Electronics 2015 - Good and Bad


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. I am a huge fan of everything the Bluecoats are doing this year.

I like the Bluecoats this year too... as a matter of fact a tad better than their 2nd place show of last season.

I am just pointing out that adults now are being judged on the DCI field of competition. And that this is a first. The impact of this " change " is that Show Design... adult created... counts for far more of the build up points on the current judging sheets than ever, ever before. It means that when we tell performers to sweat and work hard, and perform their instruments well, and " clean, clean, clean" it oftentimes now won't mean a hill of beans, if the adult created Show Design is subpar to those Corps within their pecking order.

Did Crown just top the Cadets because they " got cleaner " in execution ? Only partially. The biggest reason they topped the Cadets in awhile was because an adult created visual closer change more completed the theme for them.

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In total contrast to Cappybara, I am invariably opposed to sampled speech and song (including Mandarins 2013) because I want all performance to be created through the effort of the performers. We'd ne

This is the seventh year since electronics were introduced to drum corps and I feel like show designers and arrangers are starting to get a footing for how they want to use the tools electronic instru

Anyone else hear the Jurassic Park theme playing in the background of this thread?

I like the Bluecoats this year too... as a matter of fact a tad better than their 2nd place show of last season.

I am just pointing out that adults now are being judged on the DCI field of competition. And that this is a first. The impact of this " change " is that Show Design... adult created... counts for far more of the build up points on the current judging sheets than ever, ever before. It means that when we tell performers to sweat and work hard, and perform their instruments well, and " clean, clean, clean" it oftentimes now won't mean a hill of beans, if the adult created Show Design is subpar to those Corps within their pecking order.

Did Crown just top the Cadets because they " got cleaner " in execution ? Only partially. The biggest reason they topped the Cadets in awhile was because an adult created closer change more completed the theme for them.

again..lol..what decade in time did adults not get judged for the shows they wrote.

I think there was a thread a while back where many asked the same thing or stated that adults have always been part of the equation.

everyones experience for sure is different but im trying to remember as members if we even had a say..I dont think so and God knows we had many closer changes within a season..lol

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again..lol..what decade in time did adults not get judged for the shows they wrote.

Never. Adults have always been judged with their teachings and their off the field creations.

I even said this above.

Did you actually read what I wrote then ?. If you did, then you would not ask me this irrelevant question. The poster rancidrolla read what I said, and understood the difference between off the field adult creations, and on the field adult creations. Despite the fact I highlighted this in itlalics, apparently that did not work for you ( as it did rancidrolla.. and presumably everyone else here ) as what I actually SAID just sailed right over your pretty little head it looks like.

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Never. Adults have always been judged with their teachings and their off the field creations.

I even said this above.

Did you actually read what I wrote then ?. If you did, then you would not ask me this irrelevant question. The poster Raincolla read what I said, and understood the difference between off the field adult creations, and on the field adult creations. Despite the fact I highlighted this in itlalics, apparently that did not work for you ( as it did raincolla.. and presumably everyone else here ) as what I actually SAID just sailed right over your pretty little head it looks like.

Now dont show your rude side, You try to hide but you always show it. NOW, as I said Adults have created all of it.. You said ( maybe look what you write Sir , about the new adult created visual closer.

If you cant answer a question then just dont. its very clear when someone wants to engage in a confrontation as well as those who can just answer a question.

obsession is a terrible thing

By the way the Never part is the furthest thing from the truth, everything is judged, including flags that adults make, props, color choices etc etc, all on the field.

All the red highlights my point.

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Now dont show your rude side, You try to hide but you always show it. NOW

I can't help it, if you act so dense sometimes. I can't believe that you can not understand that what you think I wrote, I did not write at all. So sure it gets frustrating with you. Why don't you do us both a favor and just put me on your permanent ignore, ok ? I don't want to waste my time and energy trying to discuss things with you when I have to repeatedly correct even your faulty assumptions on what I actually SAID, before we even get to your ( imo ) positions on events and things that so rarely square with mine. So just put me on ignore. You are just too dense for me now. Sorry, but I've had quite enough now from you.

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This is the seventh year since electronics were introduced to drum corps and I feel like show designers and arrangers are starting to get a footing for how they want to use the tools electronic instrumentation affords to them. I'm curious what good and bad aspects fans (especially those who've only been following the activity for the past few years) see in this year's shows.

A few thoughts to kick off conversation (note, I've not been following all the corps since I used to rely on the Fan Network VOD, but I did see the Murfreesboro show live):

* Of the current top 8, the corps using electronics the best this year are Blue Devils, Bluecoats, and Crown: Blue Devils have always been the best at blending the hornline sound with the electronics since electronics were introduced. Bluecoats have been pushing the limits of what we expect to hear from the field. And Crown has the most restraint while still making effective use of electronics when it makes sense.

* Enough with the whistling wind sound effects.

* Recorded/sampled speech and singing almost never adds to a show, IMO. The PR speech samples this year seem particularly out of place and poorly integrated. I much prefer the corps members do the narration or singing (kudos to the Cavs singer this year who's a great showman) and be judged on their achievement. The Mandarins show in 2013 is a notable exception for me, but I'd like to hear when you think a recorded voice sample was better than if a corps member had been doing the singing or speaking. (I'm also curious about the legality of using sampled singing, which is clearly against the 2009 electronics rules, and I've never heard of any updates to those rules.)

* The synth patches designers are choosing to use are often terrible. This is an area where Blue Devils, Bluecoats, Crown, and Cadets are doing noticeably better than the other corps. SCV and Phantom in particular stood out to me as leaning heavily on really bad-sounding string patches to fill out their sound throughout their programs.

* In the Bluecoats show, are the loops from Electric Counterpoint sampled live, or are they just triggered by the synth players at the right time? If they are sampling the corps live, that would be truly impressive.

* Silence is golden. Blue Devils, Cadets, and Crown all made use of actual silence during their shows. Other corps seem allergic to the idea that silence or even quiet sections can add value to a show. Bluecoats are the worst about this of the top 8, with what felt like 12 minutes of aural assault. Well done aural assault, but exhausting in the end.

* In general, I feel like the vast majority of electronics usage represents design achievement and not member achivement. Pre-sampled voice, Bluecoats-style surround-sound effects, huge chords to give the brass a break, and soundscapes that require nothing more than a few keypresses seem like a devaluation of individual member achievement and numb the audience to the experience and sound of actual instruments. That's not to say electronics can't be and aren't used well, but they too often aren't and I wonder what the designers and judges are thinking sometimes.

I'm seriously curious what everyone thinks about the current state of the art in this regard. Some of the worst offenses of the early electronics years have been gotten past, but I feel like more and more of the sound coming from the field is coming direct from the designers via the speakers and less and less from the members themselves and I hope that trend doesn't go too much further.

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* In general, I feel like the vast majority of electronics usage represents design achievement and not member achivement. Pre-sampled voice, Bluecoats-style surround-sound effects, huge chords to give the brass a break, and soundscapes that require nothing more than a few keypresses seem like a devaluation of individual member achievement and numb the audience to the experience and sound of actual instruments. That's not to say electronics can't be and aren't used well, but they too often aren't and I wonder what the designers and judges are thinking sometimes.

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I agree. I truly wonder myself what the staffs and judges are hearing and thinking sometimes...I really do. Corps spend a crazy amount of time getting the balance of their sections (Drums, horns..etc.) to balance and blend only to have the electronics (Mainly bass synth goo) upset that balance. These are my two biggest complaints,

Electronics are overused

Electronics (And amplification of the pit) are too often 'Overpowering' (Out of balance)

Called me old school or whatever but to me the pit and anything from the pit (including electronics) should always be the 'seasoning' on the food....not the food itself.

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I can't help it, if you act so dense sometimes. I can't believe that you can not understand that what you think I wrote, I did not write at all. So sure it gets frustrating with you. Why don't you do us both a favor and just put me on your permanent ignore, ok ? I don't want to waste my time and energy trying to discuss things with you when I have to repeatedly correct even your faulty assumptions on what I actually SAID, before we even get to your ( imo ) positions on events and things that so rarely square with mine. So just put me on ignore. You are just too dense for me now. Sorry, but I've had quite enough now

You dont try to discuss anything at all. You just need to be right about the only 5 things you talk about.Your claims sometimes are also so outrageous at times . I have acknowledged others may have different experiences but that's not enough for you. You place no value or even the slightest respect for anyone who may differ who actually may have something to say merely because they are still involved.. Nice!

What a great night for drum corps last night. Thank heavens, there's another side and some people

Edited by GUARDLING
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* In general, I feel like the vast majority of electronics usage represents design achievement and not member achivement. Pre-sampled voice, Bluecoats-style surround-sound effects, huge chords to give the brass a break, and soundscapes that require nothing more than a few keypresses seem like a devaluation of individual member achievement and numb the audience to the experience and sound of actual instruments. .

.

This would be my observation and assessment as well, Triple Forte.

But it is clear that most fans are seemingly ok with the devaluement of the individual performer with the simultaneous escalation of the importance of the adult created technologies where adult created sounds are now shoulder to shoulder with the youthful performers, and literally on the field in competition with them now ( a first ), via these sounds.

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again..lol..what decade in time did adults not get judged for the shows they wrote.

I think there was a thread a while back where many asked the same thing or stated that adults have always been part of the equation.

What you say is true-- corps staff decides the drill, choreography, uniforms, guard equipment, music arrangement, etc. Completely non-corps-related adults manufacture the costumes, the equipment, the instrumetns, etc. Those things make up one part of the product that's judged on the field. But the larger part of the product is the execution of that design by the members. And whatever points you get from having good drill or nice uniforms pales in comparison to the points you get from members executing the drill and choreography. After all, if the execution is poor, then the design scores fall as well.

But electronics lets designers intrude into the performance of the design as well. A five second voice clip can be recorded by a non-member, loaded into a synth by a non-member, played through PAs set up by non-members and mixed live by non-members. The only thing a member is required to do is to press a button on a MIDI controller at the right moment. That amounts to a lot of impact on the performance with next to zero actual achievement on the part of a corps member. Compare that to the achievement of a corps member performing that voice section live.

There are many moments when the synth sound generated by a single member holding down a handful of keys on a keyboard generates more sound than the other ~100 musical-instrument-performing members on the field. And that sound was professionally designed ahead of time etc etc. As long as the keys are hit at the right time, there is no way to make a mistake or play out of tune. Even playing too loud or soft is out of the question, since the volume is controlled by a staff member off the field.

It's sort of like if you had robots out there doing the rifle tosses, and "controlled" by corps members pressing buttons on remote controls at the right moment. Sure you could get some really impressive and perfectly executed tosses going, and it might be more beautiful and better in every way than humans could ever achieve. But... what exactly would be gained? Would the show be better? Would the corps' missions be enhanced? Would the members learn something more? To me, a synthesizer is no different than a rifle-tossing robot. It just happens to be cheaper and more widely available at the moment.

To be sure, incredible member achievement can be made using a synthesizer (see Crown 2011), but making synth and other electronics such a large part of the tonal landscape and pre-recorded material in particular seems to be pretty antithetical to the ideals of DCI.

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* In general, I feel like the vast majority of electronics usage represents design achievement and not member achivement. Pre-sampled voice, Bluecoats-style surround-sound effects, huge chords to give the brass a break, and soundscapes that require nothing more than a few keypresses seem like a devaluation of individual member achievement and numb the audience to the experience and sound of actual instruments. That's not to say electronics can't be and aren't used well, but they too often aren't and I wonder what the designers and judges are thinking sometimes.

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I agree. I truly wonder myself what the staffs and judges are hearing and thinking sometimes...I really do. Corps spend a crazy amount of time getting the balance of their sections (Drums, horns..etc.) to balance and blend only to have the electronics (Mainly bass synth goo) upset that balance. These are my two biggest complaints,

Electronics are overused

Electronics (And amplification of the pit) are too often 'Overpowering' (Out of balance)

Called me old school or whatever but to me the pit and anything from the pit (including electronics) should always be the 'seasoning' on the food....not the food itself.

Now this part , if i would agree or not can be part of a discussion. How much weight does some of these things carry.. Thanks

By the way, agree or not ,you can also tell where you marched under the direction of Jim Costello who also had a huge influence on the early days of cadets. A true gentlemen and often shows in their members.

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