Oxford U-Out of the Blue "High Tide"

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

If you had to absolutely choose (just for fun--i know the debate has been done to death!):

CD with mega effects that sounds slick and smooth
14
56%
CD that captures live/group sound with some mistakes
11
44%
 
Total votes : 25

Oxford U-Out of the Blue "High Tide"

Postby brianhaverkate » Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:25 am

I was interested to read the review on this CD after seeing them live in New York this past spring for the ICCA finals. These guys were by far my favorite group at competition doing everything I could ever want to see and hear in a college men's group. They've got heart, passion, and an exuberance (sp?) that can only really be experienced live. Although arranging was still in Doo-Wop mode back in 1992, they remind me of a group called The Friars from the University of Michigan. Solid musically, but always searching to exploit humor in any way they can.

You might think lower review scores might steer me away from this CD, but on the contrary it makes me want to buy it. Lots of groups are using current technology to record their CDs these days (auto-tune, click-tracking, chorusing, layering, VP sampling, etc.), and although it sounds like the guys used some of the more simple techniques to enhance their sound it seems they're trying to capture their live sound. For that I applaude them!

I wish we could have a split in the RARB review where these CDs that try to capture a live/group sound was reviewed independently of the groups trying to utilize as much technology as they can to produce a superb technical CD. I'm sure that would be difficult though; how do you differentiate between a group using 2 effects VS 8 effects. Probably just a dream. I like 'em both and am looking forward to hearing the new BOCA, but they are certainly different. It's like comparing a classical or a jazz record to a rock or pop record. Different goals....different results. I just recently bought 2 new CDs in the past week... 1) Harry Connick Jr.'s new CD and 2) All-American Rejects. Boy do both of these CDs have merits that completely contradict each other. But I love them both! What to do about it???

Congratulations Out of the Blue for putting your heart and soul into your CD! I look forward to hearing it and seeing you perform live again sometime.
brianhaverkate
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 7:56 am
Location: Detroit, Michigan

Postby brianhaverkate » Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:29 am

I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised that the "live" option is edging out the "slick" option (albeit very narrowly). Of course it seems many have chosen not to bother voting (sick of the debate???), with over 100 views so far. Personally, I don't blame you.


To follow up on a comment I made previously regarding splitting the RARB reviews into 2 separate columns: 1) CDs utilizing all technology, and 2) CDs utilizing basic technology, see the recent review of IUs Straight No Chaser CD. There seem to be some comments here that clearly point out the group is trying to capture their live sound and thus have some tuning problems, etc. I forget the reviewers name, but they also admit that it's inherently much tougher to be successful recording this way. My point is, since it's much tougher on the singers to be precise in a "one-take" recording scenerio, it might merit a different perspective from the reviewers standpoint. It's a moot point, I'll admit, under the directions current reviewers are given.
brianhaverkate
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 7:56 am
Location: Detroit, Michigan

Postby dherriges » Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:41 am

To have reviewers institute a separate policy for CDs utilizing "basic" technology seems unnecessary to me. If there were a particularly compelling reason to make that choice and RARB was worried about discouraging groups from doing it for fear of bad reviews, then maybe, but when it comes down to it, I think 90% of the time, going out of your way not to do AutoTuning or fancy production is just a bad choice that diminishes the appeal of what would otherwise be a more listenable album. I think it's fine for reviewers to address it as such.

What I don't understand is what the point is of doing a "one-take" studio recording? If you're going to record a live concert, record a live concert in front of an audience, and you'll capture all the energy and spontaneity that hopefully comes with that. But if you're going to record in the studio, why not take advantage of what the studio has to offer to polish some of the imperfections in your sound? I feel like groups who adhere to a "no pitch correction" policy do it almost as a matter of dogma or stubbornness. If you're trying to prove how talented your group is, don't worry listeners can still tell that just from the blend and the quality of the voices, whether or not you used AutoTune.

You never hear about professional rock bands insisting on doing one-take, "live" studio recordings for their studio albums. (Sometimes they'll lay down one track and it's incredible and they just decide to keep it; but I feel like that's a serendipitous thing and a different matter.) This concern with purity or whatever you want to call it seems to be limited to a cappella. A studio album is a different beast than a live concert. There's no reason an album should have to capture your "live" sound perfectly; and the pop music world seems to have accepted this for decades now.
dherriges
 
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:37 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Postby billhare » Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:59 pm

dherriges wrote:You never hear about professional rock bands insisting on doing one-take, "live" studio recordings for their studio albums. (Sometimes they'll lay down one track and it's incredible and they just decide to keep it; but I feel like that's a serendipitous thing and a different matter.) This concern with purity or whatever you want to call it seems to be limited to a cappella. A studio album is a different beast than a live concert. There's no reason an album should have to capture your "live" sound perfectly; and the pop music world seems to have accepted this for decades now.


Amen to that, Daniel! An album is an artistic statement, no matter what means you take to get there. If you can't draw, you trace. If you are avante garde, some people won't be ready for you, others will embrace you as a genius. Either way, if you can't deliver a brilliant product, get out of the kitchen! As the technology progresses, the comparison between "perfect" and "flawed" becomes a wider, more noticable gap. Listen to hit records from the 50's and 60's - full of mistakes, bad notes etc, but that wouldn't be tolerated on the Billboard charts today. This is not necessarily a good thing - those old records had a feel and genuine musicality that is missing in a lot of hits today as well. But that's progress - the listeners become more sophisticated as they listen to more "optimized" recordings. So do the reviewers, and you can bet if someone recorded a 1963 sounding album in 2007, Rolling Stone would also not quite know how to review it comparitively.

Personally, I would love to hear more albums that are purely A Cappella - it's just that these performances are extremely hard to come by - I know, I hear so many of them in their raw state, and most of the time AutoTune (used correctly, I must add) is the lesser of 2 evils. The rare times that I encounter a group who doesn't need it, I try my best to stay out of their way! This is not to say that most groups are fine in a concert setting, but a recording is a hyperfocused repeatable performance that will be heard over and over, and what will just go by in a show becomes a glaring wart on CD. Technology helps the 99.9 percent of the groups that reside in this middle tier the chance to make a very listenable, interesting statement.

-B

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 phollens » Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:52 pm

Although this topic is a valid one, you can answer your own question by just going back in the topics and read the thousands of pages written regarding the production debate.


But I'd give a good ol' w00t to the Oxford group they put on a great show @ finals with their amazing intonation and musicality.
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 brianhaverkate » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:29 am

Can we say "Perma-grin"? :-D Yeah, that's what I had when they sang the first chords to Fat-Bottomed Girls out of their Queen Medley.

I'm disappointed they won't make it back this year for finals, but I'm sure the group that beat them must be even more amazing and am looking forward to their performance. :)
brianhaverkate
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 7:56 am
Location: Detroit, Michigan


Return to zzCommunity Reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest