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Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones

Harvard University

Gemini Feed - Single (2017)

5.0

July 3, 2017

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Gemini Feed sounds like it escaped from a dark and cavernous lair a long, long way from here. An enveloping, all-consuming soundscape of electronic beats and seat-vibrating bass mixed with low, sighing notes from leads and backs alike is a lot different from the melody-driven, sparkly pop a cappella you probably spun at home today.

Works like this — that find sonic success with synthetic notes and beats, and tricky timing, and filters aplenty without losing the group's sound and intention — are always a mixer's showcase and trophy. David Longo certainly earned his keep here, as did his fellow contributors at The Vocal Company, and Dave Sperandio too with the final mastering polish. Gemini Feed is certainly an auditory experience.  

The arrangement from William Horton makes great use of individual voices that swirl around the lead in a near-stalking manner while still coming together to have ever-building power chords. The result is simultaneously a small showy vocal band and a big, volume-heavy collegiate a cappella group. Moreover, it sounds like a tremendous amount of editing occurred by the arranger to make each passage both impactful to the listener and fun for the voices singing their lines.

And who is fronting this show? Soloist Niya Avery is controlled and skilled with a tone and command that stitches the production and arrangement components together in a just-right manner. She is the one who lives in the dark and cavernous lair, and she is at once dangerous and intoxicating. 

The group boasts that the song's YouTube video is "the world's first ever collegiate a cappella music video in virtual reality". The group performs in a circle around cameras that you can spin 360 degrees and tilt up and down to insert yourself into the action, hopefully evoking a stronger connection to both the performers and the music, and perhaps actually feeling like a bonus group member. (While you can watch it on your phone or laptop, it's designed for a virtual reality headset for full immersion.) The technical aspects that the choreographed group, and the students and professionals from the computer science class who filmed and produced this music video had to overcome to make this piece feel synchronized and complete is rather astounding. If those and other creative details interest you, please do read The A Cappella Blog's interview. The one-two punch of the strong audio single and the compelling music video will place a big milestone marker on the group's historical timeline.

Don't miss this dynamo from the Veritones.


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