Madison Project - The Khaki Album

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

Re: ahhhh

Postby cmasone » Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:40 pm

savedby3n1 wrote:we also won a icca for one. im confused, to say the least.



Arrangements that are good for live performance can come across as thin, repetitive and boring on recordings, because the visual aspect of your performance isn't there to distract from the arrangment's weaknesses. Or, perhaps the arrangement is good, but something about the production choices didn't highlight what the ICCA judges felt made the arrangement award-worthy. Or, perhaps the bar for "good arrangements" is higher on recordings, because people don't have to stay within the limitations of the number of singers in the group, or what's easy to sing in a show in the middle of tour.


Lastly, see how much easier to read proper capitalization and spacing makes a post? Also, note how taking the time to form complete sentences makes me seem less like an annoyed kid texting his friends and more like a rational adult with good points that are worth listening to.
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Re: ahhhh

Postby carlyonders » Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:50 pm

cmasone wrote:Lastly, see how much easier to read proper capitalization and spacing makes a post? Also, note how taking the time to form complete sentences makes me seem less like an annoyed kid texting his friends and more like a rational adult with good points that are worth listening to.


You're right, it does make you seem more rational. A rational asshole, but rational, all the same.
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Postby playdeep » Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:01 am

Since i have spent extensive time listening to both the aires and project's latest efforts i think i can back both of these guys up in saying i dont think their cds are way autotuned. i was very surprised to see that in the review, and was a bit surprised to see that it was missed as an effect in the ace of bass medley. i also found the madison and aires cds to be two of the best cds of the year and was certainly surprised that the project one was not rated better.

Part of the reason i say this is bc i hear just about every cd out there (college and pro) and felt as if the some of the cds judged higher certainly didnt deserve it.

Both cds are fun to me and scream repeat listenability, which for me is very important when a cd can easily get lost in the stacks upon stacks of cds i own. i also think the aires and madison boys had better arrangements then they were given credit for....simple, maybe sure.....but effective yes. though i know for a fact that some of the aires and project arrangements are more complex than they seem.....superstition and dont come around here no more from black tie affair...that things ends up at something like 14 parts if my ears serve me correctly. well done guys!
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Postby aballard » Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:28 pm

I have to say -- for better or for worse -- it's really cool to see people talking about this review. I hope we'll continue to see more reaction like this in the forums -- again, for better or for worse.

Based on comments here, and the two other reviews, I'm in the minority regarding the Khaki Album, which is fine. I just didn't care for this album, and though my review might seem harsh, it's honest and it's reflective of what I think about it.

There's been much mention of my using that dreaded word -- AUTOTUNE -- in my review, and I want to clarify something: I have absolutely no idea how much or how little an autotuner was used in the production of this album. However, I know how much it SOUNDED like one was used, and that's what I was commenting on. So many spots on that album were just void of a truly human sound, to the point of being grating. Maybe it was from the editing, maybe from some weird EQing, but whatever the case, it souded to me like that flatlining whine of the Autotune machine. If it looks like a peach, smells like a peach, tastes like a peach.... hell, I'm going to call it a peach.

Also, someone here said that I called "Love Song" plain. That's not true -- I called it plaintive, which was a compliment. I really like that track and think it was very well done.

Anyway, feel free to toss out any specific questions, or go ahead and lambast me as you please -- I don't expect everything I write to be well-received! You can also email me at aballard at rarb dot org.
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Great CD

Postby Tiger33 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:44 am

You can get all you need to know about this album from the first and second reviews. The third is way too harsh, and for some reason chooses almost exclusively to write about negative aspects. (To just read the third review, you would think that this CD had no redemption). It's a very good CD. Not groundbreaking or the next new thing, but not deserving of a 2. The fact that two experienced reviewers gave multiple tracks 5's speaks volumes.

But listen for yourself: http://www.themadisonproject.com/Record ... 0Album.htm

Good to see Virginia groups doing well. VA and NC are turning into hotbeds for good a cappella!
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Re: Great CD

Postby cmasone » Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:19 pm

Tiger33 wrote:It's a very good CD. Not groundbreaking or the next new thing, but not deserving of a 2. The fact that two experienced reviewers gave multiple tracks 5's speaks volumes.


And the fact that a third reviewer disliked much of the album says nothing?

Read other reviews by all the reviewers, decide who you tend to agree with, then read all three reviews and make a judgement for yourself.

Just because you disagree with someone doesn't mean their opinion is without merit.

Edit: I just listened to the samples...and I have to say I know exactly what Adam is saying about the mechanized soullessness of a lot of the tracks. Based on what I heard, I'd give it a 3 probably. I'd need to hear the entirety of the solos and arrangements to make a final judgement, but it just sounds very par-for-the-course to me. Five years ago, it's probably hot stuff, but now...anyone can put out an album that sounds like this, with a little time and enough money to pay 'dio to mix it.
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Postby Johnsapella » Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:54 pm

Not to drege up old flamewars, but regardless of the fact that Adam didn't care for this album (and he's certainly entitled to his opinion), he offered specific and relevant criticism, which ought to be the main goal of any RARB submission, not just high marks.

It could have been worse - at least Adam told you where you can improve, and offered insight, rather than just...well, most of you know what I'm avoiding making reference to.
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Re: Great CD

Postby Tippy » Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:42 pm

cmasone wrote:Edit: I just listened to the samples...and I have to say I know exactly what Adam is saying about the mechanized soullessness of a lot of the tracks. Based on what I heard, I'd give it a 3 probably. I'd need to hear the entirety of the solos and arrangements to make a final judgement, but it just sounds very par-for-the-course to me. Five years ago, it's probably hot stuff, but now...anyone can put out an album that sounds like this, with a little time and enough money to pay 'dio to mix it.


Dude.

First you feel the need for some reason to hop on the Last Call shitwagon, and heap some more misery on them, now this. And this, in light of the super-tuned, over-compressed, overly-hyped, edited-to-death fodder you and 'Dr. Sound' continue to spew out...is truly remarkable. Your rep as an unjustifiably-snooty and verbose prick continues to grow, and coming from me, that says quite a lot.
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Postby TheProjectPiper » Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:38 am

Ha. this post was a mistake... read on... =o)
Last edited by TheProjectPiper on Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TheProjectPiper » Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:22 am

disregard that message.... =o)

It's way too early... Anyway, I thought I should comment on this topic since it hits close to home.

Cmasone - you seem to be defending Adam more than your own opinions, and I'm quite sure that he's a big boy and can handle criticism himself. Unless you've heard the disc you can't agree or disagree with any of the reviewer's opinions. This is the important step you left out when you said:
Read other reviews by all the reviewers, decide who you tend to agree with, then read all three reviews and make a judgement for yourself.
RARB is a useful tool because it can spark your interest in a disc... then you're supposed to go and check it out for yourself, not bludgeon a group you know little about.

Anyway... to speak to the reviewers. First, TeKay... you wrote:
Case in point, either Ace of Base has to be performed faithfully or given a grand send-up.
Does this really merit a 1? The sheer fact that it is in-tune, has some energy/personality, and it's a solid arrangement should make it at least a 2? I mean... a 1 should be reserved for the worst of the worst - how can you justify giving this track a 1? I mean, you nitpicked Graham on Counting Blue Cars for pronouncing the "T" and only took 1 point off for the entire track... did not committing one way or the other in Ace really deserve a minus 4?

Second, Adam... I'd like to know your thoughts on an album like "Propeller" or "Crabs and Tartar" because we cover similar tracks. IMHO both of those albums seem a bit more autotuned than Project's efforts. Compare tracks like Counting Blue Cars off "Propeller" between the two groups... It seems that Project has received the short end of the praise-stick. Project's arrangement is just as competent and our soloist captures the mood better than VoiceMale's I implore you to compare The Luckiest between "Crabs" and "Khaki." Personally, I think their arrangement is more of "an arrangement," but Project always brings a warmth to its tracks and soloists that are above average.

Speaking about soloists.... Adam, you said that
Soloists are good, if not amazing
... Then why the "3" for soloists and not a higher mark? How can these soloists, if you quote them as amazing, improve? What would have garnered a higher mark? You seemed to have a bad taste in your mouth about the whole album and did not try hard to find anything redeeming about the disc. I'm thankful that the other reviewers had positive things to say about our efforts. There is a lot of talent here at James Madison University (and in other .. lesser VA schools =o).

I can assure you that our arrangements are intricate and difficult and I would challenge any other male group to sing sex bomb (I'll send you the arrangement...) and produce a soloists that can wail like Phil on that song.

RARB is a great service to a cappella and it continues to produce polar opinions which generates solid discussion...

Matt

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Re: Great CD

Postby cmasone » Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:28 am

Tippy wrote:Dude.

First you feel the need for some reason to hop on the Last Call shitwagon, and heap some more misery on them, now this. And this, in light of the super-tuned, over-compressed, overly-hyped, edited-to-death fodder you and 'Dr. Sound' continue to spew out...is truly remarkable. Your rep as an unjustifiably-snooty and verbose prick continues to grow, and coming from me, that says quite a lot.


yes, we can't all generate posts of the wit and brevity of "Meh."

And yeah, I like to talk. It's a forum. That's what it's for.

Over-edited? Super-tuned? Yeah, it is. I listen to either Black Tie Affaire or Impiared, and there's a million places I, in retrospect, should have left alone. I'm still learning:-)

Overly hyped? I don't do anything to generate hype about Aires albums. I may have posted a release notice here, I don't even remember. If it's over-hyped, then it's people outside the group doing the "hyping", and what can I do about that?

For Last Call, I have a copy of that album...they asked me to critique several of their tracks during an early stage of mixing. There was a thread where some folks gave consumer reviews of the disc and, since I'd heard some tracks at an early stage and also heard the final product for the whole thing, I threw my two cents in. For this one, someone compared this stuff to Aires albums, which hits home for me. So I responded with my take on the reviews. Now that I've listened to the samples online, I've got a better informed opinion, so I stated it.

At least I'm willing to own what I say, Tippy.


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Re: Great CD

Postby Tippy » Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:48 am

cmasone wrote:yes, we can't all generate posts of the wit and brevity of "Meh."


No, we can't.
Last edited by Tippy on Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cmasone » Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:57 am

TheProjectPiper wrote:
Cmasone - you seem to be defending Adam more than your own opinions, and I'm quite sure that he's a big boy and can handle criticism himself. Unless you've heard the disc you can't agree or disagree with any of the reviewer's opinions. This is the important step you left out when you said:
Read other reviews by all the reviewers, decide who you tend to agree with, then read all three reviews and make a judgement for yourself.
RARB is a useful tool because it can spark your interest in a disc... then you're supposed to go and check it out for yourself, not bludgeon a group you know little about.


The originator of the thread brought up recent Aires albums, which hits close to home for me, since I engineered the last two essentially on my own, which is why I even spoke up in the first place. The reviewer in question could've been anyone and I still would've said something. I have strong opinions about my own work:-)

But, given my inside knowledge of Adam's involvement in recent Aires work, his comments led me to believe certain things about the album's sound (which were then borne out when I listened to all of your album samples). Perhaps I shouldn't have expressed my take on the reviews until I'd heard the samples. But I did, and then I went and listened to the mp3s and came back to reaffirm what I had been led to believe. I can give positives too, based on what I heard...Superstition sounds great; the soloist was quite good, as was the block. I liked Love Song as well...

The thing that irked me was when someone said that one doesn't need to read all three reviews to decide whether to be interested in a disc, just because one of them is negative. That's the attitude I disagree with.
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Postby aballard » Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:09 am

TheProjectPiper wrote:Speaking about soloists.... Adam, you said that "Soloists are good, if not amazing"... Then why the "3" for soloists and not a higher mark? How can these soloists, if you quote them as amazing, improve? What would have garnered a higher mark?

...I can assure you that our arrangements are intricate and difficult and I would challenge any other male group to sing sex bomb (I'll send you the arrangement...) and produce a soloists that can wail like Phil on that song.



Here's one that snuck past the editing department (mine, not RARB's). Really, what I meant was "soloists are good, THOUGH not amazing" and should have caught that. Looking back over my notes, looks like I made a chop there and lopped off the original meaning. Bad reviewer!

As I said in my review, there were a couple of soloists that I thought stood out. I didn't think any of the rest were terrible, but they didn't particularly move me. According to RARB's scoring system, a 3 means "standard fare; could take it or leave it", and I think my assessment fits right into that zone. For example, although both Tekay and Jevan loved Graham Cochran on "The Luckiest", I thought his delivery was flat for a song that is very cathartic. He does have a really beautiful tone, though. The case was opposite for Phil -- great character, but he lost me with a warbly, affected tone.

I haven't heard either of the albums you mentioned, so I can't really comment on that.
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Postby Johnsapella » Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:21 pm

Matt, no disrespect to Phil, but you guys come sing here and I'll rock the guest solo hardcore. :-)
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