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Everything posted by Guitar1974

  1. Could a corps do a "tribute to funk" and punch in samples of Earth, Wind, and Fire or Tower of Power's horns and mix them into the live horn line? Serious question- is this allowed?
  2. I doubt she is faking her solo, although they are running her through so much processing it's hard to tell. I saw Scouts live and they had her buried in so much reverb, delay, chorusing, compression, etc that she sounded totally synthetic. I'd like to hear her without all the audio smoke and mirrors... everyone is commenting on how great she plays but it is so processed, who can really tell?
  3. Current costumes are really different then uniforms of the past in the way they fit and the much more feminine elements like the long sequened "arm warmer" type things, sleeveless designs, form fit, etc. They are much more akin to figure skating outfits then uniforms of the past. My 13 year old son is a huge DCI fan but honestly cringed at some of the uniforms we saw at a recent show. He said he'd be afraid of his hockey team seeing him in the Scout costume haha... Honestly my kids were disappointed in seeing the new Madison look after watching old Scout footage and being fans of the Mighty Men of Madison 90's era shows. The current costumes are more akin to what guard members or figure skaters wear. Hate to say it but Scouts are the best example of this currently. Scouts need to find a way to do modern but do it cool with the old Scout swagger. Go back to being cool and Mighty, find a look that makes a hockey player want to join.
  4. Haha... I've seen it firsthand and you are correct- we were jealous!
  5. He isn't joking... I marched another top 12 corps in the 90's and all our girls swooned for Scout dudes haha, Scouts were cool. They were the rock stars of DCI. I'd love to see them get that attitude back, drum corps needs it.
  6. What Madison used to have was a unique and cool vibe being all male. "The Mighty Men of Madison" and the often mentioned "Madison Mystique". The way they played upon that unique identity with their look and their style. People ate it up- even fairly recently when they weren't placing that well there was still an electricity in the air when they were on the field- the concession line was empty. They have lost that identity, adding females takes them totally away from it with no hope to return. Bottom line is medals or low placement, Scouts were just plain cool and entertaining playing upon their unique vibe. I hope they can find it again, because old school Scout swagger will always be cool.
  7. No, but they convey an attitude. The swagger comes from the overall vibe. I get what you are saying- hell, Prince had more swagger than anyone whilst wearing high heels and purple leather stretch pants haha... My point is the muscular/angular look of the classic Scouts uniform lent to their vibe of power and machismo, the current costumes don't.
  8. Agree about Cavies swagger, Scouts had it, too, but it has been lost amidst their quest to "stay relevant" and loosing their identity. Speaking to the topic of uniforms, Cavies have still retained many of the elements in their look that keep their identity- the headgear, etc. Still have the swashbuckling style. Scouts have went the figure skating costume route and it seems more are against it then for it.
  9. I bet if the Scouts played it traditional the kids would have still went bonkers. If they would have played one of their classics, say '92 show, in their traditional uniform and melted their faces and did it old school- marched on/off field, trooped the stands to a street beat/etc, the kids would love it. Scouts swagger will never go out of style. I doubt anyone would prefer costumes and props. I know my teenage band kids would rather see power and swagger and Scouts were the epitome of it, hope they get it back.
  10. Golf limits clubs MOI or "spring" as well as length, etc. All equipment is highly regulated and anything giving a distinct tech advantage eliminated (square grooves that make it easy to impart spin, etc) My argument is that if sports adopted DCI's current philosophy on technology then anything goes- golfers would be allowed to launch golf balls with laser guided cannons. Actually, that might be kinda entertaining. I'd also argue that if MLB baseball allowed metal bats then hitting home runs wouldn't seem so special anymore- they'd be popping balls over the fence all the time. Kinda like musicians relying on tech to play loud and enhance tone. Once everyone can, thanks to technology, then it isn't so special anymore.
  11. Well stated, although I still feel amplification and audio processing takes away from the purity of the product being human produced vs machine. Similar to pro sports limiting the capacity of technology to overshadow human ability (wood bats in MLB, for example) I would think "Marching Music's Major League" wouldn't need to rely on amps and mics like a small high school band understandably would. I understand where you are coming from- heck, I am a professional guitar player and rely amps to earn a living haha. I don't dislike amplification and technology, actually quite the opposite. However, I feel in a competitive activity like drum corps allowing free use of it takes away from leveling the field. We are quickly approaching a time when large sections in the horn line could run wireless mics and be professionally mixed and buffed with effects to create a pseudo-live scenario. Add in line array speakers, more imbedded "ghost" tracking a'la modern pop concerts, real time pitch correction, etc. If done well it could sound awesome, but at what point does the technology overshadow the human element? I mean, Taylor Swift sounds incredible in concert but I think most people realize you are hearing about 50% live 50% engineering. Lots of David Copperfield-level audio magic trickery going on and that technology is getting more accessible and going to continue to make its way into drum corps.
  12. True, to a point. The tools of the games evolve and improve (todays super light carbon hockey sticks that allow a beer leaguer like me to fire over the glass from the blue line haha) and certainly the training technology is staggering compared to the past, but the essence of human powered performance and achievement hasn't changed. Adding electronic enhancement and the ability of technology to actually "perform" is where the comparison differs. Would golf fans protest machine powered shots? Would hockey fans protest jet propelled skates? Of course they would because it makes the experience faux. I am blown away by the talent and level of execution showcased by today's corps. It is incredible. But, the extra smoke and mirrors from all the sound engineering puts a fake gloss on it- in my opinion. Again, I feel the conversation from the designers about wanting to make it more organic and seamless actually worsens the situation and makes it a drastically uneven competitive environment. Good discussion, though. There are certainly good arguments in favor.
  13. To me, the current situation in regards to rules and electronic enhancement is akin to the following: Imagine if there was technology available that would help a pro golfer hit the ball as far as he wanted- including way farther than without the technology (amplification). Furthermore, this technology allows the golfer to hit the ball perfect every time- right in the sweet spot (audio processing i.e.; pitch correction, sampling, reverb/chorus/etc). This technology isn't used by all the pros, only some. And the ones that use it all have different capacity due to resources such as money and know-how. Also, the technology and golfer's performance is actually controlled off of the course in a clubhouse by a golf technology engineer. As each golf tour season passes the technology gets better and better in hopes fans don't even realize it's being used. How can you compare golfers performance relative to each other? Would golf fans be cool with it knowing technology is propping up the golfers? At what point does the PGA step in and regulate? Just food for thought.
  14. Some really great posts. Sticking with discussion about rules, my concern is nothing is addressed from a rules standpoint on electronic enhancement in terms of providing an obvious crutch. We all know corps are using samples and loops to keep time- meaning you can basically hook up a Dr. Beat through the PA with some chord changes spliced in and be completely within the rules. If I want to handpick a few "ringers" and mic them and run them through lots of processing to create a huge wall of perfectly in-tune layered sound I can do that as well. Seamless and subtle mixing and enhancing is an extremely slippery slope in my opinion as it eats away at authentic live performance. Couple that with the fact the audio engineers are just that- audio engineers- not kids. Might as well hire Nile Rogers or Mutt Lange haha... Rules don't address this, to my knowledge.
  15. To me it boils down to the philosophical debate of what the activity and fans value. Is it the purity of an acoustic human-powered event, or an "anything goes" approach with no limits in the spirit of a Broadway show or modern pop concert? Drum corps is difficult because valid argument can be made from either perspective. I feel that the authenticity and coresponding entertainment value is diminished when machines and audio production folks take over because then anyone can be loud, or in tune, or whatever. A tiny corps with 10 horns could theoretically mic up and part everyone's hair- no big deal to sound awesome with machines and sound engineers. Like pop music- it all sounds perfect now and we all know most of them can't sing haha... But, to many people it makes no difference that machines are in control. The photoshoped image is beautiful and people enjoy looking at it even though they know it is not "real". The pop star sounds pitch-perfect and looks amazing singing really catchy tunes with huge hooks and who really cares if it is "real" or not. You can make good argument on either end and I am not sure there is a right answer. My point being from the rules standpoint is that rules that allow electronics to integrate seamlessly so the audience "doesn't even notice" just allows an increase in audio manipulation, not a restriction as many feel.
  16. From a rules perspective, I feel going the direction of making electronics better integrated/more organic is actually the wrong direction because the line is blurred even more concerning what is "live" and what is not. We are already seeing clever use of synth and punched-in samples to augment and buff the sound (imbedded mic'd horns a la SCV, electronic enhancement on soloists such as delay/reverb/chorusing, mic'ing entire line through FOH). It is getting hard to tell what is truly "live". Fast forward to a future of line array speakers and further enhancement and we will have a very "photoshopped" experience, a partially "real" partially "engineered" performance. Go to any pop music concert and this is what you already get. People now are so used to autotuned/ghost tracked performances that nobody really questions or cares anymore in the pop world. I'd hate to see drum corps go down that road. The unfortunate thing is all the audio smoke and mirrors takes the authenticity away- leaves me wondering how much of the sound is actually real and how much is faked by machine. This is the world we live in, though- CGI, Photoshop, auto tuned, flavor enhanced. I wonder what the low brass think about being buried in synthesized goo? How would fans like it if corps started cleverly patching in high brass samples or synth tones to reinforce high brass (who is to say this doesn't happen already in some form)? Drum loops to splice into live playing? At what point is it too much?
  17. At most shows I have attended recently I have sat amongst current high school band kids, corps alumni, young kids including my own (middle school band kids)... A mixed bag of show-goers. What do they always react to most (ooo's/aaa's, applause/etc? Old school drum corps- cool drill, loud beautiful music, high tosses, dynamic contrast... Musical melody- big hooks. What draws snickers, eye rolling, and polite "golf clapping" in support? The scatter & pose stuff referenced by the OP. Singing/acting/horn "body sculpting"/etc. I am not sure if most the high school kids are "hooked on the new DCI" or politely tolerate the cringe-inducing stuff for the moments of bread and butter old school drum corps bliss- those moments tend to get the best response by everyone. I rarely ever understand the meaning behind the shows, and I doubt most fans in the stands do, either. And honestly, as long as the music is great and the show is cool, I really don't care about the deeper meaning and I bet most others don't care, either. The live shows I have seen this year all have some phenominal moments amongst the cringe-inducing. But, if not liking the acting/singing/scatter/pose stuff makes you a "dinosaur" then pretty much every high school kid I have sat amongst can be added to that list- as well as my middle school kids.
  18. The funny thing is that trick they did is straight out of the 80's- the "Yamaha DX-7" synth pitch bend. Listen to any old Morris Day and the Time album and you hear that stuff all over it haha... It is really a simple pitch bend on the pitch wheel of a synth- super simple stuff. I actually think it would have been cooler to attempt it without the synth (or trombones or anything that can gliss smoothly)- I think it would have been way more impressive- wouldn't be perfect but I'll take live analog over "perfect" machine-made any day in regards to drum corps.
  19. I feel that integrating electronics doesn't necessarily take away skill- it certainly can (studio effects/auto-tune/syncing to loops)- but in the way corps use it, a whole new skill set is required. It is difficult to integrate it well. My question is simply "why"... Is drum corps better because of electronics and amps? I don't think anyone goes to an AC/DC gig and thinks they'd sound better with synths and a rapper. I don't go to classical guitar concert and expect to hear "Eruption" shredded through an amp. Do the majority of drum corps audiences really prefer mic'd ensembles and electronic effects?
  20. Interesting comment about rewarding the best soundman- I agree with this. Although I am impressed with corps' integration of electronics (esp Bluecoats), I feel the implications are really far reaching. When do audiences start to revolt against it? Most the soloists who are mic'd are buffing out their sound with reverb/delay/chorusing. Studio effects that sweeten the sound. What if they pitch correct (which can easily be done in real time), would fans care? The more electronics and studio effects become relied on to "enhance" and buff, the less the human element comes into play. The more synthetic it all becomes. Would people still regard the old Star of Indiana horn books if they knew only a handful of players were playing those licks and cleverly mixed into the line? Would we care if drumlines start doing this and supplementing bass line runs and tricky licks with electronic percussion plug-ins punched in by a soundman? The funny thing to me is that I don't think anyone goes to hear a great chamber choir and says "it'd be great if we put some effects and auto tune on this!", or goes to the philharmonic and wishes that a synth could double the bass parts for more "support". By mic'ing and amplifying, we've lost the human powered element.
  21. At the show I recently attended I was surprised how much brass was coming through the PA- and not just the infamous "goo", I'm talking whole horn line. I was sitting on about the 40 where most corps set their speakers and it was very obvious. Again, I find the mic'ing of imbedded players in the line and then fading up/down to allow them to cut through the mix during key times the biggest potential game changer looming. As far as mic'ing the whole line, I just feel it takes away from the awe of it all. Blowing the stands down with amps and speakers isn't impressive. Crappy rock bands have been doing this for years... The hornlines this year are amazing- amps and effects just put a fake/generic sheen on it all. And this is from a professional guitar player who relies on amps for my livelihood haha...
  22. I find it concerning because I believe the biggest "hook" drum corps has is the amazing sound and power of acoustic brass- pure human power (well, for the most part still...) I am surprised nobody seems to mention much about SCV and the fact they have an ensemble mic'd wirelessly for the whole show, fading them in and out to support the horn line- especially during technical licks. To me this is a huge can of worms- if it catches on we could quickly see a few horns speaking for the entire line- it seems SCV has figured out how to do this pretty seamlessly. The question then becomes when is it too much? Will people care if the amazing horn line they are hearing is really just a dozen players doing the lions share of the work with amp support and clever arranging to mask it and make it appear the entire line is contributing? Seems phony to me, but nobody seems to mention it. To me it diminishes the art and purity of it.
  23. Yes- there wasn't a drum major retreat- they just announced the scores. Everyone in the stands just looked at each other and went home. Lots of remarks about it being really anti-climatic. I know full retreats have been done away with long ago, but at least with drum major retreats there was something to clap for haha...
  24. It seems they could organize it so 5 bass drums could be left to play them off... Iowa was a tradition for decades. I'd think the current members would want to clapped off the field every night. I'm just surprised they ditched it.
  25. I was at the Hamilton show and noticed- to my disappointment- that Cavies didn't play their bass cadence "Iowa" as they exited the field. When did they ditch it? And why would they? One of coolest hype moments of an entire DCI night is the crowd clapping along to Iowa as the Cavies left the field. I understand that corps don't troop the stands anymore due to all the props and stuff (too bad, I always loved hearing the cadences as a fan and as a corps member in the 90's it felt great to get the up-close applause), but why can't we at least get Iowa? Those lost elements are the very things that made DCI feel like the "big leagues" IMO, added a lot of entertainment and cool-factor.