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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - The Spartones CD

The Spartones CD

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

Postby bstevens » Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:46 pm

Benjamin Stevens

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Educational Officer for Festivals and Events

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Postby brianhaverkate » Tue Sep 28, 2004 3:45 am

*Daylight breaks from the storm* :)

Here's what's up guys (and gals).... this purist Vs. electronic effects battle has been going on for the last several years (if not longer). Since we're in a Presidential Election year, I'll compare it to our lovely political parties. The Republicans and Democrats will never whole-heartedly agree. Instead, they each provide a candidate that reflects their interests and values. In addition, there will always be candidates that reflect a little bit of both parties (Independents, Reform, etc.) with something of their own to bring to the table as well.

That being said, I believe the frustration (and spirited arguments) on this forum are a result of a lack of representation. In terms of having your a cappella CD reviewed there is only ONE place to professionally have it done...RARB (as far as I know). If you don't like their values, it's tough because there's no other alternative. I know the RARB reviewers will say that they love a "bare" album with heart as much as an "auto-tuned effects-laden" album with all the bells and whistles, but the scores on the site are just NOT representative of this thought. And I'm not saying that so the reviewers can run through the past 3 years of reviews looking for that ONE review they drooled over that was a "bare" album. It is highly the exception rather than the rule.

I've given up fighting about this a long time ago because it just didn't make sense to try and convince RARB (and those who enjoy their slant) to slant the other direction. It's not a bad thing. People like what they like. My ideals and values are just not whole-heartedly represented by RARB and I have no other alternative to turn to. That's why someone with the drive (and time) needs to start an alternative to RARB. It would be a good thing. I still enjoy parts of RARB (especially this forum), but don't necessarily share their ideals and values.

Here's my soapbox: Singers these days are far less talented than in previous years. The reason....technology. Singers don't bother to properly listen and sing in-tune because "hey, we've got autotune". They don't bother to properly listen for tempo because "hey, we've got a click-track". The affects of technology can go on and on in their relation to singers. With some groups and singers it's a more subtle influence of technology. With others, it smacks you right in the face. Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Evanesence (sp?) all absolutely SUCK in concert because they haven't a clue about how to use their voice properly. But I like their CDs (well, not Britney).
I don't hate technology. Rather, I think it's really cool. However, it has allowed untrained performers to rise to the top of the food chain with little to no merit. I don't respect that. I think it's horrible. Singers (and a cappella groups) seem to be more about whether or not they have a good PR person or engineer/producer rather than about their talent.
These are facts. I don't think anyone here can honestly debate them. What do we do about them? We have higher standards. We don't fall prey to people who "make" music solely for the purpose of selling it.
Show me a group that stands before me in concert and kicks ass and I'll show them my respect. You can't hide behind effects and auto-tune in a live performance (unless you have the most insane sound engineer ever!). I think drooling over albums and groups who are excessive in their studio spending is sending the wrong message to future singers. It's my value. You don't have to agree with it.

Okay, I'm done. Happy Tuesday!
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Postby Nick Lyons » Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:53 am

I'm in the process of performing an "experiment." I'm planning on remixing a few of the tracks from the Spartones latest CD, spending the amount of time equivalent to that of dio's time spent on The Clefhangers acclaimed "Breeze."

I guess what I have a problem with is that, in most cases, a poor recording or poor album signifies an unrehearsed, or sloppy group. All told, in MANY cases, the exact opposite is the case. The groups that come across as amazing are unrehearsed groups that record one part at a time, through auto-tune, with arrangements that mirror the original recordings, with soloists attempting to recreate John Mayer, Dave Matthews and Gwen Stefani's unique voices. However, to the "trained ear" (a term I almost shudder to use), you can hear lack of energy, out of tune singing and a lack of enjoyment in the overall process.

All told, I'm going to agree that the community, not RARB, has gone the way of technology. I would never call myself a "purist." I'm for technology just as much as the next guy. I wouldn't be going into the field of production otherwise... You want a good album, buy one by one of the big name groups... UNC Clefhangers, U Penn Off the Beat, SoCal Vocals, Tufts Beezlebubs, the list goes on, as we all are aware. However, if you want to see the truly talented groups, look no further than your neighborhood ICCA competition, your East and/or West Coast Summits, or SoJam. Not to say that any group is limited to one or the other... but don't go into an apple orchard looking for oranges. If you're looking for a well rehearsed group, don't expect to hear it on any CD. Today's a cappella producers are some of the best in the biz...

I can't concentrate anymore... just remember people, you may not agree with RARB but they have a job as difficult as that of the president... they must attempt to make everyone happy... an impossible task. RARB can't be blamed for the way the industry has turned... do keep that in mind before you submit your album... But remember the process will always make the end result well worth it.

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Postby aballard » Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:01 am

Adam Ballard
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Postby seth » Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:51 pm

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Postby brianhaverkate » Tue Sep 28, 2004 3:49 pm

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Postby vkolko » Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:18 pm

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Postby brianhaverkate » Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:56 am

Like I said. You all know what you like, and you score accordingly. I'm not saying it's a biased scoring system at all. It is, in fact, much harder to make a perfect or near-perfect "bare" album than with the help of technology. I don't know if I'm nostalgic for the a cappella of the early 90's when this technology wasn't as prevalent, or dissappointed that a cappella has gone to the other extreme so much. Maybe a little bit of both. RARB can only score what it gets, so I'm not faulting them for that.

I do think that the BOCA CDs have had a HUGE impact on collegiate, semi-pro, and pro groups for better and worse. BOCA has fostered and expanded on what a cappella could be (especially in terms of arrangements), and we are the better for it. However, the fact that BOCA exists causes groups to try and record like the groups that get on BOCA so they, themselves, can get on BOCA. As a result, I think collegiate a cappella in particular is in a holding pattern in terms of creativity. It seems like everyone lives to record the ultimate track so it can be on BOCA instead of just making good music that they enjoy singing. I know many, MANY groups that have changed repertoire and recording techniques just so they can be on this CD. I think it's sad because collegiate a cappella used to be a broad mix of genres and styles. A men's a cappella group could to Sting one minute, vocal jazz the next, and then close the concert with a traditional barbershop piece. Do groups do this anymore? Maybe a few do it in concert, but rarely on CD.

I realize the effects of BOCA on the a cappella community is an entirely different conversation, but it relates in terms of why RARB is getting so many collegiate albums that could pose as a BOCA album if the listener didn't know any better. Is anyone else bothered by this?? Is it just me??? I want more variety! I want better-skilled singers!! grrrrrrrrrrr
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Postby elocomotive » Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:16 am

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Postby brianhaverkate » Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:37 am

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Postby amysingsla » Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:56 am

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Postby milkpan » Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:15 pm

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Postby Cutter » Thu Sep 30, 2004 5:23 pm

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Postby billhare » Thu Sep 30, 2004 10:21 pm

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments.

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