All-Night Yahtzee's Minor Adjustments

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All-Night Yahtzee's Minor Adjustments

Postby thedrums » Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:55 am

hello everyone. i just read the reviews of minor adjustments, and i wanted to say something to put that cd a little bit into perspective. the universal sentiment that floated throughout the reviews was along the lines of "nice try, better luck next time." this was a little disappointing, though not entirely unexpected. we recorded that cd entirely on our own, and it was the first time we had ever done it. we used our school's recording studio and christopher bought melodyne and edited the whole thing himself. at the end of the process we sent dave sperandio our humble creation to do with what he could (and what we could afford). it was a learning experience to say the least and for what it was, it came out pretty good. OH there was one thing. we got a lot of comments about our song list on the cd and how it was "snoozy." what are some ideas that can be incorporated when sitting down at the beginning of the year and deciding what songs we should learn that would make a better cd selection. this is completely subjective i know, but it would be cool to hear some opinions. thanks.
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Postby Moosicman » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:56 pm

Well, having just seen A.N.Y. at the finals, I can say that it seems your song choice has been more for performance than for recording, and that's a criticism some groups have faced. And it would seem that those choices have paid off for the group. Several groups who got criticism for song choices defended themselves by saying that it was what they normally had in their set, and they were being true to themselves and the group with their chosen track list. Do groups ever put songs in just for recording, never to do them live? That seems silly to me, but that's because my group's emphasis is on the performance and not the recording.
So basically, I have nothing concrete to say, just that I think it's best to be true to your group and what best represents what you are all about. If RARB can't accept that you are a performance group, then oh well, because it just got you a 2nd place in the ICCAs, a fair trade I'd say. RARB doesn't like our traditional track that we put on all of CDs as a gesture to past members of the group, but we'll take free trips paid for by them to Hong Kong and Paris as compensation for a little criticism by the reviewers.
Besides, everyone else knows your group kicks ass, even if RARB doesn't.
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Postby billhare » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:43 pm

Moosicman wrote:Do groups ever put songs in just for recording, never to do them live? That seems silly to me


Well, recording is just a different art - Queen didn't really do "Bohemian Rhapsody" live, they kind of alluded to it, but didn't do all the multilayered operatic stuff. It would have probably been weak, and they knew it, but it doesn't take away from the brilliance of their 1975 recording. The Beatles were on tour while "Eleanor Rigby" was burning up the charts, but never did it live. Again, the world is better for these recordings - why should A Cappella be any different? We're always trying to push boundaries in art, both in performance, and the art we leave behind for future generations.

-B

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

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Postby Jimmy » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:14 pm

My group's "Other Side of the World" off our last CD was never performed live... but from what I hear, some folks enjoyed it. It was chosen and arranged in the studio, specifically FOR the studio, without any regard to how it might sound in performance.

We tried singing the recorded arrangement in rehearsal once, and it really wasn't the same. We could have rearranged it for live performance, but since we had a lot of other stuff on our plate at the time, it didn't seem worth it. Before you jump on us for "relying" on studio effects to augment something that wouldn't sound very good live, keep in mind: we don't CARE how it sounds live, since we never performed it.

Plenty of (excellent) groups arrange songs for live shows, without any regard for how it will sound on a CD. If it won't translate well to recording, they either rearrange some things, or choose not to record the song. Makes sense that groups would do the reverse as well.

Moosicman wrote:If RARB can't accept that you are a performance group, then oh well, because it just got you a 2nd place in the ICCAs, a fair trade I'd say.

Indeed. But this is the Recorded A Cappella Review Board, after all. And honestly, if your group's entire focus is on performing, and you only make albums as a nod to your performances, why submit to RARB? Yearbook albums absolutely have their place, but if you're not even trying to impress people who've never seen you live, there's no reason to solicit their opinion- and you certainly shouldn't care if they don't like your stuff.

EDIT: None of this is meant to refer to Minor Adjustments, which I enjoyed a lot and certainly wouldn't call a yearbook album. I spent a while the other day responding to thedrums and writing my thoughts on the reviews, but then when I clicked "submit" my internet died. Very frustrating, but I'll try to post those thoughts another time.
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www.myspace.com/fauxpaz
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Postby thedrums » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:39 pm

Hey all, Dave Sperandio asked me to post this for him:


Dave Sperandio wrote:

I wanted to take a moment and thank RARB for their comments, many of which I felt were spot-on, and to recognize Yahtzee for what I felt was a monumental accomplishment: arranging, recording, and editing " Minor Adjustments" completely on their own with no outside consulting, outside arrangements, "how-to" recording weekends from us producers, and a shoestring budget, as Travis indicated.


What he didn't mention was the fact that this CD was recorded without the use of *any* guide tracks or tempo map of any kind. Now, when we were mixing I may have cursed this fact 30 or 40 times :) but I think it's important to note this, and judge the results accordingly.


Without a doubt, All Night Yahztee is among the top 3 collegiate groups I have ever seen live. They may be the best group I've ever had the opportunity to clinic with, as well. Their three consecutive ICCA Finals appearances (with many, many a "best soloist", "best VP", etc., along the way, and a 2nd place finish this past weekend) can attest to that fact better than I can, however. Take THAT, West Coast! :)


Anyway, ANY is very good. And humble. And creative. And...driven. For all intents and purposes, this was their firs t "real" studio CD. Since they didn't know anything about how to do it, they had to rely not on click tracks, or Pro Tools, or even producers (they found me after they'd already recorded and edited everything themselves), but rather on their ability to actually sing. Sounds obvious, but let's just say it's, err...uncommon, and leave it at that.


Given the above, I was nervous, to say the least, about how their tracks would sound when they made their way to me. Turns out I was more than pleasantly surprised; in many cases I was blown away. Diaz and crew put together a very solid effort, with some stunning (if wooden...seriously Dave? A rare gaffe from you.) soloists, and even a few "moments" along the way. Of course, the lack of tempo map, etc., was a limiting factor in mixing, and all of the percussion was "live", as it were, but on the other hand...I found myself actually enjoying the fresh, NON-wooden feeling of mixing a bunch of really good (if still a bit naive re the studio) singers (as well as an incredible vocal percussionist), without being able to use all the smoke and mirrors I might normally have had at my disposal. Being on a tight budget and without the benefit of a "consistent" tempo, there was no time to replace or "augment" any drum sounds, as happens now with maybe 90% of CDs we producers work on. There wasn't really time for any additional editing, actually. So we focused on bringing out the best in each song, and I think we did a good job of that, considering.


Personally, I was touched by several of the songs, and by the group themselves. Wait...that didn't come out right...I was also touched by the incredible Ziti they made for me while mixing (I'm easily bribed), and by the tequila shots they recently bought me while working on their upcoming CD...but I digress...


In any case, I find myself relating my experience with ANY and this CD to a similar experience I had with Duke's Rhythm and Blue (you can read my commen ts on that CD here and note the parallels for yourself - eerie! mixed group, making the CD on their own, even down to the same song and similar effects on me in "Such Great Heights"). I can only hope that ANY follows a similar path of success as Duke R&B, and the group can enjoy the fruit of their labors in the years to come. As I mentioned before, I'm happy to report that they are working on their next CD as I type, and you can bet they have learned from their mistakes and are set to make a splash with the new release. We're set to release in the Fall, I believe, so stay tuned!


best,
Dave


www.davesperandio.com
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Postby kevin47 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:20 pm

but we'll take free trips paid for by them to Hong Kong and Paris as compensation for a little criticism by the reviewers.


Well, you are also taking free trips as compensation for compromising the listening experience of your customers who have spent their own money to purchase your album.
Kevin Sawyer
Claremont Shades
('97-'01)
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Minor Adjustments

Postby richalhoub » Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:30 am

Ok...I could go on for a bit about the review. How they didn't really know what us Yahtzeeians did to get it done, how we're a group with several focuses and several financial issues, how we bit off more than we could chew but swallowed it whole anyhow. All these things I could go on about and try and make the review feel a little less like a sharp spear in my thigh...but I won't. Because they did say a lot of very valid things that we could have done better even though we were independent in this endeavor.

I will say one thing though.


Over My Head was not arranged by Katherine Laur. It was arranged by me, Rachel Chalhoub, and I'm sure it was an oversight or a typo or something. So, this is more for my at ease-ness than anything. Granted, I am flattered to be compared to Katie. She's an AMAZING arranger and everything she's ever done for the group has won several awards for solo and arrangement. So, to be accidentally called her, is a-fine.

But still, it was me.


OK THANKS! :)

Rachel I. Chalhoub

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Re: Minor Adjustments

Postby seth » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:26 pm

RChalhoub wrote:Over My Head was not arranged by Katherine Laur. It was arranged by me, Rachel Chalhoub, and I'm sure it was an oversight or a typo or something. So, this is more for my at ease-ness than anything. Granted, I am flattered to be compared to Katie. She's an AMAZING arranger and everything she's ever done for the group has won several awards for solo and arrangement. So, to be accidentally called her, is a-fine.

But still, it was me.

Fixed. Sorry about that!
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Re: Minor Adjustments

Postby richalhoub » Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:59 pm

Seth wrote:
RChalhoub wrote:Fixed. Sorry about that!



HEARTS! HEARTS AND UNICORNS!!!!

Rachel I. Chalhoub

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Re: Minor Adjustments

Postby jazzydanziger » Sun Apr 27, 2008 6:12 pm

RChalhoub wrote:
Seth wrote:
RChalhoub wrote:Fixed. Sorry about that!



HEARTS! HEARTS AND UNICORNS!!!!


My apologies, Rachel. I think I was looking at the credits for "If You're Gone" when I wrote that Katherine was the arranger.

I'm glad you said something! Congratulations on a fantastic arrangement.
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Postby christophermd » Fri May 09, 2008 12:16 am

Firstly, I'd like to thank Dave T., Tom C. and Jazzy for their thoughtful reviews of Minor Adjustments. There was some expected critique and some not-so-expected remarks, but all in all it was very refreshing to get some new outside perspective. I appreciate all of the reviewers taking the time to stew over our work!

The process of tracking, editing and producing this album was an incredible learning experience for all of us. This effort was completely homespun- every track was recorded at FSU's Midi lab by our former president Michele Truhe, and I edited every track myself at home in Melodyne studio.

To address perhaps the biggest complaint about the album, the playlist, I need to address the journey that this album took. This album was not intended to break new ground- it wasn't intended to win a ton of awards, get on BOCA or Sing, or even sell out- the whole intention of the effort was to reward our fans for helping push us to a new level. Those faithful fans have NOT heard thirty eight a cappella versions of Over My Head or Criminal, and were ready to be able to hear our version whenever they wanted to. Every group's success is a progression, and Minor Adjustments is just one step in Yahtzee's growth. I hesitate to call it a "yearbook album" because of the seemingly negative connotation attributed to that allusion, but this album was meant almost purely for our families and home fan base.

Aesthetically, I made the personal decision to let the voices of the extremely talented members of this group do the expressing. I think Jazzy hit the nail on the head when she said, "it's a refreshing reminder of the potential for clean sound that places the focus back on the human voice." Thank you Jazzy, for the kind remark, but also for clinching the true intention of this album. Dave Sperandio was completely respectful of our desire to keep the heart and reality in the voices, and he, to call on a familiar phrase, made us sound the way we do in our heads. The product, we believe, is rich, pure and real.

If current BOCA tracks and CARA winners are the filet mignon and caviar of college a cappella, I'd like to think of us as the cornbread, fried chicken and sweet tea. It's not for everyone, but it sure does make you feel good. That, and a couple of a cappella gurus once told us that we're not so bad live ;p

In short, we wouldn't have submitted the album for review if we didn't want critique, and we've graciously taken everything that's been said and internalized it. Rest assured that our next album (due out early Fall of this year) will be a pointed step in a new direction- an edgier, grittier, more innovative direction.

In the meantime, I happen to think our Villains medley is a hoot. :) Thanks again for all of your comments!

-C

PS. ......you can still buy it on our website hard copy or download via PayPal. The trip to New York pretty much wiped us out...help us out and buy our humble little album, PLEASE!!!??!?!?!

Christopher M. Diaz | ICCA & CARA Judge | FSU ANY '08 | Mouth Off! co-founder/host

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