Proposed (2012) album cover designs & updates

Finally, an update on the 2012 album we have been working on (earlier post, here).

Came up with these designs over two evenings. For our to-be-released-in-a-few-day’s-time, kinda-hard-to-label-a-genre digital album.

1. “deca”
"deca"

2. “TEN”
"TEN"

3. “DEKA”
"DEKA"

A few hours ago, the band — along with our guest collaborator, urmymuse, who is from halfway around the globe — have reached on a majority vote for design No. 3, “DEKA”.

We started working on the tracks around Jan this year Dec 2011. Fast-forward to Sept, when it sunk in that 2012 would be the 10th global birthday celebrations for Creative Commons, we wanted our album to be a gift to the movement.

The album has 10 tracks, for CC’s 10th birthday this year, slated for October.

A 10-10-10 combo.

HOW THE COVER CAME TO BE
My first design looked like this:
My amateur attempt at a #CreativeCommons 10th Birthday logo

It was passable as a symbol or logo. But somehow it didn’t quite cut it as an album cover. Looked too cold; too detached. The opposite of what our music represented.

So I wondered about the etymology for “decade”. That led to my discovering the term “deca”, which was Latin for “the combining form for ‘Ten'”: “decapod”, “decasyllabic”, “decathlon”, “decametre”…

Multiples of ten.

Bingo!

But I wondered if it might be too subtle or indirect for people to catch on.

No harm in posting the question in Facebook. Kind of expecting zero comments, so I was really surprised to get plenty of good ideas and useful comments from my Facebook contacts. Thanks folks!
AdobePhotoshopExpress_20121025003627

All things considered, “deca” was quite appropriate.

I used Keynote on my iPad to piece together a few ideas. Ended up using Keynote as my “photoshop”!

Within hours of the Facebook comments and doodling in the iPad, I managed to churn out design No. 1.

Emailed that off to Adrian, I-Ling and urmymuse. Explained the concept to them. And hoped they would agree. Or at least, no violent objections from them.

Adrian was first to give “deca” his approval. Next was urmymuse, who added that the Greek spelling (deka) was preferred but it wouldn’t be something to “die in a ditch” for (LOL).

By that time, I also preferred DEKA over DECA. Particularly after considering the Facebook comments. For one, “deca” might lead to some people subconsciously associating it with “decay” or “decadence” — unrelated words, no doubt but still might prove distracting rather than adding to the album’s intrigued.

I churned out designs no.s 2 and 3, and emailed to the band. Promised this would be the last iteration (any more options and it would be counterproductive).

Our vocalist, I-Ling, liked DEKA too.

So that’s that.

All ten tracks have been mastered, bounced; the uncompressed files sitting in my hard disk (backed up, for sure) waiting to be prepped with metadata (I use iTunes for that).

It’s a public holiday this Friday, so i’ll be publishing the album this weekend.

The album will be pretty niche.

It’s perhaps best described as “almost progressive meditative pop post-rock”.

Whatever it might be called, it’s our labour of love.

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2011 Let The Dolphins Go

Here’s our 5th digital album. A StarfishStories project in support of the “Let The Dolphins Go” ACRES’s campaign, to free the dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa.

 

This is the title track, “Free”. With I-Ling on vocals.

The other two tracks are a rock guitar instrumental version, and a Minus-One. They can all be downloaded at Archive.org

This project came about after Adrian ran a marathon. It’s a long story and he tells it better. Anyway the gist was that he thought of his family to keep himself going. And it made him think of the dolphins who were torn away from their family and natural habit, to be part of a resort entertainment lineup.

Adrian felt compelled to compose something (apart from contributing to the general call for action). He emailed the raw draft for the song (on 1 Jun). Titled it “Free”.

He added this in his email: “Imagine dolphins porpoising in the water”.

It didn’t take long for I-Ling to come up with the lyrics:

Leap and turn in the air
Like a child at play
Whistle songs, sing your dreams
In the summer rays
Feel the rush of the currents
Find your way in the ocean

Glide along, ride the crest
There’s no turning back
Hold your breath and break the waves
Full speed ahead
Feel the rush of the currents
You’re a child of the ocean

You’re free. So free, oh, so free.
Breathe. You’re free, so free.

She emailed her vocal track to me. I mixed it, emailed a few versions (with subtle arrangement changes) to the two of them. I-Ling agreed to re-record her vocals to get a clearer take. While waiting for I-Ling to do that, I recorded and mixed a guitar instrumental version.

It was done out of fun, but Adrian and I-Ling gave it their thumbs-up, so it was considered to be part of the album.

After receiving I-Ling’s second vocal take (she decided to invest in an audio interface), two more email exchanges… and it was done.

World's Saddest Dolphins

Capturing intelligent creatures, who were roaming free, for the sake of entertainment. And calling the move as part of contribution to research. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Please, let the dolphins go.

2001-12-02 01-03 Neuseeland 305
Credits: 2001-12-02 01-03 Neuseeland 305 by Allie_Caulfield, CC-BY 2.0 (last accessed 6 Jul 2011).

Selected references:

BTW, it’s really good to know we’re not the only musicians adding to this call. Check out Typewriter’s rendition of “Please let the dolphins go”:

~ Ivan

Creative Commons License2011 Let the Dolphins Go by Starfish Stories : The Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. As long as you ATTRIBUTE the music by stating this: “Starfish Stories :: The Band – StarfishStories.wordpress.com”* in your audio, video, website, printed materials etc., you are FREE to USE, COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes sell!) any of the songs from this album.

In case we weren’t quite clear on the above, try reading this.

Music album: 2010 Sound Out Singapore

Creative Commons License2010 Sound Out Singapore by Starfish Stories : The Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. As long as you ATTRIBUTE the music by stating this: “Starfish Stories :: The Band – StarfishStories.wordpress.com”* in your audio, video, website, printed materials etc., you are FREE to USE, COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes sell!) any of the songs from this album.

In case we weren’t quite clear on the above, try this!

For Track 01 “Open the Door (Smile Again)”, please credit as:

This is the 4th self-produced Creative Commons music album from two Singaporean guys who have non-musical day jobs, but with a passion for producing their own brand of music. Recorded, mixed and engineered exclusively with GarageBand (and everything else done via email).

Album cover - Sound Out Singapore 2010

————————————–

INDIVIDUAL TRACKS:

1. OPEN THE DOOR (SMILE AGAIN) – featuring I-Ling on vocals

2. STOLEN DREAMS (Instrumental)

3. PETALS IN A CRYSTAL STREAM (instrumental)

4. SMILE AGAIN II (rock instrumental)

5. DRIFTING RUST (instrumental)

We welcome comments on how to improve our music. Feel free to share what you liked or disliked at the band blog StarfishStories.wordpress.com or email us at starfishstories@gmail.com.

The story behind the album at this blog post.

There are other contributors to Sound Out at soundout.sg/?p=heard. Do give them a listen. Or submit your own songs!
Support our anti-trafficking music | Sound Out Singapore

Starfish Stories :: The Band is a Singaporean duo – Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew. They are self-taught musicians who prefer to produce their music this way. Feel free to contact them at their band blog or email StarfishStories@gmail.com.

IF YOU LIKED THE MUSIC…

Consider making a donation!

Related posts:

Draft: Sound Out Singapore (2010) music album cover

I’m a librarian, not a graphic designer. This is the best I can come up with. For our Sound Out Singapore CC-licensed music album.
2010 Sound Out Singapore

We would be happy to have your contribution. CC licensed, of course.

The song line-up:

  1. Open the Door (Smile Again) – Featuring I-Ling on vocals
  2. Stolen Dreams [instrumental]
  3. Petals in a Crystal Stream [instrumental]
  4. Smile Again II [instrumental]
  5. Drifting Rust [instrumental]

~ Ivan

Music album: 2010 Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula

Creative Commons License2010 Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula by Starfish Stories : The Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. As long as you ATTRIBUTE the music by stating this: “Starfish Stories :: The Band – StarfishStories.wordpress.com”* in your audio, video, website, printed materials etc., you are FREE to USE, COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes sell!) any of the songs from this album.

In case we weren’t quite clear on the above, try reading this! ๐Ÿ™‚

* NOTE: Please credit Track 06 “Goodnight Not Goodbye v2.2.” to:

Starfish Stories :: The Band is a Singaporean duo – Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew. They are self-taught musicians who prefer to produce their music this way. Feel free to contact them at their band blog or email StarfishStories@gmail.com.

IF YOU LIKED THE MUSIC…

Consider making a donation. Only if you wish to, thanks!

Album cover preview: "Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebulae"

INDIVIDUAL TRACKS:

1. CRYSTAL TEARS AND THE DREAM NEBULA 2010
.

2. WE WONDERWIP version: pre audio-mastering
.

3.FINDING LOVE v1.4WIP versions: 1.0 | 1.1 (1.3 and 1.4 were not posted)
.

4. NEW BEGINNINGWIP version: pre audio-mastering | Music Video
.

5. STROKE OF MIDNIGHT v2.3WIP versions: 2.0 | 1.0
.

6. GOODNIGHT NOT GOODBYE v2.2Version: pre audio-remastering
.

7. TO BE FREEWIP version: pre audio-mastering
.

8. RUN TOWARDS THE SKY 1.2
.

9. THANK YOU podcast – CTDN 2010
.

10. TEXT: How To Use Music in CRYSTAL TEARS AND THE DREAM NEBULA For FREE – 2.3KB TXT file.

We welcome comments on how to improve our music. Feel free to share what you liked or disliked at the band blog StarfishStories.wordpress.com or email us at starfishstories@gmail.com.

Related posts:

Online release of “Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula” music album

It’s decided then.

The “Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula” album (CTDN 2010) will be released on 3rd Jan, 2010.

Why 3rd?

Cos some one told me 31 Dec and 1 Jan weren’t so hot, since most people “would be busy”. LOL.

So we settled on 3rd, since CTDN 2010 is the third Starfish Stories music album project.

Here’s the Facebook invite.
Online release of "Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula" music album | Facebook

Since I’m in a cheeky mood, this was what I wrote:

The online release of the 3rd Creative Commons music album, by Starfish Stories :: The Band (Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew).

This is just a fancy way of saying that details of the album, links for downloading the MP3 files etc., will be posted at the band blog (StarfishStories.wordpress.com) on 3rd Jan 2010.

Everyone’s invited.

For the story behind the “Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula” title, here’s a ramble: https://starfishstories.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/crystal-tears-and-the-dream-nebula-origins/

Cheers!

p.s. We hope this message isn’t intrusive. If it is, do tell us (starfishstories@gmail.com) and we promise not to do it again — creating the FB event, not the music though ๐Ÿ™‚

Adrian and I hope to “see you” here, on 3rd Jan 2010.

Cheers!

~ Ivan

Preview: Cover for our upcoming 3rd album

I’m pleased to announce that Starfish Stories :: The Band is just one final song away from our 3rd album.

Last night I created this cover using Photoshop, from Creative Commons or Public Domain licensed materials.
Album cover preview: "Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebulae"

Credits for the images:

As to why it’s titled “Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebulae”, more will be revealed later.

~ Ivan

Putting the “2009 One World One Moment” together

They say the journey is sometimes more important than the destination. In our case, I think Adrian would agree. I mean, we love the end results and have always been focused on that. But it’s the collaborative musical process that sustains that buzz.

2009 One World One Moment

Here’s a list of OWOM tracks with links to their individual posts as they were developed. They’d give you a clue, but not quite 100% of the “making-of” process, since Adrian and I tend to discuss the songs over email and chat (I’m sure you’d be entertained by our transcript but maybe for the wrong reasons LOL).

You can download the entire album, or the individual tracks, from this post.

1. ONE WORLD
First post here (May 08). Which was immediately followed by Firdaus’s super-cool remix. The song was refined for the MTL Paralympics supplement CD (Aug 08). The feather on the cap was this Music Video (Sept 08). Adrian agreed with me that this should be the lead song for the album, as we wanted to start with an uplifting mood.

2. QUIET AFTERNOON
First and only post here (Sept 08). It was the obvious choice for the second track, as it offered a nice contrast to the loud and relatively noisy Track #1.

3. GENETIC (re)MIX
This was the longest track in the entire album (posted Sept 08). But I’d like to think that it’s worth it. If you take into account the title, maybe you can get an idea of the story behind the music.

4. RAINY DAYS 2.4
This song had the most number of refinements among all the tracks in the album (Sept 08): This post has versions 1, 1.1, 1.2 and 2; Version 2.1 appeared the next day, and then a version 2.2 (what can I say? I was on a roll!); this semi-acoustic version v3 didn’t make the cut. There’s no version 2.3 posted (the skip in version was from my editing done at home).

5. SURFING ON SOLAR WINDS
Something composed in 2007 and then released in Mar 08. The final version you’re listening is slightly different from what was previously posted, as I’d reworked the bass sounds a little. But since it didn’t drastically change the song, I didn’t rename it as a different version. This song was also given as a birthday present.

6. HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY part 2
Posted in July 08. At first I was apprehensive about including this in OWOM. Mainly because I sang the vocals! But since this song has a special place in Adrian’s heart (as he likes to tell me), and especially since the song fitted the “One Moment” feel, it made the cut.

7. DRIFTING
This track has never been posted. So this album is its first appearance. It’s meant to be an interlude of sorts, between songs — or what I’d like to think as “between the mood of the songs”. I included it as a demo track when Adrian and I reviewed songs for our second album. Adrian said it was nice so we considered it for OWOM. It made the cut.

8. FIREFLY 1.4
This was one of the earliest song posted in 2008. Adrian posted this in Feb 08 but I only got round to it in Sept 08. The final version for OWOM features a different guitar ending, based on Adrian’s comments on the first remix. I also added a percussion layer, as a contrast to the mostly repeated melody. We considered ending the album with this song, but I told Adrian it might inadvertently sound like closing the tracks on a sad note. So this song switched places with “The Hill”.

9. THE HILL
This was supposed to be the eighth song, but I thought it would be more apt for the whole album to finish off on a high. Posted in Dec 08 (but actually I’d completed this more or less in mid 2008). This song features no guitar leads at all, and is vastly different from anything Adrian and even myself had produced so far. It’s included as Adrian gave the “bee boo bee boo” a thumbs up. This is one of my personal favourites. I still get goosebumps (the nice kind) listening to it.

Songs published in 2008 but weren’t selected/ completed in time for this album:

  • Finding Love (Jan 08) – still a WIP
  • Walking On Air 2008 – with Friends from Songcraft (Mar 08)
  • Weight of an Empty Page (Mar 08)
  • Here And Now (Apr 08)
  • Just Wanna Be With You (Apr 08)
  • If You Were A Dance (Jun 08)
  • Saying Goodnight demo (Aug 08)
  • Two Ladies (Oct 08)
  • I Wonder (Nov 08)
  • Twilight (Nov 08)

Heh, I’m surprised at our productivity, given that all this music making is done with our spare time outside of our day-jobs.

We welcome comments on how to improve our music. Feel free to comment about what it is that you liked or disliked.

~ Ivan

Music album: 2009 One World One Moment

Creative Commons License2009 One World One Moment by Starfish Stories : The Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. Based on the work at StarfishStories.wordpress.com. As long as you ATTRIBUTE the music to StarfishStories.wordpress.com in your website or printed materials (if any), you are FREE to USE, COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes sell!) any of the songs from this album. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://starfishstories.wordpress.com.

In case you didn’t quite understand the above, READ THIS! ๐Ÿ™‚

Starfish Stories :: The Band is a Singaporean duo – Adrian Loo & Ivan Chew. They are self-taught musicians who prefer to produce their music this way. Feel free to contact them at their band blog or email StarfishStories@gmail.com.

IF YOU LIKED THE MUSIC…

Consider making a donation. Only if you wish to, thanks!

2009 One World One Moment

TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE MP3 ALBUM:
128Kbps VBR version (35MB ZIP) | 64Kbps version (15MB ZIP)

INDIVIDUAL TRACKS:

1. ONE WORLD (4.6MB) | 64Kbps (1.9 MB) | Music Video

2. QUIET AFTERNOON (3.1MB) | 64kbps (1.2MB)

3. GENETIC (re)MIX (7.4MB) | 64kbps (3.2MB)

4. RAINY DAYS 2.4 (3.0MB) | 64kbps (1.2MB)

5. SURFING ON SOLAR WINDS (2.9MB) | 64kbps (1.1MB)

6. HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY part 2 (4.4MB) | 64kbps (1.9MB)

7. DRIFTING (2.0MB) | 64kbps (679KB)

8. FIREFLY 1.4 (3.7MB) | 64kbps (1.6MB)

9. THE HILL (4.2MB) | 64kbps (1.8MB)

We welcome comments on how to improve our music. Feel free to share what you liked or disliked.

Visit the band blog at StarfishStories.wordpress.com

[UPDATE: How the album was put together]