TakeNote's On the M60

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TakeNote's On the M60

Postby jpchip » Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:56 pm

jminkoff wrote:The invisible hand of artful musical direction has its prints all over this disc. (This is, by the way, an entirely different invisible hand from the one that corrects market pricing issues related to supply and demand.


Undoubtedly the funniest reference I've read in a review in a long time.
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Re: TakeNote's On the M60

Postby lcmike » Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:50 pm

jpchip wrote:
jminkoff wrote:The invisible hand of artful musical direction has its prints all over this disc. (This is, by the way, an entirely different invisible hand from the one that corrects market pricing issues related to supply and demand.


Undoubtedly the funniest reference I've read in a review in a long time.



I can't believe he referenced Adam Smith. Argh.
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TakeNote On the M60

Postby TakeNoteLady » Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:31 pm

Gillian Trimboli here... president of TakeNote ... Id like to say first and foremost that I (along with the rest of my group) have been anticipating our reviews for quite some time now. Kind of a newbie to the whole aca scene in comparison to most on the forum but I know a few things for sure. I hate to see people bitch and complain about their reviews... that's the nature of the whole process right? For people to have their own opinions, give the potential cd buyer insight into an album they havent purchased yet... all this being said:

Im truly grateful for some wonderful feedback. As this is the first album that any of us have been involved in, Im quite proud of the results. My only questions unfortunately are directed towards Ms. Kolko... as I appreciate, and understand where most statements are coming from, there's a few that Id love some clarity about...

A tuning score of a 2? ... aside from the fact that I know not an ounce of autotune was used on the album, other than to get the "autotune sound" - you never mention tuning once in the review... Just wondering where one of the lowest scores you dished out came from.

Also, and this could just be personal preference...One of my largest complaints from collegiate a cappella... and well, any recording artists for that matter is the loss of feeling from live performance to studio recording. Less emotion? I guess if we have to straddle a line between unattatched and overemotional ... Id choose the latter. Im not quite sure what you mean for the soloists to attempt to do next go round.

Lastly... the "irritating soloist" is a kick ass chick - and one who im sure would rather hear what she could improve upon as opposed to simply stating that she "annoyed the heck" out of you.... maybe i missed where the constructive criticism was hidden in there...

Hope none of this is misconstrued as ranting... just wanting to make the sophomore effort even better. Feel free to enlighten me...
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Postby trdave04 » Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:24 pm

i'm gonna start with my rant and then move on to nicer things. now i understand that people have different tastes, so i'm not upset with valerie for having a rather disparate rating from the other two reviewers. and i'm not upset that she didn't like all of the soloists - nobody ever does, especially when you don't know the people you're listening to. but i do take exception to the way that she expressed it by singling a person out... first of all, i disagree. but mostly i just don't see how comments like those are necessary. i know it's been debated to death on here, but i'm sure it's reviews like that one that dissuade some groups from submitting their cds. who needs that??

just be careful with your words people, you're not always working with professional singers who've generally had enough encouragement in the past to move on from comments like those. constructive is the word. look to tekay's review if you need help.

now on to the nicer things!! minkoff and tekay's comments were awesome. minkoff's review was spot on and freaking hilarious. tekay's was balanced and well written. although i thought the tigeroar reference sort of took away from take note's well-deserved spotlight, i'm loving that clemson acappella is finally making waves in the acaworld. and i'm glad to report to Tekay that TN is in fact already arranging more of their own songs - including an original that i'm looking forward to hearing at their show on the 26th!

and these are just my thoughts: even though innovation wasn't really mentioned, i believe that if you could hear their previous cds, they would have definitely gotten 4's and 5's for that category. even though i enjoy their earlier cds, this one is just so much better all around. it's cleaner, fuller, more energetic, and the soloists absolutely rock! every single soloist is great, plus some are just incredible - i.e. the well-deserved CARA nod for Jen Stephens...

anyhow, i'm excited for Take Note as they begin making their mark - keep shakin' the southland, ladies!
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Postby streetnix04 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:50 am

As a newbie RARB reviewer, I'd like to put a disclaimer that this is my opinion, and not that of RARB or any other reviewer.

Things like this come up anytime there is a negative view, and I don't think you are wrong for wanting explanations of why a reviewer said the things that he/she said. I suggest that if you want an explanation, e-mail the reviewer privately (we all have links to e-mail us) instead of publicly calling out a reviewer for doing a volunteer job. I'm pretty sure every RARB reviewer has received hate mail at one point or another.

But the point that I want to make, is that it is not our job to only say what we liked or what is good about an album. We are reviewing the album, so anything is fair game -- the good and the bad. If a reviewer doesn't like something, and thinks a potential CD-buying public should know about, that it is within his/her right to do so. And if they feel strongly enough to write about it, then they definitely should do so. "Irritating soloist" is just as acceptable as "outstanding soloist."

Take everything with a grain of salt. We know that you worked hard on your albums and that you put your heart and soul into every note. A negative comment about a soloist or an arrangement is not a personal attack, it is an opinion. On my group's most recent album review, The SoCal VoCals, one reviewer criticized one of my arrangements. He/she provided no explanation why it bothered him/her. And you know what? I agreed to disagree with the comments, and moved on. The people in my group, my local a cappella community, and my group's fans happen to love that song, and I took solice in that.

It is not our job to tell you how to improve on something. We are not here to make you a better a cappella group. We are here to review albums; what you decide to do with it -- let it affect your decision to purchase an album, use it as a measuring stick for your group, find ways to improve yourselves -- is up to you.

Don't forget, we do this completely on a volunteer basis. We do not get paid one measly cent. We do this because we love music and we love a cappella. It is not fair to put the immense pressure on is to give a perfect review every time.

Ok, now that I am off my soapbox, let me just say that I cannot wait to begin reviewing albums. I feel honored that you have entrusted me to judge/review/criticize the final product of your hours and hours of hard work.

Sincerely,
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Postby singyourheart » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:12 am

NomadVP wrote:Things like this come up anytime there is a negative view, and I don't think you are wrong for wanting explanations of why a reviewer said the things that he/she said. I suggest that if you want an explanation, e-mail the reviewer privately (we all have links to e-mail us) instead of publicly calling out a reviewer for doing a volunteer job. I'm pretty sure every RARB reviewer has received hate mail at one point or another.


i disagree with you. as long as the post is well-written and not hateful. that is what this part of the forum is for. and in a case where a group feels a score is just plain wrong (tuning is not really subjective - have you heard the CD in question?), then the 'volunteer' reviewer should be prepared for the potential of being asked about it, and of being asked to provide some further rationale, in front of all who read the review. they don't have to answer, of course.

speaking outside the context of this review, if for some reason a reviewer made a mistake in a review, rarb, following guidelines of other print media, would likely (and has) issue(d) a retraction - in the forum. if this were done over email, or just corrected in the review, most wouldn't know that anything had changed. i'm not saying that this is necessary in every or even most cases, but as a principle i think it is a fair one.

NomadVP wrote:A negative comment about a soloist or an arrangement is not a personal attack, it is an opinion.


great point. however, i don't think tuning and even blend to a degree are matters of opinion. it/is in tune/blends, or it isn't/doesn't.

NomadVP wrote:It is not our job to tell you how to improve on something. We are not here to make you a better a cappella group. We are here to review albums; what you decide to do with it -- let it affect your decision to purchase an album, use it as a measuring stick for your group, find ways to improve yourselves -- is up to you.


this (your point) makes sense, though i think it's is regrettable that this is the approach you (at least) will be taking in your reviews. it's not that hard to find constructive things to say, and most reviewers manage to do it - you can too! :)


NomadVP wrote:Don't forget, we do this completely on a volunteer basis. We do not get paid one measly cent. We do this because we love music and we love a cappella. It is not fair to put the immense pressure on is to give a perfect review every time.


oh for chrissakes. not the 'volunteer' card again! i understand what you (and your bosses) are saying/have said here and respect that yes, you do it for "free", but when you take this attitude at the first sign of diversity/dissent you marginalize yourselves and the entity you represent, and weaken your character. just do your jobs as if you were getting paid big bucks - whether you are or not. you made some good points in your post - don't ruin them with this bit.
Last edited by singyourheart on Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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TakeNote On the M60

Postby TakeNoteLady » Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:26 am

if I didnt emphasize it enough before... ill reitterate... Im completely stoked about our scores overall... no sour grapes - no burning desire to send hate mail. Just an honest willingness to get better. All of you "volunteer" reviewers are much more experienced and have a much larger knowledge base in this genre than I do yet. As a future teacher maybe its just my overly utopian..."lets try to learn as much as we can." I've seen plenty reviewers that have responded to questions so I didnt think it was out of line to ask. Nothing posted was meant to be misconstrued as ill will... The New York/Italian in me gets a lil "fiesty" sometimes...
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Postby trdave04 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:02 am

eh, i don't feel like starting another debate about this, so just go read the thread about the Stanford Mendicant's review where one soloist was singled out as "atrocious"... especially read Bill Hare's comments on the first page as i feel he put it best.

but overall i was very pleased with the reviews - even ms kolko's minus the afformentioned comment. take note's cd is great people, so go get it =)
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Postby tekay » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:37 am

singyourheart wrote:great point. however, i don't think tuning and even blend to a degree are matters of opinion. it/is in tune/blends, or it isn't/doesn't.


I completely disagree. Blend and tuning to the human ear are two of the most subjective points when I'm listening to groups. Unless you are talking in absolutes (those perfect pitch people know what I mean), we praise what we find acceptable and denigrate that we don't. Other external factors in. If I like a group, sketchy blend can be seen as a quirky aspect to their sound...different group, same sketch means hie thee to a vocal coach.

I had another point, but have now forgotten it. yay early morning rants

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Postby singyourheart » Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:46 am

tekay wrote:
singyourheart wrote:great point. however, i don't think tuning and even blend to a degree are matters of opinion. it/is in tune/blends, or it isn't/doesn't.


I completely disagree. Blend and tuning to the human ear are two of the most subjective points when I'm listening to groups. Unless you are talking in absolutes (those perfect pitch people know what I mean), we praise what we find acceptable and denigrate that we don't. Other external factors in. If I like a group, sketchy blend can be seen as a quirky aspect to their sound...different group, same sketch means hie thee to a vocal coach.



well upon reflection perhaps you're right at least to some extent. different people have differing abilities to hear what's in tune and what isn't. sometimes different notes stick out to different people, etc. listening to this particular CD, though, and if we accept there are relative levels of tuning well (or something) i don't hear really any instances of poor or even mediocre tuning. <shrug>
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Postby nuzzle77 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:43 am

After reading this thread, I went back and read all three reviews of On The M60. First, I find it ironic that nobody has a quibble about TeKay's or Jonathon's review, but that Valerie's is drawing more focus because her's was more negative.

Second, as has been discussed countless times before, negative reviews are inevitable. Some people are bound to not like certain albums/songs, and are fully entitled to those opinions.

Third, in Valerie's defense (not that her review requires defending), she ends her review with some constructive criticism:
I'm actually going to recommend less energy on the part of the soloists. So take note, TakeNote. Step back and relate your solo to the style and feeling the song intends to project. Pop some more excitement into the dry arrangements and have the backgrounds open up more on wider syllables. The consistency of sound between lead and backup will make TakeNote's next effort easier on the ears.
Such advice/constructive criticsm was less apparent in the other two reviews, despite being more positive.

Fourth, there should be a better mutual understanding of RARB reviews on both sides. Reviewers: Keep in mind that most of these singers are amatuer/collegiate/first-time recording artists, looking for advice on how to improve and acknowledgement of things to continue doing. Things like "this soloist annoyed the heck out of me" doesn't tell the soloist how be less "annoying" or the readers why the reviewer felt that way. While your primary purpose in revewing albums may not be to provide constructive criticism, keeping the reviewees and your audience in mind is certainly worthwhile, and will only help RARB in the long run. We (singers/performers) look to the seasoned aca veterans of RARB for advice on how to become better singers and make better albums. As for the volunteer card, remember that most of the people you review are not getting paid to sing aca either. Singers: Keep in mind that the reviewers are merely posting their opinions. While certain unconstructive comments may not be warranted and highly subjective, they are still fair game for RARB reviews. There is nothing that says the reviewers have to be nice all the time....

Fifth...eh...I think that was it....my head hurts...
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Val's Response

Postby vkolko » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:35 am

I go away for less than 24 hours and there's nearly a whole thread pertaining to my review! I will begin with the caveat that I do not have the album with me to go back and listen so that I may confirm what I originally wrote.

Gillian wrote:A tuning score of a 2? ... aside from the fact that I know not an ounce of autotune was used on the album, other than to get the "autotune sound" - you never mention tuning once in the review... Just wondering where one of the lowest scores you dished out came from.


I can't comment on this right now since I don't have the album with me. While I was not impressed with the tuning per se, be cognizant that the actual category of rating is "Tuning/blending." As noted in my review, I thought there was too much distance between the higher and the lower voices, thus causing each vocal part to stand out more. To me, this is not representative of good blend. I would have preferred the arrangements to feature more complex, chord-driven background vocals. In this way, there would hopefully be a better blend.

Gillian wrote:I guess if we have to straddle a line between unattatched and overemotional ... Id choose the latter. Im not quite sure what you mean for the soloists to attempt to do next go round.


I felt that because the backgrounds in most of the songs were so lacking that the energy of the soloists didn't match up, creating an imbalance of power.

Gillian wrote:Lastly... the "irritating soloist" is a kick ass chick - and one who im sure would rather hear what she could improve upon as opposed to simply stating that she "annoyed the heck" out of you....


I have no doubt she kicks ass as you say she does. My opinion is that there was too much oversinging in her two songs, that she was showing off vocal turns and nuances that didn't work with the song. My constructive criticism for her is to create her own voice for the songs while staying true to their intent, lyrics, and meaning.

Jeremy wrote:While your primary purpose in revewing albums may not be to provide constructive criticism, keeping the reviewees and your audience in mind is certainly worthwhile, and will only help RARB in the long run.


I was just about to write this myself when I read Jeremy's statement. I am not required to give commentary on how a group might improve future albums. I am happy to offer that, however, if asked for and is not in my review. I do encourage groups whose albums I review to request more feedback, but I do not believe that my job is to tell people exactly what they think they want to hear.

In conclusion, it's my pleasure to respond to posts like this to help members of the group improve for next time. I'm sorry that my review was displeasing to you, but I stand by my original words. I believe that mixing the negative commentary with the positive makes for a better-written review overall, and I won't write a fluff review just to be nice.

Valerie
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Postby tekay » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:55 am

trdave04 wrote:...but i do take exception to the way that she expressed it by singling a person out...


sometimes one person can make or brake an entire album for you. that has happened to me on a few of my past reviews. a couple of times, I've mentioned the person by song, if not by name, once I chickened out and didn't do that. that was my choice and one that I regret still.

trdave04 wrote:look to tekay's review if you need help.

now on to the nicer things!! minkoff and tekay's comments were awesome. minkoff's review was spot on and freaking hilarious. tekay's was balanced and well written. although i thought the tigeroar reference sort of took away from take note's well-deserved spotlight, i'm loving that clemson acappella is finally making waves in the acaworld.


THANKS! I rarely get feedback either way so the shout out is appreciated. And just to let you know, at the time I was writing the review, i think i'd just heard that TROAR was on BOCA, TN had done extremely well at SOJAM and the IMPUSLE boys were kickin' it like big dogs. so clemson was on my mind and what i'd been involved with was on my fingertips. plus, scurfluffle, how can you not like that!


trdave04 wrote:and i'm glad to report to Tekay that TN is in fact already arranging more of their own songs - including an original that i'm looking forward to hearing at their show on the 26th!


completely exciting. capital "K." now if UGA Noteworthy would do the same thing, my work would be done.

trdave04 wrote:and these are just my thoughts: even though innovation wasn't really mentioned, i believe that if you could hear their previous cds, they would have definitely gotten 4's and 5's for that category.


maybe, maybe not. the categories are for ALL a cappella that we've ever heard, when we're deciding scores. even if they are better on that than their last album, it may still be average for what other groups are doing in the genre. just wanted to point that out.

As I was a SoJam judge, some of the items I addressed in the review were issues/improvements that I'd already talked to lady G about, so i see nothing but a positive future for them.[/quote]

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Postby TakeNoteLady » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:14 pm

Valerie wrote:
"I'm sorry that my review was displeasing to you, but I stand by my original words. I believe that mixing the negative commentary with the positive makes for a better-written review overall, and I won't write a fluff review just to be nice."


I appreciate that you dont write fluff.. and i appreciate even more that you are willing to clarify. As stated by others ... no i guess its not your job to help us get better but I know I sure as hell would if I had the knowledge to help aspiring groups grow. So cheers to you for the "extra" time ...Anywhoooo we all have our ways of doing things and Id like to state for the record that I thought there was a lot of constructive thoughts built in from the start... the panties were never in a wad and I truly appreciate the extra thoughts

peace
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Postby TakeNoteLady » Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:20 pm

TeKay Wrote:

some of the items I addressed in the review were issues/improvements that I'd already talked to lady G about


PS... we still rocked the camis at ICCA - some things just have to be done in the name of lookin good :) Satin + anything always equals a good time ...
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