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a cappella and cd review: Resonance Produces Inspiring Album

Live Performance is Memorable and Heartfelt, Though Not Up to Recording Quality

By Nivair H. Gabriel
ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR

MIT Resonance

Fall Concert 2005

10-250

Friday, Dec. 9, 9 p.m.

Left on Red

MIT Resonance

Recorded at Studio L

Mixed at Bristol Studios

Released on Dec. 5, 2005

$15.00; $2 for shipping

If you’re looking for a cohesive a cappella group with a quirky sense of humor and solid musical arrangements, look no further. MIT Resonance’s newest CD sparkles with energy, earning their performance of “Mystify” a spot in the Best of College A Cappella 2006 compilation. Though it lacks the amusing skits that make their concerts so memorable, the CD establishes them as a unique, extremely talented, and well-produced college a cappella group.

After listening to the CD, however, the concert was something of a letdown. Despite two notable exceptions, the soloists were hardly performing to the level of the CD. Their energy was still unflagging, though, and the backup singers were consistently solid.

The most noticeable thing at the concert was the camaraderie in the group; the night started with a song by a last-minute “guest group,” Resonance alumnus Stephen S. Lee ’05. Near the end was the group’s alumni song, The Nields’ “Easy People,” carried by the current group and, unsurprisingly, muddled through by the alumni. Despite this, the antics of former members distracted from the jumbled lyrics. Eve 6’s “Inside Out,” Resonance’s single encore for the first time in years, gave soloist Joshua M. Karges ’08 a run for his money: he switched the order of the two-part chorus and then forgot to sing the second part. These, however, were merely the fringes of the evening.

It’s easy to name the two best solos. Stephanie E. Oh ’09 gave a stunning rendition of Michelle Branch’s “Breathe”; the audience sat up and straightened a little for that one. Jia Lou ’07, also a cartoonist for The Tech, did an impressive job on Frou Frou’s “Let Go.” Too many of the male soloists, however, seemed strained, although Solomon M. Bisker ’06 offered a passable if not exactly melodic “Shut Up” by Simple Plan. Karges’ solo of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” worked well with the song; he wasn’t amazing, but he did justice to the song.

During Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe,” I remember thinking “yeah, I’d listen to Resonance sing this instead of the real song,” although I wouldn’t say the same for Resonance’s “I Want You” by Savage Garden. Those thoughts underscore the hit-or-miss nature of the concert — the greatness of the group came out in some pieces, but not others.

Still, they didn’t lose their spirit. The vocal percussion and humming of the backup singers always flowed perfectly; this is one group, again, that blends as a whole to create their music. The strengths, so well exemplified on the CD, were still here; they just took a backseat to all the complications of real-time performing.

But live performance has its own merits. Anyone would be sorry to miss their hilarious and hardly haphazard skits — though nobody said they were politically correct. This time, the overarching plot was a war between the food providers in the Student Center, with Lobdell limping in on child’s feet behind the three major contenders. Wouldn’t you like to know about the Holy Santa Anna Guacamole Grenade?

Since all you can hear now is stories, I would suggest you buy “Left on Red” and experience the best Resonance has to offer. You’ll be inspired.