The RPM Challenge - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Sun, 17 Dec 2017 00:22:14 +0000 Kunena 1.6 The RPM Challenge - Forum en-gb Subject: Holiday challenge - by: klandry
Then again, was well-received.]]>
Reviews Thu, 26 Oct 2017 15:44:47 +0000
Subject: Review: Twin Flame - by: monimather Album Catawampus
Is the word “twin” in the band name a reference to the duo or the two types of songs featured in this upbeat and exciting album? Because the term could apply equally to either facet of this album with a mix of instrumental tunes and songs with strong hooks. Expect to hear a jazzy sort of an alternative rock with punchy lyrics. The duo uses a satisfying juxtaposition of cheerfully upbeat keys and quick paced tempo with delightfully morose lyrics. Instrumental title track takes us on a ride as surprising as an amusement ride with melodic ups and downs and tempo and dynamic changes that leave the listener breathless and asking for more. I and Thou has a fun old-timey feel to it. Overall, this a smooth collection of songs with a touch of exciting dynamics. Get on your feet and turn up the volume because these songs are full of toe tapping, finger snapping goodness.]]>
Reviews Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:36:20 +0000
Subject: Review: Carrier Signal - by: monimather Album Decibel Places

Decibel Places would be the soundtrack to our lives – if our lives took place in a video game, an action film or a really cool industrial rock club. But out of the beeps, bops, and snapping of hard percussion emerge chords as soft as a church organ. The vocal sampling punches through the electronics like the comments of the passersby in Grand Theft Auto
Take for example, Eat Porn Watch Steak is a fast track, first person role-playing, pulse quickening trip through a virtual video game complete with obstacles, surveillance pauses, and chases through mysterious environments. The ending even seems to have a warning signaling “game over.”
Often the songs feel like a chase across space and time. They take us at galloping speed. The synthesized harpsichord creates a delicate melody that is contrasted sharply with the in -your -face, reverb-filled percussion. As fast-paced and suspenseful as the compositions are, they also fill the listener with a sense of longing for something undefinable. Carrier Signal uses syncopation to keep us ever leaning forward with the music.
Carrier Signal takes us to new dimensions with such drive and complexity that his compositions transport us away from the here and now to some other place. Often dark and driving or mysterious and robotic, there are many fun sounds that lead to anticipation for what comes next.
Carrier Signal knows his tools and he knows how to use them to create beauty from something cold and hard not unlike an ice sculptor. This is no sterile techno symphony – expect to have your heartstrings pulled in surprising directions.]]>
Reviews Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:19:07 +0000
Subject: Review - Monica Mathern Edge of the Storm - by: agedmachine
Being an instrumental electronic musician, myself, I apologize if my review style tends to be on the technical/procution side, and give this caveat in advance of you reading my review. You're seeing a computer geek electronic musician review an acoustic/electric rock album.

1. I like the songwriting. The overall effects on the vocals work nicely. Drums are good. Observations on the mix - Lots of low end muddiness, some of the sounds could be set back in the mix a bit...
2. Change - vocals are a bit distorted here and there, but a good song, overall. Her songwriting and composition are spot on.
3. Dreams - The plodding percussion is noteworthy on this one - It sets an interesting rhythm for the song. Good one!
4. Fragrance - I am convinced Ms. Mathers is a really good songwriter. You can really feel what's going on here in the delivery and tones used, etc. Crafty.
5. I feel like I know you - Nice punky vibe going on here, good guitar effects, good delivery. One of my favorites so far. Cool song. the buzz sounds like it needs to be there.
6. Another one with the rough sounds on the guitar and the effects on the vocals being really spot-on. Reminds me of old school girl punk bands. I can hear some la-la-la's in the background of this, working quite well. harmonizing.
7. Not a Doll - Again, solid song, mixing is a bit different- good songs, good music - I wouldn't mind having a crack of mixing/producing this tune.
8. Six Feet Under - another good song, really, they all have been. This one's more mellow than many of the others - more minimal. Great use of percussion sounds, again, some mixing changes would really deliver this as intended.
9. Things I do - Not bad, not my favorite. Lyrics were OK and all, I found myself looking more at the music on this one - A lot of hum on the guitar, didn't think that worked for this song.
10. When I said that I missed you - Another good song, can't fault this on lyrics and vocals and music... a good ending track.

This is a well written album, good work overall. On the technical side, I'd mix it differently, but -- that's just, like, my opinion, man.
I'm glad I got to listen and evaluate this album. I can see where the title came from, having listened to the whole thing - it can take many meanings. RPM is an awesome thing.]]>
Reviews Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:29:45 +0000
Subject: Review: Aged Machine Electric Forest - by: monimather Electric Forest 2017
Constant movement. Sometimes drifting, sometimes driving but a continuous journey forward. Eerie and inviting at the same time. Driving drums and electronic tones carry the listener from song to song. Sailing, flying, floating with ups and downs reminiscent of aerial photography over the purest and most magical landscape. Echoing bells and reverberations hint at who or what might be watching from the shadows. It’s trip to a dark forest I’d visit again and again.]]>
Reviews Tue, 14 Mar 2017 20:46:45 +0000
Subject: REVIEW: Gary Fox "Vinyl" - by: jimmygraymusic review by Jimmy G

Before getting into detail you should just know this album is phenomenal and you should go start listening to it right now!

COLLEGE TRY: I’ve had this song stuck in my head since the first listen to “Vinyl” a week or two ago. Very catchy melodies on both vocals and guitars. There is a lot of depth to the production of this song, which includes a somehow fitting blend of massive sounding drums and gentle hand percussion. The chord progression builds and flows very nicely, almost as though seemlessly jumping through key modulations. Gary sets up his album in this song, claiming that he’s gonna give it his all, but it may be his last time.

FISHER OF MEN: John and George are alive and well in the soul of Gary Fox, and it shines through in the guitar work in “Fisher Of Men.” There is a bounce to this song, with ebbs and flows that make for a very interesting listen. Nice movement in the mix. This is one of my favorite songs from the album, and if you’re a fan of the warm music of the 1960’s you’ll love it too!

LORD KNOWS: The opening bit with drums and guitars is loaded with attitude. The song builds nicely as the drums grow, and I find it’s impossible to keep from rockin back and forth to the beat of the song. A nice song here, with more repetition and predictability than the last couple of songs. Until of course, that all changes toward the end with some very interesting guitar and drum work!

RANSOM: The song starts off with a mellow, soulful organ joined by guitar that hits right in the heart. A nice slow ballad, with a powerful lead vocal, this is definitely a departure from the last four songs. Tasteful instrumental accents throughout add to the drama of the song and tell the story of the lyrics.

SOMETIMES I PRAY: There is a very real darkness in this song. It’s as if I’ve been transported to a deep, dark cave searching for an escape. In this aspect the production perfectly fits the lyrics. There is a turn where the darkness of the song disappears in a mystical, swirling way only to revisit later.

LOVELY MARY: I love the 12 string guitar sounds across this album. There is a very nice descending guitar line in this song, accented with an angry guitar that follows that rhythm but is a stark contrast. There is certainly a vibe of some of the heavier Beatles songs evident in this song once again. The bridge of this song is a beautiful piece of music. Gary’s done a great job of transitioning between light and dark when these contrasting parts come and go within his songs.

SOMEDAY: A cheery guitar starts this song off. Gary’s vocal melody has a nice variation, while the guitar is mostly repetitive. Throughout the album, the vocals have sat perfectly in the songs, with excellent harmonies in the background throughout. Guitars are layered perfectly, and a rippin solo is a nice addition.

LOVE WHAT YOU DO: Another very well produced song, with great guitar and vocal work. Gary’s songs all feature smart chord progressions that are charmingly unpredictable. This song changes dramatically throughout, and in a very interesting way. Love the transitions in this song! Very original, but in no way forced.

LONELY CHILDREN: Another tastefully done slow song, with beautiful guitar work throughout. When the song turns, it becomes a rocking bar room sing along. A nice mix on this song where a guitar solo that sounds as though it was played at a low volume is placed front and center in the mix.

BEAUTIFUL: The opening musical theme brings me back to “Lovely Mary” from earlier in the album. I love albums that incorporate elements such as that, so nice work! This is a quick moving song with a fast tempo, a blazing guitar solo, and an energetic vocal. Nice transitions between parts of the song with a massive build and fall with the choruses at the end.

BREATHE: A nice close to the album. One of my favorites. Simple yet very effective. Repetitive lyrics instructing the listener to breathe, and tune out what they say eventually give way to incessant chatter that can’t be tuned out. I think we can all relate.

Overall, “Vinyl” is a great album, and an amazing RPM album. The lyrics and melodies stick with you and make a lasting impression. The spirit of the 60’s is still alive in these songs, both in the guitar work and warm production sounds. A twelve string guitar and a perfectly mixed vocal tie this whole album together from a production standpoint, while a wide variety of tones ensure no two songs sound the same. To me though, the highlight of “Vinyl” is the way that Gary moves between such widely contrasting parts within every song. His arrangements are expertly crafted, and if at any point you start thinking “I know where this song is going now” then you will be wrong. Every vinyl has a side A and side B, and so does every song on this fantastic album. Great stuff!]]>
Reviews Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:46:13 +0000
Subject: Catharsis - albinoSQUIRREL - by: Faith In Transition Delusions is my favorite song on the album, very much in the style of Frank Zappa, best vocal of the album. Really a great song. Nice job Albinosquirrel. A great effort to be well proud of indeed!!

Please Sit Up Mama
Great clean mix, wonderful blues groove, song about losing ones' mom, really tugged at my heart strings!

Give Hate, Get Hate
A hard prog rock song with heavy metal moments. A strident ode to our nations political landscape. Really hits home. Nice job!

This song reminds me a lot of Frank Zappa, similar vocal and style. I really like it, may be my favorite on the album. Love the tone of the guitar! Great song!

Political Stress Disorder
I must say this song starts out like an anxiety attack set to music! Great mood piece! Some lovely guitar work. Very strident, lots angst and stress evident in this song. Would make a great mood piece for an action movie.

Not for Lack of Trying
Great mood piece, make me think I was on a submarine voyage through the deep ocean. Has a nice drum and bass groove thats a nice counterpoint to the ethereal background vocals. I really like this music!

Nice pink floyd vibe to this song, really nice tone on the electric guitar

It's a Bad Dream Bill
This is my second favorite song on the album, great blues with wonderful tone on the guitar. Great gruff vocal. Wonderful job!

Alternate Truth Noise Pattern
my first thought in listening to this was that it could be the theme song for a motorcycle gang, just really got the image of revving motorcycles, a great progressive rock piece, great driving guitar!]]>
Reviews Sat, 11 Mar 2017 15:23:41 +0000
Subject: Review - Terri Ellen – Faith In Transition - by: albinoSQUIRREL

1) Waiting – This is a song that every Christian can relate to. I love the lyrics. Simple rhythm and bass line, just what the song needs. Nice guitar lead! “Keep waiting for hope, cause hope is what I need”. So true. Very nice tune!
2) I Tried To Call You – This is a song of frustration that every believer goes through from time to time. Knowing that God is there for us...but we don't always feel like He is. Lovely.
3) Why My Soul Are You Down? - “It's Faith that will lead you back to the heart of the Father” Beautiful, hopeful words. I really like the fingerpicking in the beginning. And the bass line is really nice, I do wish I could hear it a little better(bass line). A short but important tune.
4) Son of God, Emmanuel - “He always knew my name”. Isn't that a wonderful statement? A God who personally is involved with us, and cares for us. This song is very nice rhythmically. Drums might be nice if you ever redo this. Just a thought!
5) Count The Cost – A song about giving up your life so that Jesus can live through you. Unbelievers will have a hard time understanding this.....but it is critical. A tough love tune. Nice!
6) Rainbow Promise of Love – You have a very warm, pretty sounding guitar. I love the drums. Or are you banging on the back of the guitar? Lovely lyrics. Nice, melodic guitar solo. Great song.
7) Nothing I Can't Do – Lovely fingerpicking. Faith of a mustard seed....all we need to have miracles in our life through God. You have a deep relationship with God.
8) 'Cause It's His House – Sassy! I love the attitude in this song! It reminds me of JJ Cale a little bit. I love the rhythm. Nice guitar work!
9) I Was Blue Until I Read the Good News – This sounds like a lost southern rock song from the seventies, which is really cool. I love your bass playing! Great guitar leads. Fun tune!
10) On My Face – Indeed. Sometimes I miss that feeling of my brand new seemed like everything was possible, and it was. It still is. I think this is actually my favorite song on your album.

I really enjoyed your album. Very strong showing for a first time RPM'er. Sometimes, I feel like you are a little unsure of your vocals......just let go, don't be afraid to do multiple takes and even put together the best parts. Believe me, vocals are scary to me, and I started out as a vocalist! Great job, look forward to next year!]]>
Reviews Fri, 10 Mar 2017 17:06:36 +0000
Subject: REVIEW : Monica Mathern : Edge Of The Storm - by: Lunarsight Album Name : Edge Of The Storm
Artist : Monica Mathern
Link :

Edge Of The Storm can best described as folk in terms of genre. The songs have a cohesive feeling to them, sharing a common overall style. (There aren't many strange tangents the individual tracks go in.)

Each is comprised of sung lyrics over a guitar backing with some minimalist percussion just to keep time. The lyrics have a very 'stream of consciousness' sort of vibe to them. You can tell they're being improvised over the course of the song. This is cool, in that it feels as though the singer is channeling something 'internal' into the recording. It feels as though a story is being told in many of the individual tracks, although you have to fill in the blanks - the story isn't laid out like a book. ('Fragrance' is a good example of this.)

I think the tracks that I liked the most were 'Big Red Daddy' and 'Movin On', which I felt flowed the best out of the bunch from beginning to end.

If the album has a place for improvement, the lyrics for a couple of the tracks can get a little repetitive at times. (I think an instrumental break here and there may have helped to pace some of the tracks better - just something to change things up a little bit.)

Although, for the RPM Challenge, it's an impressive effort, and it's something that can definitely be built on/developed further. (It's ten tracks that may not have otherwise been created.)]]>
Reviews Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:40:41 +0000
Subject: Jukebox discoveries - by: klandry Straight up instrumental rock from Vagenda.]]>
Reviews Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:30:29 +0000
Subject: REVIEW: Matt Ferrara - Straight Jacket Required - by: klandry
I suspect Matt’s been wanting to use this album title – and perhaps cover image – since he first saw Phil Collins’ 1985 release hit the shelves. Coincidentally, that album also landed in February.

First of all, I need to preface this review (or thoughts that pop into my head while listening) by stating that I’m predisposed to Matt’s work. We closely share similar world views, so his music/slam poetry/wake-up-the-friggin’-neighbors-‘cuz-the-house-is-on-fire style – although at times a departure from my typical listening preference – speaks to me. The speed with which he turns phrases – real phrases, not just throwaway lines that rhyme – speak to his genius (and I don’t use that word lightly).

Additionally, prior to listening, I thumbed through his lyrics. This frequently is how I enjoy music (for good or bad) when I know the artist took the time to craft his words. In short, I don’t want to miss anything during that first listen.

1. Hum. Great vocals in the chorus, man. Having read ahead, I’m struck by the obvious Nirvana influences. Damn that’s a nice chord progression. And when the full band kicks in. Just damn. Terrific drumming, by the way. This track just gets better and better with more layers (and the harmonizing through the chorus is just freaking gorgeous). Holy crap, Matt. The instrumental at the end, counterpointing the verses/chorus prior feels downright victorious… Then the return to the quiet reality of the simple picking out. Like a little reminder. Genius.

2. Police State. Well there’s the slam poet I know. Tough low range to sing in, but great one-syllable-per-beat chorus in contrast to the rattling verses. Cool track.

3. Stupid Pointless Needless. And now a great 80’s band shows up to play Stupid Pointless Needless. Already, the range of this album is astounding.

4. What Can You Do. If Devo married the Barenaked Ladies, I suspect this would be their glorious lovechild. The chorus ending, “We’re all screwed” is perfectly laugh-out-loud hilarious in the joy of its delivery, but it beautifully illustrates how quickly some accept the end of the world – and perhaps accentuates to the knowledgeable just how small-minded such accepting fools are. Unless we really are all screwed. Which may be the case.

5. Elegy. Excellent instrumental. Give me some Pachelbel-sounding kick ass drums, piano, and keys and I’m a happy man.

6. Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon, you are a disgusting manipulative fuck. Oh wait, I’m supposed to be reviewing Matt’s song about Steve Bannon. Same thing, actually. Great production on this track as well. Loving the chorus’ lockstep-with-the-instrumentation delivery. Perhaps slightly improved clarity in the vocal could improve the listening experience, but such production skills are beyond me, so who am I to judge? Excellent electric guitar outro.

7. Nevermind. I did not expect this song to be a loop-based techno track. Very cool to write about a grunge icon as viewed through one’s childhood eyes with such stylistic contrast. Evil genius at work. Again, this track’s lines hold such truth that they elicit laughter and regret at the same time. Joy and sadness wrapped into one. Oh crap, I’m starting to sound like a Disney movie.

8. So Boring. Classic rock four-on-the-floor-long-intro-bass-and-drums goodness cut by a simple vocal with more syllables than I can count. Then the brilliant keyboard hook. I knew this artist was a lyrical genius. I didn’t realize he had such arranging chops as well. Punk influences with poppy instrumentation. Crazy cool.

9. Big Pharma. Techno-loopy goodness right from the start. The slam poet has returned. The social commentary continues, and as usual, is spot on. All with a catchy-as-all-hell chorus. With perfectly placed expletives – not forced, just appropriate. Then the melodic shift after the midway point to drive the point home. Perfect outro to give the listener time to reflect.

10. Selling Bricks. GREAT poetry. I had to read it more than once to lock it all in. Poppy hook performed Elvis Costello style with a sweetness that belies the message. Perfectly arranged to reflect the carnival nature of where the new administration is leading us. All with a beautiful instrumental outro to boot.

11. Sweet Boys. Reverb-laced otherworldly guitar with simple drums lead into this touching song of pure love. This is the one the boys will be playing over and over again as they age to remind themselves of what they always were and what they always should strive to be. Crazy good electric-guitar-driven (with piano counterpointed) instrumental to close out the song and the album.

In an ideal world, an album like this would reach the youth of America in the way music affected a young Matt Ferrara – infecting all with the right kinds of viruses, causing them to see what’s really happening in the world around them, to speak out against injustice, and to act.

Sometimes Pete Seeger (or Harry Chapin or John Lennon) arrives in the form of a middle-aged English-teaching father of three firing out lines in multiple genres. I didn’t expect to find him here, but here he is, nonetheless. Matt, I hope to spend a jail cell for subversives, nonconformists, activists, and rebels with you someday.

A must-listen album, with variety and integrity rarely heard anywhere. If this album doesn’t motivate RPM musicians to step up their game in coming years from folkies like myself to classic rockers to techno arrangers, I don’t know what will.]]>
Reviews Tue, 07 Mar 2017 19:56:07 +0000
Subject: REVIEW: RhythmEngine - The Bridge, Once Crossed - by: alkanetexe
Hoping for some feedback (critical, constructive, tearing apart the mixing, lyrics, anything) on this year's album - I'm confident in it, but every critique serves to make the next one even better.

Album here.

I will gladly write a review in return. Thanks!]]>
Reviews Tue, 07 Mar 2017 07:25:02 +0000
Subject: REVIEW: Andy Samford - Overcome Your Mind - by: asamford23
bandcamp you can listen online or download FLAC/WAV/etc

quick & easy mp3 download

also in my player and jukebox]]>
Reviews Tue, 07 Mar 2017 03:16:04 +0000