfoort - this is a pretty classic RFA song, but I have heard better songs from you. The lyrics are pretty vague and pithy in an off putting, transcendentalist kinds of way. The change up of chorus lyrics feels superfluous. I like your use of typewriter sounds.

see-man-ski - congrats on reinstatement! This feels like a classic rock song. I’d like to talk about your vocals. You have a good sound, and it’s very true to you- I can tell it’s your voice, not an affectation. When you sing more quietly, though, particularly at the start, you lose control over your tuning. This is especially clear because of your doubles vocals, which don’t always line up. It also sounds like they don’t agree on the tune all the time. A little more energy in the breath as you sing will help with that. You don’t have to sing louder there, just more intentionally. Great playing. The lick in the bass is quite satisfying, and I really like the intro and play out.

The Serviettes - oof this lyrics resonates with me hahaha. This is like a young millennial/gen z coming of age anthem. Your vocals are nice BUT when you hit your high note at the start, you go off your breath, and without any support the sound crumbles. You can get away with very little breath lower in your voice, but that won’t fly in the high stuff! You have more support in the chorus, and it sounds pretty good!

Third Cat - I really like your lyrics. The poetry in them flows both on the page and in the song. The sounds of the words themselves are really well chosen and well arranged. The focus on sound vs. meaning makes it a bit vague, but the vagueness is what it’s all about, right? Dissolving into the ether. The sounds you orchestrate in the mix complement the words really well. I especially love clav in my right ear and the backwards reverb sounds. As always I L O V E your vocals. What do you use to process them? They have an amazing timbre. That’s actually the conclusion of this review: I am obsessed with what you do with timbre.

Shadows:

Brown Word and the Big Whine - cool idea! The swell of sounds In the bridge is my favorite part. I find the hook of “the handbook” very tiring after awhile, especially cause it’s under everything. Lyrics are a bit wordy, but you fit them in well enough. I could hear this on a late 80 teen monster movie soundtrack.

Hot Pink Halo - I really like the take of making a handbook. I think your vocals are sung too quietly and mixed too loud. Like others this fight, your doubled vocals betray pitchiness. Sing out, and bring the resonance of your singing higher in your head. It’s as simple as imaging the sound coming out of the top of your head; it will give you more control and a better focused sound. If you’re worried about clipping, turn down the gain on your mic. If your worried about roommates.... eh, screw em. Your art is valuable. At the chorus, I would have done multiple vocal tracks so you can hold “make” a little longer, allowing the vocal lines to overlap. That would have been a cool effect.

Lichen Throat - you already know I’m a huge fan of your writing. The instrumental sounds you use are fab- they make my ear very happy. And your singing is getting better! That also makes my ear happy. The low bridge everybody down hook is great. The second time you sing it is more in tune, so were it me, I would have c&p’d that take to the earlier one. Lyrics have a great patter on the page, and your declaration is getting better, so they sound great in the song too. Not sure I could point out any steps, but hey it’s a shadow! I’d say the melody is still for the most part still too repetitive. Needs more variety (hence why I like the hook so much).

Vom Vorton - a great vom Vorton song, driving beat, good singing, upbeat, makes you feel good. Not sure what the steps lead you to do- at first I thought it was just how to get a package, but at the end it sounds like it might be some more serious lawyer-bound cosmic-consequential process. I better read the handbook! Short,sweet, a fun Idea, it does go much of anywhere, but I like it just as something to rock out to for two minutes.
frankie big face
Loris
Posts: 1882
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 12:26 pm
Instruments: Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Saxophone, Flute, Keyboard, Violin, Other Stuff
Recording Method: Logic, UAD Apollo Twin, aging iMac
Submitting as: frankie big face
Location: Lancaster, PA
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by frankie big face »

No dead air! There like a shimmer at the end but maybe you can only hear it in headphones. Thanks for the review!
Cybronica
Marmoset
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 2:38 pm
Submitting as: Mandibles

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by Cybronica »

frankie big face wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 7:44 am
No dead air! There like a shimmer at the end but maybe you can only hear it in headphones. Thanks for the review!
Ah, I guess I needed to turn up the volume!
User avatar
vowlvom
Galago
Posts: 755
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 3:29 am
Instruments: guitar, keys, "other"
Recording Method: PC, reaper, ableton
Submitting as: Vowl Sounds, Vom Vorton
Pronouns: he/him
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by vowlvom »

Thanks for the review Cybronica! The idea of my lyrics was that some people might require step-by-step instructions on how to buy a book full of step-by-step instructions. Not having to worry about rankings is leading my brain down some strange routes for these challenges, I think.
User avatar
thirdcatmusic
Marmoset
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:52 am
Submitting as: Third Cat
Location: US

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by thirdcatmusic »

Cybronica wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 7:39 am
I finally finished my reviews! Huzzah!

Third Cat - I really like your lyrics. The poetry in them flows both on the page and in the song. The sounds of the words themselves are really well chosen and well arranged. The focus on sound vs. meaning makes it a bit vague, but the vagueness is what it’s all about, right? Dissolving into the ether. The sounds you orchestrate in the mix complement the words really well. I especially love clav in my right ear and the backwards reverb sounds. As always I L O V E your vocals. What do you use to process them? They have an amazing timbre. That’s actually the conclusion of this review: I am obsessed with what you do with timbre.
Huzzah ! (Just finished The Great on Hulu. good one! it's what I think of when I hear Huzzah! now)

Awesome that you did reviews of all of the songs and I very much appreciate the kind words on my song.

On the vocal processing I kind of try something different on each song but the general thing is I usually have 2 or 3 layers of me singing the same part in different ways and effected in different ways - I try to have the loudest layer to have relatively less effects so that it sounds a bit more natural. The more heavily compressed/tuned/delayed/reverbed/ADT vocals are kind of underneath to thicken it up. Often I spread them with panning. Sometimes I save the spreading for one section as a contrast.

I feel like I should make the effort to do full reviews too - I always do on songfight proper but haven't been doing it here, partly because I figure it's just the judges opinions who count and partly because there have just been so many songs it's a bit overwhelming. Maybe for round two.
Cybronica
Marmoset
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 2:38 pm
Submitting as: Mandibles

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by Cybronica »

thirdcatmusic wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 9:08 am
Cybronica wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 7:39 am
I finally finished my reviews! Huzzah!

Third Cat - I really like your lyrics. The poetry in them flows both on the page and in the song. The sounds of the words themselves are really well chosen and well arranged. The focus on sound vs. meaning makes it a bit vague, but the vagueness is what it’s all about, right? Dissolving into the ether. The sounds you orchestrate in the mix complement the words really well. I especially love clav in my right ear and the backwards reverb sounds. As always I L O V E your vocals. What do you use to process them? They have an amazing timbre. That’s actually the conclusion of this review: I am obsessed with what you do with timbre.
Huzzah ! (Just finished The Great on Hulu. good one! it's what I think of when I hear Huzzah! now)

Awesome that you did reviews of all of the songs and I very much appreciate the kind words on my song.

On the vocal processing I kind of try something different on each song but the general thing is I usually have 2 or 3 layers of me singing the same part in different ways and effected in different ways - I try to have the loudest layer to have relatively less effects so that it sounds a bit more natural. The more heavily compressed/tuned/delayed/reverbed/ADT vocals are kind of underneath to thicken it up. Often I spread them with panning. Sometimes I save the spreading for one section as a contrast.

I feel like I should make the effort to do full reviews too - I always do on songfight proper but haven't been doing it here, partly because I figure it's just the judges opinions who count and partly because there have just been so many songs it's a bit overwhelming. Maybe for round two.
Huzzah! The Great is a great show! I’m halfway through myself. I’ve been saying huzzah for years now, but I think now that it is featured in a major Hulu show, fewer people will look at me like I’m crazy (some people didn’t know what it means at all!).

Thanks for walking me through your process. I’m always trying for different ways to do the mix. So, are they each a different vocal take, or all the same take each with different processes?

Regarding reviews, I’m obsessed with reviews, and I figure I can’t expect others to write them if I won’t. I hope you do write some! I’d love to see your thoughts. :)
User avatar
Lucky Spoon
Marmoset
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:48 pm
Instruments: B-b-b-b-bass
Recording Method: Alesis io|26, Reaper, Rode NT, Pixies
Submitting as: Lucky Spoon, Rabbit vs Table
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by Lucky Spoon »

Cybronica wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 7:39 am
The choir- is it a synth, or did you sing it and process it?
Sang it. about 4 R/L pairs of vocal tracks. fade in. add reverb.
Apollo14... Keeping mooses safe since 1992. Full album here

Sneaky Bear Music Video - He's just a #SneakyBear
User avatar
arby
Tarsier
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:21 pm
Instruments: Omnichord, vocals
Recording Method: TASCAM, GarageBand
Submitting as: Lucky Witch & the Righteous Ghost, Goodbye Bandita
Pronouns: she/her
Location: Staten Island, NY
Contact:

Re: Nur Ein XV Round One "The Handbook"

Post by arby »

Adam! wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 11:49 pm
What an incredible batch of songs. Best round 1 ever?

My lyrics were their own liner notes, but here's what really happened:
Wow, I finally had time to watch this and it's such a shame that you didn't get the falsetto in because it sounded SO GOOD! Great song though. And I am REALLY impressed by your recording studio! Amazing.
"Not fair, LW+RG get ambience for free every round." - Chumpy


Post Reply