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Adele – Someone Like You (Breakbeat Remix)

December 24th, 2011 No comments

Adele - Someone Like YouThis is a cover of Adele’s Someone Like You that my friend Shan Shan and I recently did. I wanted to do breakbeat / drum and bass remix with a nice simple breakbeat that doesn’t take away too much from the song. The vocals took 1 day to record. The remix arrangement and video both took the same day. The video was shot while I was in Beijing and Shanghai, China in the Summer of 2010.

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New Delta Dreams Website!

August 15th, 2011 No comments

Hi folks. Just wanted to announce the relaunch of a brand new Delta Dreams music website. The music project was put on a back burner for awhile due to unforeseen circumstances. There will be really new exciting music and videos coming. Check out the new site at http://DeltaDreams.com.

Delta Dreams Official Website

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Before My Eyes (New Order Remix)

May 10th, 2011 No comments

Jed from Bass Bandits and Wax Dolly Podcast contacted me on MySpace to see if he could remix Before My Eyes. I gladly obliged. His remix is wonderful and really sounds like New Order did it. Excellent driving bass lines and beats.

Download the Before My Eyes (New Order Remix) for FREE (Right click, Save As…)

You can download the original here Delta Dreams - Before My Eyes

Jed and his band Bass Bandits live in UK. We collaborated via the Internet by using SendSpace. I exported the stem tracks from ProTools (vocals, acoustic and lead guitars, synth lead) and he did his magic.

You can visit Jed and his Wax Dolly podcast http://waxdolly.comoj.com/podcasts.html

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Edie Sedgwick – One Distant Memory

January 17th, 2011 2 comments

I was inspired to put this video together with my song “One Distant Memory” I wrote when I was 17 after watching the film Factory Girl based on a true story.

Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller) is a young heiress studying art in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She moves to New York City, where she is introduced to Pop Art painter and film-maker Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce). Intrigued by the beautiful socialite, he asks her to perform in one of his underground movies. Soon she is spending time with him at the Factory, his studio and also the hangout of a group of eccentrics, some of them addicts. Her status as Warhol Superstar and success as a fashion model gain her popularity and international attention. Love, jealousy, drugs eventually lead to her downward spiral and she dies at the young age of 28 from an overdose.

She’s a tragic figure and the lyrics I wrote many years ago was about taking life opportunities for granted.

ONE DISTANT MEMORY – LYRICS
How many times must we take
this life for granted?
How long must it take
to end this violence
But will you take my hand
for now
And we shall not walk right into the rain
And I will not feel
the pain

Too many words unspoken
in all of our dreams
Sentiments for someone
are made and then broken
But can you give what you take
and not throw it all away
And will you hold my hand…again
And I cannot….
feel the pain.

Delta Dreams – Dream In Stereo

November 15th, 2010 No comments


iTunes | Amazon

The song title and atmosphere were inspired from the trip hop duo Mono and their song “Life In Mono”. I really like mixes that have depth and 3D elements. Music with good melodies and atmospheres where every time you hear the song, you discover something you haven’t paid attention to before. Mixes that immerse you into the song’s world rather than just being heard through speakers.

The lyrics came to me in a lucid dream. I remember dreaming I was in a valley at night and this angel floated towards me with the lyrics written in a scroll. I knew I was dreaming so I took the scroll, closed it, and opened it back up. The lyrics were still there. The melodies were the stars in the sky exploding randomly.

I was looking for a female singer that had an innocent but melancholic voice and Wendy Emerson was perfect for it. She recorded the first verse in one or two takes. The second verse was a lot more difficult. Her southern twang all of a sudden came out and it took something like 45 takes to get it right. Her timing was also off from the beat at times, fortunately however, with the marvels of digital recording, you could simply splice the vocal track and move the clip to the right location.

The drum sample you hear at the end was originally going to be the foundation of the entire song but I thought it would be better if it was “more if less” if I added it as accent at the end instead. It basically serves as a song within a song. If you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of reversed sounds in my music. I’ve always loved them because they create wonderful and weird atmospheres with creepy rhythms.

Sony records wanted to buy the full copyright for Dream In Stereo for an electronica compilation CD called “She” featuring various trip hop/electronic music with female vocals. The offer…A whopping $500. I gracefully declined. I mean. Really? Years later I saw the compilation at Virgin records in New York and smiled knowing that the quality was good enough for major release even though the monetary value was not equitable.

The story behind the first remix Dream In Stereo (Paris Trip Hop Mix) was that it was sparked by an accident. A friend came over and I was playing the original version through my studio setup. The settings for the sound banks on my keyboard were not set correctly but when the sequencer (Cubase VST at the time) started playing, it sounded different but I thought it had a lot of potential as a more stripped down track. Dream In Stereo (Video Mix) took the Paris Trip Hop Mix slightly more modern with more syncopated hi hats and melodies.

I’m not sure if Dream In Stereo will ever reach cult status or become culturally relevant but I really cherish this song because it’s one of the few that I’ve done where I felt nothing more needs to be added or taken away. It stands the test of time. Maybe we can all dream in stereo once in a while.

LYRICS
Coffee spills in cafe bars
Misplaced faces and conversations
Talking to a Flaming June
I had almost forgotten you

Moonlight fades in the dark
Autumn leaves settle in the park
And I walk the streets guided by their light
Don’t walk away this time

Delta Dreams – When I Close My Eyes (Music Video)

November 25th, 2009 No comments

I was inspired to write “When I Close My Eyes” while listening to Enigma Principles of Lust. Both songs have a very similar beat and mood. However, I wanted to make it even more atmospheric and visual. I kept envisioning being on a ship lost at sea during a storm and then finally seeing a light house.


iTunes | Amazon

THE STORY BEHIND THE SOUNDS
I have been asked before if I write music visually or emotionally. The creative process starts off visually and then emotionally. It is important for me to tell some kind of story with movement. The story doesn’t necessarily have to be dictated by words but also sounds. The song also needs to have some kind of conflicting emotional tension. The mood of a lot of my songs tend to be melancholic but will always have an uplifting ending to them. That is very important to me to have light at the end of the dark tunnel.

When I Close My Eyes overall has piano, strings, pads, music box, effects and a steady beat. There is a subtle harp and fluge horn during the verses. The harp represents the lighthouse guiding the ship while the fluge horn is the fog that dampens the light. I felt that the ending of the song had to have an uplifting crescendo to take the ship out of the storm. I was in the zone while recording the synth lead heard at the end. It was recorded in one take. Its purpose was to add a lot of tension in otherwise a very harmonic arrangement. Who wants to hear an ultra clean song anyway? The tension is then climaxed by the reintroduction of the string arrangements, arpeggiators, LFO effects, and reversed drums. I tend to love reverse sounds because they add a lot of psychedelic movement that doesn’t exist in the real world.

What do you see when you close your eyes?

What Will You Do For Revenge?

May 31st, 2009 No comments

I don’t consider myself to be a violent guy. The last time I got into a fist fight I can remember was probably in 8th grade. Not to say I didn’t have my share of bad burns by people I thought were friends in my later years. However, I always try to be passive and not acknowledge that person’s existence until my grudge is gone.

However, I’m not sure how I would react to someone cutting my face open though. Well, that’s exactly what happened in the film Daniel written and directed by Manuel Neves that I composed for staring Robert Seelinger. It is a story about a man named Daniel who is seeking revenge on the guys that severely hurt him and left him a massive scar on his face. Daniel is confronted with the emotional burden, which tests his relationships with his girlfriend and close friends Bray, Steven, and Rafi.

Daniel – Part 1

Read more…

Delta Dreams Music At Albert Einstein Memorial

May 4th, 2009 No comments
Delta Dreams Music At Albert Einstein Memorial

Delta Dreams Music At Albert Einstein Memorial

For the past year, I was given the privilege to provide music and sound engineering services for the Albert Einstein Memorial and National Academy of Sciences. I remastered the audio recordings of one of the first ever Albert Einstein interviews on his theory of relativity as well as other scientists.

Delta Dreams iTunes

My song Ibiza (Trance Mix) can also be heard at the beginning of the Cell Phone Tour. For more information on my music project, visit http://deltadreams.com

Here is the tour guide in Cell Phone Tour in PDF format or you can call 202-595-1836.

This song was also licensed for the Equilon Pipeline (now Shell Oil) commercial as well as 2 feature films: Double Dare (Zoe Bell) and Searching For Paradise (Chris Noth)

UNSOUND METHODS
I basically removed a lot of the noise from the recording through EQ, filters, and noise gates effects using Digidesign ProTools. I also ran the audio recordings through compressors to even out the sound and make them louder. Compression essentially makes the quieter parts louder and the louder parts quieter producing an even consistent volume.

MORE INFORMATION
The tour is sponsored by the Cultural Programs of the  National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS)

For more information, you can visit

2101 Constitution Ave., NW,
Washington, DC, 20418
www.nationalacademies.org/arts

HEROES Ali Larter Escapes the Matrix

April 6th, 2009 No comments
Ali Larter Shape Magazine

Ali Larter Shape Magazine

My Delta Dreams song Escape The Matrix was listed in SHAPE Magazine on with Ali Larter (OBSESSED / HEROES / Final Destination actress) on the front cover. The song was part of a monthly work out playlist.

The funny story is that I did not even know about that until a fan sent me a MySpace message. She said she was on the treadmill while reading the magazine and had to do a double take.

What a better way to wake up in the morning and seeing your music in a magazine with Ali Larter on the cover eh?

The music playlist is listed on page 148 in March 2008 Issue. The music is part of a 30 Minute Work Out Playlist. Other artists include Arctic Monkeys, Bruce Springsteen, Shooter Jennings, Louis XIV, White Rabbits, and Stacie Rose.

Shape Ali Larter (OBSESSED HEROES)

Shape Ali Larter (OBSESSED HEROES) and Delta Dreams

THE STORY BEHIND ESCAPE THE MATRIX
Escape The Matrix was originally meant to be a mega mix of my songs from the Dream In Stereo album put to a dance and drum and bass beat. It features some melodies, vocal samples, and atmospheres from the other songs.

I recorded it using the software based sequencer Cubase VST and had several other songs opened at the same time. I was almost done with it when I accidentally overwrote the track with one of my old songs. I lost 4 days worth of work! I was never so disappointed in myself. I got back on the wagon and it took me just 2 days to redo everything.

SUCCESS!
The brightside is that the song ended up being used on 2 major films:

  • Searching For Paradise (HBO/Sundance) featuring Chris Noth (Mr. Big from Sex and the City / Law & Order) and Susan May Pratt (Drive Me Crazy) about a crazy girl obsessed with an actor. It was someone autobiographical according to the writer and director. You can hear it in the NYC subway and park scene.
  • Double Dare – a double-barreled, action-packed documentary about two Hollywood stuntwomen, Jeannie Epper and Zoe Bell. Jeannie, who refuses to retire at sixty-two, doubled for Wonder Woman in the 70’s, and Zoe landed the coveted job doubling Xena at the age of eighteen as well as Uma Thurman’s double in Kill Bill. You can hear it during an Award Ceremony scene with Zoe being drunk. I met both Jeanie and Zoe at the film screening in New York City and must say they were both very wonderful. Zoe has a larger than life personality and I remember asking her if she was ever interested in acting. She said she never thought about it. Next thing I know she is a lead in Quentin Tarrantino Death Proof. Jeanie was very nice and it a pleasure hearing her stories over drinks.

So the moral of the story is to NEVER GIVE UP on ANYTHING you BELIEVE in!  One thing leads to another and you just never know.

Ali Larter appears in OBSESSED thriller with Beyonce Knowles on April 24, 2009

How To Produce Music For A 500 lb Rapper

March 27th, 2009 No comments
Quang Ly and rapper Might Bestruck

Quang Ly and rapper Might Bestruck

BESTRUCK – AROUND DA WORLD
When I was asked to produced Bestruck (real name Brian Forte), I was very excited. I engineered and produced a variety of different genres before but a solid hip hop project seemed to eluded me for a very long time. FYI, no one got shot while making this album. Always a plus in my book.

I’ve always loved groove based melodic music and it was hard to find hip hop music I really enjoyed in all aspects commercially and artistically without sounding gimmicky. Hip hop music that is well, musical, colourful, and tasteful. This was my chance to take hip hop to the next level and explore new elements and challenges on my own terms.

By the way, Bestruck also headlined a show at the Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia. The live performance is also in the Around Da World – EP.

Here’s a brief story behind each song.


Bestruck - Around Da World
AROUND DA WORLD
This is probably the most accessible and well produced track of all. I absolutely love it and it really shows my European music influenced beats. The drum track is essentially drum and bass but it originally had a too staccato mechanical feel. So adding the constant arpeggiators through a high pass filter gave it more momentum without sounding too bottom heavy. It was also my chance to add screaming guitar riffs that really gives it intensity and dynamics. The airplane sample at the end really does give it an “international” effect symbolic of the song. No, I won’t tell you which 80s record the sample was lifted from. 😉

YOU FEATURING MICHAEL BRAXTON
This is another one of my favorites. Originally it was a track no artist wanted but I always knew it had potential. Bestruck’s lyrics and delivery flowed well. A great catchy hook along side next Braxton family crooner Michael Braxton (Toni Braxton’s brother). Additional vocal arrangements by my good friend David Fenton. We must have recorded 25 vocal tracks layered and mixed together for the chorus for harmony. My little cousin Trang added the laugh track in the beginning and end of the song which added a more personal dimension. I always try to involve friends and family in something I love doing and felt it was perfect. I think this is the only song Bestruck did NOT have any disaggreements with me on (laughs).

MOMMY CAN’T ALWAYS

This was a crowd pleaser at the Trocadero show. The song was written in memory of Bestruck’s late mother. I love his lyrics because they really do inspire people from all backgrounds to live up. You may notice the resemblance in the beat with 50 Cent’s In Da Club. No, it wasn’t a sample. It just turned out that way. The chorus part was actually Bestruck himself and not a girl. His voice was pitch shift using an MPC drum sampler. For the live show, we did have R&B singer Michaelle Taylor sing it and she killed it! Check out the clip on the Amazon MP3 music player.

STOMP
This song was heavily influenced by my love for the NEPTUNES/N.E.R.D and Recoil (Alan Wilder ex Depeche Mode). I performed the drums and congas at Gamble and Huff studios and later tweaked, chopped, and reprocessed them in my lab. Strange note: you may think drums are loud instruments and thus easy to record but it must have taken 4 hours to get right. I was in the moment playing and when I heard the playback, it sounded like someone hitting cardboard paper.

BEAT IT UP FEATURING ASHANTI
My first track with Bestruck. It sounds a bit strange and electronic to me in an endearing way. Very different. Bestruck’s girlfriend Ashanti did some vocals on the track. I thought she was very sweet and nice. And then when she went into the vocal booth, a whole new raunchy side came out. It raised some eye brows in the control room. Frankly, when I first started arranging, I didn’t even know how know the number of bars (measures) or how to slice beats together.

INSTRUMENTAL LUST
I really liked this song but couldn’t find the right rapper on it so I just released it as an instrumental. I think it has some nice breaks and textures in there.

Some people find it unusual that I am very proud of finishing a hip hop album apart from my Delta Dreams moniker. However, it is something that I always wanted to do for a very long time. I think it turned out well and crosses musical and racial boundaries.I am also grateful I worked with some good people: Bestruck, Sean (Bestruck’s manager), David Abraham (friend), Pascal Volberg (engineer).

Thanks for reading (and listening)!

Quang Ly.