Music Video: ONE WORLD (2008)

Ivan Chew - ProfileI completed the song, One World, in May this year. I knew in my heart I had to make a music video for it.

I finally completed the music video over five evenings last week, including a weekend.

Link

Creative Commons LicenseMusic Video: One World (2008) by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at starfishstories.wordpress.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://StarfishStories.wordpress.com.

Initial vision for the music video
In my mind, I saw this lone guitarist, holding a Les Paul Standard, walking up to the edge of a canyon. The camera pans around him and out into the vastness. Snap the view to the guitarist hitting the first note. And the video pans to scenes of soaring clouds, fly-overs of mountains, water falls, and then to city-scapes. And the video was about people, of all races and creeds.

One World, as the song title goes.

I couldn’t possibly shoot that kind of video. And I didn’t have the inclination to start anything. Until about a week ago.

Creative Commons
Went to Flickr.com and Archive.org to search for materials licensed under Creative Commons (attribution). Picked out 115 photos and 15 videos. Used most of them.

It’s not 100% what I had in mind (e.g. couldn’t find that rock guitarist video footage). But it’s close enough.

A huge thanks to those who’ve shared their works under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

It’s their generosity–those who have shared their work under the CC license–that I could make this music video at all.



CREDITS
Heh, just making a record of the credits took me two nights!

Photos, all 92 images, listed in order of appearance. Names are linked to the individual photos, so there would be repeated names. My friend, Kenneth, had so many excellent photos I ended up using many of them:
noahg | Chris Gin | Kris (ATX) | Darwin Bell | hypertypos | Ilan’s Photos | Ingorrr | Lourdes Nightingale | notsogoodphotography | angela7dreams | Rob | Rob | Haintso Rakouth | HK James Ho | J Pod | DMahendra | Elizeu Santos-Neto | kalandrakas | s.tormod | Nathalie_Renaud | soylentgreen23 | s.tormod | HK James Ho | Yoshimai | Ed Yourdon | stephane_tougard | MatterEnergy | jackol | Two Roses | chefranden | athomson | malias | freeparking | josh-n | dlkinney | gregor_y | Ahron de Leeuw | stephane_tougard | Two Roses | Vanessa | stephane_tougard | Ed Yourdon | kamshots | davco9200 | stephane_tougard | iZZomv | stephane_tougard | etoile | Ed Yourdon | stephane_tougard | pedrosimoes7 | Mr. Kris | yeowatzup | 2493TM | mrhayata | scumfrog | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | dogfrog | ryuuji | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | schillergarcia | acroamatic | Tawheed Manzoor | freeparking | stephane_tougard | acroamatic | masochismtango | freeparking | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic |acroamatic | acroamatic | soham_pablo | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic | schillergarcia | acroamatic | acroamatic | acroamatic |

VIDEOS (in order of appearance):

The full-quality MPEG-4 video can be downloaded, here.

If you enjoyed this video, please feel free to leave a comment 🙂
~ Ivan

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Remixed! Cyclo Ride Saigon 2008 by

Ivan Chew - ProfileA few weeks ago, I received a pleasant surprise from a YouTuber, Mindy. She emailed me to let me know she found this song from Archive.org and used in her video:

So nice of her to contact me, in spite of me NOT putting details in the Archive.org entry on how to credit me or how to get in touch (shortcoming has been rectified!)

She later explained:

Yeah, when I first found it on archive.org there was NO info about you. I had to Google you and do research. Lucky you have blogs!

Mindy also obligingly put up the credits in her YouTube video blurb.

I left this comment at her video:

Woah! Scary!!! I flinched at 1:26 when the car flashed its headlights at your camera. And again at 2:11 — looked as if the other trishaw was going to crash into you. BTW, thanks for informing me about using my song. I like how the beeps and traffic noise blended with the music. Wasn’t what I had in mind but it works! lol

Thanks for sharing that, Mindy!

~ Ivan

A Singapore Starfish Story: Su The Bandit

There’s many things I can write about “Su The Bandit” aka Carrie.

First, I’ll let her music speak for herself – please listen to her songs here.

MySpace.com - su the bandit

One thing I’m careful is not to give too much away about Carrie. I’m only mentioning things which she has (gradually) made public.

Carrie’s starfish story
I’m not sure how she discovered my other blog. But she did, back in Aug 07, and left me a comment for this song.

Naturally I introduced her to Songcraft. Over a few emails, I learned about why she wrote and composed her songs. Turns out she’s a working mum. I can say this now because she’s blogged about why she recorded her songs and why she continues to make music.

To be honest, her comment first appeared like spam! I mean, the comment simply said “Holy potato. Could I link up with you?” lol

But I clicked through the URL she left in the comment, which led me to her music.

I’m not ashamed to say that I fell in love with her music the first time I heard it.

Like how one could fall in love with life; when one looks at a flower. Or clouds in the sky on a quiet afternoon.

Carrie’s music is nothing like what Adrian and I compose. Her work has a more jazzy feel. But at some level, I think it’s the same.

Contemplative. Personal.

Most of all, I find myself connecting with her music because it seemed to me like her Starfish Stories, through music.

At her Myspace page, she says:

Hi. I have never played in a band but I like writing songs. Between jobs, I had a midlife crisis of sorts contemplating things I did, things I never did. Lost loves. Yoof. First love. Time. How quickly it passes. I came up with a list of things that I wanted to do before I conk off and decided that I would just do them without thinking of the consequences or feeling malu about it.

Thanks, Carrie.

For throwing your starfish into the sea.

~ Ivan

Remixed: Firefly

This is a very slightly remixed/ re-engineered version of Adrian’s original composition (Feb 2008)

Compare this to his original version:

I followed Adrian‘s original melody closely. Had to redo the lead ‘cos some parts didn’t sound confidently performed (not that I was technically better; just that I had the benefit of multiple takes!). As for the original tapping part, it was nice but a tad too long and when I edited it, somehow didn’t fit in the version I did. After much deliberation, I decide to remove the tapping part in Adrian’s original version. So when I sent version 1.1 to him, I had a feeling he would like the version, heh.

But he said it was nice. Just that the last part didn’t seem so “happening”. So I tried this version (by inserting his tapping part). Hmm… I guess needs more work.

If you’re listening to this, please let us know what you think of the versions. And how to make it better.

~ Ivan

Genetic (re)Mix

An original composition by Adrian. For this song, I merely edited Adrian’s guitar lead, added new beats and drums plus other incidental sounds. This song is complete, unless I hear some other comments on how to improve it.

“Genetic (re)Mix”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG

This is a lengthy track. It’s one of my favourite now. I consider this an “Aural Journey” more than a song.

Genetic (re)Mix - GarageBand

When I first listened to Adrian’s demo track for “Genetic Mix”, I told him I didn’t like it that much – even though he seemed pretty excited about it (we’re honest with each other when it comes to our music). I found the demo piece too noisy. Sounded more like a jam session. Too much guitar work, especially the tapping and pull-offs. There was no melody that I could discern. So I kinda forgot about the track along the way.

Then Adrian reminded me about it, when we met two days ago to discuss our second album. So the following evening, I revisted Adrian’s composition.

To be fair, there were some nice riffs but Adrian’s timing was off in some parts. And for some stanzas, there were some extra measures (I counted, Adrian! heh)

Anyway I started editing his tracks by splicing and realigning the parts which sounded off. Then a bit of work figuring out where I had to insert an extra measure. This entire phase was purely mechanical in a sense. I was more or less on auto-pilot, just cutting/ copying/ pasting the tracks.

A typical edited track looks like this:
Genetic (re)Mix - GarageBand

I experimented with different beats, drums sounds etc.

Putting a piece of music together in GarageBand often reminds me of painting. You dab a little paint here, flick or sweep a brush stroke there… overdo it and you end up with a messy picture. It requires some technical skills, some gut-feel, and some luck.

Emailed the track to Adrian and he thought I came up with a new lead. I told him it was all his original playing. Just some artful editing.
🙂

Ivan Chew - Profile ~ Ivan Chew

Airani digs our Starfish Stories songs

Recent email from a mutual friend:

Hey Adrian, Ivan,

I put on my speakers and turned on my iTunes to cancel the background noise in the office. The starfish stories tracks came up and I realise that some of them are pretty soothing as background music!

I hadn’t paid attention to which ones are specifically soothing. I’ll try to take note next time.

Cheers,
Airani

Thanks, Airani!

Heh, some musicians might take offense at their music being classified as “background”.

That’s not the point, I feel.

Our friend found the music soothing.

That’s all that matters.

~ Ivan

Rainy Days version 2.2

This comes hot off the heels from versions 2.0, 2.1 and also 3.0 (all in two days — crazy right?! what can I say? i’m on a roll! and because Rainy Days is such a fun tune to work with!!!)

“RAINY DAYS v2.2”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG

I spent almost the entire day tweaking it (after I’d done some of my household chores of course).

Here’s what made me do it.

From the Gmail chat transcript between Adrian and me from this morning, after he compared version 2.1 with 2.0 (chat transcript edited… er, let’s just say we were our usual irreverent selves; editing needed to maintain the Family-Friendly image for this blog, LOL):

Adrian: I listened to version 2.1. I think it lost some of the spirit in version 2.0 had. Sorry.

Ivan: Aiyah!

Adrian: But I think you are trying to address the important parts that I also felt needed to be worked on
so that’s good.

Ivan: I thought v2 was [better] than 2.1. ‘Cos there was only the guitars. In v2.1, though the drums were nicer, it muted out the guitars. A distraction even.

Adrian: There was a change in volume after the leads. I listened to it abut 3 times

Ivan: What if I raised the guitar vol for v2.1? In v2, it was quite noisy and messy at times and some parts of the lead tend to repeat.

Adrian: I kind of liked some parts where the was improvisations. So you agree that your original version 2 was better?

Ivan: Yes. Slightly better in terms of feel. But v2 is more polished.

Even before Adrian’s comments, I felt version 2.1 lacked a certain something. Once he confirmed it, I felt a bit disappointed about going back to the drawing board. Like, all the hours for Version 2.1 was for nothing.

But I took time out.

Went to buy lunch for me and my wife. After a hearty and sinfully cholesterol-rich meal of laksa, I felt better (warm spicy food does the trick!)

Decided the effort for Version 2.1 was not a waste. It’s a learning experience. So interesting how volume adjustments to the guitar tracks affected the feel of the song.

The easiest thing to do was work back up from Version 2.0. So true (at least in tweaking the sounds) that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I went back to the Version 2.0 files, imported the drum tracks from version 2.1 but lowered the volume. Then minor editing of some parts of the lead that sounded off — mainly to clarify the alternate guitar parts and mask out some mistakes in playing. But left all the other volume settings untouched. Seems any volume adjustment for the tracks (bass, drums etc.) will affect the sound to some degree.

What made the difference was the Choral/ Flanger/ Rock Phaser effect that was lowered down in version 2.1. There’s definitely a more full-bodied sound for version 2.2. Not sure if Adrian would agree.

There are some refinements that I really like in version 2.1, so I’ll incorporate that into version 2.2 — to make version 2.3. But I’ll take a break for now.

Making music is a lot like drawing and painting!

There’s always this extra dab of paint, one more stroke of the brush, that final flick of pigment you want to make…

But comes a point you gotta be happy with the overall effect. Not to lose sight of the forest just because of a tree.

🙂

OK, if anyone (other than Adrian) is listening to the music here, I’d be grateful if you leave your comment.

Ivan Chew - Profile ~ Ivan Chew

Song: Rainy Days Version 3.0 (semi-acoustic version)

It wasn’t that hard to come up with a semi-acoustic version. Basically I changed the “Amp” settings to a clean guitar sound. Shifted and edited parts of the original lead guitar recording. Also inserted some of Adrian’s previous takes of his rhythm guitar (I discovered it was saved in the GB file). Finally included some cricket sounds to round off the song.

Still works-in-progress, as some parts can be improved. Hopefully someone might accidentally stumble onto this and give us some comments on what works and what doesn’t 🙂

“Rainy Days v3.0 (semi-acoustic)”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG

Ivan Chew - Profile ~ Ivan Chew

Rainy Days version 2.1

Ok, how’s this version?

“Rainy Days v2.1”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG

What’s new:

  • Modified and rearranged the drum loop. Added cymbals and different beats for variation.
  • Edited the lead guitar tracks.
  • Adjusted the sound levels for individual tracks.
  • Added additional guitar accompaniment. This was done by extracting the existing guitar recordings and setting different guitar effects.

Previous versions, here.

OK, I’m knackered. Gonna sleep now.

And maybe work on an acoustic version tomorrow!

~ Ivan

Song: Rainy Days

This song took a long time to get here. And it’s not complete yet.

“Rainy Days v2”Listen/ download at ARCHIVE.ORG

Adrian recorded the first version in December 2007. Rhythm guitar track mixed with GB drum loops and bass. No lead.
Rainy days.band

I didn’t have any strong ideas for the song so I filed it away.

About two days ago, he emailed me this version with an acoustic lead, synth keyboards and a ‘live’ recording of rain (it’d been raining very heavily in Singapore past few days). I didn’t realise it was the same song until he reminded me.

I also joked that the rain sounded like radio static, and the lead should be called a “led” since it was so far in the background, lol. But overall, I liked it. It had this “cleansing” and “refreshing” mood to it.

Then I decided to record a lead just to see how it sounds. Gave myself 30 minutes so that I can rush it off to Adrian. Didn’t intend to come up with a complete song. It was just to send Adrian a rough demo version (to catch him in his music-making groove before he gets caught up with parenting again hahaha).

Well…

Maybe it was the rain (as in, the real thing) that’s been rainy down for the past few days. Maybe it was Adrian’s long musical hiatus. Or it was the tune and melody of the song.

Whatever the reason, 30 minutes became 1.5 hours.
Rainy days 2.band

Adrian was still up. I emailed him the song. We spent the next two hours just discussing the song over the Internet (327 lines of chat!)

We felt we had a winner with version 2.

I played it on Repeat mode and it sounds… like a pent up storm that has unleashed but not destructive in any sense. Adrian’s muted guitar effect somehow balanced the noisy sounding lead, I thought.

Adrian’s done a nice job with this one. I didn’t have work that hard to develop the lead. I think his rhythm and bass gave me enough aural hints. The melody for the lead sort of floated into being.

Adrian liked version 2 as well. He emailed Siva, who also enjoyed it and even blogged about it.

This morning it rained on my way to work. I put the song on repeat mode. For some reason, I wanted the train/ bus ride to be longer. So that I can listen to the song, heh.

There’s still work to be done. A little re-recording, editing, sound engineering…

OK, you be the judge if this song works or not.

Here are all the versions to date, in order of their development sequence:

Version 1, 28 Dec 2007: “Rainy Days v1”

.
Version 1.1 (acoustic lead, ‘live’ rain ambient, synth), 4 Sept 2008: “Rainy Days v1.1”

.
Version 1.2 (the same as V1.1 minus the ‘live’ rain, which I requested Adrian to email me), 4 Sept 2008: “Rainy Days v1.2”

.
Version 2 (electric guitar lead; I chose to work on version 1 instead of 1.2; the synth and the electric leads was overkill), 4 Sept 2008: “Rainy Days v2”

Enjoy!

Ivan Chew - Profile
~ Ivan