Duke Pitchforks Disconcert

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Duke Pitchforks Disconcert

Postby matthewnym » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:42 am

On behalf of the Pitchforks of Duke University, I wanted to thank Tekay, Tom, and Kevin for their time and their reviews. We are very honored to be praised by such a trio of experienced a cappella reviewers. We are even more honored to be only the second college group deserving of a 4 overall from Kevin Sawyer. :-)

We also appreciate the criticisms, and will take them to heart when beginning our next studio project in January. I found myself nodding in agreement in particular with Kevin's characterization of Disconcert as 2 EP's on the same CD. Taking the strong opinions of 16 members and distilling them into an album with one coherent vision may very well be an impossible task, but I think we've taken great strides in that area compared to our previous releases, and hope to continue to make improvements in the future.

I also want to take a moment to thank the incredible production team we worked with in creating this album. Dave Sperandio, Ed Boyer, and James Cannon all brought an overwhelming level of talent to the table in the production stage, and I think the reviews describe the results best:

"Sonically, the album is masterfully tailored."

"Production nears brilliance, especially the awesome percussion."

"...the Pitchforks benefit from some forward-thinking production, great arranging, and well-matched soloists."

Hopefully if anyone hasn't yet had a chance to purchase a copy of Disconcert, this review will encourage you to do so. We have both discs and digital downloads available on our website www.duke.edu/pitchforks . For any last minute holiday shoppers, the CD's are perfectly stocking-sized. :-)
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2 EPs vs 1 coherent album

Postby jmednikow » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:36 pm

Ever since the CD displaced the vinyl album as the medium of choice for recordings, the idea of two sides to an album has disappeared.

Yes, the two halves were disjointed, but in the old format, you could have used that to your advantage, I think. The unfortunate thing is that there is no place in today's way of presenting albums to have, say, a "Night" sid and a "Day" side, which is what Joe Jackson did with 1982's "Night and Day."

That said, lots of people, myself included, don't listen to albums in their entirety nearly so much any more, so the 2 EP thing may not be an issue to most people. After the first pass or two through an album, I tend to listen to individual songs, and it's a rare album that I just "throw a disc on the turntable" and let play. I for one had little problem with the disjointedness. (Of course, having once been a Pitchfork, I suppose I'm predisposed to liking it.)

Kudos to you, Pitchforks. When I was in the group, I lobbied for our recording to be released on a CD, and lost to the cassette tape. I guess that dates me a bit. :)

Jay A. Mednikow Harvard Din & Tonics 1985-86 Duke Pitchforks 1989-90 DeltaCappella, 2007- http://www.deltacappella.com http://www.mednikow.com (my day job)

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Re: 2 EPs vs 1 coherent album

Postby billhare » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:58 am

JayMednikow wrote: The unfortunate thing is that there is no place in today's way of presenting albums to have, say, a "Night" sid and a "Day" side, which is what Joe Jackson did with 1982's "Night and Day."


And a great album that was! I think I wore the grooves out.

JayMednikow wrote:Kudos to you, Pitchforks. When I was in the group, I lobbied for our recording to be released on a CD, and lost to the cassette tape. I guess that dates me a bit. :)


Well, one good thing about the cassette tape (and even more so the 8-Track tape that preceded it - I think there are only 3 or 4 of us on this board who have ever actually had anything on 8T) is that it was much more of a hassle to skip songs, so people tended to listen to the whole album. My "Frampton Comes Alive" 8T would loop for hours on end!!

-B

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Postby colton » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:36 am

What's an 8-Track?

;-)



Actually, I thought the whole point of the 8-Track was that you *could* skip songs easily, as opposed to a regular tape where that was/is impossible.(*) Weren't there 8 buttons, for you to select which song you wanted to listen to? But I'm just barely old enough to remember my grandpa using an 8-Track in his car, and not quite old enough to have ever used one myself.


(*) Unless you had "auto-advance" capability like in my parent's 1986 Honda Accord, where it searched for the next gap in the noise. I loved that feature, even though I also quite liked listening to albums from start to finish. (Still do.)
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Postby vocalsource » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:38 pm

The VocalSource team would also like to thank the reviewers for their careful consideration of 'Disconcert'. Additionally, we'd like to be sure to recognize the efforts of Evan Wisser and Joseph Bates, both of whom were integral parts of the project.

To give you a taste of what the reviewers heard, and to celebrate a wonderful 2008 and the holiday season, we're offering "Knights Of Cydonia" for free download. The RARB reviewers called the song "absurdly ambitious", "a glorious wall of sound", and "the top track of 2008". We're not sure which of these is most true, if any, but we do know that the track was a lot of fun to create, following Evan's vision.

Please listen for yourself, and let us know what YOU think!

"Knights of Cydonia" - Duke Pitchforks
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Postby billhare » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:52 pm

colton wrote:Actually, I thought the whole point of the 8-Track was that you *could* skip songs easily, as opposed to a regular tape where that was/is impossible.(*) Weren't there 8 buttons, for you to select which song you wanted to listen to? But I'm just barely old enough to remember my grandpa using an 8-Track in his car, and not quite old enough to have ever used one myself.


Not really, that was for changing "programs" - the tapes were split into 4 programs (or "sides") - sometimes a song would fade out in the middle, the program would change over with a clunk, then fade back from that point... pretty annoying. I don't remember any with 8 buttons in the car, most had 4, or a single "next program" button with 4 numbered lights to indicate which track you were on (you are probably remembering the radio station select buttons as well as the program buttons). You could *kind of* fast forward, but could never rewind - the physical way the tape loop is made makes rewinding impossible, bieng that the tape is pulled out of the coil from the center.. People who wanted to skip around would learn the relative locations of songs across the 4 channels - "OK, 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is playing now, so if I click over to program 3 and fast forward a bit - and not all players would let you FF, BTW - I can find 'Mean Mr. Mustard'"

colton wrote: Unless you had "auto-advance" capability like in my parent's 1986 Honda Accord, where it searched for the next gap in the noise. I loved that feature, even though I also quite liked listening to albums from start to finish. (Still do.)


But again, it's much more of a deterrent to skip from song 2 to song 6, as well as go back and forth between 2 sides as it is on a CD. It's not that you COULDN'T do it, it's just people didn't think of it so freely. Just like the internet has made stealing songs so easy...

Also, I think our world back then was just a bit slower. Really, I mean that - everything is so immediate and fast-paced now, it's just taken for granted and we've evolved our brains to it. Googling something now in 10 seconds compared to riding my bike 3 miles to the public library to find something out? Well, I probably wouldn't have made the effort just to get a diagram of how an 8-track cartridge works, but here ya go:
http://www.8trackheaven.com/work.html

BTW, I just realized I'm hijacking a thread here about something else - a great album! Being the recipient address for the CARA Awards (the CASA Library lives here at my studio), I get to preview any album that looks interesting to me, and I was quite impressed with "Disconcert"! Great work all around, Pitchforks and VocalSource!

-B

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Postby RnBMrE » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:13 pm

billhare wrote:People who wanted to skip around would learn the relative locations of songs across the 4 channels - "OK, 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is playing now, so if I click over to program 3 and fast forward a bit - and not all players would let you FF, BTW - I can find 'Mean Mr. Mustard'"


Dude, who skips Maxwell's Silver Hammer though...?

Matt Emery CASA Director of Communications Three-time Recipient of RARB "Post of the Year" Title

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Postby matthewnym » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:53 pm

billhare wrote:BTW, I just realized I'm hijacking a thread here about something else - a great album! Being the recipient address for the CARA Awards (the CASA Library lives here at my studio), I get to preview any album that looks interesting to me, and I was quite impressed with "Disconcert"! Great work all around, Pitchforks and VocalSource!

-B


Thanks for the kind words Bill. And feel free to hijack away. As they say, any publicity is good publicity, even if it's about ancient recording technology. :-)

Just wanted to mention, in response to Jay's post, if this CD had been recorded on vinyl 30 years ago, or even cassette tape 20 years ago, I absolutely would have put tracks 1-5 on side A, and tracks 6-12 on side B. In deciding on the track order, I mentally divided the CD into two parts reflecting this division. The first half ends with With or Without You, which has somewhat of a climactic feel, and then the second half begins with a long fade-in for Home. I didn't see any other way to do it, since a random scattershot of tracks with little continuity would have been really annoying, to me anyway. I'd be curious to hear anyone else's opinions, aside from our three reviewers, as to whether this "2-sided" feel to the album enhanced or detracted from its appeal.
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Postby vocalsource » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:13 am

Image

Now then....we're pretty sure that if "Knights" were to appear on 8 track, the tape would shred within .37 seconds of playback :)

VocalSource wrote:The VocalSource team would also like to thank the reviewers for their careful consideration of 'Disconcert'. Additionally, we'd like to be sure to recognize the efforts of Evan Wisser and Joseph Bates, both of whom were integral parts of the project.

To give you a taste of what the reviewers heard, and to celebrate a wonderful 2008 and the holiday season, we're offering "Knights Of Cydonia" for free download. The RARB reviewers called the song "absurdly ambitious", "a glorious wall of sound", and "the top track of 2008". We're not sure which of these is most true, if any, but we do know that the track was a lot of fun to create, following Evan's vision.

Please listen for yourself, and let us know what YOU think!

"Knights of Cydonia" - Duke Pitchforks


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Postby dherriges » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:18 am

Matthewnym wrote:I mentally divided the CD into two parts reflecting this division. The first half ends with With or Without You, which has somewhat of a climactic feel, and then the second half begins with a long fade-in for Home. I didn't see any other way to do it, since a random scattershot of tracks with little continuity would have been really annoying, to me anyway. I'd be curious to hear anyone else's opinions, aside from our three reviewers, as to whether this "2-sided" feel to the album enhanced or detracted from its appeal.


Have yet to hear the album unfortunately, so I can't give feedback on your question.

I totally used to do that, very consciously, whenever I made a mix CD or anything - I'm just barely old enough that I first started listening to music on tape rather than CD, so I was used to having 2 "sides" and I liked that effect for sort of aesthetic reasons (I think it offers more potential to achieve an interesting build or progression between tracks, almost like having a first and second act in a play).

I guess now it bothers people or feels incoherent? I like to think I would still get what was going on, listening to a CD that did that, but maybe the solution is to be more obvious about it - split the track list on the box visually into two halves, with a different color or font, or something?
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Postby colton » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:05 pm

Thanks for the 8-track info, Bill.

Back to the topic, one thing that worked for me on Outspoken's album
http://rarb.org/reviews/847.html

was to have a short, different, song right in the middle. In their case, it was "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence". It effectively divided the album into two halves, with six tracks on the first half and five tracks on the second.
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Postby Brojo » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:26 pm

It flows fine IMO, (I care a lot more about quality of the songs than their order) but I want to point out that Kevin's point about the preponderance of dance-related lyrics on male albums is definitely valid.

Congrats to the current Pitchforks and especially to Evan on a great release. If you haven't heard it, you should pick up a copy.
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Postby RnBMrE » Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:56 am

Well done on this album, Forks. The reviews were solid and, from my perspective, accurate. "As You Go" may be the best collegiate a cappella song I've ever heard. And the transition from "Atlantic" is fantastic.

In his review, Kevin wrote:The Pitchforks segue into a hit parade of Justin Timberlake (in medley form, natch)


It's not a medley.

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Postby kevin47 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:05 pm

He actually wrote a song called Lovestoned/I Think She Knows? I'll be darned. It sounds like a medley. Does he write medleys now to make it more convenient for male a cappella groups to cover his stuff?

To prevent further embarassment, RARB should employ a Justin/Britney/Emo factchecker. Are there any 14 year old girls and/or Pepperdine students who want to step up?
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Postby RnBMrE » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:34 pm

kevin47 wrote:He actually wrote a song called Lovestoned/I Think She Knows? I'll be darned. It sounds like a medley. Does he write medleys now to make it more convenient for male a cappella groups to cover his stuff?


More to keep the hipsters guessing, I think.

kevin47 wrote:To prevent further embarassment, RARB should employ a Justin/Britney/Emo factchecker. Are there any 14 year old girls and/or Pepperdine students who want to step up?


Cannon said he'd do it. Then again, Google would be a good start.

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