4Barsrest Credentials.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by deave, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. deave

    deave Member

    I'm sure everyone agrees that 4br provide us with a great service!

    But reading their recent review of Pennine's new CD has left me wondering about the credentials of their reviewers. I feel this is the same when they comment on band contests. The way they approach the 'top' bands compared to others isn't what I would call equal. I feel the review of the CD is far too in-depth and concentrates on issues which aren't of relevance to the potential buyer. I can't see the reviewer dissecting Black Dyke's style and content on thier CDs in the same manner!!

    I'm not sure if I'm being funny cos I like the band and it's CD or if I actually have a point?!

    Have a look for yourself:
  2. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    West Midlands
    I've just read the review and can find nothing contentious in there. The reviewer merely states his opinion, some pieces he liked a lot, some less so.
    4BR reviewed our In Concert cd and made comments about the programming of so many soloists on one CD. I don't think it made any difference to sales.
    People who put there names to reviews will always come up against the "so what do you know" attitiude (not that this is necessarily the attitude here). My opinion is that the world would be a lot duller if people weren't prepared to stick their neck out and offer an opinion. If we don't like it we don't have to take it on board do we?
    As for credentials, you don't need to be Bram Tovey to pick up on good playing, style and musicality.
    If you went to Which? 's website when looking to buy a car you'd be disappointed if only the good things were pointed out. 4BR IS independant and we should be glad it's prepared to put it's head above the proverbial parrapet.

  3. strongbow

    strongbow Member

    Hadfield,( AKA Royston Vasey)
    I agree with Phil. There is nothing in the review that I feel is out of order. They are just stating their opinion of the music.

    I haven't heard the CD but they played most of the music at a recent concert in Glossop Bandroom and can agree with some of the comments.

    The band is, as they state, an "up and coming band" and are capable of making some great noises.

    Good luck with the sales of the CD (even though our lot didn't buy any!)
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    As someone who has recently joined the 4barsrest review team, I wonder if I may add my two-penn'rth on this subject. As a keen collector of cds, both of brass bands and other musical genres, I often look to the opinions of others to guide me in my choice of purchases from amongst the myriad available.

    When reading a review, I would expect to find more than a simple track listing, which could be found anywhere. What I am looking for is the impression that the reviewer gained from the recording: Did he enjoy the selection of music and the way it was played or recorded? What are the highpoints - and lowpoints? Are there any outstanding features? Is there any interesting background information on the music, composers or performers?

    Any review is bound, by the nature of things, to be subjective to some extent, but I would hope to gain some idea from what has been written as to whether to proceed further. Indeed, there have been occasions when I have bought recordings that have been emphatically not recommended by the reviewer because they appealed to me.

    Reading the review in question I would see it as an honest reaction to what the reviewer heard, and he does state in the opening few lines that it is an enjoyable recording from "a good up-and-coming band". For me, at least, such a review would encourage me towards a purchase, if the programme did not duplicate so many items I already have. Even then, it would certainly go onto the "possibles" list.

    Regarding criticism of so-called top bands, I seem to recall one or two questions being raised in other reviews, particularly YBS's "Big Picture". Anyone making any form of public criticism is clearly opening themselves up to some extent, and indeed one of the first reviews I submitted led to an immediate response from someone who wanted to take issue with something I had written. It just seems to be par for the course!
  5. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    Deave, you old b****r, where have you been?!?

    Nice to see you here. How's things? Saw your dad at Easingwold, thought you might have been there, depping for half a dozen bands as usual. I presume you're still at Sellers, not got the wanderlust again?

  6. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Don't know if I am courting controversy here - I have no view on the quality of 4BR CD reviews, however I think their absence of a review or any other reporting about The Mouthpiece.com is scandalous.
    Tell me if i'm wrong if I've missed it, but have they yet acknowledged the existence of tMP.com?. I would think that it rates as big news in the banding community. I dont think tMP and 4BR are rivals as such - I see them as complementary, so whats the problem?
  7. Mr Smiler

    Mr Smiler Member

    Northampton, East Midlands, UK
    I too remember that particular review. There's nothing wrong in being honest and if 4barsrest hadn't said anything they would have been criticised for not pointing those things out.

    I think we should learn to remember these things for what they are - an opinion. Surely, this is no different to having someone sit in a box at a contest and expressing what is their opinion about a performance. (Oh no, lets not open that can of worms again!) The point is that the selection of reviewers is important and they will generally be people who's opinions will be respected and appreciated (like our very own Peter here! :wink: )

    Saying that, there was a concert review that was on 4barsrest recently which sounded like it was written by a complete "outsider" to brass bands. Still, maybe its refreshing to see what appeals to "joe-I-don't-know-my-dyke-from-my-fodens-public" so we don't get too introverted?
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    As a newbie to the team, and only really helping out with reviews, perhaps I am not the best to pass comment but it seems to me that they tend to react to items submitted to them, rather than generating a lot of material themselves. Although they have a section for web-site reviews the last there was dated 2001, so maybe someone should send something in and see what happens.
  9. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Bergen, Norway
    [quote "4barsrest"]Track 6 - Finale from Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is arranged as a horn solo by Michael Hopkinson. This for us is the big let-down on the album. Laura Lea is obviously a good horn player but does this piece really work? Some moments are a bit of a scramble and the balance isn’t great – why did such a good player pick a piece that doesn’t show her at her very best? [/quote]

    I may be biased.. but this track for me is the best on the cd, some amazing playing and good backing by the band. Unlike many of the other comments, I have heard the cd. I do think dave is right with his comments, but we cannot really criticise in any other way than to ask them to lay down some guidelines for official reviewers as this review clearly looks into different aspects of the cd than many of the other reviews, which is what deave was getting at...

    hi deeeave by the way, took your time.
  10. deave

    deave Member

    Hey Aidan and Nigel! Been a member for a while i think, but never actually logged in!

    I admire the way that 4br do stick their necks on the line, but surely this gives me the same right to rant about some of the things they say! I am probably only ranting because, like Aidan, I think the horn solo is one of the highlights of the CD. I cannot understand how this could possibly be "the big let down" of the album.
  11. Roger Thorne

    Roger Thorne Active Member

    Wem, Shropshire UK
    A Review: One Person's Opinion

    An Adjudication: One Person's Opinion

    Haven't we been down this road before!

  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    I agree with you there, Roger. Equally, just as a band chooses to enter a particular contest, so, presumably, does a band, or someone acting on their behalf, choose to submit a recording for review.

    In fact I had an interesting correspondence with Adam Frey, the American euphonium player, regarding a cd I'd been asked to review, and he was saying that he had hesitated over sending it to a predominantly brass-band oriented web site, because he was unsure what the reception would be.
  13. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    Could be worse

    At least it wasn't an independant consultant commenting on your work:

    A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a
    brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a
    young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie,
    leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how
    many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

    The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his
    peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered, "Sure."

    The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his notebook and connected it to a
    cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet, where he called
    up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up
    a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email
    on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally,
    he prints out a150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized printer then
    turns to the shepherd and says,

    "You have exactly 1586 sheep."

    "That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the
    young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car. Then the
    shepherd says:

    "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my

    "OK, why not." answered the young man.

    "Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd.

    "That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

    "No guessing required." answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although
    nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a
    question I never asked, and you don't know crap about my business.Now give
    me back my dog."
  14. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    yea, I posted that joke a few weeks back :p ;)
    Good init
  15. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Alas, it was ignored.. Maybe Peter can use his new influence to get the word out.. Surely we all prefer to see 2 great sites in 4bars and theMouthPiece.com
  16. rutty

    rutty Active Member

    Beeston, Nottingham
    Quite right, however I think most of us would like to uphold the right to disagree with those opinions ;)

    It's quite true that we don't want to keep going round in circles, but it does generate a good bit of discussion.
  17. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    I am obviously unaware of any past contacts between theMouthpiece and 4barsrest, but it may be that, as we are fast approaching the magic figure of 1,000 members, that would be a good opportunity for a fresh approach to be made - that would surely be counted as newsworthy in anyone's books.

    As an aside, there have been criticisms made from time to time that 4barsrest do not give enough coverage to the lower sections. I trust that all those involved in the finals in Dundee are aware of the following, and have arranged to supply any relevant details:

    Attention all Dundee Finalists
    We need your help for our coverage of the Lower Section National Finals.



    I have no problems with the actual content of the 4barsrest reviews as I'm sure most of it is fair comment and does make it quite clear that it is personal opinions. However, when a band makes a CD it is done to sell as many as possible and raise funds. It is good that 4barsrest advertise the CD's but to attach a review which is an adjudication on the bands performance and uses words like 'dissappointing' and 'big let down' isn't really doing the bands much of a service. The likes of Pennine, Aldbourne, etc. aren't claiming to be the best bands in the world by making a CD so why have 'experts' knock their efforts in such a fashion and damage their chances of selling CD's which would be very entertaining and highly enjoyable to the average bandsman or punter.

    All the best

    Mike Fox
  19. markyboy

    markyboy Member

    Thanks for everybodies interest and comments on the review of 'Prelude' by Pennine Brass on 4BR.

    Probably the best way to settle the whole matter would be if all 1000 members of tMP were to buy a copy they could all make their own decision about wether its a good CD or not!

    Thats probably the greatest idea I've ever had in my life.Buy your copy via our website or 4BR. Thanks.

    ps Good time in Spain Foxy?
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