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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

All things Recorded A Cappella Review Board.

Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby rdietz55 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:42 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby smatthews22 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:00 pm

So is what I am getting out of all of this a sense of the following:

- Groups will be judged based upon what they bring to the table as in comparison with the rest of the a cappella world at large of which the reviewer is (supposed to be) a knowledgable source.
- Reviews are useful for groups even if they don't care to be top-of-the-class recordings or contemporary a cappella groups
- This isn't a science.

Here's where I get slightly confused or I suppose more intrigued. For those who are upset by the notion that "if it's not bringing anything new to the table, don't do it", what are you looking for in a review? My point is this: submit an album to RARB, and you WILL be compared to all other groups out there that the reviewer has listened to. Now, if that is unfair to you, why submit to RARB?

Another way to put this is in the form of a question to anyone who is reading this post: Is there any way that a group can submit an album to reviewers or RARB or a group of knowledgeable people, with specific questions to be answered? Someone commented that the RARB reviews are indespensable to the young or unheard of groups out there who don't get to work with experienced producers. I actually think that's laughable or sort've "BS". Yes, RARB reviews are helpful, but mostly if you're looking to buy an album and you want to know what's on it and what someone thinks of it. As someone who has been part of and understood the production of 3 different albums that are RARB reviewed, I know that the most helpful bits were people confirming what we thought we did well, and pointing out what we knew we did poorly.

What helped us out much more was having an alumni in Hyannis Sound run the CD by a few different knowledgeable a cappella folks, and having Tim Bongiovanni be our producer. He was a) the one responsible for mixing, which is something that reviewers talk about all the time but that groups almost never have the opportunity to influence, b) very helpful with listening to arrangements and suggesting different tweaks or improvements, c) knowledgeable about the a cappella world at large, and perhaps biggest of all d) able to tweak and give live feedback to every stage of the process.

Now, I know I came out of the process with a number of questions. If you look at Not Too Sharp's album "Shifting Gears", I can point you to each track and ask you your opinion on different aspects of it. Then I can point to the CD as a whole and ask something like "Should we have put 'Gone' first or last?" etc.

Directed questions for the reviewers by the groups submitting the CD would be the most helpful tool for a reviewer to provide ACTUAL invaluable feedback. That way, they aren't just doing what I described above: Affirming what you knew to be good, denouncing what you knew to be flaws.

SO those are my thoughts after reading through all of these threads. Anyone else?
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby rdietz55 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:36 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby billhare » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:12 am

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments.

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby jmille22 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:57 am

Bill, I'm on the same page as you and agree with everything you're saying, but oftentimes people just don't know better. It would be great if CASA were able to obsessively seek out every new group just to say, "Hey, we're here. We want to help. Come pick our brains," but that's impossible. I wish I'd known people like you were out there when I planned my group's last album, but I had no idea that the acammunity—yes, I've said that word out loud—was so extensive and generous. RARB was the only resource anyone told me about, so I used it; I can't be the only one who's gone through this. (In a sense, I'm lucky: At least I eventually found out about things like CASA and S2N in time to tell Ethan about them and damn if the new album isn't making very, very good use of that knowledge.)

Thinking about it more, things have changed in the last few years and my perspective feels a bit anachronistic. A cappella has exploded of late and I think it's getting increasingly difficult to be isolated from the acammunity. Perhaps our newfound popularity obviates my opinion. Actually, I hope it does.

Jay Miller
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby singabelle » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:55 pm

Lo Barreiro a.k.a. LoLo BaRoRo or BaLaLaLa or LoLo McRidic or JelloKitty or Lil Rhombus or Brown Sugah CASA Ambassador- Greater Boston Area [url=http://

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby smatthews22 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:01 am

Not to pick up and beat a dead horse, but I was curious about a few things that this thread has had me thinking about.

First, to preface all of this, I am currently co-hosting an all-acappella radio show on WUNH Durham. It broadcasts between Boston, MA and Portland, ME, based out of UNH-Durham. Brendan McCann (He prowls the a cappella webs often, big on promotion and e-mailing and networking, that one) started it out, and it's been going swimmingly. Two hours a week, Friday nights 8-10, and all of it gets recorded and reposted. Now that we have a solid DJ for the next year or two (both Brendan and I graduated last Spring and didn't want to push things bigger until we had security), we've been trying to gain steam in the A Cappella world.

That's the preface. And if you're interested, it's as our main page, and for past shows.

We've been trying to think of structure, of what to talk about on the show, of how to balance discussion/talking/banter with actual songs being played. And thus we've been thinking long-term.

Here's the point of this post: I think this discussion would be very cool to have with a panel of guests on the show at some point, so that it reaches a broader audience. We recently did an interview on Skype with Tat Tong, and that worked out swimmingly... I am imagining a discussion on Skype with Bill, Lo, a reviewer or two, anyone who wants input and thinks this would be fun. We could even pre-record it if that time slot doesn't work for everyone.

Even greater still, we could do a few different discussions, to release either as podcasts in addition to the weekly show, or to just do maybe once a month on the show. I don't know yet but I'd LOVE to get this discussion out of the confines of the internet and into the airwaves, because as one commenter mentioned, some people just don't know about all of the discussion going on, all of the resources in a cappella, and all of the great and helpful minds out there that love the opportunity to lift up a group o singers!

Anyone else excited?

I am.

Yours in Service,
~Sean
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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:34 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:35 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:36 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:37 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:38 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:38 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:39 am

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Re: Not Too Sharp - Shifting Gears

Postby vandre » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:40 am

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