Demo reviews vol. 8



Hello everyone. It seems like it’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these and it’s great to be back in here, most likely shattering the dreams of young people. If you don’t know, this is where I take reader submitted demos and give my honest opinion on them. I’m not trying to be mean but I’m also not going out of my way to be constructive. Just always remember, I’m just one guy. My opinion doesn’t matter any more than the next guys so take what I write with a grain of salt. Also, for those asking, I’M NOT ACCEPTING ANY SUBMISSIONS RIGHT NOW. WHEN I AM, I WILL ANNOUNCE IT. If you send me anything before then, I won’t even open the email. I got too many submissions waiting to be reviewed for me to take new ones on. So, yeah it’ll be a month or two before I ask again. All i can tell you is keep your eyes on this blog, my twitter (@blockheadnyc) and my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheRealBlockhead) and you’ll eventually see it.
Also, i changed up the ratings system this time around. It’s a little more basic but i feel like it’ll translate better. The categories are based on a 1-10 rating for the following
Production:
Vocals(if applicable):
Listenability:
Originality:

That makes more sense, right? Yeah. I agree. Anyway, on with it…

Artist:Forgotten culture
Song:Abstract Manifesto

http://soundcloud.com/forgotten-culture/abstract-manifesto

I won’t lie, when I read the name and heard the first bass riff, I was about to write this one off. I don’t love the beat but it gets much better as it goes along. The rapping though, surprised me. The first dude is straight up good. Good voice, cool lyrics and a good flow. The second guy is less impressive but not terrible. So props on the rhymes guys.
Still, “abstract manifesto” is a really corny name.

Production:5.5 out of 10
Vocals (if applicable):6 out of 10
Listenability:5.5 out of 10
Originality:4.5 out of 10

Artist: Open Till Midnight
Song:Pass it all around again

http://soundcloud.com/black-noise-management/open-till-midnight-pass-it
Well, this is a first time a ska/funk/pop/hip hop outfit has submitted something. Can’t say I’ve been awaiting such a submission. Now, maybe it’s just me but this kinda hybrid music is kind of the worst. It sounds like some G-love and special sauce shit meets a bar band somewhere in a vermont hippie town.
Now, even though this kind of music may be the bane of my existence, chin up! There is actually a huge market for it so don’t give up the dream. That market? College kids on weed who haven’t figured out their “thing” yet.. And trust me, there are tons of them.

Production: 4 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable): 3 out of 10
Listenability:-1000000 out of 10 (it’s just me though. I truly hate stuff like this)
Originality:3 out of 10

Artist Chemtrail pilot
song: Mighty

http://soundcloud.com/chemtrail-pilot/mighty?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=raw&utm_content=http://soundcloud.com/chemtrail-pilot/mighty

This is truly a demo. It sounds unfinished and not really mixed…but I’m not mad at that. I’ve been there. however, it’s definitely one of those “not ready for public consumption” type of tracks.
It’s a short song but there are 3 rappers on it. All of them aren’t very good but the last dude seems to be the closest to good of the trio. The beat is a decent idea that wasn’t executed very well. Not to get nerdy and technical but the loop is in a swing rhythm. This means the drums HAVE to follow suit in order for it to work. And once the drums follow suit, the rappers would also have to adjust their flows to fit the kind of rhythm. Here’s an example of a swing rhythm beat:

Listen to killer mikes verse. See how he raps with a different swing? It’s cause the beat dictated it. So, in the case of this song, all that seemed like it was ignored. It wasn’t a total mess cause the drums kinda drowned out the swing of the loop but, still, that kinda thing irks me when it’s overlooked.

Production: 4 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable): 3.5 out of 1o
Listenability: 4 out of 10
Originality: 4 out of 10

Artist: Gray Manner
Song: Big bad wolf

http://soundcloud.com/graymanner/big-bad-wolf?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=mshare&utm_medium=email&utm_content=http://soundcloud.com/graymanner/big-bad-wolf

This is tough to call. The rapper is pretty good but it’s hard to hear in the mix and the beat is kind of a mess. There is a definite aesop/eyedea influence in the rappers flow and voice. i dunno, I wish there was a different beat. It just seems to crowded for this kind of rapper. He needs more space to breath on the track. To cluttered but at least there is promise in the MC.

Production:3 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable):5.5 out of 10
Listenability:3 out of 10 (the mix is to blame for this)
Originality:4.9 out of 10

Artist: Forcefields Feat Evan Jones
Song: Driftwood

http://soundcloud.com/forcefields-1/driftwood-feat-evan-jones

Man, this was sooooo close to dub-step. It’s like one effect click away from the WAMP.
I think this is pretty decent. I like the beat and the hook singing (the layered parts) is actually really good. The verses are not my shit but I’m generally tough on vocalists on beats. Still, this is very strong considering how bad things like this tend to be. Well done.

Production:5.5 out 10
Vocals(if applicable):5 out of 10
Listenability:5 out 10
Originality:5 out of 10

Artist:Akisma
Song: Choices

http://soundcloud.com/akisma/choices-final-candidate-9-7

In a strange way, I can relate to this song. Not in the sense of of it’s topic but in that I totally remember writing songs like this when I was younger (I used to rap, badly). It’s kinda like a college kid who raps rite of passage to write stuff like this and it’s very much on some “Self therapy” shit. The problem is that , in general, these kinda songs are not interesting to anyone else.
On a more technical level, the beat is some garage band shit. I recognize this is very likely someone who is just beginning though so, you know, it is what it is. The rapping is okay but, like the beat, it needs to be refined a lot before it’s gonna be ready.

Production:2.5 out 0f 10
Vocals(if applicable):4 out of 10
Listenability:3 out of 10
Originality:3.5 out of 10

Artist: Amen Baal Hammon
Song: B.Hammon

http://soundcloud.com/amen-baal-ben-koussa

I’m so confused. This sounds foreign but from where? Is this dude arabic? british? I can’t call it.
Regardless, it’s just kinda weird. The beat is amateur and the rapping is more confusing than anything. I do appreciate the song structure and the ability to make a chorus that’s not terrible but this one just doesn’t work for me overall.

Production:3 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable): 3 out of 10? It’s a hard one to call
Listenability:3 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10 as I’ve never heard anything like it in a weird way.

Artist: Androbeats
Song: Sting: The wrestler

http://soundcloud.com/androbeats/sting-the-wrestler-camel

I’m really not the guy to review this kind of music. This kinda shit gives me a headache but i can’t really fault the artist cause, like i said, I’m not the guy.
I was excited at the song title. I was hoping for sound clips of sting over some sort of hip hop track but it was more like video game music mixed with dub step and a panic attack. I don’t really know what else to say. Sorry.

Production: 3 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable): N/A
Listenability: 1 out of 10
Originality: 4 out of 10

Artist:Balbus
Song: Addicted

http://soundcloud.com/balb/addicted

Is this trap? Or bass music? Whatever it is, I have a feeling the dude who made it sure as hell knows. It sounds like the artist was very aware of genre when making this. Dunno why that jumped out at me but it did.
That said, this isn’t bad at all. Like the song above, this isn’t exactly my cup of tea musically but at least this one pulls off what it was trying to execute. I would imagine there is actually a pretty big audience for stuff like this at the moment.

Production:5 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable): N/A
Listenability: 5 out of 10
Originality: 5 out of 10

Artist: Bobby Genius
Song: Smashing Forward

http://soundcloud.com/bobbygenius/smashing-forward

This is very strange. it’s like actual nerd rap. Not the white kid with a backpack on kind. I mean like actual nerds rapping. It’s actually kind entertaining in a funny way. The rapping isn’t terrible but, like i said, it’s overly nerdy.
The beat isn’t working for me but I see , if the producer learned and matured a bit more, there’s promise there.
But , yeah, this is a hard one to really gauge…I feel as if it was recorded during a Magic the gathering marathon.

Production:3.5 out of 10
Vocals(if applicable):4 out of 10
Listenability:5 out of 10
Originality:5 out of 10

Now, you tell me which you like the most:

15 thoughts on “Demo reviews vol. 8

  1. think you’re moving in the right direction with the ratings system. nice work with patience and discipline on the reviews. i wonder if it might be worth (seriously) adding a ratings category for name (artist and track names combined, just artist name, whichever). seriously though- part of a demo is what you see before you even listen to it- what picture did they put up on soundcloud? how ridiculously unironic is their mega-underground hip hop name as though they never even heard pafc? maybe a category on presentation.

    if this is meant to review a demo, sliding a dirty ass cassette in a poop stained hamburger wrapper with the shitty name of your band written in crayon by your retarded cousin should be recognized as bad etiquette.

  2. When you say Gray Manner needs more space to breathe, that could be fixed by him with his writing allowing for it, or it could be taken into consideration when making the beat. How exactly can it be fixed when taken into consideration when making a beat? This is something I have struggled with here and there and when I try to explain it to my friends that make beats, they have no clue what I’m talking about. Can you explain how this extra space can be accomplished from the beat maker’s side? Lets say for instance, you write to one instrumental then build another instrumental for the finished product. The song is somewhat crowded over the original instrumental, but the finished product sounds good, what would be the difference there? I am completely lacking in production knowledge so, give me a break.

    • That’s a hard question to answer cause it depends on writing styles and beats. in the case of gray manner, he’s a fairly verbose rapper who uses a lot of words. the beat was chaotic and overwhelming. A dude like him, on a song like that, should be rhyming over something that doesn’t drown him out. I mean, it can work but it’s not typical. Aesop is a dude who’s been able to sound dope over busy tracks while still rapping a lot of words.
      My advice would be to always write to the beat you’re gonna record on. Taking a verse from here and verse from there and slapping it over any beat may work for some but , in general, it’s a sloppy practice.

      • I just used that scenario to try and help myself understand your answer. What dictates the amount of actual time/seconds in a bar? Told you, I know nothing about production. I mean it is feasible for someone to build a beat around an acapella and make it sound good. Basically, I have this instrumental, and what I wrote to it is really good. I don’t just say that shit either. Anyway, the instrumental I wrote it to, makes me have to rap parts of it slightly too fast, while also restricting my opportunities to take breaths in 1-4 spots, but with just a little room made here and there, the song would be perfect. I know that it may be difficult for you to say without hearing the beat, but what are my options to provide myself some space on this instrumental, say making changes or adding something here and there to it that will allow me some space in the few places I need it? Most of the song works fine, but I don’t want to sacrifice content in the few places it gets a little crowded. I either need space to breath, or the possibly of slowing the words down in a few spots (I know the latter is really on me, but still thought I’d ask). As many possibilities or pointers to make this a reality would be much appreciated. Thanks, again.

      • This is impossible for me to explain without hearing the music and even then, it would be difficult. I’ll say this,it’s better to sacrifice some words in order to make the flow work. Rappers who rhyme off beat are shitty rappers no matter how well written their verses are.

  3. I like Balbus – Addicted. Wasn’t expecting to find anything enjoyable in here after hearing the first couple tracks, but it’s actually a pretty nice beat. It was the only decently produced beat in my opinion — check out that compression. Tons of sidechain. Love it. Reminds me of Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Shlohmo, Eskmo, Star Slinger.

    My only comment on Addicted is that it needs to go somewhere. Kind of just the same thing over and over. But it is actually listenable unlike a lot of the stuff on here.

  4. the androbeats song should have never been sent your way, lol. a. it’s not an androbeats song, it’s a sting: the wrestler song called camel clutch, and b. yeah, it was definitely made for a 100% different demographic.
    that being said, here is an actual andro track that you might dig

      • well, sting: the wrestler is two people, you were sent that track by the other half of the group. i personally don’t have a whole ton of music that i feel like is up your alley, but i am pretty proud of that track that i posted in my reply. as for my homie that sent it you the original track, he just really respects you and was excited to hear anything you had to say about the track, even if it wasn’t a showering of compliments. i tend to avoid putting music in places it doesn’t belong. demographics… they exist for a reason 😉

      • grr, i replied to this earlier and it didn’t save. nah, i am half of the group that made the original song. the other half of the group sent it to you initial track. i agree with your review, and that this was not the right kind of track to send your way. however, now that the cat is out of the bag, i wanted to post something for redemption, and to show that i am a fan, and not just some cat trying to use a more popular musician as a springboard.

      • No worries. Though i do get a kick out of the idea of anyone getting popular by me posting about them. Trust me, no one’s getting famous off this blog…not even me. hahaha

  5. Thanks for the review…. definitely will put your critique into consideration…. I have been soo tuned out to a lot of hip hop that i just go under my own accord in regards to my rap style (which has evolved to the way it is now..lol… I never realized how nerdy it sounds until you mentioned it… hahahah good stuff. And btw my brother made the beat (also the second MC)… he has learned a lot since then and is making much better ones. We appreciate it!

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