Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Niveous » Mon May 07, 2018 9:43 am

I'll have to look back but I don't think so.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby roymond » Mon May 07, 2018 2:43 pm

We still get to throw people out, right?
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby iVeg » Mon May 07, 2018 7:16 pm

Congrats everybody! This was a fun title. It's great to see lots of old friends and some new faces, too.
Merisan - Sam & Erin, this was my favorite song this week. Great job!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Lunkhead » Mon May 07, 2018 8:23 pm

One of my favorite round zero activities is trying to guess who is behind the names I don't recognize. Anybody else think Fisher and Diaz sounds like 15-16puzzle?
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Caravan Ray » Tue May 08, 2018 1:08 am

Ok. So I am in a collaboration this year as "Owl Chemist".

My mate Paul wrote lyrics this week, and I did the music. Paul is also a very accomplished singer/guitarist, but has no recording gear - so I hope at some stage I will be able to get him on tape as part of our offerings.

...and BMac - you out there lurking somewhere? Jump on the boards and introduce yourself. You now have the opportunity to thank DJRanger Den personally for finding you that open mic in Texas you played at.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby vowlvom » Tue May 08, 2018 4:41 am

Just been listening this morning, good batch of songs with some clever use of sirens in the music and lyrics - I feel a little bad for just dumping a police-car sample over my last chorus, haha. I think Cavedwellers entry is my favourite, but Merisan and DJ Ranger Den are close behind.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby HeuristicsInc » Tue May 08, 2018 10:44 am

As a judge, I get to make up my own criteria for scoring. My criteria includes lyrics. If:
1. I can't understand you
And/or
2. You don't post lyrics to the lyric thread
...your score will suffer. You have been warned.
-bill
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby arby » Tue May 08, 2018 3:12 pm

Listening now. Pepper Jane's is lovely. Merisan strong as usual. I'm always amazed by how clear and loud (well-mixed) some of the recordings are. HOW do you get them to sound so good?!?!? Mine sound like they were recorded in a basement under a sackcloth by comparison. :oops:
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby arby » Tue May 08, 2018 3:15 pm

PS also LOVE DJ Ranger Den's. Fischer & Diaz strong new contender, the spoken intro and rapping is fun. I like Owl Chemist too. The music is very cool. Sort of a dentist's drill sample going on at times :P
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby carlo bruno jr » Tue May 08, 2018 4:13 pm

My top 11 songs are (in alphab. order):

Cavedwellers
DJ Ranger Den
Fisher and Diaz
Grumpy Mike
Inflatable Vegetables
Merisan
Nick Soma
Owl Chemist
Rob From Amersfoort
Third Cat
Vom Vorton
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Mysteria » Tue May 08, 2018 6:36 pm

You all made this a difficult round to score - thank you! I've been listening to the round zero tunes non-stop for the last day and a half and I'm still enjoying them. Well done!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby HeuristicsInc » Tue May 08, 2018 8:27 pm

Berkeley – I like the chorus, the difference from the verses. This instrumental section is especially cool, although I didn’t like how it ended. Was there a siren?
Bmac – I like the rhymes. Vocals are pretty strong. That bit about ash was quite good.
Boffo – I was wondering if somebody would go the mythical creature siren route. Kudos to you. Lyre, heh.
Carlo – no issue with the song title here. I like the driving nature of it. Good guitars. It might flow better if it didn’t have so many pauses in the middle of the lines.
Cave – nice synths. Here I like the verses better than the choruses. Good chess bits. I like the ending.
Djrd – that sound of “funeral” is very good. The lyrics are very interesting but also I don’t really know what’s going on. I like the vocal effects, they didn’t work well on computer speakers but on headphones they sound great.
Fisher – I like what you did with the sirens, making it into an instrument. Rap needs to be bigger in the mix. This song reminds me of rise robots rise, which is great. Catchy. Fun.
Grumpy – great chorus! Synth is cool. I like the line about permafrost. Maybe that last synth line should end on the up note to make for a more unsettled ending.
Iveg – good guitar bits. Like the chorus, but not so sure about the a-a-a-a parts. Vocals are good.
Lichen – music is quite random. Isn’t that an air raid siren? Do they use those for fires? Heh. I am sorry but I cannot get into the vocal delivery, with the lilt at the end but the rest being quite even.
Lookylu – no lyrics posted. I like the background ambience at 1:10. It’s distracting that the two vocalists are not in sync. The poison like rats and cheeks line in there is good. Feels a bit long.
Lucky – I dig that lead instrument. Here the two vocalists work well together. It does have potential to be a little samey, should vary it up more in the second verse/chorus area. The bridge section is quite welcome. Great ending. Were there sirens?
Mandibles – I love how the siren and guitars work together in the beginning. The vocals seem to be strangely effected sometimes… I do like how you’re really belting it out at times.
Matchy – not into the chorus. Pretty catchy though. Good solo. The siren might be there too often.
Merisan – I love the stutter on the siren. Ooh synths and love the vocals. That two-part thing is killer. I love this. Awesome work. Good mastering, too.
Minty – this one sounds so quiet after the last one. The trial, trial, by fire, fire is surprisingly good. Actually I enjoy this more than I thought I would. Too bad you didn’t post lyrics.
Nick – cool synth bass. The decent roast bit is good. Instrumental break rising up is good stuff there.
Owl – nice laid back vibe. The lyrics written out like that make it feel different. Mysterious. Great song.
Pepper – no lyrics posted? This seems to meander a bit. That part with the intertwined vocals is very nice.
Pig – solid. Good vocals.
Riddle – no posted lyrics. Piano line is driving. What’s that percussion? Some of the vocals are a little forced, odd pacing. I like the snares. Outro is a little long. British sirens?
Rob – nicely weird. No posted lyrics. A little repetitive, but I like what there is.
Swampy – good intro. Oh man, that buzzing sound is like my alarm clock and I really don’t want to hear it that much. If you cut that out I’d like this much more. I’d like to hear more reverb on the vocal, it’s pretty dry. Is that the thunder tube at the end? I didn’t hear any sirens.
Third – I like this guitar in the interlude. Vocals have an interesting quality to them, not sure if the effect is good or not. Chorus is too repetitive.
Vom – fun. I like the rhymes. Pretty catchy.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby noma » Tue May 08, 2018 11:13 pm

I listened to all the songs yesterday, and I'll have another listen later this day and write reviews. Lots of good songs, my favorite being Merisan's.
I would also like to mention that the Boffo Yux one is the best I've ever heard from you. :)
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby noma » Tue May 08, 2018 11:51 pm

arby wrote:Listening now. Pepper Jane's is lovely. Merisan strong as usual. I'm always amazed by how clear and loud (well-mixed) some of the recordings are. HOW do you get them to sound so good?!?!? Mine sound like they were recorded in a basement under a sackcloth by comparison. :oops:

Hi, Nick Soma here. I'm trying to give you a detailed answer to your question. Excuse me if you know all this stuff I'm going to write about already.
So, there are two different aspects to a song sounding well produced. One is the production, the other, the recording.
Fortunately, producing (i.e., assembling tracks, mixing etc) requires little to no money nowadays. You just need a good DAW. Audacity, which you can download for free, has most of the tools you need. I see you are using GarageBand, which is fine just as well. The key to a good production is in the use of limiting and compression, which helps with loudness issues, such as certain notes of your playing being louder than others, and enables you to increase the overall loudness and "oomph" of your tracks - be careful not to overdo it, though, or else your song will become a muddy mess (google "loudness war" and you'll see what I mean - compression can be highly addictive to the point where you believe you need more and more of it.)
The other main part of mixing is equalizing, i.e. decreasing or increasing certain frequencies. This can be a bit tricky, but it's essential to a good production. You can look up basic EQ settings for any instrument on the web, so you don't have to remember it all ;) also, use high pass and low pass filters. On a bass guitar in standard tuning, for example, the fundamental frequency of an open low E string begins at 41 Hz, so you can apply a high pass filter that cuts down everything beyond that frequency, in order to decrease rumbling and muddiness.

As for the recording, you need four things which will improve your sound a lot. Again, excuse me if you know all of this already and/or already use these four things.
First, the mic itself. I prefer a large diaphragm condenser microphone, which is a favorite in studio production. However, condenser mics require phantom power (which is not that much of a problem, but anyway), whereas dynamic microphones don't. The latter are the prefered kind of mics for live performance, but can be used in the studio just as well. A good and fairly inexpensive dynamic microphone would be the Shure SM57 (or SM58).
Second, you need an audio interface. This is basically an external sound card optimized for recording (there are internal ones as well, but an external one has the advantage of being portable, and the only way to go if you are recording with a laptop, MacBook or whatever.) For $100, you should be able to find a good audio interface, or even cheaper if you are on a budget. Any external audio interface, even the really cheap Behringers, should be an improvement over a standard sound card.
Also, some, but not all audio interfaces have built-in phantom power. If you are planning to record with a condenser microphone, definitely look for an interface that has phantom power, else you will need a preamp as well.
Third, the cable. As the cable is what transmits the sound from the mic to the interface, a good cable is essential. Klotz cables are what I prefer for recording. A lot of people buy expensive equipment and then skimp on the cables. Don't underestimate the importance of a good cable.
Fourth, you will need a pop filter on your mic for vocal recording.
And that is basically all it takes!

Now let me give you a review of your song's production.
The recording sounds a bit washy at times. Guitar would definitely benefit from some EQing, it's not prominent enough in the mix IMO. Drums are OK. The vocals are what kind of bugs me about it. Definitely some EQing needed. Also, they sound distorted at times, not sure if that was intentional. Try decreasing the output / gain level if this distortion was unwanted. Generally, when recording, it's better with less gain in order to not distort your track. You can always make it louder later via your DAW.
One more thing that is irritating about your recording is the amount of overtones in the siren part, which hurts my ears a bit. This is a common problem with synths (sawtooth, mainly). EQing, again, should help, or a low pass filter maybe.
By the way, I really like your song, apart from the production issues. :)
Hope this helped!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby j$ » Wed May 09, 2018 2:57 am

W. A. I. L! I.A.A.C.
Merisan – top, funky stuff that brings to mind Goldfrapp or something like that. Nice work.
Inflatable Vegetables – This was good. I liked it a lot. You have achieved the sound you have been working to for all those years – new direction, please 
Vom Vorton – Yeah, that’s some jolly indie pop, makes me happy. Minus point for the boring lyrics though.
Carlo Bruno Jr. Didn’t like this one. Sometimes your voice doesn’t sit with the music you make that well. This is one of those times. Music is good.
Fisher and Diaz – the music track (though overlong) and the chorus backing vocals are great. Everything else is bad. Note brevity not stopping my message getting across.
Rob From Amersfoort – hell yeah all music should sound like this. A bit short but I just played it again. And again. This is how I wanted Brian Eno’s music to go post-roxy but he went all pretentious ambient rubbish instead. My Fellow judges have cloth ears.
Berkeley Social Scene – I liked this a lot. A bit meat and potatoes rehearsal room band but the riff was strong. Took points off for “warming up the amplifier”. Whether or not that is something you had to do, you certainly didn’t have to sing about it.
DJ Ranger Den – lovely, despite weird phrasing on “Funeral”. Not usually my cup of tea but I could listen over and over to this.
Mandibles – oh god what a “gothy” introduction. I, like most right-thinking people, don’t ever want to hear Evanescence ever again. Sorry, well done and performed, just not for me, particularly not the lyric.
Cavedwellers – nursery rhyme style introduction (or is that electronic jazz?) Makes me suspicious. It sounds like Weezer being covered by Paul Simon (c. Graceland). This is not a good thing, as this track goes some way to proving. Still in and as to itself, it’s perfectly serviceable and got a middling ranking from me.
Owl Chemist – the opening drumming reminds me of Fun Boy Three and this does have an early 80s vibe which I connect to. However it’s cluttered, over-arranged and frankly a little boring, even though I did like it (as reflected in my ranking). I hope Owl Chemist is a foul anagram, or clever euphimism for something. *looks online*
Grumpy Mike –Good to hear you agai … oh, creative step from Soundgarden b-sides to Oasis b-sides? Bad choice. Low score.
Minty Handy – Surprisingly not very memorable.
Lucky Witch & the Righteous Ghost – hmmm, why do people think rehearsal room recordings sound good? At least add the vocals at a later, more mixable situation. It’s got this weird beach boys on the rampage vibe going on but I can’t tell if that’s deliberate or not.
Boffo Yux Dudes “Captain, my captain”? Horrible “look at my eagle scout badge for literature” take on the challenge which infuses everything. It’s all done well, if a little safely but ugh, do something else with the challenge. Use the challenge but evolve the concept. As it is, it’s just Clever-Clever.
Matchy Matchy – I like this a lot but not as much as when I ranked it, for which you should consider yourself eternally grateful  It’s just power pop, but well done and perfectly enjoyable/listenable/won’t encourage anyone to put a gun to their head and pull the trigger. I hope.
Pigfarmer Jr. Everything is wrong here – the sample used at the beginning is overlong, the vocals are reedy and it’s just a 60s pop song played klutzy. There are bits that give me hope but they are few and far between.
Nick Soma the way you mispronounce ‘rhetoric’ threw me off.
Riddle and Leigh – piano is a little too loud/shrill/dominating the mix but the vocal is fine except for the atrocious rap sections. Please don’t do that again / or do do it but better
Pepper Jane – pretty but sounds too much like you’re making it up/recording as you go five minutes before the deadline. Not a fan.
Lookylu - Voices work well together. It’s very serious and only the softness of the harmonies keeps the po-facedness at bay. Remind me not to attend one of your stand-up nights.
Swampy Nethers – it starts with a fist. *tee hee* My childhish humour. I like the inventive take on the challenge yet the tune is very pretty but instantly forgettable, not helped by the bland lyric. Sorry. This is not a very helpful review.
BMac – I found this one a dull listen. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing right about it either.
Third Cat – This is a sound that’s never got me going –to me it sounds like the aural equivalent of wiping a used tissue around my forehead and down the bridge of my nose. It’s so “Let’s go the beach in chinos and sandals”. That said there’s some nice guitar-ing here, and the vocal aint all that bad.
Lichen Throat – I really wanted to like this one more. For all its sequenced glory, there’s a crazed creative mind at work behind this which really appeals to me. However it’s just too all over the place, the lyric rhythm doesn’t fit the music and to be honest, it’s more of a painful listen than it could have been.
Last edited by j$ on Wed May 09, 2018 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby noma » Wed May 09, 2018 3:40 am

j$ wrote:Nick Soma the way you mispronounce ‘rhetoric’ threw me off.

Wow, I had to look that up. Guess you refer to the accent on the wrong syllable, is that correct?
Well, as you know (or don't?), English is not my mother tongue. The word is "rhe-TO-risch" in German, "re-TO-rico" in Italian (as well as Spanish.) Very strange.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby j$ » Wed May 09, 2018 4:11 am

noma wrote: Guess you refer to the accent on the wrong syllable, is that correct?
Well, as you know (or don't?), English is not my mother tongue..

I do and I do. I just always like to tease the near-fluent, it would appear :)
Last edited by j$ on Wed May 09, 2018 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby vowlvom » Wed May 09, 2018 4:16 am

I wasn't going to do full reviews but what the hell, it beats work.

BSS - solid classic-rock riffs and crunchy guitars as usual. The vocal feels like it could be a bit tighter in places and the transition into the bass-led outro is a little bit sloppy, but it makes up for that with energy and clever lead-guitar siren

BMac - it's rare that a straightforward acoustic singer-songwriter song grabs my attention, and I'm afraid this one is no exception.

Boffo Yux Dudes - liked this one... I think. It definitely stands out, the keyboard sounds are exactly the right kind of cheesy to get me on board.

Carlo Bruno Jr. - some good guitar work here and I like the pulsing bass, but the vocal melody is a bit dirge-like and makes the song feel a little dull to me.

Cavedwellers - as I said above, probably my favourite from this batch of songs. I love the mix of synth and guitar and the sirens are really well integrated. There are a couple of places where I wish the vocal didn't follow the guitar quite so precisely but I really love the overall sound of this.

DJ Ranger Den - ...although as I revisit the songs this one maybe sneaks to the top of my list. Lovely, airy production and lots of lovely unexpected melodic elements.

Fisher & Diaz - I like the bits of this that occasionally sound a bit like the B52s but I can't get on with the funky bass. The sirens feel a bit overwhelming in this one, also, and it definitely feels overlong.

Grumpy Mike - there's something about the tempo / rhythms of this one that makes it feel a bit sluggish even though it's well recorded and I like the chorus harmony.

Inflatable Vegetables - heavily-effected guitar like this always reminds me of the cheap guitar pedal I used to use when I first started recording and I'm not crazy about the theatrical vocal style, but I like the synth stabs and the chorus is pretty catchy.

Lichen Throat - some of your most intriguingly weird musical programming here I think, but there's so much going on that there isn't much room for the vocal. Enjoyed this though, I always find that MIDI distorted guitar sound oddly appealing.

Lookylu - this is pretty cool. The layered vocals sound good, the melodies are engaging and there are some instrumental choices - I wouldn't have expected that insistent kick drum but it works!

Lucky Witch and the Righteous Ghost - I quite like the lo-fi sound and the verse appeals to me but I'm not really into the slightly Doors-ish (?) way the melody goes in the chorus.

Mandibles - I quite like this until the distorted guitar kicks in and then I do... not like it. The super-melodic section before that guitar kicks in is really good, though.

Matchy Matchy - the lyric made me smile. Fun track, like the backing vocals a lot, a solidly good time.

Merisan - really slick synthpop, it's hard to know what to say about this other than it's very, very good.

Minty Handy - pretty solid, I like the vocal layers. The mix is a lot quieter than most of these entries, you might want to address that for people like me who are too lazy to turn the volume up!

Nick Soma - some clever stuff going on in the lyrics, but the song itself doesn't really stick with me; it's a decent listen but I can't help compare it to your entry for the current fight which I liked a LOT more.

Owl Chemist - you have an interesting sound here, I like the stabby keyboards and the layers of different vocals. I think you've definitely used the most siren sounds out of this bunch of songs, I wish you'd dialed that element back a little to be honest, but I like this.

Pepper Jane - great voice, the timing of the two vocal lines sometimes feels a little messy but I enjoyed this.

T.C. Elliott - good vocal (although it could be a little louder) and a catchy melody. The opening sample doesn't really feel integrated into the song, but the song itself is good.

Riddle and Leigh - couldn't really get into this one, the timing of the drums / piano is a bit of a mess in places and the spoken sections didn't work for me at all. Strong main vocal though.

Rob from Amersfoort - excellent stuff as usual, good to see another familiar FAWM name on board! Really fun mix, love the FX and interesting panning.

Swampy Nethers - voice sounds great, the abrasive alarm / siren sort of almost works but is also a harsh listen. I feel like I ALMOST really like this but it doesn't quite click together.

Third Cat - this has a really atmospheric feel to it but the chorus feels a bit limp after the interesting verse, somehow.

Vom Vorton - hey, it's me, bringing up the alphabetical rear. Fairly happy with this but I definitely feel like I need to up my game...
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby glennny » Wed May 09, 2018 4:48 am

j$
Cavedwellers – nursery rhyme style introduction (or is that electronic jazz?) Makes me suspicious. It sounds like Weezer being covered by Paul Simon (c. Graceland). This is not a good thing, as this track goes some way to proving. Still in and as to itself, it’s perfectly serviceable and got a middling ranking from me.


LOL! Well, nursery rhyme Weezer covering Paul Simon is pretty much what I was going for. It's an apt description, not sure why it's not a good thing or why it's suspicious.
Anyway, thanks for the prompt review!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby grumpymike » Wed May 09, 2018 5:51 am

Hilarious and brutal, j$. :D. Good to see you again as well. I will gladly look into any 90s band you would like me to shamelessly copy instead.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby j$ » Wed May 09, 2018 6:17 am

grumpymike wrote:Hilarious and brutal, j$. :D. Good to see you again as well. I will gladly look into any 90s band you would like me to shamelessly copy instead.

I'll send you a list :)
Lester Bangs is still dead.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby BoffoYux » Wed May 09, 2018 6:21 am

Very strong songs this round. I'll try and get some comments up later today.

If you're looking for more reviews and comments, YouTube now adds the chat in realtime to the Listening Party replay, which is great - they used to be lost to the either. So you can skip around in the playback to read comments.

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