Archive for April, 2012

Random Science Stuff…

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The Voice – Battle Week

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The Wife & I are staying with  The Voice UK for the time being, just to see how it plays out now it’s principle premise, the blind auditions are now over.

That’s not to say we weren’t close to switching over due to not being entirely convinced by the ‘Looks-aren’t-everything’ mantra seemingly abandoned in the face of some of the seemingly contrary choices.

 

 

Part 1

 

Jenny vs Jonelle: Song – ‘I’m Every Woman’

Will.I.a.m picked Joelle despite Jenny producing a far better performance.

 

Max & Bill: Song –  ‘Beggin’

Surprisingly good duet.

Whilst Max’s theatre training gave him the confidence to perform like a peacock on stage, bill more than held his own.

We went for Bill, & although Max was picked to go through to the live rounds it was a much closer contest than Jenny ys Jonell

 

Andrea vs Sam: Song – ‘A Little Less Conversation’

Both fluffed lines a couple of times, & getting Sam to sinjg in such a low register was just baffling.

We agreed with the judge’s pick – Sam, but that was an odd one.

 

Kirsten vs Toni: Song – ‘Think’

Doing an Aretha track is always going to be a potentially teeth-grinding experience. However, as a face off it wasn’t too bad & the singing didn’t send the remote flying at the telly.

Kirsten performed well, but many of the vocal tricks didn’t quite come off.Toni got picked& we also plumped for her – at last someone actually being picked on their actual voice not just potential image.

 

Bo vs Vince: Song – ‘With Or Without You’

Interesting contrast of styles & strategy by judge Danny.

Vince was more successful at controlling wayward dynamics than Bo did in broadening her range.

A so-so duet, but I thought Bo didn’t quite fit vocally.

We went for Vince. Danny however went for Bo, but was at least honest in saying she was more fisually arresting & therefore a more marketable proposition in the long-term.

 

Tyler vs Ishmael: Song; ‘Yeah x3’

This was the weakest of the duets, but the song choice was a deliberate choice by will.i.am as a challenge for them.

Will picked Tyler – I fell asleep briefly & the Wife got upset as they had to sing pappy Euro-pop tat.

(Can’t say I blame her, but I WAS asleep for some of this).

 

Vince vs. Jessica: Song – ‘We Found Love’

Vince  gave a more consistent performance, not to mention the fact Jessica lost power on the vocal runs during the upbeat dance section of the song.

At home: Vince

Jessie: Vince

 

Jay vs. Jaz: Song – ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’

First thought – ‘What a stupid pairing – setting two of you best vocalists together in a knockout BEFORE the main competition??? Even Will suddenly realised the folly of such actions, though too late to actually do anything about it.

Everyone was aware of Jaz’s ability. That said it wasn’t the walkover everyone was expecting, as Jay more than held his own.

However,, predictably, there really was only ever going to be one winner in this one.

The Wife: Jaz

Will: Jazz

Me: Refused to choose (out of principle – dumb choice, others were mode deserving of a cab ride home than Jay)

 

Denise vs. Ruth: Song – ‘No One’

Another pairing where the experienced Denise was expected to walk it against the young, raw talent.

Even Denise herself acted as if she had it in the bag, but had SERIOUSLY underestimated the teenager who really wanted this & fought hard holding her ground.

 

We picked: Ruth

Tom: went with Ruth

 

 

Part 2

 

David & Cassius: Song – ‘Beat It’

Interesting arrangement of the MJ classic, although despite the energy, the actual performance battle as a whole was curiously flat.

If forced I would have picked David, though Jessie selected Cassius, David looked clearly gutted at not making the cut.

We: went ‘Meh’

 

Barbara vs. Leanne: Song – ‘The Edge Of Glory’

Both of them were really up for a scrap, particularly Barbara – all that was missing was some mud….

Er, anyway, both came out swinging (vocally, obviously), giving spirited performances.

Couldn’t call it – both had negative to their vocals: Barbara was as tad ‘Pub-singer’-ishwhile Leanne was a bit shrill at times.

Tom went for Leanne, much to Will’s annoyance either as he had a bit of a crush on her or wanted Tom to keep her in for his long-term strategy.

 

Frances vs. Kate: Song ‘Ironic’

Kate’s lack of vocal power put her at an immediate disadvantage in rehearsals. Will taking her into the studio fired up Frances, now in it to win it.

The battle itself kind of went passed me – must have nodded off. Again.

Will picked: Frances

We picked: no-one ( & I fell asleep)

 

Aleks vs. Emmy J: Song –

Aleks was the unconfident newbie to Emmy’s seasoned performing background (plus she’s fitter)

Another curious set.

Aleks had the better voice but really didn’t take his foot of the pedal at any point

Emmy’s voice was stronger, but her vocal wasn’t that great – plus they BOTH sang flat through most of the song

I: picked Emmy

The Wife: picked Aleks

Danny: picked Aleks

 

Ben vs. Ruth-Ann: Song – ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’

Ben was very confident but unlike some, didn’t underestimate his opposition.

That said, overall it was rather lacklustre & Ruth-Ann was well off her game.

The flow of the battle was weird – then I realised the sequence had been heavily cut.

I picked Ben

Jessie inexplicably picked Ruth-Ann

 

Matt & Sueleen vs. Lindsey: Song – ‘Born To Run’

Despite this being a 2 against 1 fight, it was, surprisingly, Matt & Sueleen who were intimidated by Lindsey!

The actual battle? ‘Nice’ in a ‘Laura-Ashley-net-curtains’ sort of way, despite Matt finding his inner Springsteen & Lindsey straying into ‘Pub-singer’ territory.

Tom: chose Matt & Sueleen. Oh.

I: couldn’t be bothered picking

 

Murray vs. Hannah: Song – ‘Kids’

Another battle with out of tune (flat) singing

More memorable for Murray’s ‘dad- dancing’ & young Hannah trying to wiggle seductively, showing all that cheerleading training had..gone to waste.

Danny went with Hanna while I sided with Murray

 

India & Pixie vs. Becky

Another 2 onto 1 Cat fight. The two girls (The Wife calls them ‘The Singing Chavs – but she uses the term ‘singing’ advisedly) were intimidated by Becky’s confidence & there was a bit of bitching over parts in rehearsals.

Becky was intimidated by their presence. I personally found them quite irritating.

That said, on the night (or whenever it was actually recorded), Becky decisively wiped the floor with the two girls, despite straining on occasion.

We all went for Becky.

 

Adam vs Denise:

Toilet break

Tom chose Adam, apparently

 

Sophie vs J. Marie: Song – ‘Firework’

Another unfortunate match up for the BEP man

In fact these two were very evenly matched, but Sophie’s inexperience got the better of her, intimidated by the more experienced J. Marie, who clearly wanted this. This was a close call

I – sided with J. Marie

Will – went with Sophie, but was clearly torn & not happy with the situation ( Hey Mate, you made the selection….)

 

David vs. John James

Again, the novice David (looking scarily like a young Jeremy Clarkson), found it difficult to not be rattled by the veteran, in this case, John James.

A very good duet with David finally taking control of his nerves, turning in a surprisingly assured vocal, complete with a bit of argy-bargy at the end for the cameras by both of them.

I gave the round to John.

Danny went with David

 

 

Let’s see how the public vote when it goes live……………..

Easter – Needed A Break…………

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Wow, what a difference a rest makes!
It’s been a depressing, frustrating time of late – work’s been hard, I’ve still not been able to fix my PC (which is in bits in my loft), so I’ve not been able to work on any tracks, or transfer any mixes digitally. Bummer.
On the (hugely) positive side, my youngest neice, her mother & grandma came to visit. This little force of nature tore through the house & bossed me around for a week – I wouldn’t change it for the world!
I have listened to some mixes on Mixcloud & here are some of them:

(UpdateOOPS!! forgot to actually put the damn things up – here you go, with a couple of more recent offerings..)

 

 

 

In the meantime, if any PC company, Focusrite or Ableton want to sponsor me (well send me free stuff), drop me a line…………………………….

Still Bill – Wotta Guy………….

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

There are times, like now, when I feel that there’s just not much point in anything. Not a stark, need-to-seriously-contemplate-checking-out-of-life type thing (‘though I’ve had a few of those moments in my time), but more of a general frustration at life’s bad timing and general ‘suckiness’.Errant technology, life’s minutiae, the little irritants & peeves, continued & conflicting demands, petty dramas & drama queens, draining your energy & taking up your time. |So much so, you look back & say “what the HELL have I actually done? Why do I put up with this @$!£ ?”

I’ve felt like this for a while, then I saw the documentary ‘Still Bill: The Bill Withers Story’ on the BBC iPlayer. This is one seriously cool guy.

He grew up in a (essentially) rural backwater in the Southern USA, with a stutter he didn’t lose until his 20’s in a period of intense social change becoming a recording star in his 30’s after being told he was too old. His outlook, as a consequence of his upbringing, reflects the type of personality I wish I had or the person I should aspire to be.

He simply stopped at what some would call at the peak of his popularity. He always said he never quit; he simply decided to do something else. Considering the number and range of jobs, including engineer, military serviceman, making aircraft toilets, before becoming a singer/songwriter, this isn’t exactly the talk of a bitter & twisted has-been (although at times the cynic in him did lay close to the surface).

That said, his apparent contrary nature always seemed rooted in a straightforward, pragmatic honesty. His erm, withering take on the nature of ‘celebrity culture’, working with other musicians (including his daughter); indeed talking to his children, he’s direct but fair & honest. One of the things he said stuck with me: “In order to be great, or even good at anything you have to pass through ‘Alright’ & when you get to ‘Alright’,stop & take a good look around, because it may be the best you’re gonna get.”

 

And yet, when he went to a  centre for children with speech impediments, his concern & support of those students was all too evident, in complete contrast to his discussion with the interviewers elsewhere in the film.

 

Watching it  hasn’t stopped me from being grumpy, but at least it helped give me a sense of perspective. That & I don’t stay too mad too long.

 

Too bad he couldn’t adopt me.