Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reboot: Reflections .. And Other Things!

In February 2012, it came clear to me that if I were to spend a lot of time in front of the computer with the guitar, constantly writing, recording, arranging, producing and enjoy the sonic results of stuff, I would be able to release a personal playlist consisting of songs.

But greediness isn't what life is all about.

After 10 years of guitar playing, I found the joy of songwriting, and I wrote a few tracks, which were available on YouTube for the likes of everybody to check out!

I guess I decided to take it up a level, and to release a solo album.

Ah ha! The links are towards the right. Only 100 physical copies were home made, and spread amongst fans, friends, family and new faces so far.

I hope you enjoy this record as much as I did producing it.

On another note, I recently returned to Malaysia to visit friends and family - but also to distribute this album, and to gather MIDI information from a drummer I truly respect, and had the honour to work with. The reason why, is because that this record was sparked by the idea of a local guitarist by the name of Kelvyn Yeang. The underlying materials that we've worked so far, would be a surprise. It's totally different to what Ocean of Fire fans would listen to, really.

Since he's taking up on the lead guitars (obviously), what would my role be?

As an arranger/producer. So this ought to be interesting. I'll contribute very little amounts of guitar works, but the main objective of this record would be very challenging. To make instrumental music enjoyable. It took me quite a bit to realise that instrumental music - without lyrics - is probably the ultimate language to ensure that everybody understands what you're trying to communicate.

I don't need to understand Japanese to listen to Nobuo Uematsu's compositions for the Final Fantasy series, if that makes sense.

Anyhow, the links are on the right - check them if you wish!

I'm in the midst of moving places as we speak. My brother and I will get the keys to the new place, and I'm looking forward in setting up my "mobile" studio there. Will be an interesting change!

'Till then,

Rock n roll!

- JL

Friday, August 31, 2012


Ah, David Gilmour. What a genius you are. A guitarist who's noted to crazily abuse space and melodies.

The Blue is currently playing on my playlist, and .. My word, it's beautiful.

Anyway! My good friends & guitar mentor, Kelvyn Yeang, sent me a message on Facebook while I was reviewing one of my songs (actually, two, but they're two songs merged into 1 - which is about 9mins and 17sec long!) .. They're titled:

Pt. I: Onwards!
Pt. II: Forgotten

Played together, back to back, would be titled as "Onwards, then Forgotten." .. Music's all about putting all sorts of ideas together, and when it comes to this, you're limited by your creativity, and for my case, I'm limited by both creativity and technique.

But back to the whole message on Facebook, he mentioned something about getting 10 songs done - to get some ideas and arrangements done. I remember he once told me something about "not being too precise" in his recordings to make it sound organic. Surprisingly, he's going back to his 2004-2005 roots where he's really on the dot.

And he pointed out that he had a chat with some dudes on his side to understand that playing with live drummers, they'll never be "on the spot". I don't blame them.. And I think live drummers are great to work with! But let's face the fact. If you really want to hit ON the spot, either you have to nudge their recorded hits to a certain time frame on the session - which will be a complete headache to the audio engineer as he has to splice most of the tracks apart, drag everything into place..

.. And if the kit's mics bleed into each other, that's when the cursing and tantrum begins.

.. And you can't cheat the room, overhead and ambient mics in the recording studio.

So, for the drums, I'm required to study the people he has worked with before, which will be interesting (for my drum programming toolbox).

He also suggested that I should study his bassist .. but if it were to be the 4 and 6 stringed instruments we work with, I automatically assumed that he wanted me to record the bass as well.

.. Surprisingly, he wanted me to work around MIDI basses .. And sad to say, I do not have any proper MIDI samples to imitate a rock bassist. The best way (for me) to get a bass guitar that's being played by a bassist IS to record the instrument itself.

Plus, honestly, I dislike MIDI bass patches unless if it's a non-rock track, then I'd actually programme bass lines rather than to record it.

But.. Oh man! This slight project is going to be an interesting one! I hope I have the time for him and his ideas.

And he mentioned something about to "orchestrate".. which I hope he isn't serious, and he accidentally meant "to arrange with extra instruments"..

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Story to Tell.


Something I've always accused myself in. The truth is, I don't think I have failed drastically.

Not yet, at least. And I don't intend to.

Plus, for those who failed, turned out to be the world's greatest leaders in their own industry.

What say you?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back to the Grind.

It's been some crazy 3 weeks that just recently passed. I've been recovering from this mad sickness due to the weather, and I spent the past few weeks preparing for an interview for a possible job (!!), getting my stuff on at the current job, and putting recording on a pause.

I suppose I'm alright physically, but..

Let's not get there now, shall we?

I woke up again, realising that being in bed, being all useless and moping around about trying to restore my health isn't going to do me any good.

3 weeks is a lot of time.

So I decided to give myself a major boot to the arse, and started recording for one of the maddest prog rock tracks I've ever written.

But after having a look at the structure of it, I failed to make it a "technical" one. Guess it isn't in my musical blood to do something really mad for my standards.

Again, I've learnt quite a bit in recording this new track, so hopefully all goes well.

Also, I've taken a break from songwriting, due to the health-restoration bit, which isn't cool at all. I have to really jump into a lot of songwriting to really get the album up and running. And 3 weeks just went.. JUST like that.

Totally uncool at all.

I always knew that time is something that isn't meant to be wasted. I get very conscious on what's really going on around me every single day if I'm off or something, I tend to fully utilise that specifically given time for a certain .. objective.

And that is for music.

Today, Plan B for my achievements have begun. I always had this theory or fact about myself, and if I were to get too involved in music, I'd fail in maintaining relationships.

I'm not pointing this out to you, by the way.

In a sense that I'd neglect those around me - of friends and family. And that void is growing bigger as the day passes. Every single time I sit down with either the Fireman or the Strat, I have more reasons to not talk to anybody at all.

And this affects my language I use to communicate towards others. I won't be surprised one day that if I lost the ability to speak properly. I know I can write, but to speak, that would be a talent I'll never be able to achieve.

There are plenty of things I've done wrong. I thought I'd take huge risks, but I end up fooling myself with all these ..idiotic ideas.

But to the extent of feeling used, disappointed and all that, just makes me branch off from being myself.

Also, I did write a song. Probably the most emotional song I've ever written, and I'm glad that I did. It shows that I once felt whatever I needed to feel, and after what I've felt what I needed to, life isn't a bed of roses.

Nothing works like how it does in the movies, or how you plan it. If you're planning something and if you're working with someone else, it's always the opposite party that has an effect on what your desired outcomes are.

I'm glad things didn't turn out fine, but I'm glad that I'm smiling.

Rock n' Roll!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Onwards.. then Forgotten.

The title itself proves that one does not have any willpower to move on in certain aspects in life.

It's also the title of the upcoming song I'm working on, which is probably the most mathematical and confusing piece I've ever written in a single key.

It's all based on feelings, and after I found out what the automation/time signature change button does, I'm finally unleashing all sorts of rhythmic nonsense that made me thought I was wrong as I did not follow a generic metronome.

Not forgetting that a metronome is always in 4/4. I didn't know anything about time, until recently. Took me about 9 years to realise that. Bad?

I'm also on the verge of scrapping the whole idea out because it'll take too long to complete, but if I finish this song, I think it'd be the greatest achievement I've ever done so far with this life of mine in music.

On another note, I also realised that it's a talent to have a vision in music - and improving on how a basic structure of a piece should sound. I never believed in the comments I received from musician-friends and friends who doesn't understand music as in depth as some of us do, but..

I always felt like I'm new to this. Every single note, and chord progression I've written and all sorts of writing, is always different to one another. Of course, there might be a similarity in terms of chord numbers (e.g. 1 5 6 4 and all that?), but..

I don't know. It's hard to explain. As long as the music fits, the right tone is achieved, I should just shut up and do whatever I feel like doing.

But I feel I've been slacking off and taking it easy. Working, finding a job, getting deadlines for music sorted out, all this is starting to get to me. Moreover, to top it off with emotions, I think I have finally begun to lose it.

I feel like.. What I'm doing will lead me to nowhere, and that, in everybody's life, is a real tragedy. I haven't experienced it yet, but if I do, it isn't going to be good at all.

And I wish.. somehow, I just wish.. for things to be alright. Even for the better or the worse, I'll be alright once the truth unfolds. This is probably the toughest stage of my life so far, and I am pretty unsure how more can I hold on.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Only Question.

My only question is.. Why.

It's beginning to hurt, and I have never felt this way in a very long time.

Perhaps, the mind has thought too much.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I realised that my only true enemy in life, is my own thoughts that lurk in my mind.

Sometimes, it has been my companion that pushes me forwards and not be a potato couch. Moreover, thoughts overrule what we really have in mind.

Sadly, my thoughts are usually against reality in the most negative way, or perhaps I haven't seen the true light in certain aspects.

If only one can open up the future to see what lies in it on all aspects, it would really ease some of the uncertainties in life I have.

For my case, my mistakes in the past are the cause of the present situations that I am undergoing.

I guess the most I can do is just to sit, and hope, that all shall turn out well. Only time, for my case, shall tell.

On another note, the album preparation looks good so far. Just that I have to spend a lot of time songwriting. I have enrolled in Paul Gilbert's latest online school of rock, and it's a great tool to assist any aspiring guitarists, or anyone who just picked the instrument up out of sheer curiousity. Even I relearnt the basics, and that's a really good thing to be aware of.

Other than that, life is just a plain cycle. I need more excitement in some points. Or not.

I just want to know the truth.

Only time shall tell.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rest in Peace, Alda Evan Tan.

Talk about being away from blogs. Just as I wrote on how I felt recently, I received sad news as I was on break at work this morning.

2012 has been a very sad year for my musical soul.

On the 2nd of April 2012, Din of Art Tune passed on. A truly humble, and great musician/guitarist/guitar technician. Today, after 2 months of hard battle with a coma, his soul finally rest in peace.

Although I did not really know him well, and if I was given the chance (and time) to get to know him better, we would have been good friends through music, and I would have progressed quicker and understood songwriting even more. He always had a lot of support, and the kindest words to say, and was always curious on whatever that was trending.

It's sad to see such a talented young (REALLY young) mind to put to rest.

It was just an hour's jamming session with him, another guitarist (Collin Chin - an amazing songwriter!), Moe Nasrul and my ex drummer, Joshua Tan, made me realise so much about dynamics. I was clearly paying attention to the way and style that Alda played. It was the first time I ever laid my eyes on a funk/jazz bassist who's into rock.

And I've carried those thoughts with me until late last year, when I started writing songs. Having the ear to ensure that nothing sounds stale, and exciting, adding space, coordination, the element of surprise, and most importantly, whatever sounds good to the ears.

And we remember him for what he does, and who he is. His case is not severe as Buddy Bolden, who had no documents or evidence of him doing Jazz music and him sounding that good. But it's situations like these that makes me realise that producing your own music, if you can, is a benefit.

Not for yourself, but for music enthusiasts to find out who you are, or who you once were.

Alda found out I was doing recordings and offered to do a bass track on one of my songs, Faith.

Now he's gone. Lord knows what he would've done to make it sound better.

Rest in peace, Alda. You will be rememebered, always. Thank you for minor details that I expanded on. I really appreciate it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Urge To Write.

So, that completes another chapter in my life. I assume this will be a long post due to my inactivity and updates.

I am unofficially a graduate with a Bachelors in Business, with a Finance major from the University of Tasmania 2012. It's a really cool feeling..

Or not. When I graduated with a Diploma in Business Accountancy, I felt nothing. Now that I completed a another paper qualification and I feel emptier.

Odd, isn't it? I guess a job's a job.

And because I feel very empty about it, that's all I have to say about this qualification. It would only be useful if I got myself a .. well, job with it.

Things here in Australia, on the other hand, has been interesting. It's definitely a mixture of love and hatred. A balance of yin and yang, so I can't say much about it. And looking back at Malaysia, I really wonder how I ever grew up in a place like that without.. getting injured or robbed due to the current trends of theft and robbery. It is pretty painful to watch a country like that turn into something I could never ever imagined. Moreover, I get worried for those really close to me in that place.

But Australia has a very strong currency, with ridiculous taxes over items based on cost prices, and is known to be one of the most expensive places to live in the world.


Music, on the other hand, has been gradually growing inside of me. If I must, I would like to thank music for all its training and understanding to help me pass a few of my finals last August - November 2011. I kid you not about this.

And music, makes me understand general art better instead of being an unappreciative prejudice turd. When someone talks to me about their hobbies that relates to art, I cannot help myself but to understand their expressions in their own fields. I find this pretty amazing.

Also, I have a huge surprise that should take place by the end of this year if all goes well. Stay tuned!

Oh, and besides the Fender Stratocaster I bought in November 2010, I have the Ibanez Fireman within my hands too, and it is TRULY a great guitar!

And the new things that I learn every single day through music, and in music, is truly rewarding. It keeps my mind at peace even though I may be in the worst position in life, ever. But the urge to complain is absent, which is truly great.

I still have hopes up for anything good presented to me, so I hope this optimism will last until I decide to give up.

Which I doubt it will be.

Now, over the years, I have realised that expressing myself publicly is annoying to myself. I trouble others by allowing them to read what is on my mind and thoughts, and if it's negative, you never know how one's negativity may affect another's lifestyle.

And love. Love is ever confusing. I know that this warm fuzzy feeling I feel in my heart every day is extreme passion I get by writing, composing, recording, arranging and playing music. But no matter how much I get such passion from such activities, it will never replace the unconditional feelings you give and receive from another individual.

Let it be the same or opposite gender, you can never be one with the whole universe without this intense and amazing emotion.

I may have found it again. And it took me years to realise that nobody is perfect. Sure, I admit I have said that many times, but walking the talk is a whole different concept. The whole point to be in a relationship, is to find a future within each other, not because this warm fuzzy feeling inside you tells you that you should be with this person only because this person touches you with an appearance or a personality.

And when I mentioned years, I meant years I was blind for. It's like breathing - it's passive and underrated. But if you were to be tossed into the ocean, breathing will save your life - provided if you don't breathe underwater.

I took things for granted. And if I never thought this much, I would have taken more things tossed my way for granted as well. I realised that being blind for this long, led me to another beautiful world of emotions and understanding - where all negativity transforms to a thought of that it could have only been worse.

It's a little bit too late to say this. But I decided to hold on this time. You've held on for years, and it must have been painful. It was words like these from this place that hurt you (or shocked you) in the first place, so I have decided to not take it from where we left off, but to start over again.

In fact, I'd like to know more about you.

It's a little bit too late, but this time, I'm holding on to. And every time I switch on my Mac, your messages are displayed on one of my startup applications, stating..

Always did (held on), and always will.

Talk about reminders. This is a good one.

And like every other thing I've said so far, this is going to be the generic love movie, and I'm pretty damn sure that you're the one.

I'm looking forward to the future. It's scary, and exciting at the same time.

.. Thank you for making me feel alive again. More importantly, thank you for making me human - to love another individual unconditionally.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Updates for 2012!

Nothing much, really. Just that I got a couple of things after the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster. Here's a list of it:

1) Traded in my M-Audio Oxygen 25 for a KeyRig 49 (Figured I prefer more keys rather than the faders and the knobs.. although they're pretty damn useful!)
2) Bought a desktop MIDI controller - the Behringer BCF2000.
3) A Mackie 402 mixer.
4) ... To accompany the use of the mixer, I got a pair of Samson Resolv A5.
5) An Ibanez Fireman (!!!!!!!!!!)
6) A shitload of pedals for the guitar rig side.

Music, to me, has turned into an essential piece of my life. If there's a missing piece in my heart and soul, it'd be music.

And it hasn't stopped there and then, ever since. Every time I wake up, and when I pick up the guitar, it's usually a bunch of chord progressions that's never in the same key/scale, or in odd measures.. Or both.

With that said, I'm a bit worried for my mental state.

I'm still the same person outside of the house, but when I have the headphones on, I'm pretty happy that I got exposed to such a world that I cannot describe with words. It's still something you can hear, but in a language that the whole world understands without a barrier.

That's the only thing I'm contented with myself in life for now. Other than that, I haven't really achieved anything much.

I suppose. Or not?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jasper's 24th.

True story.

There were plenty of other things that went wrong that night, anyway.


So this was what happened.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Something I wrote based on emotions, faith, and being "natural".

This song has some elements that I have never played live, or even bothered to focus on.

Couple of cool mistakes I discovered with constant recording. :-) Enjoy!