And so another year passes on ...

23rd January was Malam Juara-juara and this year it was packed. DTC was filled to its capacity on every floor ... probably due to the public holiday for Thaipusam which was declared on Monday. KK9 reclaimed the overall champion title for Feseni 2008 with an overall lead of 45 points (not inclusive of Nyanyian Irama Malaysia of which KK9 won several positions). It was a slow night and only ended past midnight after many performances and 8 competitors for NIM. One thing does come to mind though ... MJJ has become a drag after 4 consecutive yearly wins. Don't get me wrong ... its not that I'm not grateful or not thankful for winning (which I most certainly am) but then the chore of having to go for MJJ has since lost its novelty and has become somewhat a burden instead.

This year the KK9 choir combined forces with several members from kk6 team (which incidently won 2nd place) to substitute those having exams and could not make it to MJJ. Two nights of preparation were hardly enough but they managed to pull of a barely credible performance of Malaysia oh Tanahairku, Lenggang Kangkung and Stand By Me ... I guess beggars can't be choosers

So whats in the future for the team? Well, there's the self organized get-together with UKM in early March but other than that, nothing is scheduled until the next competition. Now its back to editing the videos into the 2008 compilation (3 DV tapes only ... far less than the 7 last year). Here's a quick 3D rendering of a possible cover design for the 2008 set. I cheated a lot by using a cropped of section of the Feseni 2008 poster (designed by Kak Ira from PKUM) and flooded the rest of the area with the same translucent blue and white in 3 layers ... Hey! whaddya expect for 20 minutes of work in PaintShop? *sheesh*

I haven't tested it out yet but I hope there's enough resolution to apply to the final cover file. Comments anyone ??

Another win ... but it feels different

After a relatively tough Feseni competition night, KK9 emerged tops again (much to the overall dislike of the audience I guess). After hearing the song probably a thousand times, it was easy to spot the mistakes but I guess a first time hearing of both songs left quite a good impression on the judges.

Thinking back now, there were a few good things that happened to us and also several large mistakes by other teams which might have contributed to the win (note that this is MY personal opinion and might not reflect the actual judges' opinions of which I know nothing of). Here are my own findings in no particular order

  1. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I guess other teams must do so because it felt like I was watching cloned choirs on stage. This year there are more attempts at a-cappella pieces (more than ANY other year that I can remember) and also the lack of any conductor to guide the team on stage. What other teams probably don't know is that KK9 goes on stage without a conductor NOT because they want to show off or anything ... its just we can't get anyone to stay as the conductor. Those that DO want to conduct just can't handle the team or the piece or simply just can't conduct accordingly. As for a-cappella songs, KK9 is cursed (probably for life) to never have any good pianists/accompanists. What they have are pianists that can do solo pieces but not accompany a team and this is a NO-NO for a choir competition. A choir accompanist is someone who can adjust to the team's performance in terms of speed and rhythm and dynamics. Its hard to find someone who can do that ... so we've always settled for unaccompanied pieces.
  2. The first group on stage curse!! I guess this myth still survives up till today ...
  3. Choice of song played a big role as commented by the chief judge for the night. KK9 took a VERY big gamble on the competition with 2 Malay songs. One was premiered at the MYOF competition, albeit revised and corrected at parts, whilst the other was written for the Feseni use .. I don't think it qualifies as a song choice in any other competition :)
  4. KK7 took a very big gamble too with their "Speedy Gonzales" but unfortunately minor pitching and obvious tempo problems stopped them from presenting the song to its fullest potential. The spoken parts would have given a better impact had they changed them to local slang and sayings instead of the mexican/spanish lingo which no one understood in the audience. I noticed the judges writing something during this section of the song (second time round) which could mean they either liked or disliked this section too ... but for me it was a wasted opportunity.
  5. KK1's choice of doing Mamma Mia was very ambitious and although executed quite well, they had a very, VERY serious problem. Tempo - plain and simple. If they had sped up the song a bit instead of the dragging tempo which they did, it would have sounded sooooo much better. The song felt like someone driving a Ferrari with a semi-trailer truck tied to the back. A few missed opportunities dynamics wise (especially at the chorus/bridge parts i.e. "just one look and I forget everything")
  6. KK4's medley of I feel good and Stand by me also suffered the same fate as KK1 because of bad tempo. Although safer in terms of coordination, it really brings the song down in terms of emotional impact. And the "Owhs" were terrible ... instead of the excited exclamation it sounded like someone in labour about to give birth.
  7. KK9, although they won, also had serious problems. Biggest was volume of which there was none. Nervousness probably got the better of them and this brought the overall volume down. Additionally, the complexity of both pieces probably added on to their nervousness because everyone was scared about starting off key, tempo wrong etc. Some dynamics worked whilst others were forgotten or not noticable enough.
  8. KK11 ... dunno what happened with this one. Seems they hired an external coach, but from the performance it seems like their coach was tone deaf.
  9. Whichever team (I forgot) that presented Shenandoah had to be commended on their attempt at an American classic but its execution was poor. Balancing was off and pitching was bad.
  10. Which brings me back to KK9, pitching wise although it sounded stable to the audience/judges ... it was actually off at quite a few places. Thankfully (or maybe luck had something to do with it) the team somehow manages to auto-tune back after the checkpoints (hint hint to other teams, use checkpoints!)
  11. I really liked KK7's Setia arrangement and thought it had great promise but repetition of the entire song without any changes just brings the excitement down. Simple changes such as girls VS guys, ostinato parts or a soli line would have heightened the song in the second round. Singing the same thing twice only allows judges a second attempt to hear/confirm any mistakes. If there were any changes, I guess there weren't enough 'cos I didn't notice them.
  12. Sister groups KK8 and KK6 did very well considering the amount of practices involved. KK6 did their kolej proud with a first time second place finish whilst KK8 only had problems with the sops in the first song. Else, I think they could have easily have gotten better placings ... but fifth is good nontheless.
  13. Mic-ing problems. This problem surfaces with every team but I think it was worst with KK4 (I could be wrong though, so apologies before hand) DTC is somehow plagued with bad acoustics when mics are used. So when the mics are placed at mouth/voice level it tends to bring out individual voices and thus cause the choir to sound noisy. KK6/8 had the best mic-ing overall of the night since they used the same arrangement

Now to wait another year ... more stress ... more pressure ... *sheesh*
I should probably give up now and move overseas.

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One more day to go ...

It's the day before the annual Feseni competition and the nerves are at an all time high. The kolej hasn't been doing too good this year and from the looks of things the other teams are also facing stiff competition between other kolej-es and themselves.

When will it ever end?

The things you find when shopping online

Wow...downpayment for a car!
Was browsing online and spotted this through the Kelkoo search engine. Anyone interested in owning a £637.32 double disc DVD set of Hairspray ... thats the equivalent of RM4076.12!! (as of 12th January 2008). Don't you just love database errors? The actual page is here at FrontRowDVD until someone notices and corrects the mistake, so here's a screenshot for when it does happen.

Anyways, the MOHE project is moving along quite nicely. It is compiling in the backgroud as I am writing this post. Compared to the previous project, it is far simpler and more compact but actually has longer content. Owing to the fact that a single layered DVD has to hold 3 hours of video and audio, the compression ratio had to be raised quite high and is sometimes quite noticeable (especially on title and key pages). Only one (1) hidden feature this time round and no subs and audio options due to lack of space and time.

MOHE project connections screenshot
MOHE project only has 10 main assets

Feseni 2007 connections screenshot
Hell hath no fury in this one

And this will probably be the final version of the cover. Made a few cosmetic changes but mostly still looks the same.

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Post New Year 2008

New years' was a tiring one (which brings to mind ... since when has it NOT been tiring). This year instead of having the NY party at someone's home, it was held at Yuen Steamboat in Sunway. Taking up 3 tables, the dinner revolved around big crowds, long queues and chicken grabbing.

After that it was off to 1U for the countdown. To avoid the crowds we walked there (thank god ... the traffic jam was horrendous). According to the press the next day, an estimated 100,000 revellers were there for the fireworks display. 1U started off the countdown 5 minutes early to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to watch both displays at the Central Park and The Curve.

Watch the fireworks from 1U (WARNING loud audio)

Those that managed to continue, ended off the morning in McD's which was also packed with people. By the time we were done it was nearly 3a.m. and I had been awake since 5 because of exam invigilation duties. I don't think I could have lasted much longer ... thank god for public holidays!

Why so like school picture :) Don't ask ...
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