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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

New Track: Christmas Medley 2018 for Grace Assembly of God Singapore

It's the Christmas season, and I want to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas!



This track is an instrumental medley of a few Carols and songs:

1. Joy to the World
2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
3. Lord I Want Nothing More (an original worship song from Grace Assembly of God Singapore)
4. We Wish you a Merry Christmas

This is a music video project that my church is producing. It features is a medley of a few songs, some are carols, some are original songs composed by the church. The MTV will feature church staff singing and a few pastors saying some greetings in between the different pieces.

I was asked to creatively arrange and plan progressions of the transitions, constrained to the number of bars present in the guide track. my arrangement will also set the style and mood of each piece. It means I can set a traditional piece to disco or EDM, or hip hop, etc. i have a bit of free-play.

Before the media team goes out to shoot people singing, they need a "guide track" for timing, duration and tempo, so they know much to shoot, how long (duration) to edit, and what to show in the MTV, while I go off arranging the music.

Here I'll elaborate a bit on the challenges I faced.

- creating smooth transitions in tempo at portions that had to go slow then bringing it back up again naturally and smoothly for the finale ending on a high

- making smooth transitions on key changes which had a lot to do with Chord and scale changes, and that must make sense.

- this one may not be so apparent if done "well". It is to fit each transition within a fixed number of bars.
this challenge is similar but not as tough as something I also do: writing music to picture. Take that first transition from a capella hark the angels which I had the slower and then the rock version. The transition is 12 bars. Coming from a pop biased background like myself, my mind is mostly wired to multiples of 8 bars, it was a challenge to fill up a musical space with the usual 8, 16, bars etc.

- realistic and believable arrangement/"recording" /programming (whatever you call the process of composing with virtual instruments on a computer with no "real players" native to those instruments.) Since I also play-in those parts myself in the end, I need to know how each instrument would need to sound, in the context of the music style.

- finally, something that I personally try to achieve whenever I do "cover versions" is to create a combination of style and chord progression of the song that is somewhat different from the common/original version. That makes my time spent more worthwhile since I have get to leave my fingerprint on it in the end. But of course, in my years of doing arrangements, I started off with trying to replicate and imitate. That definitely has some learning value in itself.

Monday, 18 June 2018

New Track: Set Free for Sonic Underworld's Aquatica

Here's another track for Sonic Underworld's Aquatica for U-he's Zebra 2.


And here is that same track on my Soundcloud profile.


Aquatica is a sound-set that has heavy references to oceanic themes in the names of the patches. The sounds themselves are quite awesome. Some of them instantly transport the listener into the deep waters. As I was exploring the sounds I was a kid in the candy store. The sounds took me away to the depths of the ocean, and the finished track is that end result.

In the track, I want to portray the feeling of calm and weightless freedom, submerging in deep water. As the track progresses I want to portray a realisation of that freedom, that the viewer's new-found freedom urges him/her to go forth and explore the vast expanse of the ocean.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

New Track: Circular Emotions for Sonic Underworld's Sensai

Today I present you with my newest demo track for Sonic Underworld's newest sound-set Sensai for U-he's Diva.
Here again is that same track under my user profile.

Circular Emotions has a few moments that surprised me despite my own involvement in the composing and arrangement process.

At the time of writing, something that was also going on my personal life was that I was involved in the practice of Taiji (the gentle flowing Chinese martial arts). I am very fond of it. When I wrote this track, I had decided to stop this for a while. This piece was dedicated to that point in time. It also just happened that the Sensai sound-set had an oriental name to it.

All these factors added up to shape the track the way it is. I surprised myself by using the synth sounds to replace and sound like elements of traditional Chinese music. By the way, I am also not trained in traditional Chinese music. But being Chinese gives me a real advantage when writing Chinese sounding tracks. :)

Sunday, 18 February 2018

New Track: Desert Scape for Sonic Underworld Valiant

After the first taste of writing moody cinematic demo tracks, I quickly jumped on board the Sonic Underworld's next soundset Valiant for U-he Zebra and Dark Zebra.

Here's the track

Here is the same track posted under my own profile.

With Desert Scape, I try to go for a feeling of a broad horizon as far as the eye can see, and always being on the move. I think the evolving elements and short percussive sounds give a sense of movement.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

New Track: Going Down for Sonic Underworld Meridian

I'm super excited to be invited to write a demo track for Sonic Underworld! Sonic Underworld is a cinematic sound design company that creates cutting edge synth patches for popular virtual synthesisers, like U-he's Zebra, Diva, Repro, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, and many more.

Here's the track on Sonic Underworld's playlist

Here's the same track under my profile :)


This is my first time writing a demo track for such a big name. I'm naturally very honoured and I do feel the pressure when I was doing this.

Sonic Underworld is very sound-design in nature. My music style has always been far away from ambient and electronic. This was definitely one of the biggest musical challenges I face in the last 3 years of my musical journey.

Meridian is a sound set for U-he Repro 5 synth. It is a sound set with a balanced and overall great sounding set of sounds. Many of the patches invoke a particular mood just playing a single note.

In my track Going Down, I tried to do something dramatic and towards something that can be used in a film's underscore.

I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Huge Announcement from Cakewalk Sonar



Cakewalk announced huge news today.

Cakewalk Sonar (one of my beloved DAW softwares that I have grown up using for years), has just announced that it will soon be releasing a version that will run on Mac OS !

Also it has announced a time-limited offer for lifetime upgrades, with a one-time payment. The offer to jump on to lifetime upgrades will end 31 Aug 2016. Go to the official website for details and more information. http://www.cakewalk.com/June-2016#SONAR4Life.

I am not a Mac user, have never owned an Apple computer. But I'm still excited. I am glad that musicians on Mac will get one more alternative when choosing their DAW platform, and that the excellent software that Sonar is, will get more exposure and appreciation in the DAW community.

Somehow with this decision to adopt a new OS, I feel Sonar has stepped up to a new status. More widely used, more "international / universal", is the best way I can describe how I see this move.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fight Through It!


For all the struggling artists or people picking up a new skill, here's a video to inspire you to keep up the good work, and never give up!