Ladies & gentlemen, boys and girls…
Are we sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin….
A few weeks ago, I set you all the first of this year’s Forum Song Challenges. And, as usual, you guys responded with typical enthusiasm and effort, turning in some top tuneage. So, first of all, a huge thanks to you all for showing such great passion and for working your proverbial whatsits off again. Everyone of you are legends in my book.
Ok, so Dave emailed me this evening and not only did he give me his choice, he also gave me mini critiques of each entry! That’s right, each entry! And…. he’s added to the prize fund! So, the two runners up will both receive a set of GForce’s now legendary Vintage Synth Trumps card sets! These are great fun for the synth geek in all of us, and not even I have a set of these!
However, the big news is that the winner of the challenge will not only receive a copy of the VAST ReFill, courtesy of Tom Pritchard, but they will also get their choice of one of GForce’s Soft Synths!! Yes, that’s right, our winner will be walking away with an M-Tron Pro, or a copy of Virtual String Machine or Minimonsta. They may like to choose the amazing impOSCar2 synth, or the fabulous Oddity. The choice is theirs!
Very cool, I think you’ll agree! A massive thanks to Dave for his generosity!
Ok, so first of all, Dave wanted me to post the following on his behalf…
“When Rob asked me to judge this contest a month or so ago, my immediate thought was that it’d be an easy thing to do coz there’s bound to be two or three decent tracks amongst a sea of mediocrity or worse.
It just goes to show how wrong someone can be and after the first listen, although a few tracks jumped out at me as being especially interesting, the overall high quality of composition and production was such that I felt I needed to listen to everything once more.
Once turned into twice and then into three times and I can honestly say that with each listen a new track (or three) would pique my interest to the point where I had to really question how I was going to pick a winner and two runners up.
My initial method was to take an afternoon off work and to listen once more, writing notes on each track in the hope that something would jump out at me afterwards. However, once again it was impossible to separate winners because the diversity of music is such that judging in an overall context seemed unfair.
Realizing that I was the worst judge in the history of judges, finally, I settled on a criteria that might work. To listen one more time and see which tracks gave me the goosebump factor.
So….ladies and gentlemen, safe in the knowledge that everything I heard impressed me, and that my chosen winner and two runners up could just as easily have changed on a different day and in a different mood, here are my notes followed by my winner and two runners up…
Wonderful Day II by Andy Hyde – nice downtempo groove with an infectious nasally bassline. Well mixed too.
Across This Bridge: Nicola Alexandra Hajdu – haunting, trippy and pretty out there…and I mean that in a good way. Love the pad sound.
Attack Of The Jizz Monkeys: Grumbleweed. Should be in the top five for the title alone and it’s about time toms were more prominent. Good programming too.
Half Vast: Broads Of Canada – Love the name of Broads Of Canada and this track really suits my frame of mind right now. Lovely peaks and troughs and considered drum programming together with a thoughtful production.
The VASTness of Electrons: EpiGenetik – great groove and some really interesting sounds. The arrangement works well too but might need trimming here and there. The synth riff at 1.47 had me smiling.
Ode to a Traveller: A Million Tiny Architects – A Zero-Seven-esque start which then changes into some really cool funk laden textures and sounds. Great vocal harmonies and neat arrangement. Some lovely shifts almost reminiscent of the more experimental 70′s Stevie Wonder
Vast inspirations DDRex: 0Zone0 – Having just sold my soul to become the joint owner of an EMS AKS the intro made me smile. I’m not a fan of synth sync sounds but the second half of this really shines
Engineering: TheGrammarPolice – Kitsch and a great fun song. Long live the people who make something out of nothing
Evergreen: Itchy Brother Music – Had this on while working away and it took a while to work out what it was. Good version and to many of us, probably better and more definitely adventurous than the original.
Have You No Home To Go To: Undercurve – Great arrangement & production, lush, atmospheric and epic. I love the little surprise arp at 2.34 too.
VAST: Upright – nice groove, sounds and love the laugh. There’s not enough laughter in tracks these days.
Agrippa: The Fat Controller – Great syncopated rhythms, sequences and a tough but simple bassline add up to a really energetic track.
A Troll In A Doll: Electric Fusion – A great blend of beats, sequenced lines and effects. A well composed and considered arrangement that holds my attention until the end.
Cracked And Shattered: Dig Team One – A bona-fide decent song with a lot of detail and percussion flying around and jumping out of the mix.
VASTity: turbopage – Great changes, great sounds, great chords, great vibe, great production makes this a definite potential winner for me. Even the outro makes me go “mmm”
Amid The Vast Emptiness: GEM – Really impressive. A decent blend of guitar, new and old synth sounds together with some great changes and twists.
Stompp The Mash: Clarktw – I started off by loving the bassline, arpeggios and the arrangement but questioning where the hi hats were. Sadly, the mashup didn’t really do it for me though.
aVAST Matey: user35 – Punchy and crisp. To my mind some of the fills could do with tightening up but when the main groove is happening it’s a tight as a duck’s arse. Also nice to hear some guitar for a change.
Urban Exploration: Bureau of Broken Sounds -Great main theme and I really like the breakdown section. Definitely up there for me
ECO – BlazeRProds – Superb main theme and I do like my drum and bass. Great drum programming too and my only request would be to make the drums tougher.
Look Into My Eyes: GeorgeFeb – And talking of tougher drums here’s some crazy tough drum programming as a backdrop to interesting sounds a great mix and a decidedly hypnotic female vocal. One of the tracks I’d like to hear in a club.
Honey: FATCheese – A short and sweet track with a lovely, nasty bass sound throughout and very cool complimentary top line at 0.40 and again at 1.48
Why Are You Walking Alone: Opabobby – A full-on proper ballad which highlights Reason’s versatility and silences those critics who say that it’s only for dance music. As a drummer my only request would be for more natural and human programming.
The Failing Muse: The Quixotes. Really reminds me of an 80s band called Scary Thieves who I thought were superb and the arrangement here reminds me a lot of the some of the better 80s Synth Pop that was around in my youth. Good song too.”
Well, in Third Place, winning themselves a set of GForce Vintage Synth Trumps…
VAST: Upright – Dave added, “Too cool for school!”
In Second Place, also winning themselves a set of GForce Vintage Synth Trumps…
VASTity: TurboPage – Dave added, “Too well produced and interesting to leave out”
Well done guys!
And now…. The winner of the Forum Song Challenge 2012 #1 – VAST is……
The Quixotes: The Failing Muse – To which Dave added, “Too catchy to ignore!”
So, Matt, aka The Quixotes, aka Jiggery Pokery is our winner and a big pat on the back to him too. Matt will win the VST ReFill, a set of Vintage Synth Trumps and his choice of one of the GForce instruments!!
To hear all of the entries, see the player below…
Well, that’s all folks. Challenge #2 will hopefully kick off in April. Watch this space for details. I can also tell you that I might just have lined up an incredible ReFill and Judge combo for later this year. Something that is currently blowing my mind, let alone yours!!
Until next time, amigos!!