Vicki Lim reviews “One World One Moment”

Wow.

Didn’t expect such a lengthy review from this young lady.

We got connected when I was trying to find out more about Rosli Mansor and where to get his CD. Since she listened to Rosli’s type of music, I asked if she could have a go at One World One Moment.

Vicki emailed me her review this afternoon. She added: “Hope that the review is okay. I’m not musically gifted enough to talk about chord progressions and what not, so I hope that this will do”.

It’s more than OK, Vicki. We’re grateful when someone bothers to listen to the music, let alone provide constructive comments. I think she tended to be on the kinder side in commenting on the music, LOL.

She’s spot on regarding the sound-engineering. I’m learning more about adjusting the sound levels in GarageBand, and I dare say our upcoming 3rd album will show some improvements.

Here’s her review:

music album cover: 2009 One World One MomentI got to know Ivan through an online music forum, where I approached him after knowing of his interest in Instrumental music (namely Rock Guitar). We hit it off from there, and our online acquaintanceship has somehow progressed from an introduction to a mutually beneficial and enjoyable sharing session.

So yes, thanks to the power of the internet, somehow two people in an island of approximately 5 Million people managed to find each other merely by staring at a screen.
But I digress. On to the review of ‘One World One Moment’ before someone thinks we’re embroiled in a complicated techno-relationship!

‘One World One Moment’ is a collaborative project by Ivan Chew and Adrian Loo, who collectively refer to themselves as Starfish Stories – The Band. One’s a teacher; another’s a librarian (not really two people you’d find with not just one, but two albums to their name!) And the best part is, the album was totally recorded and mixed from their homes, without either one of them meeting physically to jam or compose. The sound quality cannot, (and should not), be compared to a ‘proper’ album done in a recording studio, but for what it counts, it is a commendable effort that is completely homebrewed.

With 9 tracks in the album, each of them different from another, the album is a pleasurable listen on a Sunday afternoon (like today!).

It starts off with One World (2008) which was written to celebrate and embrace the only race – The Human Race. This struck a chord with me (excuse the pun!) because I’m a believer that all people… no matter how we may find ourselves different, we just need to look deeper to see we’re exactly the same. High gain guitar, with a melody that actually makes me imagine the whole “out of body” experience, traversing the world and seeing all the people (ala National Geographic commercial). A fine track, and a great start to the album.

Quiet Afternoon is a short 2 and a half minute interlude, which is calming and true to its name. Reminiscent of an underwater exploration.

Genetic (re)Mix takes on a faster pace after that short relaxing tune, and is again, titled very aptly. Can imagine this in a sci-fi flick with cyborgs and evil machines trying to take over the world.

Rainy Days 2.4 is another short 2 minute + track, but this was a small surprise. Judging from the title I was thinking a more melancholic tune; but despite the fact that it’s not what I expected in terms of mood, it still does well.

Surfing on Solar Winds is the first track that is not primarily guitar-driven, with the bass and keys taking centrestage. Short, but bridges the gap between the previous song to the next.

Have I Told You Lately – Part 2 is my favourite track from the album. The instruments take the backseat here, acting as accompaniment while the vocals are haunting and fit the song just right. Lyrics are simple and they don’t try too hard to be pseudo-deep and complicated. Ivan is no Josh Groban or Sinatra, but he delivers emotionally in this heartfelt composition.

The next tune carries on the sad, rather longing mood. Drifting, like a loveless soul that knows no hope is left. Drifting aimlessly, knowing but still hoping for a sudden miracle to happen. The “tribal calls” near the end of the track sets the mood in a barren Savannah-ish landscape.

Firefly 1.4 sounds strangely familiar but I just can’t remember where I heard it. No matter, it is a pleasing track.

The last track, The Hill. An obvious Scottish influence there! I couldn’t help but imagine a librarian and schoolteacher dressed in kilts and wielding bagpipes and a cowbell, but of course, the rolling green hills and beautiful scenery of Scotland. A great end to the album, this is my second favourite track.


I Give ‘One World One Moment’ by Starfish Stories – The Band a 7/10. The ideas and compositions could use a little more polishing and refining, but other than that, it’s all good. Someone get these two guys into a recording studio and a master sound engineer, quick!

Vicki Lim
www.flickr.com/photos/vickomaniac

Thanks again, Vicki, for the review.

Much appreciated.

~ 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 news@rocklah.com

Check them out at rocklah.com.

~ Ivan

OWOM reviewed!

Wow.

Thanks, once again, to musictomyears for such a flattering review of our 2nd album.
Download this album for free: 2009 One World One Moment - Jamendo

Here’s the review:

A phenomenal, atmospheric, album to really check out and truly enjoy, I was in sheer heavenly delight, listening, to all these awesome tracks. Very professional sounding, and excellent sound quality at that. I love the vocals, the ambient, enchanting, heartfelt vocals and the musical styles that varied from pop, rock to new age and even folk sounding tracks at times as well. Love the acoustic and electronic guitar especially, Fantastic sound…

An unsolicited review! 2009 One World One Moment - Jamendo

When I read the review, I had to check that it was really for our music! LOL

I was already blown over by the first review, here… and this one just made me all teary.

Thanks so much for your kind works, musictomyears!

You’ve made our day.

~ Ivan

SeaStars 2007 reviewed at Jamendo.com

Woot!

A Jamendo.com member left this review for our first album, SeaStars 2007, at Jamendo.com:
Download this album for free: SeaStars 2007 - Jamendo

Lovely, ambient, soft, smooth, kind, music. Feel it lift your heart and soul, let alone touch your spirit deep within. I loved the sound effect as well, they where brilliant and gave the album more depth and feeling to it as well.

Thanks for leaving a comment, musictomyears!

I just had to take a screenshot (it’s obvious that reviews for our songs are so rare, isn’t it? LOL)
Download this album for free: SeaStars 2007 - Jamendo

~ Ivan

Ivan Bridgewater reviews 2009 OWOM

2009 One World One MomentI’ve never met Mr. Ivan Bridgewater. We emailed a few times, after I wrote to him to thank him for allowing people to use his video clip (his clip was the lightning strike that was featured in the One World MV).

I got in touch with him via YouTube mail to tell him about the completed OWOM album. He was nice enough to leave this comment:

I loved the new Album. The music is well edited and kept my interest with no problem. I was wondering if you are going to put the music to video. This music cries out to be used as part of a video. I know that will take time, but after seeing One World I know you are up to it. I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves good music.

Thanks for your kind words, Ivan B.

I don’t have plans to make a music video for OWOM. Finding suitable licensed footage is the challenge. But you’re making me think about it. Maybe a montage of the OWOM album, rather than individual songs. That might be more feasible. I’ll certainly think hard about it!

I’ll check if Ivan B. wants a copy of the MP3 CD. 🙂

Check out more of Ivan Bridgewater’s videos at his YouTube page.

~ Ivan

Lingfeng reviews “2009 One World One Moment”

2009 One World One MomentOur first reviewer for OWOM, Lingfeng! She posted this comment:

The 1st time I listened to the album, I felt that the beats were much stronger here (a bit more “electric”?) as compared to your last album, which was more “light” & soothing.

As for individual pieces, my favourite is “The Hill” although it seems quite different from all the rest, maybe because of the bagpipes (Hmm…maybe you could have put it up as a bonus track). It’s lighter, has an airy feel and somehow, I felt like I’m in some folktale. Anyway, I already liked it when you posted it earlier. I liked “Surfing on Solar Winds” and “Drifting” as well.

Btw, that’s a cool cover!

Thanks for taking time to listen and write a review, Lingfeng (btw, she also reviewed our 1st album).

In response to Lingfeng’s comment about “stronger beats”, I guess Adrian and I subconsciously took to heart from the reviews to our previous album. Most agreed that the songs in SeaStars 2007 could do with some variation in tempos.

So I think or OWOM, we tried to make this album a more varied sound experience.

I’ll burn a MP3 CD for you, Lingfeng (with the high bit-rate tracks, plus the Music Video, and the SeaStars 2007 tracks… and maybe a couple of bonus tracks too — let me think about the bonus tracks, heh).

~ Ivan

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

A new SeaStars 2007 fan!

SeaStars 2007Below’s a flattering review of the SeaStars 2007 album, from Elvina. But first, a ramble of how she came to review the music:

Elvina’s a young intern who works in the same office where I’m at. I’d see her around from time to time but we never had any reason to chat.

She reports to a colleague of mine, Jami. About a week ago, Jami offered a few of us in the office a package of chocolates. I was feeling hungry then so I asked if I could take two. Jami said, “Sure, take as many as you want” (she’s generous). I ate four in the end. So feeling a little “pai-say”, I gave her a SeaStars 2007 mp3 CD that was in my drawer (or rather, I made her a copy).

A few minutes later, I heard Jami call me from her cubicle. I went over and she was playing the album. She asked the usual, like how album was put together, what sort of instruments were used. That was when Elvina the intern came over to listen to the music as well.

Elvina seemed genuinely interested in the music. She even said she’d buy the CD! She’d read this post and said she’d be happy to be our 2nd paying customer.

I declined. Said the previous sale was for a charity. Elvina didn’t have a thumbdrive with her. I gave her my spare mp3 CD to bring home and make a copy.

A few days later when I was back in the office, she said she forgot to bring the CD. No problem, I said. Keep the CD, I said. She looked delighted, and I’m glad. Always nice to give things to someone who appreciates it. Later in the day, I saw her in the photocopy room shredding some documents. On a whim, I said if she could write a review for us.

Sure thing, she said. She’d planned to do that earlier but said something about but being sure if we wanted a review. Ah, of course we’d want reviews.

Good or bad reviews, we’ll post them all up, unedited.

So thanks, Elvina, for taking time to listen to the music and sharing your thoughts.

My personal favourites are:

1) “Seashore Days” (Can feel myself lounging on the beach with a book on hand. Lol! )

2) “Stargazer” (What a suitable name for this! Exactly as i’ve imagined! In the night enjoying the breeze with beloved one, and STARGAZING!)

3) “Starfish 1.2″ ( Uplifting. Before getting to the last part with the children’s laughter, i’ve already gotten the impression that this is a reflection + cheerup kind of music. Good for walks in parks kind of music,starting with the music slow, we’ll observe our surrounding, a time for reflection followed by getting faster with the rythmn at the middle of the music set by the guitar, it just kindda picks up a person’s mood. As this reaches the end, i was like, wooh! Tt’s it! This is gonna be a hit for when someone in low mood. The kid’s laughter just brightens up everything!

4) ” Dolphins Galaxia 1.1 ( great! Like the cute little sound of dolphins. I see mermaids playing with the dolphins or I felt like i was being transported to heaven, celestial? (simply divine!) Yet, the ending seems to be kindda draggy.

Other comments:

Sea Anemone 2.1 ( Playing time is slightly long. Would have been better with more variations in between.)

Good effort in Seabreeze 1.4., especially by trying to bring in Chinese instruments into it. However, personally i dont see much relation between the dolphins and the Chinese theme. Just feel that they dont go well together.

Elvina’s full review, here.

~ Ivan
Ivan Chew - Profile

Linda (of Lunarin) reviews the song “Here And Now”

I don’t know many Singaporean rock musicians personally. But I happen to know Linda, Lunarin‘s singer/ bassist (we got acquainted from a library-related event).

So anyway, I emailed Linda about the song, “Here And Now“, since it wasn’t that bad.

She obligingly listened to it and emailed me her comments. So nice of her to do so! Here’s what she thought about the song (posted with permission):

Ok, I took a listen to this last night and have listened to it again this morning.

Overall the sound quality is great! Will certainly ask you for tips next time when I set up my home studio.

In terms of arrangement I really dig the mid section part onwards. In terms of the intro, I thought perhaps the two guitar parts could balance out a bit – I thought the background rhythm guitar could be a little jarring at times. But once the song moves on to the next movement – now that I really dig! And I am beginning to realize the mid section is quite “your sound” and is what I like about your compositions so far.

Thanks so much, Linda.

Encouragements like this one… priceless.

Ivan Chew - Profile~ Ivan