Divisi's Undivided

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

Divisi's Undivided

Postby lcmike » Sun May 14, 2006 3:16 pm

I found this review to be interesting and somewhat peculiar. It happens to be a favorite album of mine, and being an uber fan of Divisi, I'd like to bring up a few things that are bugging me.

With no disrespect to Kimmie Raschka, I found her review somewhat half-cocked. She wrote that there were "Typical Divisi problems," but failed to give a definitive answer as to what this was.

The other curious part for me was the creativity score. I'll grant you that some of these songs have been done a number of times, but Divisi's arrangements, passion, and charisma are unmatched. Mind you, this creativity score is in spite of "Yeah!" and "Imagine," which both received high praise for being unique.

Anyhow, just my thoughts.

-Mike
Last Call ('03-'07)
www.menoflastcall.com
Cornell University '07
lcmike
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY

Postby jesset » Sun May 14, 2006 3:53 pm

^Agreed on all counts. There's a few hit-and-misses for everybody on Undivided, but even on the oft-covered songs I think it's fair to say that Divisi makes each number their own.
Southern Oregon University's Dulcet, '05-'06
Sheldon High School's Arnie's Discount Harmonies, '05
jesset
 
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 4:55 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Postby jonpilat » Mon May 15, 2006 12:10 pm

I think it's the best all-women's collegiate a cappella album to date. The mixture of talent, soul, arranging, and production has been rarely eclipsed on any collegiate album.

I am also unclear on what a typical Divisi problem is. But, I'd love to hear what it is. Also what a typical hookslide problem is :)
jonpilat
 
Posts: 121
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2002 3:44 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Postby billhare » Mon May 15, 2006 12:43 pm

jonpilat wrote:Also what a typical hookslide problem is :)


Usually has to do with gas in an enclosed studio.

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

billhare
 
Posts: 2002
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Silicon Valley, CA

Postby dekesharon » Mon May 15, 2006 1:15 pm

jonpilat wrote:I think it's the best all-women's collegiate a cappella album to date. The mixture of talent, soul, arranging, and production has been rarely eclipsed on any collegiate album.


I concur. It has tracks that span from classic harmony to cutting edge contemporary a cappella.

It just goes to show you, there's no accounting for taste. One person's wow is another person's blah.

If my opinion is worth anything in this discussion, I cast one more vote for wow.

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

dekesharon
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:01 am
Location: San Francisco

Postby phollens » Mon May 15, 2006 2:35 pm

jonpilat wrote:I am also unclear on what a typical Divisi problem is. But, I'd love to hear what it is. Also what a typical hookslide problem is :)


I'd also like to know a little more about where this reviewer was coming from as well! If you have time.


Kimmie one question for you...."I would love to hear a razor-sharp, edgy style that can only happen when vibrato is tamed and choral singing forgotten. "

At what point do you feel that songs such as Yeah and Queen of the night not accomplish a "razor-sharp, edgy style" ? I feel that's almost exactly what those two songs in particular reflect. Not only does Divisi show that they CAN sing multiple styles and genres with their latest offering, but in my very biased opinion they do damn well at virtually all sides of the spectrum... Choral and non-choral / vibrato and non-vibrato .... I would love to know more in detail where you personally would have enjoyed them to lay off of either because it usually was probably a musical decision by the ladies to take a song one way or another...as they are capable of creating any kind of vocal yumminess.

It's very interesting to get this kind of response, but I personally welcome it because you can only learn from constructive critism; i just feel more detail would help. Broad comments, such as "Some listeners out there are probably going to adore this album. Alas, I'm not one of them, despite not really being able to explain why." are not helpful.

Well gosh darnit, if you have time listen to whatever bugs you over again and leave some more helpful feedback! ;)
www.PeterHollens.com
http://www.youtube.com/peterhollens
"No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius."
phollens
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:09 am
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Postby Cutter » Mon May 15, 2006 7:27 pm

PHollens wrote:Broad comments, such as "Some listeners out there are probably going to adore this album. Alas, I'm not one of them, despite not really being able to explain why." are not helpful
.

Not that I don't agree with everything else being said here -- a lot -- but I didn't think that a RARB review was obligated to be helpful... (probably would change the landscape a heck of a lot, wouldn't it!)

Cutter
Mike Boxer
Halfway Coherent Productions
Six13
One Guy Upstate
Transcontinental Music Publications
Alum of Kaskeset and the Binghamton Crosbys
Cutter
 
Posts: 154
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2002 8:55 pm
Location: New York

Postby uscpossum » Mon May 15, 2006 8:05 pm

Hey all - thanks for your good points. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

As far as a "typical" Divisi problem, I really should have said "continued Divisi problems." If you read the reviews for Red Hot, you'll find the same too-much-choral-singing sentiment that Undivided received. No, I don't think Queen of the Night or Yeah! encompasses a razor-sharp sound. Yeah!, however, is certainly edgy, and thus gets a daily play to get my morning started (and I'm being totally serious). But a hot razor-sharp sound (in my opinion) comes from tightly locked chords, and a pristine blend, and this just can't happen with any sort of warble in the mix. I may be in the minority, but I feel only the soloist should use vibrato for pop/rock songs, and only sparingly. Another reason why I'd rather not hear vibrato is because, in voices less capable than Divisi's, it can bring down the pitch. Thankfully, Divisi is quite talented and this wasn't an issue. But, I'm trying to be thorough, since you asked for thorough.

I hope this helps. I can't speak to the "despite not really being able to explain why" remark, as those aren't my words. Perhaps you could email her? It's hard to keep up in the forums with all the reviewing, you know. :)

Take care - Kimmie
Kimberly Raschka Sailor
RARB Editor-in-Chief
ICCA/ICHSA Adjudicator
uscpossum
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:39 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby Box_Beatin_Lady » Tue May 16, 2006 3:28 am

So, since I've always been curious myself, I decided to look and see how RARB defines itself. And here's what the first sentence is (in the "What is RARB?" section):

"The Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) was set up in 1993 to give a cappella groups a chance to have their album reviewed by our board and to give potential buyers and listeners some insight about each album."

Though it sounds like it's more geared toward potential buyers/listeners, the first part does sound like the other part of RARB's mission statement is to give feedback/commentary to the group. Whether or not it's supposed to be helpful, I have no idea.

That didn't really clear up much of anything for me, but I just figured I'd toss that in there for others to debate.
My lip gloss does nothing. Damn it.

NYC Red States = New Hotness
http://www.redacappella.com
Box_Beatin_Lady
 
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:44 am
Location: New Jersey

Postby jthelegend » Tue May 16, 2006 3:36 pm

the divisi album:

i've been trying to keep my mouth shut for awhile on this topic so i can phrase things well, but ya know what? eff that in the face. this album, for all intents and purposes, was a banger. they def knocked shit out of the park and anyone that can't acknowledge that isn't qualified to review anything. this critique may sound brass, but strong opinions are frankly what i'm known for.
i remember seeing the divisi gals live and it was quite possibly one of the greatest a cappella experiences of my life. they were energetic and they BROUGHT IT to the show (big ups to last call for bringing the divisi girls to da 'nell). Every aspect of their performance was stellar and i think they carried much of that energy and enthusiasm over to this album very well.

portions of the review this guy does not agree with:
1)the song choice is tired
-i don't care how many times a song is done, if a group is able to infuse it with a new vitality and a new life then dammit i am happy to hear it. have quite a few of these songs done more rounds in a cappella circles than a drunk freshman girl at a university frat party? yes, that is a point i'll concede, however, I don't think the arrangement, soloist, or production were anything short of top-notch
2) vibrato and a seeming lack of "edge" in singing pop songs
-again, highly debatable. i think that at times the rampant vibrato on the disc had the potential to take the edge off pop songs and be distracting, however, it never was. and i cite songs like "yeah" and "queen" as evidence for just how much attitude, battitude, and sheer 'in your faceness' these girls have. such strenght. such passion. such tenacity.

i find it rare when a group is able to shine in both live and cd performances and i think these girls did one hell of a job. they can get crunk as fuck. they can be sensual. they can rock. and they can damn sure sing. many props to divisi and don't let the hatas keep you down.

1,
j
2)
j. cannon
Cornell Chordials::2004-2007::
the panic room::producer-engineer::
member of the VocalSource network
jthelegend
 
Posts: 522
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:42 pm

Postby Box_Beatin_Lady » Thu May 18, 2006 6:22 am

All I have to say is, I hope Divisi makes their group slogan "crunk as fuck", 'cause that'd be hot.

Far as the album goes, I'll keep it simple. It's a great piece of work, from start to finish. Awesome soloists, great arrangements, and the thing that I like about is that you can tell it's human voices singing. Nothing about a voice's live performance is razor-sharp, and I think it's a good thing that the production makes everything clean, and makes each track sparkle, without taking away from the natural talent and beauty of the group's voices.

I don't think the lack of that "razor-sharp" final product is a slight against Divisi, but rather just a difference in the preference of production styles.

And as far as "edgy" goes, to me, that's an attitude thing, not a productin thing, and Divisi's got sass in spades.

Then again, maybe I misunderstand what ppl mean by "razor sharp" and "edgy" and I'm a blonde. :) Who knows.
My lip gloss does nothing. Damn it.

NYC Red States = New Hotness
http://www.redacappella.com
Box_Beatin_Lady
 
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:44 am
Location: New Jersey

Postby tekay » Thu May 18, 2006 9:36 am

goodnightLA wrote: Yeah! encompasses a razor-sharp sound. Yeah!, however, is certainly edgy, and thus gets a daily play to get my morning started (and I'm being totally serious).


Same here for me. I've added Yeah! to my happy songs mix in ITUNES and on ickapahd (my mini). I love it almost as much as Duwende's "Good Morning, Brooklyn" to get me up in the morning. I thought that "Queen of the Night" was a bit overwrought, so creativity scores might have suffered a bit coming from me also.

for what that's worth.

[color=#8040BF]http://www.rarb.org/people/thomas-king.html http://www.deltacappella.com CASA Dir. of Ambassador Program SoJam Producer & Concert Mgr Sing Producer CAL jd All Things A Cappella FOTS #1 ICCA Producer Emeritus "the

tekay
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 358
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2002 8:34 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

Postby mcbc » Thu May 18, 2006 9:43 am

Umm ... well yeah to detriment of RARB, the reviews are supposed to be instructive for the group. I think that's silly and an archaic leftover of how a cappella albums back in the day were treated with grandmom's velvety kid gloves.

Anyways, I for one appreciate Kimmie's candor. Pretty much everyone I know and everyone I've read on RARB have treated Divisi as golden goddesses. So it is a refreshing change to see some criticism. In fact, it'll probably make me go back and listen to the entire album again (not just Queen and Yeah!).

That said ...

I personally think she's flat out wrong. Undivided is one of the best collegiate albums I've ever heard and it's definitely the best all female a cappella album I've ever ever ever heard. And yes, I'm including my Sweet Honey or 10fm (remember them?) albums that I could dust off if I knew where they were.

Maybe when I do relisten, I might think hey "hmm maybe Sweet Honey circa the mid 90's or the Sirens' Tied to the Mast is better." OK third place. Still not too shabby.

Yeah is a breakthrough. And the soloist on Queen of the Night is absolutely sick [that means really good]. I'm actually surprised she didn't win a CARA. Some songs aren't that good and yeah I admit to skipping over a few middle-of-the-disc songs but I do that with almost any album I own.

Anywho, I won't go point-counterpoint with the review because again I respect her take even if she's wrong :) But one thing ...

the signature Divisi problems


If every group, in particular all female groups, had the signature Divisi problems I don't think they'd want the cure.
mcbc
 
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:27 pm

Postby dherriges » Thu May 18, 2006 12:36 pm

mcbc wrote:Umm ... well yeah to detriment of RARB, the reviews are supposed to be instructive for the group. I think that's silly and an archaic leftover of how a cappella albums back in the day were treated with grandmom's velvety kid gloves.


I don't see that instructive has to mean kid gloves. I've always understood "instructive for the group" to just be the sensible response to the fact that RARB receives a huge range of albums, from high school to collegiate to professional, that can't all be held to the same professional standards. Thus a review of any album should be critical, but in a way that will be useful to the group by focusing on the areas in which they could reasonably hope to improve. I see nothing wrong with talking about "typical Divisi problems," because I'm sure there are areas in which Divisi is lacking, if only in a relative sense compared to the myriad of things they do incredibly well. Of course, if the reviewer doesn't make clear that the group does do a myriad of things well, they're doing their readers and the group a disservice.

As a side note, I can think of one response to the argument that RARB should be first and foremost about advising a cappella fans as to which albums might be worth buying. That is that because the a cappella community is so small, and the community of people who actually read these reviews even smaller, the distinction between the fans and the artists is extremely blurred. How many people here have never been in a group or otherwise involved with the creation of a cappella music? RARB can best serve the a cappella community by providing feedback that is in large part for the artists and is expected to be read and carefully digested by them.
dherriges
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Postby Mahka » Fri May 19, 2006 4:32 am

Not to throw another loop in this thread, especially as I'm not really on hand to respond to anything, but I'm curious as to why Kimmie's comments in particular are being raked across the coals when the album received a homogenous 4-star rating?

As for my own take, had I reviewed the album, I think it would have received a solid 4 for overall, with a mix of 4s and 5s across the specific categories.
~Mark
Formerly of the UCLA ScatterTones
Looking for a group in SF?
ICCA/ICHSA Judge, Producer
CARA Nominator/Judge
And all that jazz
Mahka
 
Posts: 1106
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2003 10:24 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Next

Return to zzCommunity Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron