Rosli Mansor: Singapore rock instrumentalist

A few weeks ago, I googled for “rock instrumentalist singapore”.

And found Rosli Mansor.

[Rosli Mansor – HeritageFest 09. Originally uploaded by vickomaniac – V Photography]

For sure, Rosli isn’t the only rock instrumentalist in Singapore.

But he’s one of the few whom I’ve discovered on the Internet. I decided to buy his CD, Dragged, after viewing this video on YouTube.
rosli mansor now playing 'dragged'

I like it a lot.

So much that I’ve decided to share my thoughts about the album here.

[BTW, I tend to refer to other rock guitar instrumentalists (like Joe Satriani and Carlos Santana) because they are my benchmark. Besides if anyone compares me favourably with these guitar legends, it’s a compliment. So I hope you’d read the reviews that way.]

Here goes:

To me, Rosli Mansor combines the best of Carlos Santana and Joe Satriani rolled into one. His compositions have a polished feel, where each note means something rather than just shredding for the sake of showing off. Definitely one of those albums that I find listenable beyond the first play. Each track conveys enough familiarity (via the structure and arrangement) and still maintaining my interest with the variations.

Length of the tracks are just nice. I didn’t find any tracks that were overdone.

His playing is technically competent. The album is nicely mastered. Good enough to compete with most major recording labels. A great showpiece for the studio too. One thing though — for some tracks, I wish Rosli’s lead guitar work could stand out more and take centre stage. But that could be a personal preference in terms of mixing.

First track, Pakoo Boomi, sounded very Joe Satriani, which was great. Then past 1:35min I think a little of the unique Rosli Mansor ‘rok’ flavour comes through. This is one of my favourite track.

The second one, Hear Me, River of Love, sounded very Carlos Santana to me. I like the chord progression, where the flavour changes to a more rocksy melody at the chorus.

Dragged, the third track, was a nice change of pace with its slower tempo. It exhibited more of the Santana-Satriani influences.

Rescuing Rukia was a sentimental piece. This was the first song I’d ever heard from Rosli. It isn’t my favourite piece but it was what made me find out more. I think would be a nice study for a rock instrumental lesson in terms of arrangement or a relaxed jamming session.

Invasion (Track 5) is another enjoyable one, with a heavier crunchier sound. A lot more shredding from Rosli. Nice strong punchy bass riff. I’d prefer more bite to the distortion rhythm guitars but that’s just a personal preference.

Deeply Uncommon was a nice surprise. At the start, the nylon-string work promised something different from the tracks. Then hearing the Cantonese spoken words was pleasantly unexpected! I am not sure what is being said but sounds nice.

After that, I found myself grooving to the seventh track, Purple. It’s a pretty standard arrangement but the simplicity is what made it work, moving from minor to major chords. This piece has given me ideas and inspiration.

Quarantined Qarin was very Joe Satriani. Sounded like a track that would fit easily into his Engines of Creation album. This track easily stands out for its technical prowess, composition/ arrangement and overall sound engineering. This is my second fav track.

The final track Farewell September, Pizzas & Sparklers is my favourite track in the entire album. It definitely had that Joe Satriani flavour again (somehow it reminded me of a track in The Extremist album) but I think this might be described as signature Rosli Mansor.

Dragged gets a 8 out of 10 from me.

This 10-track album is a nice find. At $19.90, I wonder how much Yamaha got a cut, LOL. But the price is something I’d gladly pay for. I don’t buy Made-In-Singapore music for its sake. This one is good.

It now sits on the same row as my albums by Joe Satriani, Carlos Santana (Steve Vai and Eric Johnson).

I bought it at the Yamaha store at Plaza Singapura. The counter staff seemed genuinely surprised I’d ask for it.

Check out previews of his songs at

BTW, I’ve not met Rosli and I doubt he knows me. If I were to meet him now, I’ll tell him he owes Vicki a treat or something. She’s one persistent promoter of his music (I mean that in a good way). Wish I had someone to push our music like she does! But then honestly, we’re far from Rosli’s standard!

Can I take a free one-hour lesson from you, Rosli?


It’s cool.

I’m still looking forward to your next album. 🙂

~ Ivan

Featured in Rocklah!

Thanks to Rocklah! for featuring our latest music video! I appreciate that they made effort to credit the CC-licensed material properly.
Rocklah! » Blog Archive » Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew - New Beginning (2009) (Creative Commons)

They added this too:

The music video is made up of other Creative Commons Licensed video material and is a testimony that CC-licensed music can be just as good as the typical recording industry licenses.

Wah sey! Thanks for the compliment! 🙂

From the Rocklah! About page,

Rocklah! is a music blog that tries to aggregate South-East Asian music news all in one site. “Lah” is also a colloquial term used by mostly Singaporeans and Malaysians to emphasize the word before it. So, “Rock Lah” is basically about all things that ROCK!

If you have any news that you’d like us to cover, please feel free to drop us an e-mail at

Check them out at

~ Ivan

Maria Viktoria Mena: Norwegian pop-rock

Writing this post was hard.

‘Cos I could only type a few letters before I had to stop.

As I attempted to write the post, I was listening Norwegian pop-rock singer and songwriter, Maria Mena (
White Turns Blue album by Maria Mena on MySpace Music - stream full MP3 songs and albums

Her lyrics, vocals, compositions — all combined to create a mesmerising quality that made my fingers automatically pause.

Her songs made me unconsciously close my eyes.

And listen.

And be drawn in.

I’m a new fan.

Maria blogs at her official Sony Music site at Her discography and biography can be found at this Wikipedia entry.
Maria Mena: Biography - iPublish

p.s. Thanks to a fellow Maria Mena fan, for pointing me to such a gem of a musician!

~ Ivan

New Beginning 2009 – Music Video

This Music Video is dedicated to Siena Malia Silverburn. I wonder if YouTube will still be around by the time you’re old enough to make sense out of this. Anyway, welcome to the World! BTW, you have very cool parents. See if you can spot your mommy in the video


This MV is based on the song “New Beginning (2009)” by “Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew.“. This MV is licensed under a Creative Commons ATTRIBUTION 3.0 Singapore license. You are free to use/ distribute as long as you credit this MV as follows:
“New Beginning 2009 (Music Video)”
by Ivan Chew –

Feel free to email me if you’ve further questions. The full video can downloaded at

Not least, my thanks to the generosity of the following (credits in order of appearance in the MV):

  1. Summer Play Time“. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5
  2. Driving under the Golden Gate Bridge“. By: Ivan Chew. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore
  3. Josh Street Movie“. Creative Commons license: Attribution 2.0
  4. Graffiti artists – Street Art in LA“. Public Domain.
  5. Festival of India – Extras“. By: bh Ezequiel. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5
  6. Streets of San Francisco: view from a tram (2008)“. By: Ivan Chew. Creative Commons license Attribution 3.0 Singapore
  7. A tuk-tuk rallye in streets of the Bangkog city, Thailand. (2002)“. By: “amateur creator”. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5
  8. Pattaya in the night. Amateur short movie. (2001)“. By: “amateur creator”. Creative Commons Attribution 2.5

~ Ivan

Update: 3rd album and such


The title song for our upcoming 3rd album has been completed.

Titled “Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula” of course.

Quite a lot of thought and effort went into this song. Adrian and I bounced through four versions over email before we were finally happy.

In a break from our usual practice, I’ve decided not to publish this title track until the entire album is ready.

So all you raving fans will have to hold your horses (yeah right…)

Now, I’m working on making sound level adjustments for the rest of the tracks in the album. Plus, one more song “Running” to be completed. Adrian sent me the MP3 stems for “Running” some time ago. Good thing too. His Macbook crashed and had to be reinstalled. And he didn’t keep backups of this GB files. Tsk tsk tsk… 🙂

This music-making is a welcome distraction and focus from work.

Meantime, I’m also finding myself inspired by this ROTW episode by Dave Weiner, on “Creativity From Gear”:


Lovely melodic riff using F#, especially when he intoduced the bass root notes. BTW he plays with a 7-string custom electric, so you won’t be able to get the bass notes in the video.

I liked the tune so much I decided to practice using GarageBand (there’s a built-in digital delay effect).
GarageBand 08 - Real Instrument Effects panel

GarageBand 08 - AUDelay

AUDelay - GarageBand '08

Managed to record something on a Saturday. Sounded decent to me. More on this, later.

Check out Dave Weiner’s ROTW youtube channel. Plenty of inspirational ideas.

~ Ivan