Remix – “Into Thy Heart”

I was thinking “Enya” as I worked on I-Ling’s ccMixter stems. I wasn’t able to do something with her main vocals. So I toyed with her backing pells instead. I imported the track into my iPad (converted to AIFF) and then mucked around with the iPad’s GarageBand. Experimented with piano, orchestra strings and clean electric guitar layers. Utilised the automatic chords in the GB iPad app (I couldn’t have played them so precisely). Finally exported to my iMac and tweaked the mix with Logic Express.

Here’s the remix titled “Into Thy Heart”:

The instrumental track uploaded here, under a CC-BY license.

~ Ivan

Song for friends: “Christmas Bells”

Instead of sending Christmas or New Year Cards, we thought to send a song to friends and acquaintances. Here’s “Christmas Bells – Classical Version“:
2011 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0). Click here for how to give credit and other conditions.

0912-1094 Moonlight over the forest
Originally uploaded by Leo-Avalon

Here’s the adapted lyrics:


There are sounds in the sky when the year grows old,
And the winds of the winter blow—
When night and the moon are clear and cold,
And the stars shine on the snow,
Or wild is the blast and the bitter sleet
That beats on the window-pane;
But blest on the frosty hills are the feet
Of the Christmas time again!
Chiming sweet when the night wind swells,
Christmas Bells!

The owl that sits in the ivy’s shade,
Remote from the tower,
Shall start from his drowsy watch afraid
When the clock shall strike the hour;
And over the fields in their frosty rhyme
The cheery sounds shall go,
And chime shall answer unto chime
Across the moonlit snow!
How sweet the lingering music dwells,—
Christmas Bells.

And the glorified ones from that holy hill
Are reaching their helping hands.
These be the words our music tells
Of solemn joy, O Christmas Bells!

Hope this song brings you cheer at the close of 2011, and the start of 2012.

Best wishes,
Starfish Stories :: The Band
I-Ling, Adrian & Ivan.

p.s. If you enjoyed the music, you can “pay” us by sharing the music. Thanks!

SoundOut Against Sex Trafficking music CD launch, 22 June 2011

Congrats to for organising the music CD launch yesterday evening.

SoundOut Against Sex Trafficking music CD launch

None of us from Starfish Stories could attend, unfortunately. But still very, very tickled that we three amateurs could actually produce a song (“Open the Door, Smile Again”) that was deemed good enough to be on a compilation with other more established Singapore bands.

The selected song is the first track, from this SFS album produced for the SoundOut campaign.

Thanks for including us in the project.

~ Ivan

Electric Rain Dance 2011: redux

[First posted at]

Here’s an updated version of my June 2006 track:


Listen/ Download at The track is licensed under a CC-BY license. Feel free to reuse or remix this song (CC license applies). Please credit the music to: Music by Ivan Chew –

The original was composed at a time when I was still new to GarageBand. There wasn’t much of an original lead guitar. More of a tentative attempt at learning how to record an electric guitar “live instrument” into GarageBand. And it was composed after a 12-year break from playing the guitar.

Here’s the original (the volume is mastered too low and uneven; lack of any significant melody):

Four years on, and about four digital albums later, I’ve learned more about recording, mixing and mastering.

I have a better understanding of Compression settings, tricks like applying a Limiter to the final mix, stereo and panning effects. Had help from books like this, this and this.

Redstone Arsenal Army Concert Tour
Originally uploaded by familymwr

While I’m far, far from the likes of playing like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai, the lead guitar playing is considerable better. By my standards, at least.

Even if I’m not technically accomplished, I definitely gave more thought to the lead guitar composition and musical phrasing.


~ Ivan

My Lunarin Remix #1: “No Sun Under The Sky”

When I posted this, I had already started working on the remix.

Took me about 5 evenings to complete it.

I give the world “No Sun Under The Sky” — an obvious reference to Lunarin’s original title:Creative Commons License“No Sun Under The Sky” by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Singapore License.


The remixed track has been uploaded at my ccMixter page. Some ccMixter reviews/ comments that made my day:

  • (Linda is) a lovely soaring singer and the song has a pretty lyricAdmiral Bob
  • Slowly seething beauty with the piano keeping time…Fireproof_Babies
  • [This one is my favourite!] i think a lot of people miss the musical fusion magic happening in Singapore (and Budapest, too). for me the best new music comes from those two areas.panu moon

Linda was the first to respond to the remix.
Facebook | Linda Ong

She saw it fit to post about it via her FB profile:
Facebook | Linda Ong comments on my remix of Lunarin's The Sky

And that was probably how SG music “heavy weights” like Willy Tan and Patrick Chng dropped by:
Facebook | Remixing Lunarin: “No Sun Under The Sky”

It’s obvious to me that all this CC remixing stuff gives as much exposure to the band and the remixers. This is just a bonus though. The real fun is in the musical process.

I cannot quite play like Lunarin, nor get their sound. Remixing them gives me that little taste of being with my fav band, or dare I say “In” it. If just for a little while 🙂

Lunarin | Home

You can listen to the original version of “The Sky (Algiers)” in this YouTube vid from Lunarin’s live concert on 1 Oct 2010.
[UPDATE: Lunarin has uploaded the original track, here]

In my remix, I’ve used Linda’s vocals and sampled a bit of the track’s piano, bass and clean guitar. A very long “How It Was Done” post, over at MyRightBrain.

And of course boys and girls, let’s not forget that the very cool Lunarin (Linda, Kah Wye, Eng Teck) made this remix possible.

Thanks for “Sharing Today. Shaping Tomorrow”.

Get your own Lunarin remix going. Do remember to license your remix as CC-BY-NC-SA.

~ Ivan
p.s. For the more astute readers, yeah there is a #2 coming up!

“Stolen Dreams” – 290,000 plays and counting!

Our album co-contributor, I-Ling, alerted me to the number of listens for our songs, on the Sound Out page. And I tweeted it (though it should be number of ‘plays’ not downloads).

Adrian didn’t believe that the song had over 200,000 plays.

As of 5 Aug, around 7pm, it’s:

  • 290,304 plays


"Stolen Dreams" - Sound Out Singapore

Maybe it’s the first track that got played. Maybe not. Whatever the reason, that’s a heck of a lot of listens for us. 🙂

Here’s “Stolen Dreams” (a rock instrumental track)

The lead guitar work is by Adrian. When he sent me the raw stems, he explained:

Gave it a shot with the leads for stolen dreams.. the leads tell the story..
There is that oriental twist and a tune to begin with that is repeated.
Then there is a melodious and uplifting part
Then there is the very convoluted part… I tried to put the frustration and agony of some lost hope… I imagine it was a teenage girl in despair

Adrian’s lead guitar stems can be downloaded from ccMixter.

I’ve also uploaded the backing track and made it available at this ccMixter page.


~ Ivan

Lyrics: Open the Door (Smile Again) –

Here are the lyrics to the title track, for our CC project for, as mentioned here.

The song is titled “OPEN THE DOOR (SMILE AGAIN)”.
Music by Ivan Chew –
Words by I-Ling –
Music and words are licensed under a CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION 3.0. Singapore 2010.

Released by “Starfish Stories :: The Band” ( for
The nights are long and endless
When you’re miles away from home
The truth is so much darker than
Any story ever told

Shut away
No one you can trust, no hand to hold
But deep inside
Something’s alive within you
That’s called hope

* Chorus
Just open the door
Step into the light
Reach out
And you will find your way again

Take off those chains
Leave the past behind
The night is over
So smile again

Open your eyes
It’s a brand new start
Look up
And there’s a blue sky over your head

Don’t be afraid
Listen to your heart
You have every reason
To smile again

A dream without an ending
Taken away before you said no
Locked behind those dirty walls
You’re just a ragged, broken doll

A living dead
You think the scars are all you have
But deep inside
Your heart beats so strong and fast
So believe in yourself

* Chorus

* Chorus (repeat)

Song: For My Shoogie

I learned that “Shoogie” is a term of endearment. I dedicate this to my shoogie of 10 years (my wife; not my band buddy, LOL)

My guitar stems can be downloaded at the ccMixter page.


For My Shoogie“, by Ivan Chew and featuring panu moon, is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Click here for how to give credit and other conditions.

Originally uploaded by donricardopezzano

~ Ivan

Happy 7th Birthday, Creative Commons! aka song: “Don’t Want To Come Back Down”

[First posted at]

This track is my contribution to the Creative Commons 7th birthday (partly encouraged by @thornet).

You can download/ stream the track at this page.

Don’t Want To Come Back Down” by Ivan Chew. 2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Click here for how to give credit and other conditions.

It’s a longish instrumental track that makes me think of soft white clouds, blue skies, cool lazy afternoons… then spilling into a sudden equatorial monsoon rain. Then all is groovy again. And I’m floating, floating up and up, not wanting to come back down.

I thought it fitting to contribute to CC7, with a track made possible by the CC movement, and posting on ccMixter. Thanks to this video that led me to jaspertine’s inspirational ambient track.

To all Creative Commoners: Happy 7th.

Don’t give up
Originally uploaded by disgustipado

~ Ivan

Song: Old Man and the Sea II

This track would go into our upcoming “The Mangrove Tree” album. Thanks to panu moon for granting me permission to release this under a CC-BY license.


Creative Commons LicenseOld Man and the Sea II by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. Please credit to “Ivan Chew –“. And I’d appreciate if you also credit “panu moon –“.

This song was inspired by panu’s celtic-sounding guitar piece.

panu moon is an Atlanta-based songwriter, and popular ccMixter contributor. I’ve never met him but I kind feel like we’re friends.

I got to know him from our interactions at ccMixter. He gave me some tips on mixing and mastering tracks.

Making friends from music.

This is what it’s all about.

man + sea
Originally uploaded by sgrace

Additional details of this track at MyRightBrain.

~ Ivan