Jul 17, 2016

Hillsong Young & Free - This Is Living (Cover by Kirsten Wong & Javin Tham)

This is my 3rd Christian song cover with Kirsten. Planning for a cover recording session hasn't been easier as soon as both of us stepped into the working adult stage. Moreover I started my master's degree semester in January 2016, and so I suggested that we record the cover during the NUS vacation period from May onwards.

The song we're doing is This Is Living by Hillsong Young & Free, the original version is EDM style, and we're doing its acoustic version. It's quite cool to see Christian songs evolve into EDM genre (there's even a rapping part).

We were by default under the impression that the cover is to be recorded in Temasek Hall band room as usual, but this time round we were turned down by the in charge of the band room - we're told that they can't lend the band room to non-residents, for the first time we're told so.

And so we're down with other alternatives, trying out Eusoff Hall band room is one of them. Despite that, we're only able to use it in July when orientation started. As it's the first time I'm using the equipment which I'm pretty sure I'll be rather unfamiliar with, we're facing the risk whereby we might be bringing all the props there all set for recording but at the end of the day we're unable to.

I stepped into their band room and I was truly ashamed of our Temasek Hall band room, despite having more instruments than Temasek Hall, they're able to keep their stuff tidier than I thought (partly because their band room is much spacious), and I mean, who has 4 cajóns in a band room? For the cajón quartet?

And if you watch the song cover video, the lighting is purely from the dozen of lamps that they have in the band room. No camera video lighting or ceiling light used (it could have been slightly better as I might have been able to use my video lighting with the diffusing umbrella which I brought, but the light went haywire on that day).

The mixer they're using is Mackie ProFX22v2, and of course I wouldn't have had its driver installed in my laptop as I didn't know what model that is. And the 2-hour-hassle began with me trying to research which driver it uses and how to actually use it (thanks to me being an NUS student again to use its wifi) - it turned out that the mixer doesn't require (or rather incapable) driver installation to be set as an audio hardware, it however doesn't support multitrack recording where all channels from the mixer are exported as one single output signal, but we needed three (Kirsten, me and the keyboard).

What happened next was really some impromptu stunts - we searched around the room and found some audio interfaces. We took one of them (PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL and I managed to download its driver. It only supports two channels and so I had to mouth my singing and do a post recording, yes I mouthed it, but I did sing it out otherwise it would look unnatural and fake, it's the best that we could do out of this misery after going through 2 hours of pathetic trial and error.

On the bright side, we did it, somehow miraculously, thank God for that. Really grateful that Kirsten helped out a lot with setting up, putting the equipment back into place etc. Thanks to the lighting, it's my most satisfactory video setting so far. Hope you enjoy the cover.



Waking up knowing there's a reason
All my dreams come alive
Life is for living with You
I've made my decision

You lift me up, fill my eyes with wonder
Forever young in Your love
This freedom's untainted with You
No moment is wasted

See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turns to colour all around
All is new, in the Savior I am found

This is living now
This is living now

You take me higher than I've been before
It's Your perfect love that sees me soar
God your freedom is an open door
You are everything I want and more

You lead the way, God You're right beside me
In Your love I'm complete
There's nothing like living with You
This life You created, I choose

See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to color all around
All is new, in the Savior I am found

This is living now
This is living now

You take me higher than I've been before
It's Your perfect love that sees me soar
God your freedom is an open door
You are everything I want and more

See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to color all around
All is new, in the Savior I am found

See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to color all around
All is new, in the Savior I am found

This is living now
This is living now

You take me higher than I've been before
It's Your perfect love that sees me soar
God your freedom is an open door
You are everything I want and more

Mar 26, 2016

Sunrise Bistro & Bar @ East Coast Park


The Tripsters
The story began as we're approached to perform as a resident band at Sunrise Bistro & Bar. It's the very first time we The Tripsters signed a contract for regular gigs.

What I really like about the place is that there's already a keyboard in place, and it hasn't been so convenient and enjoyable sitting on the cajón playing the keyboard - there's really flexibility and I was then regularly playing not one but two instruments. When friends are told the place I'm performing at, they're like wow, that's way to far, from everywhere. That isolated location really makes a difference in traveling there by car and by public transport. Still, thank God I have a direct buss (966) from Bukit Panjang to Marine Parade, although there's still a 10-minute-walk to complete the journey.

Food are overpriced to be frank, in spite of the fact the bar isn't even strategically located. Some food are great though, such as the Large Prawn Aglio Olio, my all time favorite despite being allergic to seafood! You have to try this if you're here one day. We're entitled to selected food and drinks from the menu, and most of the time I get the Large Prawn Aglio Olio, the taste is irresistible.

To those soccer fans out there, Sunrise Bistro & Bar often broadcasts soccer matches on their indoor and outdoor TVs (they have a big screen outdoor).




Mar 18, 2016

Stirling Bar & Grill @ Upper Bukit Timah


Stirling Bar & Grill
One of the legit reasons to visit restaurants and cafes along the Upper Bukit Timah Road is the new accessibility to the nearby MRT stations.

Stirling Bar & Grill is one of those lucky ones, located opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and of walking distance from the Beauty World Station, thanks to the newly constructed Downtown Line.

You might be able to recall a vicinity called Stirling Road located in Queenstown, interestingly yes, the bar is named after this road because it's where the boss this bar grew up.

It was a post birthday dinner for me and Wilsen, my housemate whose birthday is a day after mine. I suggested this place simply because on one Sunday afternoon after church service, I patronized and enjoyed their cold brewed coffee by The Nomad, a mobile cafe serving coffee every weekend at Stirling.

A good and bad thing about the payment - there's no GST charges but only cash and NETS accepted. I guess if you sum them up it's still a better deal isn't it?

Exterior




Apparently they're affiliated with a guitar school and there'll be guitar solo performance at night
If you enjoy listening to guitar solo, this is the place you should be patronizing, I mean, how many bars out there with such niche?

Mar 5, 2016

SAFRA The Ultimate Voice 2016

SAFRA organizes an annual singing competition called The Ultimate Voice and we were in time to sign up for our very first singing competition as a 3-piece band. There're solo category and group category.

We're required to submit an audio clip of our performance, if I don't remember wrongly, the duration is limited to less than 2 minutes, where I had a hard time deciding which portion of our cover to be trimmed, we submitted "The Scientist" by Coldplay by the way.

Quarter Finals @ SAFRA Toa Payoh (20 Feb)

We're informed that we're in the quarter finals on 16 Feb, an awesome start for us. And later on I found out that one of our Temasek Hall band juniors, Yoke Ling was also in the quarter final, what a coincidence. Check out her blog entry about SAFRA TUV.

I think there were 19 quarter finalists from group category and 100+ from solo category! That's crazy, and no wonder they limit the duration to 1 minute 30 seconds per contestant.

We performed a mashup of "Shut Up and Dance" by WALK THE MOON and "How to Save a Life" by The Fray, it's random I know, and there's barely any link between the songs but somehow they key Gary sings these two songs in the same key of B♭ major, plus the similar tempo, ultimately I think we're just trying to be 'different'. LOL...




Thanks to Hannah for the video, and we got into Semi Finals. So did Yoke Ling.

Feb 25, 2016

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