Song: The Hill (2008)

[Also posted at Starfish Stories :: The Band]

I wanted this to be a strong, confident, inspirational tune.

“The Hill (2008)” Listen/ download the higher quality versions at ARCHIVE.ORG
An original composition; performed, arranged & mixed by: Ivan Chew.

The whole song started as a melody with a Celtic Tin Flute sound (I’ve uploaded the sample loop to CCmixter). Then I added more and more layers, adding bagpipes, choir voices. I experimented with a series of different “African Drum” loops, which worked nicely.

The effect seems to be like a marching song from the heydays of the British Empire. You know, the Scottish bagpipes and African drums.

I can imagine the Singapore Army using this in one of their recruitment adverts, LOL.

But it’s not a warring song.

If I ever make a music video for this, I’d start with a single person at the foot of a hill. Simply looking up. Then for no apparent reason, that person starts walking up the hill. And soon, people starts to join the climb. The hill isn’t particularly steep but it’s not an easy climb. On the way, an old woman has to sit down to rest. A young man goes up to her. He carries her on his back the rest of the journey. The music video would end with a view of the people just standing on the top of the hill, quietly looking out on the misty glowing landscape.

This image illustrates the imagery nicely (Climb up the green hill. Originally uploaded by Berni Beudel):

Enjoy the song!

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Song: “I Wonder (2008)”

An original composition; performed, arranged & mixed by: Ivan Chew.

“I Wonder (2008)”Listen/ download the higher quality versions at ARCHIVE.ORG

I had this tune (for the rhythm) in my head and recorded a few notes in GarageBand. Then realised my opening sounded like Pachelbel’s Canon! Except I’d recorded in “C” key rather than “D”.

Not that I played it like how this guy did it. My background melody was closer to the original classical composition Canon in D opening melody.

Maybe you won’t notice it, ‘cos it’s quite subtle. I didn’t intentionally model this song after Pachelbel’s. Once my song starts, it’s nothing like the classical piece. What I wanted was to compose a soothing and relaxing guitar instrumental piece.

I recorded the Grand Piano track first, followed by the Orchestra Strings (using GarageBand built-in instruments). The drums was modified from the “Relaxed Drum Groove” loop. Then the “live” guitars.
I Wonder (2008)

There’s only two guitar effects for this song: “West Coast Wah” and the “Thick Jazz” default effects (manual Gate and Visual Equaliser adjustments).

I decided on the West Coast Wah effect after toying with other electric lead/ amp effects. Decided that the default Wah gave the song a fitting relaxed groove. I didn’t layer the guitar tracks too much or try to shred, since the Wah effect would give that sort of (what I’d call) “tonal complexity” to the song.
Auto Wah setting ("I Wonder 2008")

I tweaked the measures and moved some “bars” around. Then I added one more Orchestral String layer (for the break). Finally added the “live” bass.

[Also posted at Starfish Stories :: The Band].

Song: Twilight (2008)

[Also published at Starfish Stories :: The Band]

“TWILIGHT (2008)”Listen/ download the higher quality versions at ARCHIVE.ORG
Original composition; performed, arranged & mixed by: Ivan Chew.

A sample of the basic harp/ celtic flute melody can be downloaded at CCmixter.org.

When I sent the draft version to Kevin, he reminded me that Twilight” is also the series title of the currently super-popular book by Stephenie Meyer.

But no, I didn’t have Stephenie Meyer in mind when I named this song.

Just felt that it’s a song about “transitions”, the in-between period between day and night, i.e. Twilight. But a transition that is looking towards the positive.


[Twilight Moon
Originally uploaded by versageek]

Adrian heard the draft version and said it was little noisy at some parts. So I lowered the distortion levels. He also said a bass would give the song some “backbone”, so I did what I could with my limited bass guitar skills.

Twilight (2008)

I like this song.

Hope you enjoy it too. Let me know what you think of it.

Song: Two Ladies

A mash-up with Adrian, inspired by a jam session with Singaporean artiste, Lim Yu-Beng (details here!)
TWO LADIESListen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG
Performed & produced by: Starfish Stories :: The Band.
Initial music concept, Rhythm guitar: Adrian Loo (Feb 2008).
Additional guitar, bass: Ivan Chew
Editing, mixing, arrangement: Ivan Chew

Enjoy!

Song: Firefly

I’ll probably come up with a different version for this, but this is a complete song as it is. A mash-up with Adrian:

Performed & produced by: Starfish Stories :: The Band.
Original composition, lead guitar: Adrian Loo (Feb 2008).
Additional guitar, bass: Ivan Chew
Editing, mixing, arrangement: Ivan Chew

Details at Starfish Stories :: The Band.

Song: Genetic (re)Mix

A mash-up by Starfish Stories. One of my favourite:

“Genetic (re)Mix”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG
Performed & produced by: Starfish Stories :: The Band.
Original composition, lead guitar: Adrian Loo
Editing, mixing, arrangement: Ivan Chew

Details at Starfish Stories :: The Band.

Song: Rainy Days

Another Starfish Stories musical mash-up (version 2.2):

“RAINY DAYS v2.2”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG
Performed & produced by: Starfish Stories :: The Band
Initial composition, rhythm guitar, bass (software): Adrian Loo
Additional guitars, arrangement & re-mixing: Ivan Chew

Details at Starfish Stories :: The Band.