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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spintunes #4 Round 1 Review: Denise Hudson

Hello. I’m Denise. And these are my crazy-listy reviews. I hope you like them, I worked on them, probably too much.

If I forgot to talk about elements of the challenge then it didn’t really bother me. If I harped on it then something about your presentation made me want to pay attention to whether or not you were sticking to the rules. Really, it became a matter of whether or not I liked your song, and if I liked the presentation of your song (because it needed to be a good enough work in-and-of itself … even if it wasn’t a “hit”). I also listened a few times and got to know each person as much as I could and/or tried to divorce myself from you if I knew you already (much as possible). Sometimes, I expected better of people. Sometimes, people blew away my expectations. But really, none of this mattered, because it all came down to what the song faeries (as I think of them) wanted – almost to the exclusion of how much the Song Itself wanted the writer/performer to adhere to the challenge. Some of you preformed well, but your songs could use more work. I feel you should work with what you have to showcase your song to its best. A lot of this was also based on feelings for me; I don’t like to be led along, or sold to, or talked down to (or up to, even). I dislike pretention, or appearances of Lame-passing-the-buck-sivity, or excessive cheesiness. I have done MANY song contests and been Quite Filleted on All of these Songwriting Violations.

I also really HATE to be rude.

These reviews are late and were cut down from a document of over 40 pages long. I’m fairly sure that I repeated myself, at one point I flagrantly hit on one of you and I don’t mean to, and I am a general pain in the tuckus. It’s hard to criticize even though I do constantly make the judgments in my head. This seems hypocritical so I figured this would be good for me. I hold you all in the highest respect for being here, and appreciated EVERY effort.

I think you all did a really good job here. I am sorry I was a few hours late on the deadline and that these meander so VERY much!!! I did work hard on them because you are worthy of the Effort. 

Yours truly,
Den. Your Difficult Judge Number Four.

PS. I encourage all who are eliminated to shadow the competition, and to keep competing in this and other contests – and to be active in the communities because it makes you better. 

STEVE DURAND ‘Isn’t It Cool’
1.You have quite your own style! I always have loved your lyrics. This really sets a scene. The horns really sink this for you.
2.LOVE THIS BANJO!!!!! YES!!!!!
3.You are a crazy, diabolical … AGHGHGH! I want to play this for my father. I really must confess, I have nothing much bad to say about this.
4.This needs to be played at the end of a movie…. man. I want this played at my frisking funeral!
5.I feel I must critique. Okay… the organ is a little barren. Maybe you could Leslie it up or something... But this is still awfully fun.
6.Some of your transitions are a bit wobbly. I wonder how you are mastering things. Also I wonder what different mastering decisions could do with smoothing your vocal into the mix.
7.Amen….

ROSS DURAND ‘Why Can’t I?’
1.This is another hit song to go at the end of another hit movie with your hit voice again. We ask; you deliver. Well done, then.
2.Before your first “if you can’t fly … why can’t I?” it is a bit cheesy for my tastes.
3.There’s that shaky egg again. I don’t really like it in the mix. At the end of its passage I at least wanted it to rattlesnake or something. I heard it making extraneous noises and that was nice.
4.Harmonies really well done.
5.I wish I could get away with improv-ing off the melody in later verses like you do.
6.Your bass line is really cool.
7.Sometimes your vocal treatment (perhaps the eq) doesn’t do you justice in the exposed parts. You thin out a little bit, is the only way I can think to explain it. Really, I’m just being awfully nit-picky … because you’re pretty close to demo quality. This belongs on a screen with horses running and I’m sure you get that on some level.

TRADER JACK ‘Big Brown Bear’
1.Odd and well performed. Get on the bill with Jack White right quick. You don’t even need a band.
2.Your guitar sounds great. I LOVE the laugh. What a delight! This is blues with a fun progression to boot!
3.It’s got a hook and the lyrics are even hooky-clever as wella!
4.It doesn’t go on too long. Keeps the attention at perfect amount.
5.I hate to keep comparing, but I feel like I’ve been in my high school boyfriend’s car kissing to a Violent Femmes CD. You aced the challenge and I really don’t give a rat’s because it’s gonna keep on living.

JON ERIC – ‘Images Without Light’
1.Well-placed vocal with really well applied effects. I’m familiar with your vocal and you’ve made yourself sound pretty sexy here. Perhaps you should use guitar more often, hey?
2.Rubato seems cursory. Makes the song lose momentum. If I were re-producing this I’d take it out. I know you had to use it for the challenge, though.
3.Your guitar is well done and you are using its percussive qualities to really maximize instrumentation. It’s nice to hear something that doesn’t have drums not NEED drums. This would be a good live number for you.
4.Going into the harder section you could use a different eq. your backup vocal saves this for you and is placed in the right spot in the mix.
5.You went for the hero note and you scored. I’ll listen to this again.

ROBERT BORDEN – ‘Funny Guy’
1.God your voice is amazing. This is different from all the others.
2.The hiss and recording quality is a real shame. The quaver in the vocal is so beautiful it makes me swallow funny. 
3.I just want to weep and hug this song and this completely explains

…cruelty …so just … thank you. Wow.4.Chord progression sinks this for you.
5.This song is creepy and compelling and sad and really psychological and hit me pretty hard right now and I really love this.

CHRIS COGOTT ‘Alone’
1.Already this starts off with awesomeness. This is full of deceptive cadences.
2.You definitely have a “sound” of YOUR own.
3.I feel like your bass guitar is a little loud in the mix, then your acoustic guitar is pretty hot, and then so on and so forth until perhaps the signal is a big wall of “CHRIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Perhaps this isn’t terrible if you are going to be awesome in this Fashion. Then of course your lead fries my face off.
4.Not diggin’ your snare in the solo. This is picky stuff. Really nit picky.
5.The structure, development, and presentation are really ace.
6.I really WISH you had ended it with …

… “alone ….” I know this is an artistic decision. Perhaps I am a cheeseball. But dude. The song is called ‘Alone.’ 

CALEB HINES – ‘Footprints’
1.This is full of rubato and seems like it was basically written to grab me, which it DID. THAT BASS NOTE!!!
2.The piano is well-played, it fits your style and is very passionate. I can hear the midi in there enough to want to grab your file off of you and run it through a couple patches I know () but the bass and the highs are just.. yay.
3.I almost want you to push it even more but I don’t know how much you are already vocally. This needs a WHOLE lot of passion, I feel. Still, it’s a Well Done Thing because the way you voice the motif from the beginning gives it an ice-skatery quality that puts your vocal timbre well into the space.
4.Occasionally borders on being almost a bit too Disney. The complexity of your modal choices save you from this, differently stacked voicings could have taken it even further. This is severely picky piano stuff now – and you were already doing so WELL.
5.Your acoustic spaces match up and I am really pleased about that.
6.As always your lyrics are well done, but in this more flow-y style you could vary the rhythm a little bit more and make your vocal line flow a little more syrupy too.
7.The last note I could deal with having a more complex harmony on it, perhaps.

HAZEN NESTER – ‘And Indelible Mark’
1.I love your vocal. It’s adorable. It's simple and goes perfectly with the instruments. It sounds like something from a movie starring Ellen Page only she is having a flashback to her childhood where she dies horribly. Narrated by her scruffy haired boyfriend. Macabre as all get-out.
2.I know it’s a song about a dream too, because you put a cute music box, RIGHT THERE … didn’t you now?  sweet kitty missing its button eyes. I guess old tricks are there for a reason and I bought it and you DID it, man!
3.Your prosody is a little awkward at the beginning but it could be argued that it sorta fits how …. MESSED UP this is.
4.The melody gets repetitive and your cute voice can start to grate on it after a while, but that just adds to the nightmare that you actually will make me have – like a tiny, frightened little Denni.
5.Also, your cello comes in exactly right and duets with things really well. No wasted space in this psycho piece of evil.

Hazen, you’re atrocious 

DAVID LEDUC – ‘Nightmare’
1.Your lyrics rule. I am quite confident that the phrase "prehistoric rabbit monkeys all up in my house has never been said in a sexier voice in all of time."
2.I wanted more texture, and the shaky egg amateur-ized this. The shakey egg has become almost a meme in YouTube-y internet-land; and I almost wanted to hear you get over low-fi homespun, campfire thing because you are gunning it vocally. You do redeem this somewhat with texture.
3.Well-chosen chords and the vibe reminds me of something you might hear in Austin. Don’t know if this will make you smile or sigh.
4.Nice sense of drama and the creep is nice, cute, and theatrical! Your nightmare hurts my spleen. Splendid guitar sound which I would certainly go to hear at a coffee shop and tip your mysterious Self a buck or two before I went home.
5.MARITAL ASIDE: This doesn’t matter for judging, but my husband liked the manic hand clapping and imagined identical scary Stepford Wife backup clappers with weird grins. This made me think of the Jenny Lewis album cover.
6.I didn't hear a specific mention of childhood and don't care as usual-y, or much of a structure but that sure was a skilled rubato, chief.

GOVERNING DYNAMICS – ‘Fear Nothing’
1.Nice chord progression, and the dissonances sound like pretty, trippy whales. This is bloody long… I found myself not caring because your sections are well placed and one could have some serious sexual activity to this number. Geez man, I’m sorry  …
2.Your singing has come a long way and does NOT distract with Suck much in the least. Tuning problems at a minimum. I liked your lyrics right off the bat that were travis-esque like “parachute/pair of wings.” You have a good simple chorus hook but song length undermines effectiveness. Harmonies are lovely.
3.It needed drums, I felt. You could benefit from a collab with a drummer and from some attention to vocal eq-ing possibly to bring out different frequencies in You.
4.This is not a single, but would work as a Song Number Seven on an album. That, of course, is appropriate to topic. Does fit challenge as much as anyone’s – poetically. Tempo fluctuated enough.
5.In conclusion, you are probably one of the few acts I’ve ever heard I will tolerate dishing out this over 5min s%*^. Guitarishness gives one an edge, I s’poze. Beautifully thin ice, my dear, beautifully thin ice.

REBECCA ANGEL – ‘Monster's Lullaby’
1.Your vocal came across as really precious as to me at the beginning and your sibilants seemed like more of a detraction; but then your choice of mode was nice in a kind of Celtic-inspired way. You hit your high range and it got hymn-y and grew into substance right quick.
2.Your piano was well rendered (modeled?). I am picky about pianos - so the hammers struck me (ha, ha) as a bit harsh and uneven. This could have been solved by any number of things from different midi editing decisions on a really minute level, to different choices of effects. The bell sounds are not too formulaic and cutesy, which is a good thing because that would be a DISASTER with your vocal.
3.There are real nice bits that don't come out enough, like the humming at the end, because of distracting recording issues... Hisses, little extraneous noises, volume differences here and there…sometimes I don’t quite agree with your reverb.
4.Your modulations and interesting harmonies put you up in rank; vocal versatility and cute pronunciation of words like “turtle” … interesting imagery like the disembodied arm coming down the stairs (shivery!!!) – nice!
5.This song is sad, somehow.

DREI VIERTEL DREI ‘Lollipop Lady’
1.Your mix is really clear, although the bass was slighty heavy. Layering is nice. This is how a guitar should sound in a raw environment.
2.Your sounds are really blending the electric ones into acoustic ones. Then you decided to go to crazy town.
3.This is terribly weird and really interesting. Psychological and troubling. I don’t really like it, but it’s because it BOTHERS me. And it’s not because it’s not well done. It’s because you are creepy.
4.It is a bit cheesy. Gosh. I can’t figure this out. This is a really good nightmare piece. As I hate this more and more and swear never to listen to it again, I put it higher in the rankings. I feel like a really mean teacher with incredibly long nails is reading to me at the demon library children’s book reading hour… OF SATAN!!!!! #bwahahahahahaha
5.I’m sorry. I can’t do this anymore. And you do repeat yourself quite a bit. Well done. I don’t understand you. #cries

BRYAN GRAY – ‘Just a Dream'
1.I thought that your double tracking could have been a tad bit tighter and I didn’t agree with your tone. Rubato felt cursory; but you weren’t the only one. Really good layering though – quite pro. Guitar tone grated on my nerves a bit at the solo.
2.Choruses and harmonies SPOT ON; as was the structure. Bridge was the right length and well placed. This is pretty much textbook, crack songwriting.
3.This song could win a geeky contest. Fits neatly into that type without being really Cosmologicalicious. Nerds everywhere will wave their led flashy phone-calculator-watch-fluxcapacitor-matter-transfer-devices at it.
4.And yet … bitter, cynical me is thinking "how many cute little songs have mentioned Jedi? Is this just getting a little meme-y.." but your musical choices are good. So it kind of travels into the realm of something I am thinking increasingly more and more of as nerd-kitsch. It just rides the cusp though, and it sure feels wrong to criticize and be rude and I can see the Ewoks coming at me with their sticks now … :/
5.REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good hook. One of the better ones, albeit a little frunksy within the harmony. And yet still it works! Uh … achievement unlocked ;)

WAIT WHAT ‘Toilet Demons’
1.What the hell is wrong with you?!?!?
2.Seriously. Dude. I thought this was um.. childhood dream-age. Like. A FAMILY show. Nevertheless…
3.‘skid mark of the beast.’ #giggle #snort #guffaw
4.This is really well mixed and well produced and is one of the songs that was a real pleasure to listen to. It didn’t grate, it didn’t hurt, and had good hook.
5.If you hadn’t had to tell me I had screaaamun toilet Deeee-monnnns so many times, sadly, this would have scored even higher.
6.The clips (Morgan Freeman?) popped you up also higher.
7.Your voice is really apathetic grungey perfect for this type of “#$^& Your Song Contest” rock. Well done.
8.Diggin’ your bass tone. Jury still out over whether or not your whole rhythm section gels perfectly. Levels were nice though, and once again – sadly – I’ll listen again. 

JACOB HALLER – “A Maze”
1.The electric piano was nice, and your voice sounded professional – although at times Muppetticious.
2.The childhood vibe was hard to catch … but the jumping over the creek and the toxic waste and just the feel of the song had kind of a childish silliness that the piano pushed over the top into okay-ness for me. The rubato was squeezed into your blues – but all this was notably secondary to the song itself.
3.I really like the lyrics at the end and other moments like “invisible man” / “visible brain” (“open your eyes when he calls out your name”)
4.You choose a right, noir sounding instrument for the solo (passing thought from husband, I agreed) – but my thought on that is that though interesting and clever a choice, the level is wrong and some of the movement is over the top. You do mellow into it though and with some development and streamlining of the solo this could go really well. It’s nice and bleedy.
5.The dissonances serve you well. This is almost super-authentic enough to make me not want to judge it. It needs just a tad more swamp in it, perhaps.

FELIX FROST – ‘Rust People’
1.That is the creepiest opening note! Rubato used in a horrible and effective way. Soundscape well done. Repeated notes on piano too harsh. I feel like I am trapped inside my Roland Juno. I don’t know that this is a nice thing. But it’s dreamy and scary.
2.There is too much texture though and at times it just TOO MUCH and DOESN’T GO! You’re good at this but it just seems so ARBITRARY!
3.Your reverb bored me and could have fit into the mix better. This could stand to cohese a little more.
4.There is something that makes me feel like I have just listened to Mr. Bungle on the way to a babysitting gig where my charges are watching the Backyardigans. Or that I'm being waterboarded by the members of Of Montreal. Now I am doing something I hate, which is name-drop comparing, so I deserve the torture. Perhaps I am jealous of your swish Xylophone sample. The instruments got on top of your vocal, making it a little hard to hear. I would have mixed it a little less … hectically. Maybe made different decisions about effects. Then again, this is a nightmare .......

EMPEROR GUM ‘Posted’
1.Nice modes and REALLY nice sample, although a tad harsh at times. And as it goes on and on the continued use of it to the exclusion to other voices entering or layering being used seems ill-advised. If you’d changed it up some it would have done you a lot more service. Particularly when the “beat” comes in more. I feel the need for cello; perhaps even your clarinets would be better. Desperately needs variation.
2.The sweeping-down melodic motif is really charming though. It counters your melody really well.
3.Your rubato was odd and unorthodox, and the strident singing you used had a distinct possibility of not working. You pull it off though.
4.Lovely chord progression. . Like a few others you celebrate a kind of reverse rubato... but you use a few different kinds of tempo fluctuations. You really display a very adept Romantic Rubato, which you play very deliberately into the beginning of a few particular phrases. hmmm.
5.Your singing gets better and better although at times you take some risks here that it seems do not quite pay off or get you quite where you want to go. You seem to not quite do justice to your scale, but you always arrive home and you have this thick part of your tone that has always sat well to me. You match your clarinets, I suppose, with your sweet spot.

JESS SCHERER ‘Taken’
1.Sweet song, strong chorus. Piano simple and formulaic but nice and comforting, like church. It wanted for vocal harmony. The chord progression was sweet. No gimmicks here.
2.Low octaves have proved the point of your song so I'm buying it; it must be true. oh gosh ... this is nice.
3.This presents a nice package that benefits by comparison to other songs with its sheer simplicity. I don’t know if it makes it as a stand-alone though. It really shone at the listening party. You have a charming voice.
4.However, I am not really all that scared (not that this is the challenge) and I really want a bridge. Good grief. Are you REALLY going to end like... really? oh well ... "boop boop bee doop to you as well. Aren't you sweet?
5.kisses. :)

NOAH MCLAUGHLIN – ‘Always Someone’s Monster
1.I’m familiar with your work from Song Fight! and I can say that you pulled out some stops. I have to look at it as a stand alone though
2.The repetition-echoes were a bit excessive. You are using chorus anyway, and I don’t think that in particular suits your voice as much as some of the other decisions you are making. The feel of this is more hooky than melody and you are getting a style down, really.
3.The song structure is really good. And the plot is actually one of those where it is easy to see that the instructions were clearly followed. All challenge precepts squarely met – although the rubato one was done in a few differently interpreted ways. I went back and listened to see about your intentionality. Because your second section was really just a tempo change, really. But this is okay – you fluctuated in Country style enough.
4.Your tasteful usage of organ and the rest of your layering made the whole recording sound pro – and then toward the end your decisions kind of unravel a little. Your drum programming is a little bit excessive when it doesn’t need to be and simplistic when more would do.
5.You could be more careful with the growling because it can get a little – comical? maybe? A little more subtlety in some places and you’ll have it down pat.
6.Your vst in the new section was an odd choice I felt, and the new section had a rhythm that was too singsongy and undermined the tone of the rest of the song. But still, VERY well done and with a nice fade.

Common Lisp – ‘A Nightmare In Three Acts’
1.You're a little low in the mix. I get this weird feeling I’m in some kind of spoken word/poetry reading sort of environment and perhaps it is not really too song-y. This is fine with me, I almost think that’s more your milieu.
2.I’m not one of those who feel that you can’t sing, because when you stay in places where you are strong, you get your plot points across really well. Your voice has an interesting breathy urgency that you often use good effects on a lot … uh… to good effect  (duhhhh…)
3.Sometimes you go for these hero moments vocally though and this KILLS you and any vocal credibility you have. This may undermine confidence in your singing and I think that would be a real shame. I feel like this happens to a few people with twitchy vocals so I hope that there are other people who try to do things that are not their strengths reading this, because if you build slow and steady on something it … uh … wins the race (duhhh…)…
4.More of this thing I’m seeing that I’m thinking of as Inverted Rubato. It collapses a bit in the middle, technically – was it the structure? Sometimes you can be just SO arbitrary (pot … kettle. Eeek.) I don’t know. Really it is put together so epically, though. The CHORD PROGRESSION really makes this expansive as a work.
5.I like the content of this a lot, so it drew me in. Things that are interesting and change enough to hold my attention can skate in other areas.
6.This is very intellectual. I’m compelled, Paul. Compelled. This is an investment you should keep tinkering away at, perhaps adding some personnel. Many things you could do with this.

KEVIN SAVINO-RIKER ‘Thunder’
1.Nice sounding guitar as usual. Well-recorded and really tasty technique. #envy
2. Samey melody, which needs a hook. Your chorus doesn't develop from your verse. I find myself getting somewhat bored.
3.You have a really successful and effective vibrato. This could benefit from more instruments and layering. Your phrasing reminds me a little bit of Alanis. Or Tenacious D.  You do keep it simple, and that’s okay.
4.I feel here as if you are one of those sensitive guitar guys and I am one of those people who Ruins It in the audience by fidgeting … trying not to giggle and $%& up the performance. You make a really romantic and earnest expression, for example, perhaps; and I fail and have to be taken out of the auditorium of your very nice Adult Gig and be given smacks because I do not get the Poetry of it all … oh well … :/
5.This may have all been a moot point with more instruments and development. Perhaps I am just a serious pain with no attention span. Hmm.
6.Maybe I will grow up and be more respectful next round. Who knows these things? Your sound is really lovely, at any rate. Gimme some hook and.. [THIS WAS THE PART where I ACCIDENTALLY hit on you. I think I said something about sellability and ‘sex on a stick,’ and I didn’t mean anything by it. Your vocal has always impressed me with its potential.]

GOLD LION ‘Lady in Blue’
1.Your guitar atmosphere needs to match the reverb on your voice. Throaty goodness, but effect so wet compared to the rest that it is distracting. The guitar is really dry and you could really eq it differently. Well-sung harmonies could be mixed a lot more … beautifully, I think.
2.This song structure seems a little bit jam-band-ish. You do go on-and-on at the end, yeah?  You have a good voice and can strum like a pro. Needs structure. You could say the same with less. It’s still very effective and yes again you do have a very nice set of pipes.
3.That being said, some of the starkness adds to the violence and raw beauty that you have about you. Even your plunksy guitar. The percussive-ness can be seen as a compare/contrast. Your lead is just so legato that I almost want a complimentary layer.
4.Your backups sound really like you are not on a very good mic. You could solve this with study of good recording techniques and mixing things with your ear so that they do match, if this is the case.
5.You really do seem to have a demographic. Continue working to be distinctive and you will go far-far-FAR as you are on the right track for sure  There are lots of little things in your recording that are distracting.

BOFFO YUX DUDES ‘Dancin’ to the Nightlight’
1.There’s a lot of hiss here. The vocal is actually pretty sexy here. Reverb well chosen. Hiss is KILLING ME.
2.Geez y’all are weird.
3.The levels on this need tightening. There is some really neat vocal stuff going on here. The vibrato… um … this more feels like two different tempos. It… kinda… fluctuates until there is a VERY jarring … accelerando. I’m gonna go ahead and count it.
4.I don’t really care. I just want balloons.
5.This goes on and on. But then I look at the time and I see that it’s just SORTA long. So that is mildly nightmareish.
6.I don’t get the punchline at the end. It’s funny though.
7.This is very Boffo Yux. Which means. Uh. Yeah. FUN!

EDRIC HALEEN ‘Sweet Dreams’
1.You have out-meta'ed yourself and included a token original phrase that leaves you off the hook. This got you your customary judging scandal. So tick off the box for you there. :)
2.Your use of a song as your primary instrument was skillfully done as in Edric-fashion. All theory rules were followed. Childhood not specifically mentioned, but it was easy to extrapolate all the way to infancy. Rubato was excessive and outdid the textbook definition of such. I certainly wouldn’t disqualify you. I'm too busy next week.
3.As for the artistic merit of this art piece, you nailed it and I could imagine this staged in several effective ways. It could be done chilling, sad, mysterious, any number of ways. You got the scream right into that frequency of Horrid.
4. Mixing made things sound a little samey. If it were me, I may have added one, single cello note in one, particular place for that one, little soupcon of drama. And used a particular sample I have called creepy clown piano. Use of music box has also become a little bit rote for “look … this is a nightmare,” but what are you gonna do?
5.Harmonies were exquisite. A Quite Clever arrangement of a timeless classic. And when I say arrangement, perhaps now you understand, even if you don’t agree. And I certainly appreciate – after a fashion.

DEX01 – ‘Let Me Out’
1.I like your vamp; and combined with your vocal’s odd nerdiness it made the beginning sound like the sort of song teenagers might sneak out to make trouble to.
2.Your rubato is odd, backwards, and distracting from the song – more of an accelerando and deccelerando, really. Fine. These things are subjective in my opinion.
3.You kind of remind me of a muppet and your kick drum is annoying me a little. This could be solved with a different eq, chorus, and reverb; and different levels in the mix, respectively.
4.Chorus on the vocal or something like it also would have given you more legitimacy, I feel – lent more Weight to it. In this vein, your strummy chords might have also come across better with more sustain and created more of a sound-scape which was more cinematic and less garage.
5.The song is too sectional but the placement, at least, did help the theatrics.

MENAGE A TUNE ‘Haunting House’
1.It’s another nightmare cute little music box. We know what challenge we’re in. 
2.Nice hanging dissonance at the end of your phrase. Some of your vocal edits are not quite locked in. I think your reverb is over the top. It’s nice to hear cleaner and cleaner recordings out of you.
3.Orchestration was busy and samples were pretty stock. Still, it got your point across and I am going to say you’ve come a long way and I’m really impressed.
4.I wish that you hadn’t repeated “but I go on” there at the end. There was quite a bit of repetition of ideas here.
5.Your melody is quite hooky and tuneful.

DAVID RITTER ‘Beaster Bunny’
1.These lyrics are pretty funny. I got giggly.
2.This guitar is pretty jarring. The tone is pretty though. I don’t know what you are putting on it but whatever is in your chain is working tone-wise but the mix says “ouch.”
3.It got pretty … silly, for lack of a better word; and a bit repetitive. I feel like a bit of compression on the lot of it would have done you a world of good. I had to turn things way down in relation to other entries.
4.You already know the issue with the big block of silence and the whole Thing that happened and all that. Nonetheless…
5.Your melody was kind of samey, I got bored after a while. It would have been good background music at a party.
6.The perspective was awfully adult even though it was childhood dream. I don’t know, my little brother’s friends listened to Mötley Crüe growing up and had filthy minds so no disqualification there. Who knows these things?

ROSALIND ‘Where’s the Buzzing’
1.I liked the idea of the jazziness of this, but I couldn’t decide if this was “avant garde,” (which I cannot Spell) “ill advised,” or “mistake ridden.” I chose to give benefit of doubt. To a point.
2.This was debated a lot in judging circles; both over the childhood dream factor and whether or not you were actually dreaming. I had… other concerns.
3.The piano and vocal don't really go together. That doesn’t mean it’s not thought out; maybe that’s your style It seemed like a feasible alternative
4.Your vocal is really nice.  Kill your mic (and/or mic technique) with fire, please. You clip. Do you know this? Is this part of your effect? Are you moving back and forth on purpose? Buzzing back and forth to and from the mic to get us to think we are wake-dreaming you are a fly?
5.Lots of melodic meandering here. When and how your layering comes in though doesn’t seem deliberate and if I can’t call it to mind after just a few listens – as they say – I don’t hear a single (gah! I hate that phrase!)

THE ORION SOUND ‘Nazi Nightmare’
1.Dude, you Godwin's Law'ed us.
2.Your reverb is annoying me, but you have an adorable new wave-y accent. Busting a little attitude there, I see. It’s nice. REALLY HEART the "no more crumpets / no more tea" – it made me really happy and I giggled like a fool.
3.It was a good thing too, some of your rhymes were cringe-y. And your vibe was a little bit cruise-shippy at times.
4.Harsh vocal tops in need of a good limiting/compressor combo or something.
5.It’s cute but MY STARS YOUR PIANO IS LOUD!!!!!! #MANYSOLEMNFACES
6.Your rubato seems thrown in and checked off so can't really fault you there, and if you were a kid in this dream I didn't hear it but you would need to be locked away in a prison for meme violators. Kisses! XX

PS. This doesn’t count toward your review, but my husband said it was like Ben Folds in lederhosen; and that that was the most syllables ‘Nazi’ has ever been stretched over.

JIM HOLMQUIST ‘Old Dan Next Door’
1.1-2-3-4- ... ack!
2.Your uke had body. Hating the uke is the new little black dress and I won’t do it. So you did that well enough.
3.Trippy style that I imagine is effective at the end of a Weeds episode or in the sad part of a Wes Anderson movie. Which means it's cute but had better go on for 1.5 minute or less; or have some development. Your chord progression was somewhat interesting in the way that it played with the 3rd a bit and the bridge was a nice little departure that pulled us into a different direction - but would have been effective with better vocal tuning vocally. Tighten this up production-wise and perhaps some differently timbred instruments and it could really expand in an interesting, win-some way.
4.Your chorus of questions did eventually kinda grow on me. To a point.
5.Scale pattern nice for a spacer but overdone in pop-literature. I could almost not focus on the lyrics enough to hear if challenges were getting met because I was lulled into a stupor of fllllarrrrrrggghhh.

FauX – ‘Sleep’
1.The way your piano is recorded, in this way that makes it sound so beautiful and so full of potential. Then your vocal comes in and is all wrongly set up for the environment you have. It’s loud and dry and harshy. and then surrounded by the other instruments it kind of sounds messy and comical and lampoonable. I can almost not hear your point because it just sounds kind of like it's almost failing at being derivative.
2.I hate to say this. It sounds mean. In your defense (what judge does this?!) your vocal could really be paid attention to because there is a warm quality here that could really showcase a concept of childhood-ish-ness in a compelling and even sexy way, which is rare for this sort of vocal.
3.Your choice of instrumentation wasn't rote and could have been showcased more originally with different tempo decisions or less predictable piano patterns - maybe some variation in your pattern... some simplicity. Not every beat needs to be filled with noise. This was a hard lesson that I know - because I’ve had to learn it too.
4.The detuning effect on piano is pretty nifty; and whatever you ended the song with concerning your vocals was more along the lines of the right idea. You don't usually see ill-advised decisions like this redeemed at the end in this manner. I really kinda dug the end. 

LUKE BREKKE, ESQUIRE ‘Alone’
1.This almost came dead-dead last because your recording quality and piano-banging were jarring.
2.Your rubato seems like just tempo changes and any real rubato was accidental.
3.You’ve also got a distortion-y buzz that is really killing your message. The phone going off was just icing on the cake for that … is THAT what that was?
4.You need a POP filter!
5.I do like your lyrics a lot and the sing-songy nature of the thing and it fits your voice quite a bit; pulling the song along. Your charm really saves you a bit here.

CHRIS TALLMAN ‘Fear the Reaper’
1.This has a lot of hiss and you are holding some ambitious notes that you do not quite hero through enough. Your guitar is having the same problem with these very exposed chords.
2.I liked the line about “the uncertainty of when and not knowing why.”
3.I am really not getting the childhood dream-stuff in here. Just a reference to a Bible quote about childhood and for the rubato – a tempo change rather than a slow-down.
4.Sound quality changed DRASTICALLY toward the last half when the Bible quote came in. Which strikes me as odd.
5.I don’t have a whole lot to say about this song, as it is a lot of the same. Your voice has a nice tone to it and could use a better showcase, I think.

MARLON BARNES ‘Teeth’
four minutes. twenty seven seconds. you owe me brownies.

no. you do.really.

i've listened to this twice. And I'm listening again a bit. That's over ten minutes of it.

I would have thought this was really, really cute if it had been
1. S H O R T E R
2. S H O R T E R
3. ... if I had been Quite a Bit Tipsy around the campfire.
4. if I was in a dentist, under heavy, heavy sedation.

Dude. I dunno man. You are one cheeky fella. With funky mic placement and a very interesting voice. I wonder what you look like. What's your sign? You may come to my party though. I have a toothbrush with batteries. Thank god. In other news, we don't know if AD/CD should be proud at the chordal tribute, or a bit scandalized.
Then again, Bon Scott was missing some teeth... ;)

I did like your lyrics. But your hiss was frying my ears off by the end.

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I hated to rank anything last. I want to say that many of these last groupings were much of a muchness. So don’t take too much to heart and read the critique more than anything. Feel free to ask questions and argue Copiously.

1 comment:

  1. Denise - thank you so much for that review. I was wiping away tears of laughter by the end.

    ReplyDelete