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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - Duke Out of the Blue - "Flywheel"
Page 1 of 13

Duke Out of the Blue - "Flywheel"

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:23 am
by dave sperandio

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:40 am
by johnhe
Dave, you can take all the time in the world to talk about your love for OOTB. In fact, I am taking time out during class (don't worry it's just a Sociology class) to write this. Even though I haven't worked with them, or even know them for that matter, I was thoroughly impressed with this album, and shocked when it missed the RARB 5. I would like to think I'm coming from a fairly objective place in saying this.

I have a general distaste for all female a cappella. In fact, while applying to be a CARA nominator, I intentionally avoided being a nominator in those categories because I was fairly certain I would hate it. I only ended up listening to the ladies of OOTB because I was nominating for some genre categories (Best Hip-Hop/R&B Song, I think). I was completely floored. Since the CARA site allows you to listen to albums that you aren't necessarily nominating for (maybe I shouldn't be giving away this secret?) I ended up listening to the whole thing. Over. And over. And over again.

After reading Brian's review, I was definitely confused. Where is the bar set when you review an album? Where are these spectacular arrangements or this amazingly cohesive album that this album is being compared to? I would say after listening to dozens upon dozens upon dozens of albums (CARA nominating, yeah!), Duke OOTB's Flywheel is easily at the top of them.

I hope it doesn't seem like I don't appreciate what RARB and its reviewers do for the community, or that this doesn't seem like a personal attack against Brian or anything. It's definitely not, and like Dave, I'm just kind of looking for some answers.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:23 am
by Brojo
I'm right there with Dave on this one. It's been an unbelievable pleasure to work with these talented ladies. Currently polishing up a couple of their new tunes for the upcoming album, and it ought to be even better than Flywheel.

Scoring is stupid, and I wish rarb didn't do it. Or, if they must, it should be a 4-star system. Make everyone pick sides.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:12 am
by dave sperandio
Here's an example of a member of OOTB "making the most out of what they've been given" (sorry Brian, had to :)



Recorded yesterday in one take in less than 5 minutes, in a vacuum, and wholly unadulterated by me...I could listen to her for years.

PS - don't tell anyone...it's a secret.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:40 pm
by colton

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:51 pm
by brianhaverkate

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:29 pm
by RnBMrE

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:31 pm
by dave sperandio
Brian, thanks for the reply. Some thoughts:

Re scoring, the overall 4 does miss the mark in my opinion, but that one's more of a pure judgment call. Quite honestly, the only score with which I can take issue with full confidence is the 3 for Creativity/Innovation, especially since you framed it against today's a cappella environment. This is (to me) a much more black and white miss.

You mention that you're comparing the arrangements (Creativity/Innovation) to those/that of Cadence and Firedrill! In that light, of course your "average" comments about OOTB's arranging/creativity have indisputable merit. I wonder if that's an appropriate benchmark, though, and for a number of reasons - realism being one.

Looking at your past scoring for the Creativity/Innovation category, I can see that you are not easily impressed in this area. One can appreciate your strict standards. But I have to disagree with calling OOTB's arranging, creativity, and innovation - "average", in any way. So it's clear, I wouldn't have argued with a 4 in this category (regardless of my opinion). And I don't mean to insult in any way. This one just shocks me.

There are a number of examples I could point to on the album, but to use just one, the album includes an adaptation of 'Desert Rose' with an original Mediterranean intro as well as both Turkish and Arabic verses, written and performed by the group, with indo-arabic percussion. It's not my favorite song on the CD, but it's certainly not something you'll find on many other CDs. All-female...or otherwise.

As I said initially, I'm impossibly biased. So take this as you will.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:22 pm
by autumnshades

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:40 am
by Brojo

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:44 am
by mikex

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:32 am
by brianhaverkate

PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:02 pm
by seth
This comes up every now and then. I think there are ways our process could be improved, and adhering to scoring guidelines is an ongoing challenge, but changing back to a ten point (or five half-point) scale isn't going to help. There are plenty of old threads about it. My favorite is (which is also largely about reviewers' scores disagreeing).

Some people want the scoring system to be more completely defined, others have suggested ditching scores entirely because they distract too much from the real content. The only way to get consistency in a review is to drop two reviewers (and even then, the scores sometimes don't seem to jibe with the text). Consistency between albums over time is an impossible goal that we should strive for, and the best way to do it is by having conversations exactly like this one, about what the thinking was behind the scores and whether the reasoning was fair and useful.

So, by all means, let's talk about what should and should not be considered and how various factors should be weighed, and what the context should be and what it appears to be for any given review.

Also, a couple folks on this thread want an even number of scoring options so reviewers are forced to choose above or below average, but I think this is missing the point. I agree it's important for reviewers to take a stand, but calling something average (and pointedly not calling it "good") is not a lack of opinion. It's hardly a compliment to anyone who worked hard to make something great, and anyone wondering which albums to buy this year isn't going to rush right out and pick up the average ones.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:02 am
by dave sperandio

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:01 am
by RnBMrE