I cranked up the Mac and fired up Garageband ’11 and as I fiddled with guitar settings I was pleasantly surprised to see the pedal effects on the right.  The new Garageband version 6.0.4 is really a vast improvement and importantly in its sound.  The guitar sounds cleaner and the effects do what they are meant to (meaning they sound like the real thing).   However, I am still a little disappointed with the Wah effects; its hard to replicate the Cry baby wah sound so when you add wah effect it sounds a bit too mild.  While the interface for the pedals are pleasing, its really difficult to rotate the knobs using the mouse – perhaps a straight forward vertical or horizontal sliding level would suffice.




Music album: 2009 One World One Moment

Its been a busy Feb but I hope March will be better. This album was in the making most of 2008 and as usual Ivan was the more industrious, as usual. The songs are much better than the Seastars2007 album in terms of the arrangement and partly because we are much better at GarageBand now.

But still Seastars2007 had its own magic about it. The songs here are meant to capture moments and its a tribute to mindfulness and how a moment can be significant enough to be enjoyed fully and captured in a song.

I have shamelessly, copied Ivan’s post below to advertise the album.

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 As long as you ATTRIBUTE the music to 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

In case you didn’t quite understand the above, READ THIS! 🙂

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

2009 One World One Moment

128Kbps VBR version (35MB ZIP) | 64Kbps version (15MB ZIP)


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

[UPDATE: How the album was put together]

A Quiet Afternoon

Adrian Loo - Profile

Did this song quiet a while ago. It was a raw version with just 2 guitar tracks and I passed it to Ivan to add to it. Since he bought a bass, I thought it would be nice to fill the background with some lower notes. He also added some nice acoustic guitar fills to it.

A song dedicated to my bandmate Ivan for his patience and philosophy.

An Ode to Whales

There is something fascinating about whales and dolphins. I remember giving a lecture in school on Lipids (an ‘A’ level biology subtopic) and as a digression, I told the class a story about Whaling in Nantucket in the 18th century. Its somewhat related to lipids as the whaling industry was mainly based on the lipid found in the spermaceti of the sperm whale. A large whale could provide up to 3 tons of that valuable wax which was odorless and non-oily to the touch.

Anyway, I played some sound clips of whales singing (yes, they do sing and in different dialects too, depending on which pod they belong to) and after that auditory experience, the students (about 300) clapped and cheered. There must be something mesmerizing about whales in our human psyche. I was glad to know that most students displayed a sense of biophilia, sensu E.O. Wilson.

Scientifically, Cetaceans are animals belonging to the Order Cetacea, which, include whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Actually the reason why I am posting here is because I came across this article about whaling in Japan and its just inexplicable that whaling still occurs. Hey, I understand if the Iñupiat Eskimos do it to survive (see my post on a book I read about Eskimo whaling) but to state scientific reasons for whaling is entirely beyond reasonable acceptance. Its like killing cats randomly and saying we need data.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Whaling: The Japanese position

Note this statement – “Over a six-month period, it will kill 1,000 whales as part of what it says is a scientific research programme.”

I am no whale fanatic but they are just lovely creatures. I have had nice dreams about dolphins and whales too and those were deep and meaningful ones for me. They at least represent the wonders that nature has produced. And at most, are inspiring to many people. Scientifically, the are really peculiar and interesting ends of the evolutionary tree. See link below about the recent fossil discovery that shed new light on the evolutionary research to trace which extinct land-dwelling mammals were the probable ancestors of Cetaceans

Deerlike Mammal Was Whale Ancestor?

Ivan’s Dolphins Galaxia and Into the Deep feature some whale and dolphin sounds. They are so enchanting and give a sensitive dimension to the music.

My point is “Stop Whaling!”


“genetic mix…”

finally got a new electric guitar about a month ago, its a modest one with one a single double-humbucker.   But its an ibanez with a nice feel.  The fret board is pretty smooth and nice to the touch.  Action is pretty low so that means the fingers don’t feel raw after playing for long stretches.

Its suppose to be composed for some science open house for my colleague to present slides with.  But because I was in such a relax mode to compose it since it wasn’t suppose to be in the album, I think there were some creative juices that flowed into the song.  I decided to work on it abit more after I felt I had used too many GB loops in the song.  So I changed the second part so that there was a chord change!  The first version didn’t have one cos it was suppose to be like some short jingle for powerpoint slides.

Spent the better part of 1am to 3am to add in some stuttering guitar leads but overall I am quite happy with this.  Its quite a feat to play the guitar half-asleep.  I remember going into the room and getting ready for bed at 1.30 and then waking up to add more guitar parts…. until 3 am.  then Josh wakes up 5 am tearful and says he can’t fall asleep so we moved to the couch outside and camped out….  eventually he got some sleep but woke up bug-eyed..

So this song is dedicated to teeming life in the sea and the world, the Burmese and also to the poor japanese man who died in Burma.

Thanks to Ivan for tips on layering the guitar leads and most of the fancy stuff I know on Garageband.   Also thanks to Siva for reacquainting us… viva la Ang Mo Kio Sec.  Several more songs to go before the album is complete.  As expected Ivan’s been prolific and providing a good balance to the album as it shapes up.

Sea anemone

Sea anemone” is dedicated to seashore life and preservation of the coastal environment— also to my wife cos of the late nights I kept with this and the kids for sometimes neglecting them….

Just managed to put the finishing touches on this one. This is a rather technical piece , at least for me cos it the focus was on the melody that is more structured than I can normally handle.. and it was planned to repeat quite a bit. Hopefully it sticks like a splinter into the listeners head. Also, the lead guitars are at the forefront- a little intimidating since I am so used to being in the rhythm part of the band… Made the improvements from my other songs based on comments from Ivan.

For this song, I started with the chords and the beat in Garageband and then started to mess around with a few melodies over the tracks. Its a bit plastic cos it doesn’t have the sit at the void deck or by the beach kind of feel “seashore days“or “starfish” have but its a bit neater and cleaner and something one can tap the feet to.

It took a while to finish this cos there were other things in the way… the usual… have to eat and go out and work and stuff like that. But got things done nocturnally. Didn’t like the way it was so repetitive I finally put in a verse with different chord progression to save it – that really too a bit of time.

Hope to do about 8-10 songs by the end of the year to compile an album called “Seashore days”.