This winter, Forte, out of Centreville High School released an all original album titled Uncharted Heart. A cappella fans might remember that Forte put out another all-original album in 2012--Life’s So Lyrical. And fans may be encouraged to hear that this album is no less carefully constructed, creative, and musically brilliant. Carefully recorded by Plaid Productions, mixed by Ed Boyer, and mastered by Dave Sperandio, this group has compiled another dazzler of an album.
This winter, The Boston University Treblemakers released The Teal Album, a five-track EP. I’m pleased to report that this is one of the most pleasantly surprising recordings I’ve come across in quite some time.
Forte Femme is a new professional a cappella group out of Nashville, featuring eight women and one man. They threw their hat in the aca holiday ring with their debut EP, A Very Forte Femme Holiday. The album was mixed and engineered by Mark McLemore and mastered by Dave Sperandio of Vocal Mastering.
One of the coolest aspects of The Kraken is just how evident it is that the songs were not only all written and arranged by group members, but also how many different group members contributed to the creative process. The resulting album is anything but one-note, ranging from party tracks to ballads to anthems to foot-loose and fancy-free melodies.
Game Over is a new release from Soul2Soul, an all-male group out of Miami University.
Business Casual, formerly known as Quintessence, is a five-person mixed voice group out of the San Francisco Bay area. The group first formed in 2012 and Eyes on Me is their first EP.
Right off the bat, I’ll applaud Business Casual for the decision to go with an EP over a full album, and to limit it to just three tracks. It’s difficult for a new group to assemble a forty-five minutes or more of worthy music for their debut release and general audiences tend not to have patience for lengthy efforts by groups they aren’t already familiar with, so the decision to run with a streamlined collection like this was the right call..
Business Casual also did a nice job of assembling three songs that fit together and shaped their identity.
In fall 2012, Deke Sharon and Dylan Bell published A Cappella Arranging. Most readers will know of Sharon—or at least his work—as the founder of the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA), and a major force in starting and pushing the International Championships of Collegiate (ICCA), besides being a major player in every season of The Sing-Off and the music in the Pitch Perfect film. Bell may be a bit less of a household name for a cappella fans, but boasts an impressive resume of his own as an award-winning a cappella arranger, producer, and performer whose resume includes work with Cadence and The Nylons.
I first heard MIX, a compact, co-ed group out of the University of Colorado Denver, at 2012 SoJam college competition. I was expecting great things from that show—what with competitors including the eventual ICCA champion Nor’easters, and southern stars The Melodores.
But then there was MIX.