Time until sign-ups begin:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

SpinTunes #10 Champion: Edric Haleen

Winner: Edric Haleen (53)
Runner Up: Ross Durand (45)
3rd: Pete Murphy (39)
4th: Zoe Gray (33)
(17 competitors voted)

Edric - 4 - 4 - 3 - 4 - 1 - 4 - 3 - 3 - 4 - 2 - 3 - 2 - 4 - 4 - 1 - 3 - 4
Ross - 3 - 3 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 2 - 4 - 4 - 3 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 2 - 2
Zoe - 2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 4 - 1 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 2 - 4 - 3
Pete - 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 4 - 1 - 1

Congrats Edric! You've been competing since this contest started, and it's always fun to see how you meet the challenges.  I'm very happy for you, and hope you decide to take up your role as a judge in SpinTunes 11.  I'll e-mail you about that when I start planning that contest.  For now, enjoy your reign as champion!

Popular Vote:
Pete Murphy - 26
Ross Durand - 11
Edric Haleen - 6
Zoe Gray - 3
(46 total votes cast)

Judges: MC Ohm-I, Jana Pochop, Rusty Cage & The Dreamstalks
Guest Judge:  John D. Boswell & Jane Lui
Alternate Judge: N/A

I want to give a big THANK YOU to all the competitors, judges, guest judges, shadowers, fans, Tom for hosting the LP, Matt for the album art, and anyone that had anything to do with this contest.  None of this is possible without the participation of all you wonderful people.

Normally SpinTunes has a contest every 6 months.  One that starts around January, and another that starts around June.  SpinTunes 11 will break from this pattern, and will probably start in January of 2016.  HOWEVER, we will be hosting a new songwriting contest starting around July of this year.  I'll post details about that at a later date, but keep your calendar open this summer.  Make sure you follow @SpinTunes on Twitter for contest updates. Between Song Fight, Nur Ein & various other projects, there should be plenty to keep you busy until SpinTunes #11. If you've completed at least 1 song for SpinTunes, you are also welcome to join the SpinTunes Facebook group.  It's a good way to keep in touch, and we post about related news in there as well

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Reviews: The Dreamstalks

1. Dance All Night by Pete Murphy - THIS is a song we want to dance to while we are getting ready for a night out on the town. It's SO catchy and fun. It syncs up perfectly with the video and we love that you took an approach away from a musical theater-y song (which seems a little obvious given the material).

2. Dance! by Edric Haleen - You took a real musical theater approach here. As kids who started out doing musical theater we definitely appreciate this. We like that you make a real commitment toward this style of music. You ending is spot on. The build up was so enjoyable and charming. Nice piano.

3. Brand New by Ross Durand - We thought the song was cute and it fits with the dancing/video. Very jazzy and keeps up with the tone and style of the dancer. The story seems a little too spot on with the dancing though. We would have loved to hear more than just the repeating lyrics of what the dancer is performing. We liked your choice of this sultry, jazz club style.

4. Smooth by Zoe Gray - We liked that you made a solid choice in rapping but felt it didn't match with the style of the dance. You were right it making "Smooth" the theme of your song but we would have loved to hear that your voice. The dancers moves are fluid and light. Rapping is more grounded and heavy and pointed. You have an amazing voice and we were hoping for something a bit more sultry and jazzy.

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Reviews: Rusty Cage

Pete Murphy:
You fit the video awesomely.  It felt natural watching the dance and hearing your song.  Your lyrical play describing what the dancer was doing as it was happening gives the impression that the dance was made FOR this song, rather than vice versa.  Very catchy and well executed!

Zoe Gray:
This was a huge change from everything I’ve heard from you so far.  I am very impressed by your rap skills.  It is always a difficult challenge mixing more hiphop style vocals with non rap style music,  but you did that perfectly.  There was so much energy in this song.  Truly worthy of a coordinated dance.

Ross Durand:
Wow man!  The dynamics of this song are so spot on with the dancer.  Every move was emphasized and made more powerful by your use of timing.  Hearing/watching this is like watching The Wizard of Oz along with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, except without doubting whether it ACTUALLY synced up.  Im very curious as to what instrument made that horn sound at 1:37.  I’m glad you stayed away from the cheesy synths.  Great work my friend!

Edric Haleen:
Your talent for writing musicals once again is utilized perfectly for this challenge.  The entire feel of the dance changed when hearing your song behind it.  Instead of just a dance choreographed to fit music, this became a whole broadway show.  I could easily imagine the dancer singing the lyrics through out the performance.  There is so much dynamic variation in this song, its impossible not to be entertained by this. Reading through your song bio I see that the tempo was not consistent,  that adds a whole new scope to this challenge. This is incredible work.

This was a hard one to judge.  I based my ranking on how well the songs fit the feel of the video rather than my own personal preference for the song, stand alone:
1. Edric Haleen
2. Ross Durand
3. Pete Murphy
4. Zoe Gray

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Reviews: John D. Boswell

John is the man behind the video series "Symphony Of Science".  This series blends music & science in a way that inspires, educates & uplifts.  I've been playing his track "Seize The Day" on repeat a lot lately.  It's not in the "Symphony Of Science" series, but it's a very uplifting & catchy tribute to Robin Williams.  You should listen to the video below as you read his reviews.

- Spin


1st: Dance All Night by Pete Murphy
This excellent entry was, in my opinion, the best of the bunch.  The sync between video and audio was solid, but the songwriting was what really clinched this entry as the winner in my view.  Loved the energy in the chorus and the instrument variety.  Well done!

2nd: Brand New by Ross Durand
I loved this entry for the near perfect synchronization to the dance. The genre also fit the video very well; nice work giving the music a broadway number feel. Besides some slightly messy timing, a fantastic accompaniment for the video.

3rd: Dance by Edric Haleen
Awesome job with the songwriting and arrangement, and the sync to the dance was almost impeccable. The only thing holding this entry back is the MIDI sound of some of the instruments in the recording.  Would sound fantastic with a proper big band backing. Nice work! 

4th: Smooth by Zoe Gray
Really liked the groove of this entry and the vibe of the vocals.  Had a good laugh at the lyrics as well.  Could use a little more variety in the songwriting, but other than that, no real faults with this one.  Awesomeness!

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Reviews: Jana Pochop

1. Smooth by Zoe Gray

You killed it!  These lyrics are so great - charming, smart, funny!  Fits perfectly with the video as well.  I love that you clearly put a lot of effort into the lyrics which sometimes, pop/dance music forgets to focus on.  Just  nit-pick, the bridge lost me a little bit - maybe just a little more work on the harmony part or mixing those vocals together a bit better.  Think of even more dynamics there, too - have the shaker drop out for a measure or something like that.  Overall, loved this.

2. Dance All Night by Pete Murphy

Love this.  As a pop fiend this is resonating with me - meaning making me want to move!  The lyrics do a great job of tracking the video -  words like "slide" and "glide" are perfect here.  Mixed well, all of the components work with each other.  This sounds like a super pro track - great job.  There's not a thing I would change here.

3. Dance! by Edric Haleen

Great use of the dancer's motion to bring out really great dynamics in your song as well as using it to lead your lyrics.  The throat clearing at 1:10 is an ultimate win! Overall this makes me want to go see the Glenn Miller Orchestra or the like play - it's got a swagger to it...maybe a little more swagger than the guy on the screen.  Great tune!

4. Brand New by Ross Durand

Wonderful - I can really tell that you wrote lyrics to correspond spot on with the dance, I loved seeing that play out.  For some reason in some of the spots it seemed like the track dragged a little bit in comparison with the dancer...maybe it was vibe, or actual tempo - but I wanted a little more OOMPH to it in places.  Really stellar job at putting this guy's moves in context, though.

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Reviews: Jane Lui

I don't remember how long I've been following Jane on YouTube, but at least as far back as 2009 (according to my blog).  Whether it's a cover, mash-up, medley or one of her original songs, she's always entertaining. A talented musician with just the right amount of geek for SpinTunes. I'm happy to have her as a guest judge this round.  While you read her reviews, listen to one of her original songs embedded below.

- Spin


Pete Murphy - Dance All Night
What I love:
GREAT SONGWRITER!! "Starstruck lovers in bloom" - gorgeous line. This is such high energy and the lyrics so perfectly motivated while not being overly linear. you chose specific moments of the dance to wrap and weave the lyrics around tastefully, fantastic! Strong choices in production, strong melodic strength and clear build of song architecture. I found myself wanting the dancer to step up to the song because it's simply a very strong piece that wasn't made to depend on the video at all. I love that I can hear who you are, THANK YOU. 

everything I can think of I personally think you would achieve if you weren't locked into a video length.

Zoe Gray - Smooth
What I love:
Great mysterious vibe that hooked me from the start yet awesomely outside the box! love the 80's 90's style rapping that uses lyrics to motivate his movements. the ending that just drops is also a very strong and tasteful choice. lovely job with the word play - especially the Mr. Peanut part. I think it was a smart choice to go into some singing to change it up a bit. Thank you for the fun piece!!!

In terms of song form, it hooked me for the entire first verse, but then I wanted to hear something new in addition, either in added hook melody after each verse to sweeten the deal for each A section, or a build in production as the song changed. It had one lovely groovy dynamic to it, though in the dancing something changes near the end that the song didn't completely support... until the drop at the very end of the song that made total sense. 

Ross Durand - Brand New
What I love:
The song was meticulously crafted for this video, and I truly appreciate the hard work you took to directly translate the dance into the song every second of the piece! I like the concept of Brand New, and you are lyrically clear with the purpose of his dancing. I like this bluesy almost sloppy style and think it fits with the dance very well, something I'd see in a musical. Thanks for the thoughtful hard work!

I can totally tell that you can write songs, especially lyrics - and for this final task you followed the instructions of writing to the dance So Well, that as I listen I wanted to hear more of who YOU are, rather than the Dancer. I wanted to hear the types of melodies that made you tick, the same way I can tell that minor IV chords and organic/acoustic sounds make you tick. 

Edric Haleen - Dance!
What I love:
So much hard work you've put in! Great harmonic work on the underlying song, the musical theatre genre fits your voice so well! lovely production and piano work. love the whimsical lyrics that changes rhythmic attack so often. you have a strong sense of building highs and lows, so i love that the song wrapped around the dance without the lyrics being overly linear in describing every move he was making.

I wonder if you recorded this as you watched him dance, which may have created some rhythmic discrepancies. With a big band sound like this, I wanted to find a groove or rhythmic pattern to hold on to, but didn't find it til the coda, which was very nicely built. You followed the instructions so well, but I can tell you're a skilled pianist with a mind for whimsical writing, so I wanted to hear greater departure of your personality! 

1 - Pete Murphy
2 - Edric Haleen
3 - Zoe Gray
4 - Ross Durand

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Reviews: MC Ohm-I

What I love most about the submissions for this challenge is that they're all so different. I was honestly concerned that all the tracks would sound too similar in style or tempo but that clearly is not the case at all. Good job by everyone! I seriously wish I could have just given everyone 1st place. This ranking was pretty hard.

1) Pete Murphy

YO. This is so dope. It suddenly reminded me I need to download the most recent Here Come The Mummies album. Everything about this song is amazing. The harmonies and backgrounds are super on point. The instrumentation is amazing. The arrangement is amazing. This song is definitely one that I'll find myself randomly singing while working or something.

2) Edric Haleen

I definitely did not expect anyone to write the song based on the accentuated movements of the dancer but if anyone could do it, it's definitely you. This is so well arranged musically and it looks like the dance was made specifically for this song. Everyone knows you have amazing arranging skills and those show in every second of the video. I didn't rank this number one but if I could have given multiple people one spot, you'd be there.

3) Ross Durand

This was pretty cool in a lot of ways. Using the dancer's motions in lyrics (like shouting from the mountain tops and “whispering” to you) was well-executed. The arrangement was pretty great and the near-perfect audio/video sync helped keep the picture and imagery intact. This submission is not bad in the least but I feel like the other songs that I ranked higher were marginally better. This was a great track!

4) Zoe Gray

You know what's really weird? When I saw what the challenge was gonna be, I tried to figure out how I would approach this because I don't think my style of rapping would work very well for this at all. I didn't expect a rap track at all for this round, especially from someone who does mostly acoustic work. Anyway, this track is super well done and you made this work. Definitely one of the top (and most surprising) songs I've heard from you in the few SpinTunes I've been around. The ONLY reason I ranked this last was because the other songs felt like they were written specifically for the dance (as in, they referenced motions and managed tempo changes). Unfortunately, hip hop is one of the lesser dynamically expressive styles so constant tempo changes were pretty much unreasonable to expect. But this was beyond great anyway.

Monday, March 2, 2015

SpinTunes #10 Round 4 Songs

NOTE: If you competed in SpinTunes 10 you need to e-mail me your vote. Voting instructions/reminders will be e-mailed to you Tuesday evening. Your voting is different than the popular vote.

The songs are now available for FREE download, and you can vote for your favorite entries as well. Many of you will be asking friends and family to support you in the popular vote. That's great, but when you do, please ask them to listen to all the songs. You can only vote for 1 person this time around with the popular vote.

Until the new champion is announced you will only be allowed to download the round 4 album as a whole. BandCamp limits how many free downloads I can give away, and 1 album download counts the same as 1 song download.

Nobody was cut by the deadline, YOU (the competitors of SpinTunes 10) have to eliminate 3 people this round. Good luck everyone.

(Album cover by Matt Schubbe)

The songs on this album were inspired by this video:
Choreography by Ryan Kasprzak
Danced by Evan Kasprzak

- You can vote in the sidebar for your favorite entries. The popular vote will count only as a tie breaker if it's needed.  -->

- Judges & guest judges need to turn in their reviews & rankings by March 6th before 6PM (Fri).

- Reviews will be posted & the new champion announced on March 7th (Sat).

Videos: If anyone wants to make a VIDEO for their song, I will include it here.

Dance All Night by Pete Murphy

Smooth by Zoe Gray

Brand New by Ross Durand

Dance! by Edric Haleen

Links Of Interest:
- Edric Haleen posted a song bio for his entry.
- Ross Durand posted a song bio for his entry.
- Walt Ribiero posted a cover of "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.
- Emperor Gum posted a cover of "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.
- Dr. Lindyke posted a cover of "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.
- Dr. Lindyke posted reviews of this round.

People who have voted so far:
Army Defense - Dr. Lindyke - Governing Dynamics - Edric Haleen - Charlie McCarron - Dreiviertel Drei - Ben Taggart - Pigfarmer Jr - Megalodon - Ross Durand - Kolton H. - Brian Gray - Pete Murphy - Zoe Gray - Atom & EV - The Boffo Yux Dudes - James Young

Round 4 LP & Deadline News

For now you should know:
- There are 4 official entries on the album & 1 shadow.
- I think I responded to all e-mails (eventually).
- The listening party will be hosted by Tom on U-Stream tonight at 8PM EST. There is a chance it could start a little late, but the preshow will be going on even if it's a little late.
- There will be at least 1 surprise during the LP... #NoHints
- It'll be a short LP, so get there on time!
- Remember, the competitors of SpinTunes 10 will decide who wins. If you signed up to the contest, and completed at least 1 song (shadows count) then you get to vote for the new champion.

Listening Party Location: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/spintunes

Deadline Eliminations: N/A (YAY)