Monday, November 9, 2009

Come On Feel the Skate Noise…NHK Review part 1

So, are you pro-skate noise (as NHK seemed to be this year) or anti-skate noise? Informal poll… please feel free to comment!

There seem to be two schools of thought on this. Some think having mics near the ice increases the athletic aspect of figure skating, reminding the audience that they are working out there as we hear every toepick, every scratchy landing, every deep edge. Others think it detracts from the grace and elegance of the sport, and have about as much interest in hearing the grunts of an elite tennis player going for a difficult shot. (And others probably couldn’t care less either way, so I suppose that’s a third school of thought.)

Me, I wish they’d dialed it down just a little bit this weekend… but otherwise I thought it was an interesting change of pace. (Won’t I feel silly if I’m the only one out here that noticed it!) And if you listened to the skate noise hard enough, it told you all you needed to know about this weekend’s NHK Trophy (roll the observations…)

The sure steps of A CZECH IN NAGANO: With so much crashing and burning by the top men, the silver (or bronze) lining sometimes comes in the form of a newer talent breaking through—in this case, all the way to the medals. Nice to meet you, Michal Brezina.

The carefree glides of A RUSSIAN IN CHICAGO: OK, she’s sold me. Alena Leonova’s breakout work near the end of last season was no fluke. I said she was a dark horse for a medal this time; does the fact that she succeeded mean she’s just a “regular, lighter horse” now? She already seems to be the best all-around Russian singles lady since Slutskaya… even if she’s got a long way to go in order to win Slutskaya-caliber hardware.

The painful thud of YUKO KAVAGUTI—So she dislocated her freaking shoulder with that wicked fall on the throw quad salchow. Ai-yi-yi. Shades of Zhang/Zhang back in Torino when they had to stop and regroup… do y’all really have to keep trying this maneuver?

The hush of LAURA LEPISTO—I really like her interpretation and expressiveness; but without some decent jumps to back it up it feels like style w/no substance.

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE that is staying at or near the top: with the notable exception of Yu-Na Kim, the leader after the ladies’ SP in each of the Grand Prix events this season had ended up taking quite a tumble (often literally) with their free-skate efforts: Julia Sebestyen had a first place SP but a 7th place FS at Rostelecom Cup… Mirai Nagasu led after her SP at Cup of China, only to have the sixth-best FS. Given this, I guess Ashley Wagner did well to stay on the podium! But I would have liked to see how a clean skate on her part would’ve stood up to Ando…probably the difference between bronze and silver.

For the Clip of the Day I’ve got Jeremy Abbott’s splendid SP… certainly NOT the Free Skate…but we’ll talk more about him next time, as there’s plenty more to say about this event.


Laura said...

I noticed the noise too! I kind of liked it. Felt like I was up close and personal.

jumping clapping man said...

the ice noise is a bit like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

that being said, it is WAY better than when they first introduced it at a much higher volume a year or two ago (and then bailed on it).

BUT, i'd vote to nix it. it is not a pleasant sound, at least in its current fidelity. if they could bring in more swooshing sounds it would work better. in its current state its just annoyingly scratchy.

one thing it DOES do is accentuate the "sport" aspect of skating, rather than just the buttery "artistry" drawing attention to the more real and dramatic of blade on ice, etc.