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On repeat: Satellite

 

50-01I find it intriguing to see people’s reactions when they find out I listen to (and love) trance music. Yes, it’s technically rave music, but you’d be surprised how most of these tunes are so chill and *pun-intended* en-trancing. The genre itself is basically a baby, as it only appeared less than 50 years ago, yet it’s evolving quicker than any other genre. Trance today is synonymous with mainstream EDM – it doesn’t even sound the same as it was just 5 years ago, and 5 years ago, it didn’t sound like it did 10 years ago, and so on and so forth. IMO, the golden era was during the whole time Armin van Buuren stayed on top as the world’s #1 DJ (by DJMag‘s annual Top 100 DJ standards) – during those years, the industry’s produced countless records that would go on to become classics. One of the many is OceanLab‘s Satellite, a song no true progressive trance fan will ever get tired of listening.

I was sold the first time I heard the breakdown of the original Above & Beyond Mix (Above & Beyond is the trio DJ who specially collaborated with vocalist Justine Suissa to form OceanLab) – it’s my all-time favorite spins of the tune, but I’m starting to like the Seven Lions Mix over time. Though I’m not a big fan of dubstep, somehow the tranquility of the melody and the breakbeats come together, so much so that these days I keep hitting repeat on my iTunes. It’s such a versatile track sonically, that any DJ can morph it into almost any version he or she likes, hence the many, many remixes out there. This doesn’t mean the original Satellite hasn’t got depth, departing from the famous words of Myon & Shane 54’s Mario Egeto in Not A Lot Left: “If you take away the majority of dance songs, and strip away the dance beat, there’s not a lot left!” So yeah, not a track for the pure movers and shakers, but the Seven Lions Mix is a great tune to have in the background for when you’re trying to seek a little thrill, but also to just chill.

If you’re not yet familiar with OceanLab before this post, I dare you not to obsessively repeat the whole Sirens of the Sea (2008) album wherever you go – it’s perfect for singing, perfect for driving, perfect for when you’re taking a bath, perfect for working out, and perfect for going to sleep as well. And if you must know, yes, I was a huge Above & Beyond fan.
 

 
 
 


Stace

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On repeat: Hold On

 

shel-01There’s this song that’s been stuck in my head for weeks now. You may already know I just had my engagement photoshoot about 2 weeks ago, and the results are amazing; judging from the raw files on our photographer‘s camera, there’s really not much to edit. One (of the many!) unique thing about shooting with him was that he’s always carrying background music to make his couples loosen up. Though I’ve modeled a couple of times in the past, I’d always turn into the stiffest and most rigid person whenever the camera lights turn to me. But surprisingly, during our 2-day shoot, we got the shots from one location after another so fast, mostly because I was with my beau (so it feels really candid and not so much just mere posing). But a large part of this ease was because of this one song playing in the background:


It’s a collab between folk-pop quartet SHEL and Northern Irish singer-songwriter Gareth Dunlop called Hold On. The song was written to become a soundtrack of another one of Nicholas Sparks’ novel-turned-movie, The Best of Me (2014), which, honestly, had such predictable plot that I was half-asleep throughout the entire screening (though I’m a MAJOR fan of The Notebook (2004); watched the Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams pair-up at least a dozen times now)1.

Nevertheless, out of all the ballads on our photographer’s playlist, Hold On was the only one that made us warm up pretty quickly, at least, for someone (my man) who gets professionally shot once in a blue moon, he’s excellent. At one point he was holding his bladder, and I, too, during the shoot in another location. But we always get the shots whenever Hold On starts to play. I think it’s not so much about the lyrics that create the sparks between us instantly (yes, for some magical reason it’s instant), as the song’s about having hope in a lost love. It was more about actually holding on to our poses that feels almost effortless, because we start moving and get comfortable and then keep holding the giggles about each other’s gestures. That’s what you naturally do when the background melodiously and ever so gently reminds you to hooooold on, hooooold just a little longer, right?

 

 
 
 


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 Footnote(s):

  1. P.S. CW’s adapting a whole TV series based on the relationship between the young Noah and Allie’s. YESSSSS! Which actors do you think would fit the roles? []
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On repeat: Love Story

 

namie-01To share a little bit more about the things I love (and music’s always been a huge part of it), here I want to start a series much like the books I’m currently reading/obsessing/revisiting, a.k.a. more concise posts on the blog for your easy digestion. Just as much as I love stories in the written word, I love the emotions stories carry that are sonically expressed. As an escapist, I let my ears get lost into the melody a lot, and it’s just emotions, taking me over … Hope I can share the joy of doing so with this new series.


For starters, this is the song I can’t get out of my head right now – Love Story by none other than Japan’s Madonna, Namie Amuro 安室奈美惠. It’s a 2011 release from her 10th studio album, Uncontrolled, and also as the theme song from Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu 私が恋愛できない理由 (The Reason I Can’t Find Love)  – the drama I’ve binge-watched recently. Ehm, excuse my PMS. It’s a while since I last watched an Asian drama, and so I binged. If you have no idea why you’re still single, go watch the drama. Even if you’re not (like myself), you’ll see where you went wrong in the past when it comes to love, and then by the end of the show I guarantee, you’ll get Love Story stuck in your head for weeks.

 

 
 
 


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via fansoop


 

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Ms. Swift is one smart gal. She easily raised her brand recognition and converted me into a Swiftie by declaring her product rare.

Continue reading [Fill this blank space]

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God only knows why

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A while ago, I shared with you my recent playlist of timeless songs from the 70s and 80s. This one’s a classic from way back further, and it happens to be Paul McCartney’s favorite1. It’s now modernized, improvised, and targeted to help disabled kids of Children In Need:

Continue reading God only knows why

Footnote(s):

  1. BBC: Smashed Hits: God Only Knows []
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Required listening: Great music from before you were born

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I must admit: I haven’t watched MTV in over a decade. I’m serious. I used to be the kid who keeps up with the charts when I was young1, all the way through the time I was studying in Singapore (circa 1994 to 2004). I felt that music has gone stale since the turn of the millennium, and I’m sure it isn’t just me. You see hits that top charts, but don’t quite stay there as long as the hits from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s used to.

I also felt that there isn’t much newness to the current melody. You can basically replicate the pop 4-chord structure like an app to new releases and call yourself a musician. Don’t get me wrong – I still think great music exists today, just that it’s getting rare because pop music no longer win over hearts by their records alone, but also things like your personal fashion style, your fame outside of your professional field, and your overall reputation in the showbiz. For this (and many other reasons), I don’t keep up with the charts anymore and has gradually turned to alternative genres (trance, new age, jazz, chillout, etc). Bottom line, what’s now considered good music is just never going to be the same again.

Now I’m glad the latest Marvel tentpole Guardians of the Galaxy, which became the highest-grossing film out of all previous MCU movies (excluding The Avengers), has inspired Millennials to dig through the timeless vinyl records again – yes, the ones our parents keep somewhere in the garage.

Peter Quill’s Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 was a joy to listen to for me, and there were some favorites I want to continue listening to everywhere I go now.

That’ s why I came up with the playlist below. I consider these essential hits that my kids should listen to in the future if they’re ever going to listen to anything. While there’s no way I can stop Miley Cyrus or Nicki Minaj from twerking, the next best thing I figured best doing is to provide this handy list of top-charters that people actually still listen to today, then put it up right next to 21st century pop music for the kids to compare. We’ll see if the current chart-toppers are still going to ring in the public’s consciousness when they’ve grown up.

In the meantime, here’s ear porn for you.

 

 

Any favorites?

 
 

P.S. Marvin Gaye’s kids vs. ‘copycat’ Thicke. Hmm.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

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via Monique Lhuillier on Pinterest

 
 Footnote(s):

  1. Yes, I could tell what song is playing within a millisecond of the opening of a music video. []
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On the road: An eclectic playlist

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It’s funny how even if you take things one day at time, the clock is ticking faster than ever before. It’s holiday season again here in Indonesia (Ramadan), and most of us are already out of town for a long vacation. Meanwhile, I am just back from a 2-week holiday to China, and will be in town for the whole season to chill and enjoy the clear traffic.

That doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about long trips if I were overseas. I thought back about the time I went on my road trip with 10 during my spring break. Since I haven’t got my driver’s license at that time, my only task was to compile an expansive list of songs to accompany us on the road, while his job was to drive from day to night and sneaking Kapal Api into his system during the wee hours. I had a really fun time choosing songs from my iTunes, and that was also the time I convinced him that progressive trance (like the tunes on this playlist) can sound so euphoric when you’re driving fast on the open highway. Then again, with the roads so clear, it gets a bit dull if you’re only listening to 1 or 2 genres.

So if you’re going to hit the road for the next 3 hours or so, here’s a really chill mix that I made out of various different songs to keep you company. Most of these I’m sure you’ll recognize, because they’re records from the late ’90s on to the turn of the millennium, although there are a couple of special songs that happen to be recent hits. Even if you don’t understand what “愛的就是你 ” or “애인이 생기면 하고 싶은 일” means (neither do I for the latter), I’m sure you’re going to fall in love with the melodic feel I’ve instilled upon you with this playlist.

I know, I know, these cheesy-mellowy tunes may be all too fluffy to take on for so long on the concrete road. Call me starry-eyed, old-fashion, or even boring, but I bet you and your honey will be closer to each other than ever by the time you’ve reached your destination(s).

Now chill, bask in those last rays of sunshine, and listen:

 

 

Now I want to hear from you: Where are you taking yourself this holiday?

 
 

P.S. 20 scenic roads you should drive in your lifetime.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

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 via UnsplashSamantha Rosenberg Stewart on Pinterest

 

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Loving lately: A running playlist to keep your mojo flowing

 

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I thought it’ll be a great idea to share the stuff I’m overplaying while on the treadmill.

They’re on heavy rotation on my playlist right now, and it’s not just because these jams amp me up on those moments my body’s telling me I can’t go on. I play them even when I’m not running, so you can imagine how persistent the melodies stay in my head as I go about my day.

 

 

I think I’ve played Tiësto’s “All of Me” birthday treatment on loop on average for about 10 times a day these days. And yes, these songs are bangin’ only if you’re a fan of EDM. Funny thing is, depending on my mood, I sometimes prefer super slow ballads to keep me going during long runs rather the usual power songs, which tends to go above 130bpm. In those cases I listen to tracks that contain meaningful lyrics just so I can get away from my surroundings and into a more meditative state (something like these girly songs).

Nonetheless, DJ Shah’s “Who Will Find Me” is one of those airy trance classics that I’ll never get bored with, even if it’s been sitting on my favorites list for 6 years. It’s just beautiful.

What songs are you obsessed with lately?

 
 
 
 
 


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 via Julia benesch on weheartit

 

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Here’s a little something for your Monday.

 

Over a week later and I’m still hungover with Jay :p Tunes I listed below were in my head all week, and since it’s dreadful Monday, I want to share the joy with you.

Here’s the 101 on the master of diao: Practically every Mandarin-speaking population have at least heard one song by Jay Chou. The Taiwanese artist plays the piano, guitar, cello, flute, drums, violin, and various traditional Chinese instruments. He makes films, he loves his mother, and he’s cute. Oh yes, and his beverage of choice is a glass of milk.

Other than that, when it comes to music, variety is his nature. His albums always has that one upbeat song, that super emo one that almost always become chart-toppers, and the one with zhong guo feng. Because you’re hearing it from me, I’m gonna say everything he does is great.

Depending on which of these emotions you’d like to get a dose of right now, you can get them from Jay Chou. If you’re a girl and you understand Mandarin (i.e. the lyrics), these songs will work doubly on you. Guys, stay straight.

Without further ado, ENJOY.

 
 

Get happy




 

Get emo




 

Get Oriental




 
 
 
 
 


Stace