So a gathering of well-dressed, well-trimmed and well-behaved radiohead fans somehow manages to get lost in the desert. months later, totally disheveled, they have been transformed by peyote (their only means of sustenance) into a wise and truly beautiful Singaporean tribe that derives transcendent dark'n'roll visions from the sounds of Voivod, Bauhaus, Bowie, Swans, Floyd and lots of off-the-wall krautrock...
wow, and i thought 'oscilla' (a previous album) couldn't be topped! A must-have.
Favorite track: Everything is vibration.
Special edition Campfire Orange Cassette
TYPE II BASF CHROME C-60 cassette tape (limited to 100)
Real Time Duplication
Classic Norelco clear+black case
J-card cover & 7-panel sleeve + Free DL code
Includes unlimited streaming of AUGUST IS THE CRUELLEST
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
“The parched eviscerate soil
Gapes at the vanity of toil,
Laughs without mirth.
This is the death of earth.”
Little Gidding from Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot
August is the cruellest – this we know. The embers may glow, but the worst of the burn is far from over. Now, it's time to survey the destruction and figure a way out of the fire.
Recorded both in Singapore and Norway, 'August is the cruellest', is a work of political noise, a punishing challenge to look inward and move forward.
Musically, it is an abstraction of the blues in the mode of C, influenced by the power of the riff and the energy of heavy rock music. Expanding upon Oscilla, the song, which is also in the key of C and diving deeper into its modal abyss.
Lyrically drawing bleak comparisons from the poems of T.S. Eliot and Yan Jun; outlining the harshness of the air we breathe from our swiddening neighbours and constructing a landscape of the inevitable based on the choices that we and our forefathers have made. The music jolts and scares through feedback and incessant pulse in the hopes of toppling the apathetic stance that we, for generations, have come to find comfortable and convenient.
Barely brimming over with rage, this album chafes at the bit of inertia and strains against the monolith of apathy. The songs limber, lumber and twist in turn, clamouring and beguiling – till the cloudburst pierces the grey skies. Leslie Low’s voice is the rare stream of calm in this turmoil, calling upon all to create a better world upon the ashes of what came before, to undertake a radical journey of honesty and maturity. After all, death and decay is opportunity for renewal, for a reckoning withal, there can be no other path.
released February 29, 2016
Music composed and arranged by The Observatory
All songs recorded at Solslottet Studios, Bergen, Norway except
'August is the cruellest' and 'Brutal blues', recorded at Black Axis & The Well
Additional instrumentation on 'The weight of it all' features
Natalie Alexandra Tse on guzheng and Andy Chia on dizi
Mixed at The Well
Recorded and mixed by Leslie Low
Mastered by James Plotkin
Special thanks to Iver Sandoy, Jorgen Traeen & Kok Heng Leun
With inspiration from T.S. Eiliot's 'The Waste Land' and 'The Hollow Men'
Photos reproduced, courtesy of Bjorn Vaughn
Designed by Yuen Chee Wai
The Observatory’s music is texturally complex and viscerally emotional, crossing wasted borders and musical extremities that
parallel polarities within human existence, provoking and inspiring in a deeply enigmatic way. The group draws inspiration from their Southeast Asian roots and heroes of new music and art....more
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