SeaStars Album: A Singaporean Story of Personal Triumph

SeaStars 2007 album review

One thing I’ve realized about friendship is that it is best ripened when individuals share a common ambition. Be it suffering together through national service, stressing out together on a video documentary, or cutting that new age music album with a long time friend.

That’s where Ivan Chew (aka ramblinglibrarian) and Adrian Loo (previously of the renowned Lizards Convention) come in.

Ivan once told me how he was in admiration of indie musicians who manage to keep going in Singapore. Those of us who are either purveyors or fans of the local music scene would understand this much, that as with most arts in Singapore, it rarely pays the bills. Aside from our incredibly workaholic lifestyle, to finally produce an album, is a personal triumph in itself.

As much as Ivan coerces gently prods me into writing a review for his album, I frankly wouldn’t (and couldn’t) pay attention to the music. New age music, attainable from the wellness aisle of the more established supermarkets, isn’t the kind of music you’d typically sit up in amazement, then run to your store to snatch a copy. It’s everywhere; in classy hotel elevators and fancy restaurants you bring your dates to. Like a dear friend, it’s there to sooth you, without bringing too much attention to itself.

That said, if I were to review a new age album, the goal would to see if helps me concentrate on my task at hand. For this case, in writing this blog post.

I’ve listened to the entire album, from start to finish, yet feeling unaffected, not a single yawn, which is a good sign. Seastars 2007 is pleasing as an electronic album, but a little jarring at some points where the canned animal calls and children laughter brought out the cheesed off frustration in me. Sure, these distinct environmental sounds help punctuate the mood, but at times a little too much. Instead of eliminating them completely, softly cross-fade them into existence. Less is more in this case.

On an interesting note, the SeaStars 2007 album has served as a neat social experiment for the duo. From an album blog, a band blog, an official Facebook group, to an iLike page. More significant was the construction of conversation via blogs, which turns any murmur of SeaStars into a full sentence in the minds of many. Contrast this to the 90s where all local bands had in the scene were homemade posters, flyers, word of mouth and at most, email.

Congrats to Ivan and Adrian. As I’ve shared with many, they’ve shown that true passion knows no bounds.

Take a listen for yourself by by downloading their entire album for free. Perhaps they could consider going Radiohead by doing a pay-as-you-like.

9 thoughts on “SeaStars Album: A Singaporean Story of Personal Triumph

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for doing that review and deeming it a personal triumph. In a way it was for the both of us. The album fell together like a ripe fruit from a branch and all we had to do was pluck it. Its nice that you wrote about the web-based social context – the very few times we met for the making of the album certainly helped me (with 2 small kids in tow). I could do the parts of the album in my free time sans, traveling and arranging for a time to meet… etc etc. There’s a form of learning with an acronym – TASC (Thinking Actively in a Social Context). I think we managed to do that. An important component of TASC is also a review process by other individuals which is currently happening. Once again, thanks for your time and effort in this, really appreciate it. Have a good 2008!
    šŸ™‚ Adrian

  2. Heh, no yawn. That’s a good sign. Maybe Adrian and I should have a “Number of Yawns” review system — the fewer the better! Thanks for taking time to comment on the songs, Kevin. Happy New Year!

  3. Adrian and Ivan, it’s my pleasure. Don’t you guys feel young again, having broken out of the monotony of working life? I wish I could do the same šŸ˜‰

  4. Great album! I am amazed that a few singaporeans managed to do this with just home tech. A few years ago, both me and my wife started something like this, didnt even produce a CD, just a few tracks using the Noron D version free software. I gave it to the Brotherhood, they sold it and it got modified and even hijacked but in made it to No 3 to the Algerian Undergroubnd and I believe it is still floating around. The distribution part is very important as I feel when you get the money, then it really motivates you to the next project. Good kluck and I hope to see more of such projects coming out from SG, we really need it.

  5. Hello Jerome,

    I happen to be a reporter – I am looking to do a feature story on the brotherhood. I have been trying to contact them for yonks, but all I get is the same message, give me money first, then we talk. I dunno whether it is a joke or something. I told them, they would be doing us all a public service, instead I got a reply **** the public service, let talk abt the money part. I seem to get the feeling, they are only concerned abt the money. I would like to ask, did you manage to make any money?

  6. I think Jeremy made money that’s certain, but in my dealings with them, they pay in virtual money, so you can buy even an aeroplane but it has to be on-line transaction. For tax reasons, they never deal in real money.

    However warn you, they can be very sore losers when they dont get their way, sore like so is not unusual

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