Nur Ein XI Round Five "Unnecessary"

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Paco Del Stinko
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Sun May 22, 2016 5:19 pm

Heh. Just passed ten years about a month ago. At least I got THAT on ya,. Benny Boy! Congrats. Anyway, I am in. NUR EIN!
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby bgm » Sun May 22, 2016 9:15 pm

This week I learned that it's actually pretty difficult to write pretentious lyrics that sound profound but actually don't really mean anything.
Aside from that, I tried to include as many psychedelia clichés I could think of:

Image mellotron
Image backwards guitar/cymbals/talking
Image secret messages
Image the obligatory cultural appropriation of indian/middle eastern instruments
Image drones (see above)
Image but hey I can play indian kinda stuff on my guitar and bass and it totally works man
Image voice through a leslie speaker
Image slowed-down vocals
Image incongruous sound effects
Image cellos/swooping strings
Image gratuitous panning
Image the old 'trick fade-out' ending
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby Paco Del Stinko » Sun May 22, 2016 9:26 pm

You forgot the harpsicord.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby BenKrieger » Sun May 22, 2016 9:26 pm

Can't wait to hear this!

I took a compositional risk with this one...fingers crossed. Production-wise, I went for Revolver over Yeti.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby bgm » Sun May 22, 2016 9:27 pm

Paco Del Stinko wrote:You forgot the harpsicord.

Not forgotten. Omitted.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby BenKrieger » Sun May 22, 2016 10:22 pm

First pass at this:

There's so much fun stuff in this round! I'm jealous of gear y'all have. How do you all do the slow downed voices?
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby bgm » Sun May 22, 2016 10:39 pm

Everyone did awesome. I was totally laughing while listening,so many perfect things.
Must sleep now.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby j$ » Mon May 23, 2016 9:54 am

W.A.I.L. I.A.A.C. 1+5+1+5+5 ...

Despite grumpy reviews, this is a great round. Sorry; I had to start getting arbitrary or it would have been everyone 1st equal. Oh, why does *no-one* appreciate the difficulties of being a judge? :)


BGM – Well this is lovely and a pleasant listen; but it comes across, as you have already implied, as little more than a tick box exercise. I am not engaging with it on any level apart from technical admiration. Actually that’s not fair – luckily you could find a tune in a ‘Musique Concrete’ challenge: do like when the bass kicks in and it goes faux-droney; but again it doesn’t really go anywhere with it other than as a pastiche. Maybe the lyric means more than it seems to but I’m not feeling it. Sorry. Particularly un-fond of the fake fade-out; it adds nothing and actually detracts from the song to that point, IMO.

BSS – Nice sitar-esque guitar. Great harmonies. The ‘psychedelic’ mix means nothing’s really jumping out at me on first (or second) listen but overall it’s a very aurally pleasing listen. I don’t feel like I’ve got much else to say - superior psychedelic pop.

Grumpy Mike – I was joking with some of the other judges we could look forward to ‘Black Hole Sun’ from you this round – ummm, wow. :shock: Way to break convention! This is a very funny song ('You want to pay the rent / or even be the 1%'’ is something I wish I’d written) and definitely meets the challenge in a way I didn’t expect anyone to go with! It’s got that ‘Mothers of Invention’ from the 60s feel to it, which I appreciate. That arrangement is so dumb, it’s fab-dumb. I can’t decide if I think this is genius or just a fart-out. Probably both :) The problem is I don’t know how many times I can listen to it. Still kudos for great take on the title/challenge and for completely surprising me – I did think for a moment this had been mis-tagged/mis-indicated! Oh and I *LOVE* the ending. Will you take ‘genius fart-out’ as a compliment?

I-Veg – voice sounds great on this one. As does the guitar and the (Rhodes-esque?) keys chord sequence. The echo on the vocal could do with a bit more calculation, it’s slightly distracting at the moment. It may not be the delay length, rather the mode you’ve chosen? Anyway, despite initial reservations about the chorus not being ‘big’ enough have faded with repeated listens. (I don’t like the line ‘I’m off to the showers’ btw and also ‘whatever … whatever’ should have been something along the lines of ‘whatever that means …’ but otherwise it’s a good lyric). Great BVs (even when you go for those high notes and it gets a bit mangled, it still sounds very good in its own way). Yeah, this is a good-un.

Ken – Hmmm, I’ve heard that keyboard riff / chord progression in a disco song before. At least seven different times ;) The best your vocals have sounded this Nur Ein, for me. It’s a lovely tune. Great phrasing (especially that ‘staggered’ ‘your fears are unnecessary’ at the end of the chorus). A little long but that goes with the challenge trajectory so no dropped points there. Not quite up there with last round’s entry but damn if I’m not waving an imaginary lighter in a stadium somewhere in New Jersey to this.

Micah – Great lyric (though I don’t think the drop-off from Church attendance can seriously be entirely equated to the increase in heroin-taking – doesn’t say much about believers if that’s their alternative go-to)! Just two things I don’t like about this – the BVs (I think) in the first choruses sound flat to me (I may be wrong – as you absolutely nail it in the third/fourth, which makes me think you’re doing something clever that I’m never going to be able to hear properly) and the accordion VST (tee hee!) solo is ‘unnecessary’. It kind of sticks out in a way that doesn’t add anything. I was hoping for a psychedelic guitar solo instead. Otherwise I like this a lot. In fact I’m going to listen to it again. Oh yeah, before I forget, I absolutely love the rolling toms ‘bridge’ or whatever you want to call it. That’s Big-Top tops.

PdSHey, I already wrote this song 9 years ago (albeit far inferior-ly)! Oh my those BVs are great; and you know it, considering how loud in the mix they are  Yeah, this is all kinds of pleasant. And you get to indulge your lead guitaring once again, which is a) amazing and b) something I realise in retrospect that the judges should have predicted before deciding on the challenge. Cute lyric. Not my favourite Paco song but does what it does and challenges anyone to question its success.

Solo Frijoles – Ah damn - meta-lyric. Sorry, man, I know it’s my personal taste but it would be remiss of me not to mark you down on that crap when I did it to Levittown last round for the exact same reason. Also because, as catchy a snippet this is (and it really it is) I actually think it would be necessary to give me more. This feels like a throw-out in a bad way. I admire the “arrogance” but, really? How close to the wind do you want to sail? Don’t tell me which three minutes of shit I don’t need, just make more effort. It’s particularly frustrating because what is here is the bare bones of something truly fantastic but it just comes across like you couldn’t give a fuck. So why should I?
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby BenKrieger » Mon May 23, 2016 10:24 am

I figured since I was the last song this and everyone would be suffering from psychedelic overload, so why not take a chance?
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby j$ » Mon May 23, 2016 11:04 am

NIce risk-taking. I admire that big time; but a dangerous game to play. My votes for you so far have not been based on position. Still, big cojones (or however that is spelt).
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby BenKrieger » Mon May 23, 2016 11:43 am

We'll see how it plays out! Bgm and Grumpy inspired this one with their early submissions. I was tossing around a few ideas ("I've got Jesus/ material possessions are unnecessary to God") but nothing I was too crazy about. And then I saw bgm 'a post and thought, "people have stuff they need to do besides Nur Ein" and the hook popped into my head.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby MicahSommer » Mon May 23, 2016 11:52 am

j$ wrote:the BVs (I think) in the first choruses sound flat to me (I may be wrong – as you absolutely nail it in the third/fourth, which makes me think you’re doing something clever that I’m never going to be able to hear properly)

Au contraire: any cleverness I have to spare always goes straight to the lyrics, good sir. I had limited time to record the vocals, and the BVs are right at the top of my non-falsetto range... not a great combination.

j$ wrote:the accordion VST (tee hee!) solo is ‘unnecessary’.

I'm glad you continue to appreciate my Very Strong Technique.

j$ wrote:I was hoping for a psychedelic guitar solo instead.

Only one problem: I'm not Paco Del Stinko.

j$ wrote:I absolutely love the rolling toms ‘bridge’ or whatever you want to call it. That’s Big-Top tops.

Thank you! In the label track I called it "post-chorus" but LABELS DON'T DEFINE US.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby grumpymike » Mon May 23, 2016 2:32 pm

j$ wrote:Will you take ‘genius fart-out’ as a compliment?


Thanks for the glowing and timely review! I didn't know if the judges would accept Ween-psychedelic rather than Beatles psychedelic! Believe me, I went the extra mile to make this 'fab-dumb' and even had a guest play trombone for that special touch!
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby Chumpy » Mon May 23, 2016 2:57 pm

Howdy folks. I listened all day at work today to the songs on repeat, maybe 5 hours in total. Here are my votes, opinions and reasoning. I'm sorry to say there are only two songs I want to hear again tomorrow. The rest of you, keep trying.

BGM: You do the most with the 'psychedelic' challenge, you win on technique, production, and cohesion. Sometimes it's not hard being a judge, this deserves to win, as it is the most fully formed vision of a psychedelic song this fight. Multiple parts with a distinct psychedelic transition, sitar, backwards masked sounds, bird noises, bees buzzing, sitar, morse code, trippy vocals -- and there is probably even more stuff I haven't yet noticed. Heads and shoulders above the competition in terms of theme-appropriate concept.

Solo Frijoles: You made my favorite song this fight. I've probably listened to this the most times of any song this round. The bad: You met the psychedelic challenge by ticking a few boxes, it's short, and it's meta. The good: It has solid hooks, it's technically strong, and it's meta -- I liked it because it spoke directly to the judges, and in my case your gamble paid off.

Grumpy Mike: I hated this song the first 5 times I heard it. I don't necessarily want to hear it again, but I've come to a grudging respect for it. The bad: It's heavy handed, the pizza bit goes on too long, and it's goddamn children's music. The good: It's trippy in a carnival funhouse sort of way, it's funny at times (meow, meow), and it's technically strong. It doesn't hurt that it reminds me of Dancing in the Show Tonight.

BSS: It has psychedelic lyrics, and a cool sounding sitar. I like the verses well enough, but the chorus doesn't work for me. It meanders and doesn't really leave an overall positive feeling like a chorus should. By 3 minutes I'm ready for it to be over.

Paco: The good news: You met the challenges, there are both musical and lyrical psychedelic elements and you incorporated the title in a non-lame way. The bad news: The verses don't do anything for me, the chorus doesn't do anything for me. It leaves me feeling 'meh'.

Micah: I like the story, the rhymes, and the concept. However, I'm not picking up on any psychedelic themes, lyrical or musical. The good news is I ranked you the highest of the songs that I feel failed to meet the challenge. Musically I struggled with it, I found it compelling in places (accordion solo), but ultimately I don't want hear it again tomorrow.

iVeg: All of your songs abruptly start. It's jarring. If you survive this round, please do me a favor and have a 1-2-3-4 stick count in before your song starts, or just do something so it's not so abrupt. The verses begin promising, with interesting language and lyrics, but it doesn't get to the chorus fast enough for me, and when the chorus does come, it's not worth the journey. There are psychedelic references in the lyrics, but none in the music, which doesn't cut it in my book. You edge out Ken simply because you were closer to meeting the challenge.

Ken: The verses plods along in a melancholy way which leaves me kinda low. The chorus is promising at first, and starts to pick me up, but doesn't go anywhere leaving me meh. If there is a nod to the psychedelic challenge here I'm not getting it.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby MicahSommer » Mon May 23, 2016 4:02 pm

Chumpy wrote:Micah: I like the story, the rhymes, and the concept. However, I'm not picking up on any psychedelic themes, lyrical or musical. The good news is I ranked you the highest of the songs that I feel failed to meet the challenge. Musically I struggled with it, I found it compelling in places (accordion solo), but ultimately I don't want hear it again tomorrow.

I definitely made a conscious decision to focus more on crafting what I felt was a solid song than on nailing the challenge. The psychedelic elements (psychedelements) were intended to be the mildly flange-y harpsichord in the verses, some vocal processing in the chorus that didn't really come through at all, and the choir aahs and circle of fifths progression in the post-chorus. I tried to add some swirly effects to the accordion as well but it just sounded ugly so I abandoned that (I think there might be some very light flanger or phaser or something on the solo still). A weak showing challenge-wise, I know.

Chumpy wrote:I listened all day at work today to the songs on repeat, maybe 5 hours in total.

I take it your "Baked out of my Gourd" verse was at least partially autobiographical then? :)
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby BenKrieger » Wed May 25, 2016 8:32 am

Whoa! Check out that score spread...for everyone.

I learned what "meta" means this week.

I had a blast playing this year, folks.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby Niveous » Wed May 25, 2016 8:35 am

and you got some songs that kick ass live.

(I got to see Ben play live last night and the set included Boilermaker and Million Watts. Good stuff)
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby BenKrieger » Wed May 25, 2016 8:36 am

Niveous wrote:and you got some songs that kick ass live.

(I got to see Ben play live last night and the set included Boilermaker and Million Watts. Good stuff)


The only reason Test and Teeth marks weren't performed was because they need rehearsing, and I'm saving Unnecessary for the open mike, where I think the "meta" would work really well.

I definitely got more useable songs out of this Nur Ein than any in the past.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby MicahSommer » Wed May 25, 2016 8:50 am

Wow, everyone got put in the bottom 3 by at least 1 judge... sorry to get cut but I had a great time in my first Nur Ein!
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby ken » Wed May 25, 2016 9:13 am

I'm really surprised that so many judges thought my song was the worst. I thought it was a really good song, one of my best this Nur Ein. Maybe it just wasn't psychedelic enough, but the chord progression and melody should have been plenty to fulfill the challenge. I guess I should have just layered on the fake sitar instead of writing a good song. I'll remember that for next year. Good luck all!
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby Chumpy » Wed May 25, 2016 9:45 am

BenKrieger wrote:Whoa! Check out that score spread...for everyone.

It's too bad there aren't more reviews. I'd really like to read the justifications for the scores to try to understand why there was so much disagreement between the judges. I hope they will appear in the fullness of time.
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Re: Nur Ein XI- Round Five

Postby Niveous » Wed May 25, 2016 10:16 am

Chumpy wrote:
BenKrieger wrote:Whoa! Check out that score spread...for everyone.

It's too bad there aren't more reviews. I'd really like to read the justifications for the scores to try to understand why there was so much disagreement between the judges. I hope they will appear in the fullness of time.


I've been meaning to address that. My personal lack of reviews is just because life has been a bit wacky for me lately. But I still promise to get out reviews for all the rounds as well as the shadow songs. Just give me some time to settle things down. The reviews will be better with a little hindsight anyway. At least, I've kept the ship running, right?

As for this round, in brief; I think BSS did a great job of capturing psychedlica. I really enjoyed Grumpy Mike's take, it made me want to watch some Wonder Showzen (if you don't know what that is, find it now. it'll mess you up good). No one did a bad job. Even Ken, who had the lowest scores, did a bang up job. It was just that he was clearly the lowest man on the totem pole. I-Veg continues to impress me this year. bgm was the person who hit the psychedelic mark better than anyone else. Solo Frijoles and Micah Sommersmith have both been amazing in this competition and I think they both just under-delivered this week and the crowd is so damn strong leaving them on the wrong side of the demarcation line. But no one had a bad song this round which makes me very happy. This has been one hell of a Nur Ein.
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