Yeah, my money would be on Evan, who along with Dave Strumfeld, founded and has been running the group since 2006. Evan graduated last year, I believe, but I'd be VERY surprised if he wasn't still involved in some way.
So lots of thoughts on both this review and this cd. I went to Purchase at the same time as Evan and Dave, but was never a member of Choral Pleasure, although I did know pretty much all of the members. Choral Pleasure was formed at the same time that my old group, the now-defunct Dean's List was being put together.
In their defense, Choral Pleasure are a fun bunch of singers. The last time I saw them perform was in 2008, and they had a ton of energy, the soloists were entertaining, and for the most part the block was in tune. Unfortunately, the songs that they were performing were the same ones they had been singing since 2006, and many of those are the ones that ended up on this cd. It's a good argument in favor of groups updating their repertoire every semester/year, I think.
These quotes from the Extra Info page are telling:
-This album was recorded, mixed, and mastered for under $100
-Most of the tracks were recorded live and the ones that weren't were live in a studio
Let's deal with them one at a time.
Recording is expensive. Anyone who reads this forum regularly knows that many group routinely spend tens of thousands of dollars recording their cds, for a whole host of reasons. I'm not going to re-hash the whole conversation about recording costs here -- if you're interested, simply search through the archives and you'll find everything you need to know. Groups can cut down on their recording costs in any number of ways: by learning to utilize technology themselves and recording in their dorm rooms/apartments/whatever; by making sure they're efficient and don't waste time (and money) while recording; by talking with people who have recorded cds before and learning what works and what doesn't. Saving money on recording costs is an admirable pursuit, to be sure. But this strikes me as a really strange boast to make. Why would boast about spending so little time, money, and effort on your cd? SUNY Purchase has a world-class Music Conservatory with professional recording studios on campus and a whole host of eager young recording engineers who need projects. The fact that this cd was made cheaply doesn't surprise me -- the fact that it was made so poorly does. Moreover, Purchase is home to just a ton of talented visual artists who are always looking for work. Why wouldn't you spend a few hours and put together a presentable looking package? It just doesn't make sense.
"Most of the tracks were recorded live and the ones that weren't were live in a studio"
Alright, totally understandable. You want something that you can have to remember singing with your friends in college. You don't want to spend the time/effort that it takes to record a full studio album (although I remember them starting this album in 2007-2008, so it's not like the turn-around time was particularly quick). You think studio albums sound "fake" or "too polished" or "not like voices." All fine arguments that have been made on this forum, and elsewhere, before. But why, then, would you submit an album like this to a review where you and your group are going to get totally trashed? It would take about 15 minutes of reading through past reviews and listening to a few clips to know that this kind of effort is only going to mean you and your friends and the music you've made getting picked apart by a panel of experts. I really, really don't understand.
Look, recording is hard, and it takes a ton of time, effort, money, and energy. Submitting an album for review is an act of faith. My own group just finished our first studio cd, and it's been well received so far, but I'm nervous about submitting to RARB, and we spent much more than $100, and spend countless hours working to make sure it was something that we would want to submit. I just can't understand why this group decided to submit an album that was so obviously below the standards for even the yearbook-type albums that routinely get reviewed on RARB.