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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 - RAH

Selects' Series - RAH

In this edition of Selects', we asked one of our favourite selectors in Singapore and good friend Farah (known on the decks as RAH) to pick out a few titles from our online catalog that she recommends checking out. 

Farah's selects are incredibly fresh! The music listed here are mostly new entries at the vault, and they truly reflect her identity as a person and the fine selector she is. Often expressing herself through a diverse collection of Jazz, Hiphop, Afrobeat, Dub and more, Farah's picks will always move you, but not without saying something special at the same time.

As a core member of label Darker Than Wax and collective Revision Music, she radiates a positive and infectious message in her work and her DJ sets, moving feet, raising vibes and connecting souls. Check out July's edition of her resident show on Milan-based Radio Raheem here:
 
We certainly do miss live events and the energy Farah exudes from behind the decks. But while we're all socially distanced, have a listen to these incredible albums for a taste of what the vibe is like when RAH's in charge:  

Keleketla! ‎– Keleketla!

"Am a huge fan of Cold Cuts! And this project elevated their ability as visionaries, while encapsulating the multi faceted and progressive sounds of legendary collaborators. Boasts a wide range of sounds from Jazz to Hiphop, dub to Afrobeat. Enjoyable from start to finish." - Farah



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Various ‎– Various Channels Vol.1 : NYC

"This is a first compilation from DTW core member Marco Weibel, who brought together a few musicians and artists  in New York. This is a special one, because there was a bit of hesitation in putting it out - due to the social / political climate of things."

"It’s was in the midst of the #BLM movement, and we thought it wasn’t the right time. We decided to go ahead with it anyway, and donated a percentage of the profits to NAACP Legal Defence fund to help protesters and urged our followers to do the same. We have been receiving resounding support for the release and are very thankful it all worked out and that we were able to help with our music." - Farah

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Arsivplak ‎– Turkish Moog Edits

"Love love love Arsivplak and there’s just something about the moog organ in Turkish music that makes it so groovy and alluring." - Farah



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RMP / Wahono ‎– Dehumanisasi / Dealienisasi | Cassette Tape

"What would begin as a casual conversation with Wahono would often take a turn and deep dive into Indonesian culture and politics. The man behind cult label Divisi62 is always challenging the perception and idea of Indonesian music. And you hear the introspective dialogue in the productions, as an attempt to reassess expectations of values and traditions. He makes like, thinking music. You listen and it makes you think and ponder. Just like the conversations with him." - Farah

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Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids ‎– We Be All Africans / Shaman!

"I caught Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids in Amsterdam three years ago and it was one of the most mind bending / expanding experiences. This is a good album but I’m also looking forward to getting their newest release on Strut, “Shaman!”. Bong said that he will be getting it and I trust him." - Farah




Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids - Shaman! is not in stock... yet! It will arrive in store later this month along with a bunch of new sounds we can't wait to share with you. Till then, hang tight! If you'd like to reserve a copy of "Shaman!", slide into our DMs via Facebook or Instagram

We hope you're as inspired by these great picks here as we are. Follow RAH on Mixcloud and Instagram if you catch the vibe and consider signing up to our newsletter to stay clued in on our new arrivals. (scroll down for the signup form!)

Thanks for reading. Take care, stay safe & keep the music going! 

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: 

Selects' Series - KiDG

Selects' Series - KiDG

Robin Chua (aka KiDG) is well known and loved amongst our music community here in Singapore, and perhaps kind of a legend in his own right. For years now, he's been dishing out the tunes that never fail to move dancefloors as resident DJ for parties like Poptart, Tiko Disko, and Guilty Pleasures. A true collector and great selector, when he plays out, he just wants to see one thing - people having fun.

You've probably also seen or met Robin if you've been to The Analog Assembly or Binyl record fairs with that friendly smile and welcoming demeanour. These days while we're all cooped up at home, he's been doing regular live streams, covering a very wide range of quality music each time. Robin broadcasts on Twitch, and also uploads some of his mixes on Mixcloud.

Here are some of his recent mixes we've been diggin':





In this edition of our Selects' series, Robin picks out 5 great titles from our online catalog that are sure to lift your spirits up. His picks span the styles of Hip Hop, Funk/Soul, Jazz, Brazilian and Downtempo, and truly represent what he's about with the moods they bring out. Put some pep in your step today, listen and have a browse below!

Amerigo Gazaway & D'Angelo - Variation Of Voodoo: A Tribute To D'Angelo



"Been a fan of Gazaway's mashups and remixes where he would blends hip hop acapellas with some soul & funk classics. Here he reimagines D'Angelo's Voodoo with live instruments and samples. Gazaway's vinyl albums usually sell off pretty fast and gets out of print easily, so don't miss out on this!" - Robin




Ghost Funk Orchestra - A Song For Paul



"Ghost Funk Orchestra feels like a cousin of Texan chilled trio, Khruangbin, but with more attitude and swagger. Just take a listen to the track "Walk Like A Motherf**ker" and you will know what I mean!" - Robin




Marcos Valle - Marcos Valle



"Valle is truly a legend in Brazilian music, and with this self-titled piece you can hear why. From the famous opener "Estrelar", to the woozy whistler "Fogo do Sol", and the get-up-and-groove "Dia D", this album is all killer no filler." - Robin




The Mystery Kindaichi Band - The Adventure Of Kohsuke Kindaichi



"A long overdue reissue of a Japanese funk classic! A very fine piece of disco funk that ranges from the kitschy to the eerie. This was highly sorted by a lot of DJs, so I'm really happy that it's finally available at a reasonable price!" - Robin 




Various Artistes - Oto No Wa: Selected Sounds Of Japan 1988-2018



"As far as quality music labels go, Music For Dreams is one of my favorites. And with Oto No Wa, the label has once again scored with a beautiful compilation of Japanese ambient & downtempo tunes from across three decades. Very well sequenced and plays out beautifully. Perfect music to chill out to." - Robin



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Photo Credit: Robin Chua

Follow KiDG:
https://www.facebook.com/kidg.sg/
https://www.mixcloud.com/kidgospel/ 
https://www.twitch.tv/kidgmusic