Painting with a space guitar
Like many twenty-year-olds, Alvin Seah was at a crossroads in his career. One way would lead him to his passion, music. The other would lead him to commercial art.
The decision weighed heavily on him.
Despite his determination to grow in his profession, music never left him. Since childhood, Alvin experimented with different types of music, with the beeps and bloops on a PC from behind when it ran on floppy disks.
In his early years, Alvin played around with his home PC. He remembers working with MOD, a digital music format that is even older and more primitive than MiDi. And that feeling of wonder and curiosity never let go of him.
Nowadays he uses a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), filter and effects software from a modern computer, and an electric guitar.
“I worry and think a lot. Music became a creative medium and therapy for my anxiety, ”said Alvin.
As the Creative Director at ASTATICA, a visual effects and animation studio, Alvin has to create according to customer instructions and see how his creations are shaped by the ideas of others. So music became its open canvas without borders.
His perfectionist demeanor thrived where he could control every note. But the music he made wasn’t out of anger, fear, or fear. To his surprise, it wasn’t a vent. Instead, it healed him.
The pandemic gave him a chance to do more.
During this time, Alvin learned more about the pros and cons of using hardware and software to make music. What he wanted to do was make ambient music.
In 1978, Brian Eno pioneered the concept of Ambient Music with Ambient 1: Music for Airports.
“Brian defines ambient music as ignorant as it is interesting,” said Alvin.
It can also be defined as instrumental, atmospheric songs that lack a defined structure. Structural sound layers are used. It can be inconspicuous and play in the background, or a listener can focus on it and enjoy its complexity.
This is the kind of music Alvin wanted to do, ambient guitar and post rock. And in harmony with his job as a visual artist, he not only plays the music, he paints soundscapes with it.
His influences came from bands like Hammock, The Album Leaf, Balmorhea and Russian Circles.
During this time he also developed the name and the concept for his music: ANGQASA.
Although Alvin has not yet published anything mainstream, his music can be discovered on SoundCloud under the name ANGQASA. There the audience can witness how his two arts merge into one and experience his music for themselves.
The music Alvin makes can naturally be enjoyed on headphones while relaxing on a couch, or played on speakers in the background while you work on your computer. It fills the room and paints a scene.
To improve his profile, Alvin also played live in the clubhouse with his audio interface and electric guitar. It’s like busking but without the guitar case for tips. People would come to his room out of curiosity and some would leave. His audience grew slowly.
Alvin admits that the amalgamation of his music and art was inadvertent, but natural in hindsight. He also has new ambitions to make music videos, animation or a loop to his music.
He works occasionally with Roy Sim, a songwriter and childhood friend. He’s also looking for other music or art collaborators who want to release a full-length album by the end of the year.