The Heavy Metal Matador (rydain) wrote,
The Heavy Metal Matador

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Well, at least I don't feel like smashing things any more

Carnivores performed at Sampler last night. We came together well on stage, and based on the audience's reaction, I think they really enjoyed our set. That's good.

However, I was in a crappy mood for most of the night. That's bad.

Why? I mentioned a while ago, we had this list of music to arrange for this semester. There was some seriously good shit on there. My contribution - "Mr. Roboto" by Styx, which I had also volunteered to arrange. For various reasons (the main one being that NoteWorthy doesn't natively run under Linux, and though it CAN install and run, this involved work and messing with software I'd never tried before), I hadn't been able to get much work done on the arrangement. I'd started writing down bass notes and stuff in a text file, but that was about it.

Recently, I downloaded a MIDI and found a howto for installing NoteWorthy under WINE, which is a Windows emulator of sorts. Woo-hoo! Seeing as Rando was going to be at a LAN party all day today, I was all excited to get NoteWorthy working and start my arrangement.

Then, last night, Mike told us out of nowhere that the Pennharmonics had finished an arrangement of Mr. Roboto. I know they're going to do a great job. After all, they are the premier a cappella group on campus. If that were all, I would have been fine. I know their arrangement would have kicked mine's ass from here to Timbuktu, especially because mine was going to be more of an interpretation than a replica. (The Penns actually recreate the sound of a song with voice. Honestly, it's quite amazing.) But still, I know enough about arranging in general that I thought it would have been a fun project that would turn out well, and I figured I could pass it around to Stix and Mike to help with the polishing and whatnot. *stage whisper* Plus, if I transpose it down to F, I can sing lead...

The problem is that because they're doing Mr. Roboto, we can't. Don't ask me why. It's some bizarre-ass rule of courtesy, and I'm not even sure what the rationale is. I can understand not performing the same song at the same concert if you're appearing with another group, but evidently said song now Belongs to That Group, and some anal-retentive entity somewhere will smite you if you have the audacity to sing it before some arbitrary time limit expires. There are exceptions, though. For instance, Josh originally arranged Evaporated for The Dreamers, an all-male group that he used to belong to. He then gave it to us to perform when he was with Carnivores. I suppose that the mythical entity of smiting keeps track of all such permission transfers as well.

Well, there goes my magnum fucking opus, I thought, but at least that wasn't the only song I had been all fired up about doing. I half-jokingly, half-seriously mentioned to another group member that I could quickly arrange Bring Me to Life by Evanescence before anyone else did.

Guess what?

Someone said that the same group had already arranged it.

And they were performing it. That same night.

Now I was bummed out even more, but I turned the frown upside down because I'd get a chance to hear the song, and knowing the quality of the Penns' work, I expected to be blown out of my chair. Last year, they performed an incredible rendition of Dark Side of the Moon. (What was even cooler was that Josh and I ran into some of the Penns at Taco Bell afterward, and I was gushing over how awesome of a job they'd done, and they were genuinely friendly and appreciative. I love it when people are that talented and don't get a balloonhead over it. ^_^)

Well...the background instrumentals and vocals were arranged and performed to perfection. (They even got that rumbly bass noise to sound just right.) However, I was not enthused with the lead. Like I said, the Penns are top-notch. Their refinement of pitch, timbre, and overall style is legendary. If this had been a different group, I wouldn't have been as critical, but I couldn't help but notice that she went sharp a few times and had some stylistic mannerisms that didn't fit with the song at all. Bring Me to Life sounds best when sung in a clean, pure fashion. For the most part, she did that, but there were several nasal flippy syllables that detracted from the song. I don't know if these have a proper name, but if you listen to Gwen Stefani sing something, you should understand what I'm trying to describe. I'm not saying that these are always bad. For instance, they work well with the bounciness of Ex-Girlfriend. In this case, though, the flippiness resulted in distracting breaks in a vocal line that is supposed to glide above everything else in the arrangement.

I'm not saying "OMG she sux0rz!11!" or anything. Overall, she was good, but like I said, these are the Penns. I wanted to have my socks knocked off, and this performance didn't deliver. Maybe they liked the way the song sounded with her style of singing. Maybe they haven't had as much of a chance to polish it as they would have hoped for. Maybe she had a cold (and in this case, I'd be impressed because singing well when sick is quite an accomplishment). Like I said, it was a nice rendition in general, but I just can't help but be somewhat disappointed.

I'm happier today, though. I got lots of sleep, I'm going out to buy furniture, and I'll still muck around with WINE because I'm going to arrange an old Irish song that I doubt most people have heard of. Not only that, I just found my text file with the beginnings of Mr. Roboto. It was last edited September 18. I wouldn't say "hey u guyz cant do taht song", but I'm wondering if there will be any room for compromise. Hell, I can always arrange it anyway. It'll be a good exercise, and it's not as if the entity will smite me just for having a bunch of 0's and 1's on my hard drive that look an awful lot like a certain song if you open them in NoteWorthy.
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