UNC Clefs- Time Out

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UNC Clefs- Time Out

Postby abolch » Sat Jun 02, 2007 6:33 pm

Call me biased, but I'm really curious about what people think of the UNC Clef Hangers' new disc Time Out. I really like it because it's one of the most consistent a cappella CDs I've heard in a while- meaning I don't really get the urge to skip songs like I usually do when I'm listening to any CD. Obviously, I have favorites, but really I'm just wondering what people think!
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Postby sauce » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:08 am

Here's what this album made me think about:
You can do a lot of manipulation on an a cappella album these days, but you can't fake killer soloists, and that's exactly what the Clef Hangers seem to have - regardless of whether you think the perfectly engineered triangle sound is over the top or flippin' sweet.

My favorites:
She Has No Time - killer solo and what a groove in the verse
Be Without You - like butta
Feeling Good - awesome arrangement
What Hurts - I don't even like the original, but hey.

Oh, and I guess the guys really dig T.I., because there are 3 of his tracks if you count "My Love"

Another solid album from the Clef Hangers - and they seem to be doing more rap/R&B/hip-hop tracks than anyone else.
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Postby carlyonders » Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:47 am

My favorite track off this disc is ''She Has No Time'' - it might be my favorite college track of the year, actually. I haven't heard any college track (tho I haven't heard them all, obviously) that juxtaposes a great song, arrangement, solo, and production so well, probably since I got my copy of 'Shedding'.

I also love ''Feelin Good'' (especially the intro), the percussion and ending from ''My Love'', and the great energy and raw nastiness in ''Time Is Running Out''...it hits you right in the face and never relents. I didn't care for some of the other tracks as much for different reasons, but didn't dislike any of them, either. I probably could have done with one less T.I. song...but they (the songs) are fun and they (the group) can obviously hang on the hip-hop tip with anyone. All in all, a pretty great addition to the collection.
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Postby magnolia » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:14 am

First, I'd like to say that this album, from the albums that I have heard, makes the Clef Hangers the best recorded all-male group in the country at the collegiate level.

(Coming from a guy who was / is a part of a group close by and that some crazy acapellaites would consider one of their rivals, Juxta)

At times I said "Oh boy, Sperandio, you went a little too far on the effects / production..." However, its a consistant feel throughout the album, and none of it is blatantly wierd. (other than maybe the triangle hits)

With that said, I do have to disagree that they are loaded with great solos. There are a few tracks in which I felt like the background was way better than the solo, and I hate when that happens. Its like the production surpasses the soloists talent level. I do bet, however, that maybe they should have just worked a bit more on the accuracy of the solos as much as they (or Diovoce) worked on the backgrounds.

The final disclaimer, I do think they do a good job of showing they have a better solo representation on this album as a whole than 90% of male college a cappella does on their albums as a whole.
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Postby Brojo » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:14 pm

feelin good, my love, be without you, and time is running out are sweet tracks. she has no time is just killer.

these dudes have a ton of raw vocal talent.
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Postby RnBMrE » Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:14 pm

magnolia wrote:First, I'd like to say that this album, from the albums that I have heard, makes the Clef Hangers the best recorded all-male group in the country at the collegiate level.


Hmm... have you listened to the Bubs "Pandaemonium" yet? I don't know which I think is better (nor do I think it matters really)... but if you have, I'd be interested to know why you made this statement. Cuz I think both CDs are DURRN GREAT and have quite dissimilar styles in many ways.

I don't know that I can even make a comparison between them. Look at the tracklists... there is a very clear divide. I see a little more song obscurity and focus on arrangement-conducive songs for the Bubs, while I see an approach of mass appeal and popular music for the Clefs. What do those things mean? Dunno.

Arrangements and production styles for both groups, IMHO, tend to stay pretty true to the sound of originals (i.e. kinda "safe"). Both CDs showcase excellent production and fantastic group/solo performances, and each group excels in its own right. All I know is that I would hate to be voting for Best Male Album this year. :-)

-----

Now specifically for the Clefs, I'm a BIG fan of this album. Adding to the compliments about "My Love", listen to it with headphones... it's fun and kinda trippy :-D

Both Feelin' Good and She Has No Time are stunning... and spectacular in every way. And big props for some awesome hip-hop covers. I believe the Clefs are definitely the best and most renowned group in the country for that.

"What Hurts The Most" has a beautiful, full sound. The solo might actually be my favorite performance on the album (2:29 = CRUSH). And the productions of that track and "Don't Stop Believin'" are actually my favorites. Rich and big and excellent.

Despite the solid performances, I'm not a big fan of "Cable Car", (tho it may be one of those oh-my-gosh-every-group-does-this-song biases haha), "Fix You" (same reason... and cuz I've heard Exit 245's version on BOCA and never want to go back :-D), or "Be Without You" (tho Anoop is definitely my American Idol). Song choice has a lot to do with these tracks. I would have loved to see the Clefs branch out a bit or experiment and move a bit away from traditional covers.

(As a related side note, I actually think the same thing about the Bubs' new disc, too. As kinds of "beacons" in the a cappella world, methinks it be a call the "big groups" should embrace to stretch and challenge the community even more! There have been some incredible original tunes to come from UGA Noteworthy and Duke's Pitchforks this past year; I am hence not surprised that both of these groups won album of the year.)

In summary, for me "Time Out" is kinda like listening to W___ 10_._ (insert your town's mixed variety station). While it's not going to challenge you or blow you away from a creative standpoint, it's an incredible, accessible, and often wow-inducing CD that oozes talent, energy, and fun. Much love to the big rivals :-D

Wow, that was long... my bad...

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Postby streetnix04 » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:40 pm

I'd like to jump into the praisefest here for "Time Out." Such a great album. My favorite tracks were "She Has No Time," "What You Know" and "Be Without You." I also really loved "Time Is Running Out." "Feeling Good" is great, but it's going to be really hard for me to love anyone doing that song because I saw the SoCal VoCals do it live at Absolut A Cappella last year, and it was completely awesome (David Rakita, who won the CARA for best soloist this year sings the solo... you can find it on YouTube somewhere).

I had a tough time deciding which song to use on Voices Only, that's for sure. I went with the least obvious choice, because it was very different, and it's rare to find a great rap/hip-hop/r&b track in a cappella, and I just really loved it.

My two cents... :-)

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Postby magnolia » Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:01 am

RnBMrE wrote:Hmm... have you listened to the Bubs "Pandaemonium" yet? I don't know which I think is better (nor do I think it matters really)... but if you have, I'd be interested to know why you made this statement. Cuz I think both CDs are DURRN GREAT and have quite dissimilar styles in many ways.


YOU BETCHA! I think I posted somewhere that I listened to Time Out and Pandaemonium back to back, on 2 occations, last weekend on my long drive to visit Blacksburg, VA.

Hands down, I say Time Out is the better Contemporary Collegiate CD Recorded Project.

You do bring up good points about the style though, they are indeed, MUCH DIFFERENT. I try to keep this out of the equation (although, track selection and appeal is a big part of a good album).

I would say that the Bubs are one of the most talented vocal groups across the board (at least from what i can tell on the album). They did not disquise much of anything with effects, it was very raw, and a much changed sound from their last albums.

So, in terms of props for taking the male voice and turning it into a rock your face off CD - BUBS take it.

In terms of best cd overall, I still feel like Time Out takes the cake.
(Be advised, I only like chocolate cake with white icing, I hate white cake with chocolate icing!)

;-)

P.S. I'm basically trying to pick up all of the best male albums from 2006 and 2007...to compare them to what I and the Juxta guys were able to put together over the last 2 years. (Since I did not listen to much other college a cappella until I graduated).
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Founder & President, VocalBluR | Richmond, VA | www.vocalblur.com
Alumni & Past-president, Virginia Tech's Juxtaposition | www.vtjuxta.com
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Postby RnBMrE » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:01 am

magnolia wrote:Hands down, I say Time Out is the better Contemporary Collegiate CD Recorded Project... In terms of best cd overall, I still feel like Time Out takes the cake.


So on what grounds is the Clefs' CD better? Again, just curious.

Time Out definitely showcases incredible soloists, but after several more listens, I have found its arrangements to be pretty generic in general. "Feelin' Good" is a notable exception, and the lyrical ingenuity on "Top Back" is great, too. I appreciate "She Has No Time" too, because the final product is better than the original IMHO.

If we call this CD the "standard" for collegiate a cappella, I feel like the message it sends is: 1) have amazingly well-ranged, talented soloists (not always a group-controlled factor), 2) "safely" arrange songs, i.e. more replication than ingenuity/creativity (something with which I tend to disagree), 3) choose Top 40 hits (definitely sells CD; song selection just depends on the group... I like a mixture). For these reasons (especially #2... throw in some syllabic variance, creative dissonance, melodic ingenuity in BG parts, a new take on an old song, or just a completely new song), despite the fact that I love this CD, I don't think that it sets the bar on a global level. Thoughts?

To end with something positive, I still can't get enough of "What Hurts The Most". Man it's so great.

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Postby abolch » Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:28 pm

I will completely agree that the Bubs CD and the Clefs CD are very different, and I think that to choose one to favor over the other is probably just a matter of personal preference. Two of the aspects of the Clefs CD that you pointed out (amazing soloists, top 40 hits) are probably the biggest reasons why someone would enjoy Time Out, because a lot of people like Top 40 and good soloists. At least for me, good solos are absolutely vital to a disc and solos are what make a CD have "repeat listenability." So I guess the standard here is to utilize your soloists by choosing the right songs for them, spend time making them sound the best they possibly can in the studio, and make sure they can be heard in the mix! And I think that the Clefs did a phenomenal job with this. Not all groups do.

I really like arrangments that stick to the original song because, hey, that's why the song is great in the first place! I also like that the Clefs arrangments make for a really full sound live. Some of the arrangments have up to 12 parts in some areas! I also think that the arranging styles by the 3?? arrangers on the CD created a "continuity" in the CD, so that the listener doesn't feel jarred going from Muse to Justin Timberlake to Michael Buble.

All of the above is not to say that I don't like the Bubs CD, because I do! But I love the Clefs CD for the exact reasons you mentioned- solos, song choice, and yes, arrangements.
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Postby carlyonders » Sat Jun 23, 2007 5:36 am

RnBMrE wrote:If we call this CD the "standard" for collegiate a cappella, I feel like the message it sends is: 1) have amazingly well-ranged, talented soloists (not always a group-controlled factor), 2) "safely" arrange songs, i.e. more replication than ingenuity/creativity (something with which I tend to disagree), 3) choose Top 40 hits (definitely sells CD; song selection just depends on the group... I like a mixture). For these reasons (especially #2... throw in some syllabic variance, creative dissonance, melodic ingenuity in BG parts, a new take on an old song, or just a completely new song), despite the fact that I love this CD, I don't think that it sets the bar on a global level. Thoughts?


You make good points, tho I'd personally take a sonically tight arrangement, even if it's more generic, over one with ridiculous quotes of other songs/silly syllables in it, or one that makes changes just for the sake of making changes (for example, the silly changes to the bassline in the BOCA 2007 version of Cable Car). You have to realize that the only people that get a kick out of this kind of stuff are the singers in the group, and acadorks, not necessarily the 1700 fans who attend their concerts, for example.

I agree that it would be nice to hear the Clefs do less "Top 40" and take some more artistic chances, like the Bubs. But on the other hand it's interesting that the 3 "best" songs on the CD, IMO, are not Top 40 at all. "She Has No Time" is a super-obscure Keane song, "Time Is Running Out" is an alt-classical-rock song from perhaps the best "new" band on the planet (Muse), but one that gets zero radio play, and Feelin' Good is a jazz tune. Not sure what this means, but perhaps it does show that the Clefs are certainly capable of being "Bubsy", when they want to be.

Re the Bubs, Stuff like "Magical Mystery Tour", etc - is awesome, but it shows that the Bubs make music for themselves, not necessarily for their fans (which is not to say their fans don't enjoy it). I think this perhaps reflects just a different approach to why they are who they are (the Bubs, or the Clefs). But what do I know? :) Perhaps members of both groups can better address this.
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Postby RnBMrE » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:46 am

abolch wrote:Two of the aspects of the Clefs CD that you pointed out (amazing soloists, top 40 hits) are probably the biggest reasons why someone would enjoy Time Out, because a lot of people like Top 40 and good soloists.


Haha... well of course people like to listen to good soloists. And it's true that the Clefs do a very good job of choosing/executing solos that challenge and showcase their vocal chops well. What I meant was that sometimes a group doesn't have such a consistently concentrated cluster (love that alliteration) of solo talent... and that sometimes a brilliant solo, while it is the main focus of a song, can mask or compensate for other things that make a great song overall.

I think my biggest example of this is "Fix You". While the soloist is solid on the song, he doesn't stand out to me. This leads me to listen more to the build and movement of the arrangement. And comparing it to Exit 245's version on BOCA (which has an amazing solo backed by an incredibly tight and creative arrangement), it just seems a little bland.

So when the brand new Footlong Fermatas from College University look to the big groups for how to make an awesome CD, they wouldn't just say, "Okay, first we should get some incredible soloists" (because it's not always realistic), but they might also say, "Okay here's how to make an arrangement that will get us on BOCA" or "We should try to write some new tunes cuz Off The Beat did on their new CD." That was the point I was trying to make.

carlyonders wrote:You make good points, tho I'd personally take a sonically tight arrangement, even if it's more generic, over one with ridiculous quotes of other songs/silly syllables in it, or one that makes changes just for the sake of making changes... You have to realize that the only people that get a kick out of this kind of stuff are the singers in the group, and acadorks, not necessarily the 1700 fans who attend their concerts, for example.


Sure. We are a rare taxon of nerdiness, it's true. :-) I think my main point was not so much about including other song references or goofy aca-syllables but accentuating instead of replicating what's there and having less "verticality" to the parts and chord structures. The Chordials do a great job of this on their new CD.

And yeah, the Clefs/Bubs have some 10+ part arrangements (and are both great at making that *BIG* sound in recordings)... but if, say, 3-4 of those parts are just people singing "ooh ohh ahh" for 12 measures to provide a sonic base... that, to me, illustrates effective sound production as opposed to creativity, and I would score an RARB review accordingly.

I know that I critique both of these guy groups a little tougher simply because of their already-established renown. I simply would not believe it if someone who listened to "Time Out" or "Pandaemonium" said that they were not highly impressed with the albums. That said, we know that they can do covers... and NAIL them. Along with *continuing* to show us that, I would love to see them arrange/perform an alternate version of "Photograph" or an original ballad or rock song on their CDs. Know what I mean? These guys can do it... and will push other groups to do the same, IMHO.
Last edited by Anonymous on Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby carlyonders » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:52 am

RnBMrE wrote:I know that I critique both of these guy groups a little tougher simply because of their already-established renown. I simply would not believe it if someone who listened to "Time Out" or "Pandaemonium" said that they were not highly impressed with the albums. That said, we know that they can do covers... and NAIL them. Along with *continuing* to show us that, I would love to see them arrange/perform an alternate version of "Photograph" or an original ballad or rock song on their CDs. Know what I mean? These guys can do it... and will push other groups to do the same, IMHO.


Originals, yes, yes yes! But if anyone else covers a Nickelback song, creatively or otherwise, I *will* hunt them down and murder their families in front of them. Ok maybe not their entire families. But you get my drift.

(more) seriously tho, you make an excellent point about groups like these having great potential to shape what other groups do.
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Postby RnBMrE » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:56 am

carlyonders wrote:Originals, yes, yes yes! But if anyone else covers a Nickelback song, creatively or otherwise, I *will* hunt them down and murder their families in front of them. Ok maybe not their entire families. But you get my drift.


LOL! So... just what the hell is on Joey's head, anyway?

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Postby mrmiller » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:37 pm

Shame. For being part of YANA--Yet Another Nickelback Atrocity.
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