Hey Octet fans - it's time for something exciting and new. The UC Men's Octet Archives have just hit YouTube, and the archivist (an Octet Alumni) is sharing classic Octet music with YouTube. Enjoy "Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)" below, and then click on the link (even further below) to enjoy other Octet classics. I am SO excited for this to happen, and I hope you will enjoy all the music to come from this INCREDIBLE group.)
Also, I am going to announce the official 2013-2014 Octet as soon as I know, for sure, who are in the group. I KNOW that we have 2 Kyles, and one of them is an alumni, and American Idol contestant. Oh, yeah. It's gonna be a good year.
Hey Guys and Gals. Cats and Kittens. Friends and Foes. Fans and Looky-Loos...sorry, but that patter was running through my head and escaped from my fingertips.
Sooo...Silhouettes. It's a song by the Rays about a teenager stalking his woman, and he finds her in the embrace of another. He experiences violent anger. Plot twists abound. It's a quite involved song, and I can totally see how it would be popular, not only in the time of its conception and inception (and performance, originally by The Rays, a fabulous doo wop group from the 50's. Have a listen, listeners.
My thoughts on the song. I like the arrangement. I enjoy the potential violence. I thought it was a song I could sway to. The plot twist was unexpected. The Rays did a great job with the original and the Octet covered it nicely.
What do you think?
Hey Octet fans. I'm back with another review of the UC Men's Octet's cd "Gold". This time we've got Billy Joel's memorable "She's Got A Way".
I posted another short sample (though I'm noticing the short samples are unintentionally getting longer - this might be redundant, but it IS unintentional. I also added a bit of clumsy animation. I've finally got the Bamboo tablet out again...but I haven't used it in a while, and the 'art' and computer put up a struggle. But, there it is. :)
I find this song to be very relaxing. A song about that woman. Perfect for him. Love. Devotion...etc,. The song is Piano bar. White bread. Well arranged and performed by both Billy Joel and subsequently the UC Men's Octet, but ultimately, not very interesting to me as a song. I really have to be in the mood to hear this one, otherwise, I usually hit "skip" or listen without noticing it much. I like it. I just don't "LIKE" like it.
Next time: Silhouettes by the Rays.
Also, another year older!
Hey Octet Fans!
Another review piece for the "Gold" CD. This time, it's the Octet's arrangement of "Hair" from the 1960's hippy musical that goes by the same name. Since the Octet's version was my first encounter with the song, I'd like to begin by letting you see and hear the original. Well, it's from the movie...made in 1979.
You can see it in the video: youth, anti-establishment, free-love, violent prison beatings...oh well, there have to be some drawbacks to having long hair, eh. It's an entertaining clip.
But this was my introduction to the musical.
The Octet's version actually begins with "She asks me why I'm just a hairy guy." I took the sample from a several seconds into the song.
The arrangement is wonderful. The soloist has a great/strong voice, and the backing singers really make this song fly. Every time I hear this song, I'm literally bopping my head to the music and singing loudly with the Octet (much to the chagrin of those around me.)
For me, since I heard the Octet version before the movie version, I have to say that the Octo-version sounds "more correct". The perfect version.
This is one of my 3 FAVORITES on the Gold CD (and, indeed, one of my favorites for all the Octet music I have or have heard.) I like all of their music. I love most of their music. But this. This is spec-freaking-tacular!
So...I guess I'll just be doing spot-reviews. I did figure out what I did wrong with the uploads. No. It wasn't the computer. It was me. I take all the blame for that.
And, with that, I shall review again. Possibly Friday. But I procrastinate, so don't hold me to it.
Hey Octet Fans. I'm going to post this review in a few installments because after my computer returned from being repaired it decided it was INSANE. So...I'm working with what it will allow me to do at the moment.
Gold was released in the YEAR 2000, and features the ICCA award winning members of the UC Men's Octet. The ICCA's are a big deal. It's like the Grammy Awards of the collegiate a cappella world. (Well, maybe not exactly) and the Octet are the only group who won 2 years "in a row". (Why is "in a row" in quotes? Well, between the first and second year that the Octet won the ICCA's, there were no regional championships.)
That being said. Onto the music. (Tracks 1-3 of 18)
Let's begin with "Eight's Company" - a parody of the 70's/80's theme song "Three's Company". I spent my early childhood watching this show, and I love how the Octet arranged this song. If you compare it to the original, you will find that it's quite different from the memorable theme song, but the Octet arrangement is quite good and enjoyable as they have it. Eight's Company showcases their humor as well as their musical ability. I think this is a great song, and wish it were actually longer - but what can you do with a theme song - unless you incorporate it into a "medley". Well, I guess it would still be short...never mind.
Teenager In Love - originally recorded by Dion and the Belmonts in the late 1950's, is higher energy than the original. The speaking parts and included add character to the song, as does the humorous backing vocals. ((Soloist:) I cried a tear, for nobody but (Backs:) whoever he points to..)
This is another case where I have found that my love of the UC Men's Octet has introduced me to music I never would have been interested in listening to otherwise. They continue to open doors for my love of music.
Next, Little Red Riding Hood, originally by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs is another song that I had not known pre-Octet, and it is one of my favorites. It must be very popular, because it is included in at least 4 Octet albums.
The song presents the wolf as pursuing Little Red, a "little big girl" and encourages her to trust her as he walks with her to gammas place in his "sheep suit". Enjoyable the whole way through. Especially the "listen to me" scale and the ending "ruff."
I will try to add to the review and I am able.
Track 4 will be "Hair" from the musical of the same name.
Track 5 "She's Got A Way" (Billy Joel)
Track 6 "Silhouettes" (The Rays) will be the next few songs in the review.
Authors Note: I was nearly thrown out of the coffee shop I was in because I plugged my headphones into the wrong hole and had the volume WAAAY UP...Maybe it's not the computer, but the operator that has issues, eh? So, as my computer allows me, I will add to the review a few songs at a time. Thank you all for your patience.
Welp, my computer is in the shop, and I'm on a loaner - so I guess I can actually finally do my "Gold" review. I'll try to make it happen on my next day off (Wednesday). Here's hoping! :D
Update - still trying to figure out how to get the music into the review in a streamlined way. I'm thinking Friday. See ya then...
Quick update to add, I will wait until my computer is more cooperative.
Hey Octet fans:
Just to let you guys and gals know, I'm working on the review of Gold (hope it's better than the last one. My computer has decided it no longer wants to be user friendly and didn't save most of the album information and cutting out the original reviews I had written. I will continue to add to the Octopella review and I'm gathering info and insights on "Gold" which, as you will soon discover, is an awesome album. I might use more audio clips (short ones, so don't get your hopes up too much. That will add a little time to the process of posting the review, but it might be a better review. + It will give me a way to show you what I'm writing about when I don't have the words for what I'm feeling about the music. So, I want to give examples, not get sued, so MAYBE short clips. Anyway, I had fun with a brainstorm session this morning.
Oh, I probably won't make it to Spring Show (for financial reasons.) But who knows...maybe I can swing it. I'm skimping and saving. Cross your fingers y'all.
That might be it. The holidays are coming, and I'm going to start school again in the winter, maybe January. I think I wrote better when I was in school. Maybe it was just my imagination.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.
Reviewer's note: Octopella is the album I was excited to listen to, only because I was (and am) SUCH a huge fan of the 2002-2003 Octet. I still love this Oldtet, I have, however, gained a huge respect for the other Oldtet/current Octet as well. I have so much respect to every man who has sung in this group.
1999-2000 Members: Ryan Antonelli, Steve Chu, Phillip Dwelle, Matt Johnson, Kevin Lamb, David Martinez, Benjamin Park
Beyond the Sea - Big, bold 40's style song, reminiscent of of crooners and bass and brass.
Baby One More Time - A classic (if you're a 90's baby.) The arrangement is complex and one of the few a cappella numbers I've heard that is easily danced to.
Because - This song is almost hypnotically repetitive, and kinda trippy. The tenors blend their voices well, in another Beatles classic.
Them There Eyes - Big and Bold, I can almost see these men performing this song as a chorus line. It's mind blowing!
I Got Rhythm - Playful. The comically mis-sung vocalizations and rhythmic harmonizing of the word "doors' is a treat. Another great number.
2000-2001 Members: Aaron Azelton, Andrew Bundy, Toby Jaw, Rob Liebermann, David Martinez, Neil Orlina, David Sloan, Richard Wood, Howard Wu
Fight For California - Cal Song, always good to lift the spirit of students.
McDonald’s Girl - I didn't realize this was a real song until I did a little research. The arrangement was done by someone who was a part of the Harvard Din and Tonics. (you can search for their video, it's exactly the same arrangement.) Rick Wood, the soloist, sings most of the song in falsetto, as an adolescent boy who has a mad crush on a girl working at Micky-D's. At the end, he' goes full bass and unloads all sorts of McDonald's inspired corny puns.
Baby Got Back - Arranged by Rick Wood, this is a similar version to the one on YouTube. It doesn't have the big bravado opening, though.
Uptown Girl - This is a song I grew up with. It's very similar to the original. Very enjoyable, 80's rockabilly.
Please - It's the best break-up song I've heard. Beautiful and sentimental.
That Don’t Impress Me Much - This is a parody of Shania Twain's hit. (Hint: the backs sing "Shania" throughout the song.
2001-2002 Members: Aaron Azelton, Andrew Bundy, Jason Mabie, David Martinez, Jerome M-C, Benjamin Sae-Tang, David Sloan, Brandon Swansfeger,
Share Your Love With Me - This song ripped out my heart and then refused to cuddle with me afterwards. I love it so much. The arrangement, the soloist and the backs go perfectly together.
With Or Without You - U2's Hit song, It's alive, and spiritual and searching. Beautifully performed.
Perfidia - I enjoyed this WASP-y version of the song with it's corny jokes. They dedicate the song to their friends south of the border, "With no further adobe". Playful.
2002-2003 Members: Kenny Kamrin, Jason Mabie, Jerome M-C, Jordan Meyer, Benjamin Sae-Tang, Parkers Sims, Brandon Swansfeger, Richard Wood
Beauty’s Only Skin Deep - (arr. & solo by Jerome M-C)
A backhanded love song in bass. The delivery of the spoken part of the song is slightly changed, but after a few listens, it works.
Blackbird - (arr. by Jerome M-C, solo by Ben Sae-Tang)
Dark yet hopeful Beatle's classic. The backs are restrained and murmur soft. This song does not need to be anything but subtle. The whistled portion by Rick Wood is different than in the 2003 concert, but after a few listens, it works well.
Lumberjack Song - (arr. by Jerome M-C, solo by Kenny Kamrin.)
Monty Python style humor, to a northern Californian audience. Kamrin does well in his spoken introduction, introducing himself and why he wants to be a lumberjack. Kenny's delivery is humorous and confident. The backs are done in a strong and manly way. I love this song so much.
Not Pretty Enough - (arr by Jerome M-C, solo by Rick Wood)
Slight difference from the original, but overall, it's effective. This is one of my favorites because this is the first Octet songs I ever heard. Some of the lyrics are different, because there is not spoken intro, as in the 2003 Spring show.
Come Go With Me - (solo by Brandon Swansfeger)
Brandon is the guy everyone asks about in the YouTube video. Classic Octet, well sung. Spoken portion of the song is well delivered: "Stupid Frat Guys" makes me chuckle every time.
Let’s Stay Together - (arr by Jerome M-C, solo by Jordan Meyer)
Masterful solo by Jordan Meyer, excellent backs by the rest. A bit more relaxed than the Spring show delivery. I love to listen to this while I'm getting ready to drift off to sleep. It's very relaxing.
Liar Medley - (transcribed by Jerome M-C) Old time, man's man song.
Octet humor through and through. Some of the visual humor is lost, but not much.
Nirvana Medley (hidden track) - (arranged by Jerome M-C, solo by Jason Mabie)
This is a very intricate song. You're not going to get all of the subtleties of the song from the YouTube video, so I added a clip.
I think that the overall reaction I get from this album is how much these men love music, and how fun music can be to play with.
I also noticed, with this album, that I can hear the singers take a breath. That's a really refreshing experience when most of the music nowadays has been mastered, remixed and auto-tuned into lifelessness.
I took notes for the Octopella review this week. I will organize my thoughts and have the review posted some time next week. Thanks for your patience.