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Selects' Series - The Observatory

Selects' Series - The Observatory

Back with another edition of Selects', this time round we are lucky to have the members of the Observatory pick out some LPs that they are currently digging (Some from our Online Catalog).

With their most recent release available now via Ujikaji Records featuring Haino Keiji - "Authority is Alive", we thought it will be a perfect time to catch up with them and trace their musical inspirations.

*More from Ujikaji Records here

This select's series in our opinion really highlights the dynamics of The Observatory as a whole - with all three members bringing different selections as individuals but somehow blended in a cohesive way. From the avant folk sounds from poet and artist Wendy Eisenberg to the recent release by Duma right up to the hair-standing induced sounds of Okkyung Lee's 2013 release Ghil - We are sure that you will find something lovely to discover on here just like we did. Have a read and let the journey begin.

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Cheryl Ong

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1. Anoushka Shankar ‎– Love Letters

Saw this on the featured list of Analog Vault’s website and I had to second this choice. Was listening to this when it was released a few months back and I recall putting in on repeat for days on end. There’s a certain vulnerability in the music when it is so striped down in its arrangement.. there are some parts where you can just hear her sitar cry. The careful blend of pop & Indian scales in the music combined with straightforward, gut-punching lyrics and vocals make for a heartbreakingly beautiful album. 

2. Duma – Duma

Super distorted electronic beats on speed with synth lines that sometimes almost feel like a misfit but somehow goes well together mixed with extremely aggressive vocals. This album is super intense and every time I listen to it, it feels like a mind workout, as if I’m dancing frenetically with flailing limbs in extreme heat. If my step counter could calculate this, it would be the equivalent of a 45 minute HIIT workout. However this sonic assault is much more enjoyable than a HIIT session, that’s for sure.

3. Ahwar – Nadah El Shazly

Nadah El Shazly writes beautifully haunting melodies and her voice and delivery adds on to the listening experience. The arrangements are just exquisite - there are sections of free-improvisation with some structural quality that weave in and out of each other, creating layers of listening. Kudos to Nadah and the musicians who played on this, as well as the different producers/ arrangers that pieced this together. A very well-produced album indeed!

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Dharma

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1. Scott Walker – The Childhood of a Leader OST

Was looking through the Analog Vault's list and noticed this. It’s a pity this movie didn’t get much acclaim, I thought it was really good. And the soundtrack, well you cant go wrong with Scott Walker, this was his last few works before passing on. There’s no vocals and the compositions (very chamber and orchestral) are good, really great sound too. Another one that I would love to listen to on vinyl.

2. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica

It took me more than 20 years from the time I first heard this album to finally appreciate it. It's simply brilliant, the compositions, recording, playing, lyrics, titles, cover etc - Fast and bulbous! I’m really looking forward to hearing it on vinyl and wearing the t-shirt too, pls help!      

3. Wendy Eisenberg - Auto

This releases in a couple of weeks, mid Oct. 2 songs are up for preview and does sound pretty promising, with one song addressing their (note: Eisenberg identifies as non-binary) experience of being assaulted. Wendy is mainly a guitar player and singer-songwriter, but also a very talented multi-instrumentalist.

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Yuen Chee Wai

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1. Okkyung Lee – Ghil | Ideologic Organ – SOMA012

Okkyung gave me this LP as a present a few years ago when we were in Tokyo. I had listened to it a number of times before, ever wondering how she managed to coax all those sounds out from her cello. I recently took it out to listen again after reading a short essay that she wrote in Spectres II (Resonances) where she described briefly how it was recorded with Lasse Marhaug. With this new information about how it was produced, it once again opened up my ears and gave a whole new listening experience. Such an amazing album.

2. Pan Sonic and Haino Keiji – In The Studio |  Blast First Petite ‎– PTYT 043

 Recorded in 2007, and released in 2010 on Blast First, this is definitely an album I will still continue listening to for many years to come. I constantly discover new things every time I listen to it. In this collaboration, we see Haino-san with a full array of instruments, all blending seamlessly with Mika and Ilpo’s sound, which I felt was also pushed to the maximum with this generous and dynamic assault of sounds thrown at them. The world lost a really talented and brilliant musician Mika Vainio too soon.  

3. Bill Orcutt – Odds Against Tomorrow |  Palilalia Records – PAL056

 

I have been listening to this on repeat the past two weeks. I really enjoy his duo with Chris Corsano as well, kind of like a natural extension from Harry Pussy. But this is something else. Introspective, almost like his 2017 solo electric guitar album, but more tender. The title track cuts deep, as well a lovely cover of Moon River. A Writhing Jar gives a sense of Steve Reich. Man Dies is also incredible. While it is seemingly stripped down straightforward guitar work, but lying behind this simplicity are so many details in the touch, the songwriting and the tone of the guitar with a perfectly dialed drive amplified through probably a Fender Twin Reverb.

- The End -

Selects' Series - See You At One

Selects' Series - See You At One

You have probably seen their stickers lying around the store and have been wondering who See You At One (Aka SYAO) is - They are a local collective with strong ties with the music and skate culture, focusing their energy on the spirit of creation, whether be it through producing clothes, uploading videos or feeding the experiential internet source with fresh ideas. During these times, SYAO has also been supporting the local community by showcasing different creatives on their social media platforms and also releasing a monthly mix called Frequency, where they get artists, producers, and DJs to curate a musical story every month! 

Here are some of the mixes we've been diggin' 

 

In this edition of Select's, we decided to hit up the elusive people from See You At One to pick out 6 titles from our Online Catalog that is sure to nourish your curious palette. The picks highlight some of the forgotten gems at the vault ranging from Doom, Spiritual Jazz, New-wave Funk, and Leftfield Electronica, truly representing their musical mood as a collective. All picks here are hypnotic in some way and we suggest taking the time to zone into each album at your own pace :) Check it out!

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Grupo Controle Digital - A festa e nossa


“Don’t you want music you could just boogie to? This is it. Never found the lyrics to the songs but they sound kinda sinister despite the feel-good tunes… Also, the guys in the band were called Billy Jaguar and Gel Valiery. After Valiery died, Jaguar became a priest, making gospel music.”

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Foodman - Moriyama

“You’ll need earphones/headphones for this because if your ears like tickling, this is the trippy record for you. Each sound has so much clarity, panning in and out of your left and right speakers. Every song is a sonic version of an M.C. Escher illusion…you just don’t know where a track is headed until it springs on you! ”

Truly Hypnotic!!

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Patrick Cowley - Mechanical Fantasy Box

“A lot of songs on the album were previously unreleased. It’s similar to the Foodman album in that it tickles your ears but has a ‘reflective’ quality to it thanks to the synths. The journal that came with the release is also worth a read, which Cowley describes as “graphic accounts of one man’s sex life”.

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Gas - Zauberberg

“The album sounds as if Voigt recorded a party his neighbors were having, and he’s doing that from his bedroom because he wasn’t invited. The reverb makes it so hypnotic that the recording sounds better than the actual party. If Wagner and Schoenberg went to the clubs in late 90s Germany, this is probably what they would come up with—and indeed some of the music samples their work.”

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Scattered Purgatory — Lost Ethnography of the Miscanthus Ocean

“It’s brooding, progressive, intoxicating drone/noise territory—and the beautiful album cover pretty much illustrates the content quite accurately. It’s like a soundtrack to a death march heading towards the peak of a mountain... appropriate given the situation of the world.”

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Alice Coltrane — Transcendence

“The way she plays the harp on this record is out of this world! Or, ahem, transcendent (you can hear her plucking the shit out of the strings at some point). It’s amazing harmonic stuff and although the arrangements aren’t as grand as it was in her previous albums it’s a solid record. When you’re in need of spiritual rejuvenation, have a listen.”

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*Also please check out their latest thread offerings via their webpage! They are doing free local deliveries so don't miss out on some crisp clothing

Follow See You At One: 

OutIn 010 - Revision Music

OutIn 010 - Revision Music

OutIn 010 – Revision Music 

For the 10th edition of our in-store series OutIn in September, our guests RAH and Senja from Revision Music joined us on the decks for an evening of vibes for all tribes. 

Both RAH and Senja are well-loved DJs in our local dance music community with an undying appreciation for music of all sorts, and firm roots in Hip Hop, World and Bass music. They founded their events and music promotion collective Revision Music as a platform to nurture the legacy of our region’s underground through culture, vibe and music. This fully comes across at their recurring events such as Singapore’s only dedicated Drum n' Bass night Sub City that happens monthly at Piedra Negra, as well as the celebrated bi-monthly music market known as Tribe at Camp Kilo Charcoal Club

Have a listen to the recordings from the day and take a journey through the routes of soul, funk, bass, house, afro and hip hop music. :)