Disappointing cd?

Discussion in 'theMouthPiece.com User Reviews' started by barry toan, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. barry toan

    barry toan New Member

    Has anyone else got the new ISB cd? Have to say im disappointed with it, again! Nothing jumps out of the cd at me, and its all rather 'safe' playing, etc!
    This band should be on the cutting edge of SA music, but it seems to prefer to play it safe instead.....
    Save your money!

    Sorry to be controversial!......
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I thought I'd split this post from the ISB tour reports in case anyone else wanted to comment.

    For myself, I certainly don't think it is one of their best, partly for the reasons already stated. You tend to expect a recording produced for a tour to be special, but few of the new pieces seem to stand out. "Glorifico Aeternum" has its good points, but the mix of styles does not quite seem to gel. For me, the best track is Andrew Justice's trombone solo "Sinner, please don't let this harvest pass", followed closely by Kevin Ashman's "Joyous Song" - plus, of course, the title track, but as it only lasts a couple of minutes that alone is unlikely to be the main draw :!:

    Repertoire-wise, there is nothing that for me approaches the new items the NYSB brought when they came over here, but maybe it's the sort of repertoire that the powers that be thought would appeal to tour audiences on this occasion.
  3. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I thought it a middle-of-the-road tour recording -- maybe an attempt to offer something for everyone, even a vocal solo (1st time for an ISB album?). But I tend to agree with some of the previous comments. The cornet solo would be improved if shortened, I think, but I liked the trombone solo (perhaps the track that stands out). Contemporary gospel, with the obligatory soft rock percussion, is in evidence again (a little goes a long way for me). I've noticed that much of today's SA music has become frantic (lots of rushing about) and rather formula-driven.

    The sound of the band is good in a very spacious acoustic; considering which, the engineering is excellent.
  4. WorldofBrass.com

    WorldofBrass.com Active Member

    Suggest you purchase your own copy and make up your own minds!

  5. deanjones

    deanjones New Member

    Intertesting reading here gentlemen.

    And thank you for your thoughts and comments.

    Given the the band's reputation is on the line no matter what, where, when or how it is represented, my personal view is that the recording reflects a lot of what is great about 21st Century Salvation Army music making.

    The CD offers a wide genre of banding. From the lush harmonies of 'Silent Vigil' to the majesty of 'Credo' this CD offers a glance at past, present and future.

    Someone tell me what's 'safe' about 'Christus Victor' please?!! This is Ken breaking out of his own saftey harness, comfort zone, call it what you will. It's a fabulous and daring work.

    Someone mentions formulas? Well, any march follows a formula and Jubilee itself is no exception, yet seems to be a popular track!

    As for me it's a priviledge to have my humble effort recorded. Thanks for the half-compliment Peter! I'm trying hard to follow in the Staines corps composers traditions too Bandmaster Brian!

    I'm learning fast that there is no pleasing everyone and that composers, as well as bands and conductors themselves, are there to be shot at.

    Some of my little ditty is far from 'safe' too...sorry!!! Try listening to it again Mr Toan. Can I also remind you at this point that the band are not a show band, they are a premier group of Christian bandsmen portraying their faith through music. I don't think they claim to be neither safe nor cutting edge. Maybe they just want to choose the best music to help inspire the people listening into a knowledge of God. I would certainly hope so.

    Well, that's enough from me.

    Look forward to hearing more on this one!!

    Dean Jones
    (composer of Glorifico Aeternum)
  6. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    I should have complimented you on your fine achievement with "Glorifico Aeternum", but I was more concerned with making comments on the overall effect of the CD (perhaps none too well). As I said, it struck me as a middle-of-the-road recording -- something for everyone. I'm also not sure what one other writer meant by "cutting edge". It appears all, if not most, of the items are fairly new (i.e. in manuscript) and in this respect the ISB is fulfilling it's tradition of presenting new music to SA folk, in this case particularly overseas. Perhaps it's a measure of what one has come to expect of the ISB when a good recording seems to leave something to be desired as an album. Perhaps the inclusion of a tried and tested work (and I'm not thinking personally) would have made some difference. But please don't take this as a criticism of all the pieces included. Hope this makes amends!
  7. craigster

    craigster Member

    I would just want to add that this is a tour CD that excellently reflects the kind of repertoire that a Canadian audience wants to hear in 2004. We do not have the broad base of brass enthusiasts that are enjoyed over in Britain, so you also have to make sure it appeals to the people who are paying to go to the concerts on tour.

    I can guarantee you that after spending five full days with the ISB as their equipment truck driver that after any performance of Credo, Jubilee or Glorifico the people are practically running to the WoB table to purchase the CD!

    I count seven numbers on this CD that are new to Canadian audiences. I think seven out of twelve tracks is an excellent promotion of new materials.

    By the way Dean, reception to your piece by the Canadian public has been nothing short of excellent. Everytime the ISB plays it the crowd is cheering and clapping before the final chord is finished. It was the talk of the bandroom at CSB rehearsal this evening.

  8. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    I bought the latest ISB CD a few weeks ago now and everytime I have listened to it, I find found myself coming back to this work: it's really excellent. It's a measure of the piece when I am in my car with the music on very low and my girlfriend says 'this is good!'. Praise indeed :lol:

    The ISB Cd for me confirms that the band's playing is pretty much watertight. As I mentioned in another thread recently, I believe the ISB to be as technically consistent as most other bands around. More importantly from a Christian/Church perspective it shows the changing face of SA repertoire and it's emerging composers/arrangers - one of which has already contributed to this thread.


    P.S Dean, any clues to the Staines Football shirt this time round? As finalists for three years running, we will stick with our Northampton, Leeds, Aston Villa combination! :wink: Hope you are well
  9. BassTromBeast

    BassTromBeast New Member

    Uh oh! Bass trombone player about to try and make himself sound intelligent! Run for cover!

    Seriously though there are a couple of points that really need to be highlighted from this.

    1. The ISB, though a fantastic band, are not purely about excellence. They give their very best because that's what they believe God wants of them. I personally think the standards they achieve are superb and have always admired and strived towards their consistency of making those standards.

    2. Craigster shows that the CD in question is a masterpiece of marketing and customer awareness! The success of a CD is it's ability to appeal to the target audience. As we've heard from testimony, this appears to be a highly successful effort.

    3. The word 'Safe' is used in music a lot and is a silly thing. There is clearly nothing safe because if you try something difficult, someone always comments about the areas that are not quite to scratch or whatever. Play something within the bands scope and you get comments about not raising the bar and other such nonsense.

    We're all different and have different tastes. The only thing I have against some writers on this forum is their inability to distinguish between helpful critism and pointless tirade.

    Hear endeth the lesson.
  10. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    It's my understanding that there is a lot of mutual respect between the ISB and Black Dyke and that's good enough for me. Both are excellent bands but they are not the same and don't attempt to be. For example, I overheard one member of the Dyke at Northampton last year, expressing how they wished they could play pianissimo as well as the ISB. Perhaps because the ISB and Dyke don't view each other as competitors the mutual respect comes from an entirely different level.
    As for the CD - Jubilee - I immediately felt that the initial comment on this thread was harsh and not in the best taste. I've heard the CD several times now and am really enjoying the various items. There is nothing on there that I simply don't like and I can't say that about many CD's.
    I prefer the recorded sound compared to, for example, Fuoco (large boomy empty hall sound) and Essential Dyke IV (which to me sounds loud rather than full). I'm not qualified to comment on the accoustics involved, just my thoughts on the end result to my ears. I make that comment for comparison, not necessarily as a criticism.
    When comparing the live performance and audience reaction to the CD, Craigster has said it well; the paying audiences (I've been to two concerts so far) are very enthusiastic and from this perspective the CD succeeds in that aspect of what it sets out to do. I've heard many bands on tour playing music not included on their "tour" recording, much to the disappointment of many.
    The ISB can be relied upon for consistent performance; sound; and presentation, both stage presence and spiritual impact.
    Finally, can anyone remember an ISB CD that didn't include close to 70 minutes of music? Many other CD offerings are at least 10 minutes shy of that mark for the same price. From that perspective they also offer excellent value for money.
  11. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Are some of the responses bordering on a little defensive?

    As an SA guy, I know the ISB's prime purpose is 'Musical Ministry'. This however does not make them exempt from any negative comments or constructive criticism from people who purchase the CD for musical value. I don't think that any of the comments made by Barry Toan were inappropriate, personal or non-constructive, it sounds like he was simply offering an opinion.

    However, people outside the SA perhaps do not know the full extent of what the ISB does. Perhaps with the recent partnership concerts/projects with Dyke and their well publicised tour of North America, they may be seen solely seen as a 'SA concert band'. As with all SA bands, much of their time is spent being 'functional' - in the ISB's case this is providing musical support at National and Regional events and presenting new music to a music panel/council for future publication.

    I suppose the above comments are a little mixed but I guess what I am trying to say is: when forming an opinion on a CD and such like, take the whole picture into account. At the same time however, I don't think people should be alarmed or take offence if someone does not think an ISB CD is to their liking.

  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I think my personal reaction to the cd was not that it was bad in any way, but just not as striking as some they have produced. As I said before there was little in the repertoire that caught my attention in the way that "Manuscripts" did a few years back.

    As with any band with a good reputation, and with a number of fine recordings behind them, they are bound to be judged on that reputation and against their past achievements. It is in that sense that I felt some disappointment - not that it is a bad recording, just not one of their best.

    I do wonder sometimes, and not only with the ISB, whether some bands record so frequently these days that it becomes less of a special occasion, and whether sometimes the pressure to get into the studio can lead to a slightly matter-of-fact result.
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    To save confusion I've split off the debate on solos to another thread:

    This is Steve's post that sparked it off:

  14. BreadOfHeaven

    BreadOfHeaven Member

    I've only heard it through once and thought it was a decent recording. To be honest I don't think as a whole disc they've managed to surpass 'Manuscripts'. Agree with a few of the comments above regards Andrew Justice and the Ken Downie piece.

    Dean - Nice to see you on here m8. Think Glorifico is a cracking piece and will be on the stands for a good few years to come I hope. I feel very privileged to have performed it's World Premiere! :lol:
  15. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    (Edit: quote fixed, PB, Mod)

    Point taken John. Perhaps I was being defensive when I don't need to be. My "harsh and not in the best taste" comment was in response to the initial suggestion to "Save your money". Maybe some will be swayed by that remark but hopefully the majority will see it as I should have, simply one man's opinion.
    Thanks! :)
  16. Razor

    Razor Member

    On listening to this disc initially I found myself jumping forward tracks a few times rather than listening in full to what was being presented, admittedly my initial playing of the disc was in the car which is not the ideal listening environment to get into and understand the new music on offer. As for the jumping tracks I suppose I was looking for the track that provided that something special - exciting band sounds(tingle factor), new and interesting writing, nice melody, technical wizardry, etc.... but there did seem to be an initial feeling of similar sounding material being presented.

    However the tracks that I kept going back to were 'Christus Victor', the trom solo, 'Jubilee' and 'Glorifico Aeternum' and for me these are the tracks that make this CD worth buying. Personally I would like to have seen the band record a big SA number that hasn't been recorded to death by umpteen bands i.e. 'The Lord is King' or something similar but you can't have everything can you! I know Journey into Freedom is in their programme just now and although it would be nice to hear the ISB presentation of the piece(especially with that bass section) I think that would have been unwise at this time what with such recent SA recordings by Enfield and the NYSB.

    Last point regards the cornet solo, I suppose the easy option for Kevin on his initial solo recording on Bb would have been to do something relatively safe i.e. 'Happy Day' or similar but I think he should be commended on his choice of solo here. 'Joyous song' amply demonstrates his technical skill and virtuosity as a player and will do much to affirm his standing as one of the top SA instrumentalists and a natural choice as end man in the ISB.

    In summary Jubilee is a disc I'm glad I bought and I'm sure will provide many hours of pleasurable listening.
  17. deanjones

    deanjones New Member

    Craig that's just amazing for me! I'm sure Brian would back me up in saying that that is just every composers dream...and in the SA environment, with the essence of our efforts being wrapped in praise to God, that makes it an even bigger compliment.

    Thanks for your encouragment everyone. I wasn't fishing for compliments when I wrote in!

    In reading your views I would have to agree with you Brian that maybe one 'established' piece wouldn't have gone amiss.

    But the pieces I mentioned before have grown on me even more since then.

    Must dash....need to get up for work!! Can't let Steve down now can we?!!

    All the best,

    Dean Jones
  18. craigster

    craigster Member

    I just read on the ISB website under their Ottawa tour report (last stop in Canada) that they sold about 1000 CD's on the Canadian portion of the tour alone. 1000 CD's at $20.00 equals $20,000.00 (CDN Dollars). That is not a bad haul for five nights work!
  19. Razor

    Razor Member

    Read that too Craigster, wonder how many in total they'll sell over the tour????

    Loads a dosh!!!!!!!!

    I think regardless of the CD programme, a tour CD will sell if the band sell themselves at their concerts i.e. play well, provide something for everyone and in particular perhaps have something that will appeal to non banders who go the concerts. In the ISB case that'll probably be the vocal number, no offence meant to vocal soloists btw but just that I see that as another reason for somebody who wouldn't normally buy a band cd to buy this particular one. I know when in Canada with Govan Band I sold a number of tour CD's to non banders who were only buying it because the bagpipe number(Highland Cathedral) was on it!!! Although I'm sure most were sold on the fact that that the band gave a good account of themselves through their playing. :D :wink:
  20. WorldofBrass.com

    WorldofBrass.com Active Member

    Some of this stock was supposed to be for the USA part of the trip but we've had to send out extra stock!

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