Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

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Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby ntsMD806 » Tue May 24, 2011 11:57 pm

Wow! What a range of opinions on this one. One thought it was great, one thought it was "meh" and one thought it was pretty good. Overall I think the scores ended up in good places.

One thing that I wanted to mention was the fact that one of Nick Anderson-Frey's comments was, "Five years ago this album could have been considered excellent," which means that I guess he missed the fact that it was recorded in 2008. Not quite 5 years but a considerable chunk of time that I think could have weighed in a little more had it not been overlooked. To give perspective; this group has already finished recording a new studio album which has not yet been released. We didn't even get this review in time to see what the criticisms were so we could build off them.

Also, one thing that I would have scored a little differently was Chasing Cars. I thought that the soloist was phenomenal and the arrangement really got to the core of the emotions that the song portrays.

This is how I would have scored it:
Overall: 5
Tuning/Blend: 5
Energy Intensity: 5
Innovation/Creativity: 4
Sound Production: 4
Repeat Listenability: 4
Soloists: 5

Street Corner Symphony: 4
Take Me Home Tonight: 3
Draggin The Line: 4
What Hurts The Most: 5
I Melt With You: 5
Black Water: 5
Happier: 4
Chasing Cars: 5
Died in Your Arms Tonight: 4
The Underdog: 3
Gone: 5

But then again, I'm not a reviewer. Haha :)
Also I would like to add that I am a current member of the group but I was not on this album so I listened to it and critiqued it with an unbiased ear.
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby nicodemus » Wed May 25, 2011 12:48 pm

Well hey there! It's nice to get some feedback on reviews, it's been a bit of a ghost town in here as of late.

I'm a little ambivalent on my own "five years ago" comment...it seems strange to take a modern album and place it against albums released five, ten, fifteen years ago. It's not an accurate comparison. But the fact of the matter is, even with the huge delay between recording and publishing, and the delay between publishing and submitting to RARB and the delay between the submitted CD being received, reviewed and edited by RARB...you're still being measured by a modern standard. And hey, most of the other CDs being reviewed right now were being recorded between 2008-2010, with some even having material from 2007. So I'm not stalking Bill Hare and listening to him mix outside his window (...yet), I'm comparing this CD to its contemporaries. And it is unfortunate that you guys didn't have this review help the creation of your new CD, but sometimes RARB gets backlogged. I believe this CD was assigned to me after a reviewer left, so it ended up coming in late.

But yeah, it's a nice album, and I enjoyed listening to it and reviewing it. Good luck with the success of your next effort.

ntsMD806 wrote:Wow! What a range of opinions on this one. One thought it was great, one thought it was "meh" and one thought it was pretty good. Overall I think the scores ended up in good places.

One thing that I wanted to mention was the fact that one of Nick Anderson-Frey's comments was, "Five years ago this album could have been considered excellent," which means that I guess he missed the fact that it was recorded in 2008. Not quite 5 years but a considerable chunk of time that I think could have weighed in a little more had it not been overlooked. To give perspective; this group has already finished recording a new studio album which has not yet been released. We didn't even get this review in time to see what the criticisms were so we could build off them.

Also, one thing that I would have scored a little differently was Chasing Cars. I thought that the soloist was phenomenal and the arrangement really got to the core of the emotions that the song portrays.

This is how I would have scored it:
Overall: 5
Tuning/Blend: 5
Energy Intensity: 5
Innovation/Creativity: 4
Sound Production: 4
Repeat Listenability: 4
Soloists: 5

Street Corner Symphony: 4
Take Me Home Tonight: 3
Draggin The Line: 4
What Hurts The Most: 5
I Melt With You: 5
Black Water: 5
Happier: 4
Chasing Cars: 5
Died in Your Arms Tonight: 4
The Underdog: 3
Gone: 5

But then again, I'm not a reviewer. Haha :)
Also I would like to add that I am a current member of the group but I was not on this album so I listened to it and critiqued it with an unbiased ear.
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby ntsMD806 » Wed May 25, 2011 7:54 pm

Haha you make an excellent point. And your review was very generous anyway so I really shouldn't be complaining. I should, instead, be thanking you. You gave a lot of great constructive advice and had a lot of nice things to say. And I know RARB get's super backed up. I don't even know why I bothered commenting on it in the first place because I knew while I was writing it that you reviewed it in a way that was overall better for us.

P.S. I hope you're one of the reviewers for our next album because I love getting feedback from the same person on new things that worked or didn't work and things we did and didn't change.

P.P.S. When you decide to camp outside Bill Hare's window, take me with you.
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby smatthews22 » Sat May 28, 2011 1:54 pm

I'm still surprised at the high rating you'd have for Chasing Cars. I say this, I suppose, because I come from the standpoint of having actually recorded the album. I remember wanting to put so much more into that arrangement and that specific recording of it. I do love Dave's solo voice on it, but I think we could have pulled off a much more interesting arrangement that brought the listener on the roller coaster of emotions, and left the person wanting to listen again and again.

THAT to me is what merits a 5 on any review. Original twist/take, creative and supportive arrangement, great soloist, and the general feeling of "wow, I want to hear that again... and again... and hey wait this is my 8th time listening and I still heard something new!"

Maybe it's high standards, but I think it's what Nick is getting at. And truthfully, I think it's something that any group should be reaching for and judged against.

I'd be curious to know what Nick thought (or any of the reviewers), of any specific arrangements, the strengths and weaknesses. Because I arranged Draggin and Happier, I'm curious for my own improvement of my own stuff (knowing what works and what doesn't), and I was involved in all of the others when it came to overdubs, so any specific feedback would be awesome.

And going back to the original point about Chasing Cars... I can't say that I was thrilled we chose to do that song. It has been done a dozen times a cappella, if not more, and we added perhaps 20 seconds of freshness to it at the last chorus. Also the beginning 16 bars. Any song that a collegiate group decides to do that has been done before, in my opinion, NEEDS to give the listener something new, or else it's not worth recording. If it doesn't stand at the top of the heap, then why bother? (this is actually an open question for discussion... I'm open to reasons as to why one should bother recording if it doesn't blow all other recordings of the song out of the water)

Word. Let's keep talking.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Tue May 31, 2011 8:50 am

smatthews22 wrote:
And going back to the original point about Chasing Cars... I can't say that I was thrilled we chose to do that song. It has been done a dozen times a cappella, if not more, and we added perhaps 20 seconds of freshness to it at the last chorus. Also the beginning 16 bars. Any song that a collegiate group decides to do that has been done before, in my opinion, NEEDS to give the listener something new, or else it's not worth recording. If it doesn't stand at the top of the heap, then why bother? (this is actually an open question for discussion... I'm open to reasons as to why one should bother recording if it doesn't blow all other recordings of the song out of the water)

Word. Let's keep talking.

~Sean


...because they want to?

Have we gotten to the point now where a college/high school group needs to do research on how many times a song has been sung and recorded by other groups before deciding whether or not they want to do it too?

I'm coming at this from the perspective of a former RARB reviewer from a decade ago that hasn't really followed the contemporary scene at any level, but is now trying to get back in. And I will admit, I'm as tired of "Viva La Vida" and "F(orget) You" and male Gaga covers as the next person.

For as in tune with the "cutting edge" of a cappella as the readers of this forum, the professionals, and even some of the higher quality collegiate/high school groups are out there...in truth, I feel that a majority of people out there that like a cappella/sing a cappella probably don't know much about the scene beyond the Dalton Academy Warblers, "The Sing-Off", and Straight No Chaser. And those people...the ones that want to sing as well as they can but are singing because they enjoy it more than to reinvent the a cappella wheel...are going to sing the songs that they like to sing with the arrangements that they have available to them. They're not going to care that you could fill a 3 disc CD with the number of different a cappella recordings of "Hide And Seek" that exist. If they like "Hide and Seek", and they're doing a recording, chances are they will record it, whether they "should" or not.

And I don't feel anyone should want to deny them the experience of recording their music simply because they've got "Rolling In The Deep" version #452 in the mix, and the person arranging it may not have done the kind of arrangement that, say, Tom Anderson would do.

Tangentally, I think sometimes some of the RARB reviewers do readers a disservice by saying "This has been done too many times and this brings nothing original to the table" in a review, as opposed to "The arrangement seems mediocre and the performance doesn't add to what's there". I feel that if a group presents a mediocre to bad effort, reviewers should call them out on that, but it should be based on what they're hearing in front of them, because only a small percentage of those that would read these reviews would even hear the other 27 versions of that particular song to compare it to. (Or if a reviewer needs to compare it to better arrangements, some guidance as to where we can find them would be nice; simply saying "it's been done better" feels like a non-researched crititque to me when I read it in a review).

Again, I am in NO WAY saying pull punches; I just think that sometimes it would serve the group submitting for a review and the readers of the review better to focus on the chart that's in front of them rather than giving a general "it's been done better elsewhere" critique unless there is a specific elsewhere readers should be looking for.

As to the original thought, "worth recording" is a very nebulous concept in this case. Maybe it's not worth it to you, Sean, because you listen to a lot of a cappella. But for the "Middle America University Pleasant Tones" or what not, who has a fanbase that loves what they do but 90% of whom don't follow the ins and outs of our medium, that recording may be worth it to them.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby colton » Tue May 31, 2011 7:55 pm

Shawn,

I agree with a lot of what you say. However, one of the specific RARB judging categories is "innovation". That automatically makes me (as a reviewer) compare the song to other versions of the same song. Granted that's probably not the ONLY aspect of innovation that could/should be considered, but it seems like that is ONE of the aspects that should be considered when scoring an album.
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Tue May 31, 2011 9:35 pm

colton wrote:Shawn,

I agree with a lot of what you say. However, one of the specific RARB judging categories is "innovation". That automatically makes me (as a reviewer) compare the song to other versions of the same song. Granted that's probably not the ONLY aspect of innovation that could/should be considered, but it seems like that is ONE of the aspects that should be considered when scoring an album.


John,

If you read the second part of that paragraph, I did notate that if the need to "call out" a lack of creativity on the groups part is part of the review, a reference to a group that DID do the song choice more creatively would be nice to have. That said, you're right, it should be part of the overall grade for that part of the review...but how much of that grade is failure to execute that song choice as opposed to just the song choice itself?

In this review (http://rarb.org/reviews/1094.html#), for example, while the second reviewer sites song choice as a detriment to the actual review, he also gives a comparison example for a couple of songs and a source where he thought it was executed more effectively and a place where we can find that version. Sometimes, when a review references songs that were 'done better elsewhere' (to paraphrase), it's missing that example of 'done better elsewhere' that a reader who isn't as deep into the scene as many people who frequent this board are could use to help understand the review (not to mention the group that uses these reviews to work towards improvement)

So I do agree that song choice is part of innovation, I just sometimes read reviews and wonder WHY a song isn't innovative in that particular case, wonder if other readers feel the same way, and wonder if that was the only reason the innovation grade is a 3 as opposed to a 4 or a 5? (I know grades are a massively subjective thing, especially in a reviewing service that holds high school groups to the same metric as professional groups). It's that "unless there is a specific elsewhere readers should be looking for" that I referenced in my first post.

In truth, the RARB reference was a side issue to the point about a group not recording a song if they can't bring something new to the table vibe that I got from the previous post. But it was something that was in the back of my mind for awhile now, so I brought it up to gain a better understanding of it.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby rdietz55 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:05 pm

Hey Shawn,

First off, welcome back to the board and the community!

I'd like to reply to a couple of your points, as I'm pretty sure I'm one of the reviewers who says "This has been done too many times and this brings nothing original to the table" a lot (in fact, those words verbatim!). I was saying it so much that I started a blog over at CASA to delve into what exactly I felt made something "innovative" or not (http://www.casa.org/casablog/66/Robert%20Dietz - "Turn Up The Creativity Dial" is the most succinct introduction).

That forum has allowed me much more space to compile my thoughts, rather than reiterate them constantly in my 500 words of RARB space.

Have we gotten to the point now where a college/high school group needs to do research on how many times a song has been sung and recorded by other groups before deciding whether or not they want to do it too?


If I may, if their goal is to excel at recording, then yeah. If not research on the number of times, then at least on the general aesthetic of the other versions available.

Contemporary a cappella music is an art built on foundations of creativity. The essence of what we do is to take something familiar and turn it on its ear, so to speak. We transmogrify instruments to voices because voices contain within them a whole new spectrum of sonic possibility (as well as a rich vein of emotional resonance). Following from that genesis, is it surprising that those of us who listen regularly want to hear the transformation done in new and exciting ways? It's the lifeblood of what we do! RARB is one of the tent poles constantly spurring the community onward in that direction, and in my opinion that's exactly what it should be.

Now more than ever, research is crucial for a group wishing to truly make an impact with their records. If that's not a group's goal, I respect that, but as you know RARB is a solicited source of review - so if we're listening, it means they asked our opinion. Because of that, I automatically assume that the group I'm listening to is interested in competing in the pool of contemporary recording. That's why we make such a big deal of the "RARB reviews you against the full body of recorded work" thing.

Sometimes, when a review references songs that were 'done better elsewhere' (to paraphrase), it's missing that example of 'done better elsewhere' that a reader who isn't as deep into the scene as many people who frequent this board are could use to help understand the review (not to mention the group that uses these reviews to work towards improvement)


I think this is a fair point, and it's something I will definitely keep in mind while writing my reviews from here on out.

At the same time, sometimes it's not that there is one single version that's better, but rather that there are many, many versions which are the same. I've only got 500 words or so to make a concerted series of points, and in that context I don't think it's really helpful or appropriate to spend time listing alternate versions of a song that influenced my opinion on the version I'm currently hearing. If there's a single gold standard then I absolutely try to make reference to it. You have to understand though how prevalent this sameness is, and how little desire I have to see my reviews become carbon copies of those that have come before!

Again, because RARB is a solicited source, I don't think it's unfair to expect participating groups to do their homework. The RARB site alone is host to a wealth of material pertaining to the quality of past albums, and anyone who wants to spend a little time can go see which groups are making this music to the most critical acclaim. If they're not interested and just want to have fun recording whatever was in their live set from that year, that's totally ok. Just don't expect accolades from RARB!

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby mikex » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:01 am

ntsMD806 wrote:P.P.S. When you decide to camp outside Bill Hare's window, take me with you.


It's much better being inside his studio... better acoustics.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby michaelmarcus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:02 am

steelerdaddy wrote:In this review (http://rarb.org/reviews/1094.html#), for example, while the second reviewer sites song choice as a detriment to the actual review, he also gives a comparison example for a couple of songs and a source where he thought it was executed more effectively and a place where we can find that version.

Thanks for the shout-out, Shawn! And to Rob's point, when I make comments like that there is almost always a specific version of a song that I consider to be definitive, against which all other versions shall forever be compared. In this case, those Divisi covers definitely fall into that category (for me at least).

steelerdaddy wrote:For as in tune with the "cutting edge" of a cappella as the readers of this forum, the professionals, and even some of the higher quality collegiate/high school groups are out there...in truth, I feel that a majority of people out there that like a cappella/sing a cappella probably don't know much about the scene beyond the Dalton Academy Warblers, "The Sing-Off", and Straight No Chaser. And those people...the ones that want to sing as well as they can but are singing because they enjoy it more than to reinvent the a cappella wheel...are going to sing the songs that they like to sing with the arrangements that they have available to them

Personally, I'm a bit more optimistic than that. If you watched "The Sing-Off" this year, you saw groups (for the most part) that had well-defined identities and did songs in their own unique styles. ("You Make My Dreams Come True" by Groove for Thought, "Mercy" by Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town and "Loveshack" by the Backbeats come immediately to mind.) This is a big part of the reason why I love that "The Sing-Off" is so popular. My hope is that groups at all levels will watch this sort of thing and be inspired. The novelty of what we do, of simply singing a popular song with just voices, has long since worn off. It is time for groups at all levels to go beyond transcriptions and start covering songs, really covering them the way a "real" recording artist would. This, I think, gets at the core of what Rob has been saying over at CASA.org and in this thread.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:52 am

michaelmarcus wrote:Personally, I'm a bit more optimistic than that. If you watched "The Sing-Off" this year, you saw groups (for the most part) that had well-defined identities and did songs in their own unique styles. ("You Make My Dreams Come True" by Groove for Thought, "Mercy" by Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town and "Loveshack" by the Backbeats come immediately to mind.) This is a big part of the reason why I love that "The Sing-Off" is so popular. My hope is that groups at all levels will watch this sort of thing and be inspired. The novelty of what we do, of simply singing a popular song with just voices, has long since worn off. It is time for groups at all levels to go beyond transcriptions and start covering songs, really covering them the way a "real" recording artist would. This, I think, gets at the core of what Rob has been saying over at CASA.org and in this thread.


This would be nice to see, yes. I just don't want to fault the groups that haven't caught up to the curve yet for being enthusiastic enough about what they do to experience what goes behind recording these things. Yes, evolution is needed, and as more groups get exposed to more styles, I hope to see this too, but I don't feel the need to tell them to wait until you hear how other folks do it.

When Sean wrote "Any song that a collegiate group decides to do that has been done before, in my opinion, NEEDS to give the listener something new, or else it's not worth recording.", it worried me because, on the surface, it reads that groups who can't hang with the movers and shakers of a cappella yet shouldn't bother recording until they do. I disagree. I think groups will have a hard time getting to the point of innovation if they don't have the opportunity to experience the basics first.

Yes, if they submit a recording to RARB and haven't done their homework, then the comments they get regarding lack of innovation are most assuredly earned. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed into a studio unless they can bring something new to the table. Ke$ha brings NOTHING new to popular music but that doesn't mean people (other than me) don't enjoy what she does and buy her albums. She does NOTHING for me musically in general and in the innovation category in specific...but she's still successful at what she does. There's a difference between calling a group out on not trying to do anything beyond a straight conversion of a song from instruments to voice and telling them they shouldn't bother recording unless they're ready to get past that. Granted, RARB reviewers may get nothing out of what they do on a CD, but the learning experience of simply doing it helps them to get TO that next level...as does the comments they get from reviewers. (It's why I like it when there's examples given of "the right way"...it points them in the direction of influences that will help them improve).

I think I'm looking at this from an educators point of view as opposed to a reviewer or a performer. Sometimes before you can get to the level of a Divisi or a XIV Hours, you need to start with transcriptions and what not to feed their desire to get more a cappella and better a cappella. If we start determining who should and shouldn't record based solely on their musical output...how else do they learn these steps? And just because a definitive version of a recording exists doesn't mean that their own, homebrewed, possibly inferior to the definitive version of an arrangement isn't an important part of that group's growth. I started my arranging career with a ca transcriptions, as many other arrangers have as well...it's good for groups to not be stagnant, but there should be room to grow over time as well.

I feel RARB can be so instrumental in promoting the growth of quality a cappella. As an arranger who hasn't been in the mix since the early aughts, I'm learning from these reviews as to current arranging techniques so my current work doesn't result in dated-sounding charts. I just find it helpful when the comparisons are there.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby steelerdaddy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:05 am

One final thing...I appreciate the chance to have this discussion and make points. I'm not saying RARB needs to change anything, and I understand that word limitations can limit more in-depth discussion. I just wanted to make the point that just because a recording isn't ready for prime time doesn't mean that there aren't purposes to recording besides reaching new heights in artistic achievement. Yes, some groups don't push themselves artistically...but the idea of "Don't record it unless it brings something new" bothers me moreso than the idea of "Don't submit it to RARB unless it either brings something new or if you're OK with being called out on your mediocrity." Because critical album reviews can be, well...critical. ;)

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby rdietz55 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:22 pm

steelerdaddy wrote:Yes, some groups don't push themselves artistically...but the idea of "Don't record it unless it brings something new" bothers me moreso than the idea of "Don't submit it to RARB unless it either brings something new or if you're OK with being called out on your mediocrity." Because critical album reviews can be, well...critical. ;)


Right on. In case it wasn't clear, this is the essence of what I was trying to say.

For the record, I completely appreciate the wide variety of reasons why groups make this music. I understand that not every group is in it to push the envelope, and that's totally ok! This is supposed to be fun after all - if you love the way you're doing things then by all means keep at it. Just don't expect much praise from the large segment of the community who wants to see the art continue to grow and evolve.

An example from my own history: the group I sang with all through college (Ithacappella) had a strong element of choral background that was (and is) a crucial part of our identity. Since we wanted to maintain the ability to sing choral music credibly, we always had at least four basses in our group, which turned into a big obstacle when I introduced the idea of a single bass microphone ("why should the rest of us even bother singing when you're only going to hear one guy!?"). Flash forward to ICCA finals 2009 when we got trounced, and one of the main criticisms was that nobody could hear our backgrounds as well as they could hear the other groups' backgrounds. In a way, our traditions hindered us from being able to compete with other groups who were using the newer innovations in live contemporary a cappella amplification.

So, we stopped doing the ICCAs (for many other reasons as well), and instead decided to focus on improving our home shows - in particular our year-end alumni show. And you know what? We had a blast, and began to totally revitalize our alumni base. To this day I'm still in touch with group alums who I might not otherwise be talking to because we decided at that juncture to focus on building our own community instead of pushing the boundaries of the art. We traded possible future success in the a cappella community, strengthened our own identity instead and haven't looked back yet.

All this is to say, I respect the fact that not every group places innovation as a priority. At the same time, if your goal is not to be the best group on record, then consider whether you would actually benefit from RARB reviewing your work (or at least don't be hurt when your review isn't glowing). Ithacappella could have pushed for success in the ICCAs, but we felt at the time that we would have had to change the essence of our group identity to do so. That identity was important to us, so we went another direction. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby jmille22 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:05 am

rdietz55 wrote:At the same time, if your goal is not to be the best group on record, then consider whether you would actually benefit from RARB reviewing your work (or at least don't be hurt when your review isn't glowing).

I so disagree with this. RARB is pretty much the only reliable learning tool most groups have at their disposal when it comes to learning right from wrong. Not everybody has the benefit of affording top-level producers to mentor them through the process—dare I say that most definitely don't—and the peer review and critiquing RARB provides is nigh indispensable for groups who are just trying to get their footing. This is, after all, a largely collegiate and almost wholly amateur operation. Pro groups don't need RARB except for the sound bites and maybe some high-level commentary, but the college kids desperately need the guidance it offers. I don't see RARB's function as just pushing the envelope forward for the groups who endeavor to be the best; it's also about jump-starting the "mere mortals" of collegiate a cappella so they can learn how to do it right.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby johnhe » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:10 pm

jmille22 wrote:
rdietz55 wrote:At the same time, if your goal is not to be the best group on record, then consider whether you would actually benefit from RARB reviewing your work (or at least don't be hurt when your review isn't glowing).

I so disagree with this. RARB is pretty much the only reliable learning tool most groups have at their disposal when it comes to learning right from wrong. Not everybody has the benefit of affording top-level producers to mentor them through the process—dare I say that most definitely don't—and the peer review and critiquing RARB provides is nigh indispensable for groups who are just trying to get their footing. This is, after all, a largely collegiate and almost wholly amateur operation. Pro groups don't need RARB except for the sound bites and maybe some high-level commentary, but the college kids desperately need the guidance it offers. I don't see RARB's function as just pushing the envelope forward for the groups who endeavor to be the best; it's also about jump-starting the "mere mortals" of collegiate a cappella so they can learn how to do it right.

Well Rob can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what he's trying to say (and I agree) is that if you're going to submit your album to RARB, then you need to consider whether or not the standards by which RARB is going to measure your album are your standards, or standards that you would accept. You mention that RARB is one of the only ways groups can learn "right from wrong." That assumes, though, that the group has accepted the "right and wrong" that RARB prescribes to.

Groups can certainly make music and record it for many reasons, as outlined by Rob's post. Speaking from my own limited personal experience though, groups often think that simply because they've recorded an album, the "thing to do" is to submit the album to RARB, and then the cross their fingers and hope for the best, and then when the critical reviews come in, they're upset. Their approach to recording is not in line with RARB's philosophy, and as such they can't understand why they received a poor review and as such can't learn from the experience.

Basically, to summarize, a group can record an album however it wants. If they're going to submit said album to RARB, though, they should be ready to have their album evaluated under the standards that RARB sets forth.
John He
Executive Producer | Los Angeles A Cappella Festival
Music Director | Bruin Harmony
Nominator & Judge | CARA
johnhe
 
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

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