The song begins with a single voice beatboxing a steady sound. Slowly, a chorus of sounds emerges and a soloist’s voice soars over the music. The noises blend together to create a raw, powerful sound — completely unaided by instruments.
This is what can be heard on “The NYU N’harmonics LIVE at Joe’s Pub 2012,” the first-ever live-recorded album by the NYU a cappella group, the NYU N’harmonics, that is expected to be released on Aug. 29.
The album features 10 live-recorded tracks – eight from the N’harmonics annual spring concert at Joe’s Pub, plus two bonus tracks.
N’harmonics president, Tisch senior Zachary Infante, believes the album differs from the group’s 2010 fully-mastered studio album, “Balls to the Wall,” as it captures the natural sound the N’harmonics strive to produce.
“The decision to put out a live CD was based on our need to have our songs represented in a way that is most truthfully us,” Infante said. “We wanted to put our real voices out there without any of the technical changes a studio can do.”
The record represents the N’harmonics’ soulful sound with unique arrangements across several genres including rock, blues, pop and funk with songs like Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” Janelle Monae’s “Cold War” and The Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.”
N’harmonics vice president, Tisch senior Andrew Martin, edited and produced the album. Despite some issues with the balance of sound due to a limited number of microphones at the concert, Martin was able to produce clear, balanced tracks.
“A problem I personally always find with a cappella CDs is the overwhelming use of auto-tune,” Martin said. “I think what’s amazing about our group is the way the individual grains of our voices meld together to make a powerful, soulful group sound. Our CD captures the magic that occurred [at the concert].”
The N’harmonics plan to use their new album to expand their NYU fan base. The group is promoting themselves using social media. N’harmonics business manager and webmaster, Tisch sophomore Angela Sclafani, recently created a new N’harmonics website and Facebook fan page.
“It’s great to be able to connect to students this easily,” Sclafani said. “What’s been even better is the great response we’re getting. We’re so happy to be able to reach [NYU students] via social media so that we can reach them in person at our shows.”
The N’harmonics hope to reach new freshman at their shows during Welcome Week, which include the NYU Welcome Week A Cappella Show on Aug. 27, a collaborative performance with sketch comedy group, Hammerkatz NYU, on Aug. 29 and an additional performance in the Third Avenue North residence hall courtyard on Sept. 1. The group also hopes to recruit new members at their Sept. 7 and 8 auditions.
The N’harmonics plan to record and produce a second studio album this spring.
“I can’t wait to see the layers our new members add, and get started on our next CD,” Martin said. “Keep an eye out for us, we aren’t going anywhere.”
A version of this story appeared in the Aug. 26 print edition. Nicola Pring is features editor. Email her at [email protected]