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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - Ben Folds a cappella CD

Ben Folds a cappella CD

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Ben Folds a cappella CD

Postby iajaner » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:02 pm

So I found in my stocking the Ben Folds all-a cappella CD, which I kind of forgot about after the competition was up. Anyway, I gave it a listen and it sounds pretty weak to me.

My big critique is the production quality... the groups all sound basically live (except for the group Ben put together to cut his own two tracks). What's worse, the groups are often not in tune, and some have weak soloists.

I can't fault many of the groups though... I have sung twice in concert opposite the Princeton Nassoons, and they sound a trillion times better live than they do on that CD (plus they have about 10 soloists who can outperform the one chosen for the track). So I don't want it to sound like I'm calling the groups bad.... the CD is just so poorly produced and contains a number of bad choices.

Not all the tracks are bad... I don't have the album on me now or else I would leave more specific comments. It's worth a listen, especially since Ben Folds is clearly going out on a limb to expand a cappella awareness, but it's really a disappointing product from what seemed like such an exciting project.
Ian Janer

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Postby jmille22 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:09 pm

That's because it basically was done live, as far as I know and can tell. Ben was at my school to record the Ramblers on "Army" and he was using a pretty basic setup, sort of like a high-end version of the background mics you'd find at most college aca concerts. They just kept doing takes until they had something they liked, no punching in fixes or anything. And I think there was almost no post-production. Frankly, I'm impressed that a lot of it is as good as it is. It's damned hard to be that exposed without the Pro Tools safety net.

The lone exception might be "Selfless, Cold and Composed" which sounds to me like the version that group recorded on their own. Their YouTube upload sounds exactly like the track on Folds' disc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kB9hjYLkTMg

The buzz I read, largely here at RARB, also implied that this was kind of a low-budget thing for them. I don't think they had the financial backing to send everyone and everything out to our favorite mavens for star treatment. As it was, Ben was conscripted into doing two of his own tracks just to get his label to agree to the album. Unsurprisingly, they're the only ones with any semblance of production—of course, he also did all the vocals himself, so it's not like he had a choice.

Hope that helps answer some questions; if I'm misinformed on any of this, I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will set us both straight.

Jay Miller
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Postby davecharliebrown » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:05 am

If you're interested, there's another (kinda similar) take on the album here: http://www.mouthoffshow.com/2009/05/mouth-off-051709/
--Dave Brown



now: Mouth Off host | ICCA & CARA Judge

then: CASA president, CASAcademy director, CASA Bd of Directors | BYU Vocal Point | Noteworthy co-foun
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Postby sghutchings » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:11 am

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Postby dekesharon » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:52 am

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Postby billhare » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:57 am

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

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Postby dave sperandio » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:06 am

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Postby billhare » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:32 am

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

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Postby dave sperandio » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:59 am

About Me Diovoce Studios CASA Board of Directors

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Postby mcbc » Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:30 am

I, for one, glad the BF did the album this way. Bill mentioned that albums from 1900 to 1990 were done this way. I'd also add there was this odd transitional period maybe three to seven years afterwards. Not exactly sure what that tipping point was. Although, I'm sure I could figure it out with a quick RARB search :). But I digress ...

Yes, it's another example of a cappella in the mainstream. But the big reason _why_ I'm glad the album was done that way is b/c for better or worse there are groups still having this discussion.

Can't we just record how we normally sing?
I need to sing with so and so and what's-her-face
It'll take too much time

Granted professional groups have a better handle on this but still ... So the next time, I hear those arguments I'll just point to good ol' BFs album and say "do what you want, but don't do it like Ben."
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Postby billhare » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:39 am

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

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Postby aekoutzoukis » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:59 am

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Postby thatarin » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:45 am

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Postby billhare » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:27 am

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

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Postby thebriz » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:00 pm

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