Welcome to The Observatory

The current constellation of The Observatory are vibrations of shifting rhythms, synth bass space, oscillators and abused guitars. Repetition is at the heart of their riff. Hammering out a certain truth. Noise, rock, and melancholy. A society in tumult, divided. Where new forms of oppression are actively met with new strategies of resistance. Oscilla is the imagined swing of our imperfect times. The gait of the invisible beast we embody. Flux and formlessness. It represents a new kind of hope. Standing up for the voiceless, powerless, the poor. Imagining a braver future against the current reality that has but only a mathematical conscience called the bottom line. Our music is about wresting back our now-future. Where we want it to head towards, and at what environmental and moral cost, we should start deciding for ourselves.

Latest Updates

CONTINUUM - Release date 15.07.2015

Posted on June 11, 2015


Culture is not a museum. It is ever changing.

OK, so we're finally letting this baby out. It's been years since we indulged our preoccupation and fascination with gamelan. Balinese gong kebyar, to be precise. We started consciously unearthing music from our own cultural backyard. It's been humbling. We've had to throw out some rules and unlearn a few things. Revering that which is Western pop or classical since as far back as we started learning our A-B-Cs , few amongst us even thought it worth finding out about music from Southeast Asia. 'Backward', 'old-fashioned', 'screechy', so we thought, our sensibilities were completely attuned to Western idioms. How much time we've lost. In Leslie's words, "these past years have been an attempt at correcting the oversight of not discovering music from this region."

Hopefully, we'll pull it together for the launch concert, and give you all an experience of how much we adore gamelan. To top it off, BronzAge musicians are joining us, as are a few other VERY SPECIAL guests, whom you may know.  Although we're not traditionalists, we hope to do justice, producing a work that has our voice but still pays homage to our Southeast Asian roots. 

Sample tracks here
Preorder album now on Bandcamp
Buy tickets to Launch concert

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New album OSCILLA

Posted on August 10, 2014

Official release date - 15 August 2014

“In the face of power, do you crumble / Or do you honestly express yourself?”

From album liner notes by Mark Wong, Ujikaji:
Two years after its last album, veteran Singapore avant rock band The Observatory makes a powerful return to the fray of contemporary music, speaking uncensored truth to obscene power with the conspicuously political Oscilla. Where previous album Catacombs was very much a journey of self -- of madness, corporeality and personal demons -- Oscilla is an expression of collective will and action. Where the former was lined with uncertainty and delusions, the latter is confident and defiant.

Sample it here.

Buy OSCILLA on Bandcamp 



Hear Records (Burlington Square)
Roxy Records (Excelsior)
BooksActually (Tiong Bahru)
Cat Socrates (Bras Basah)
House of Turntables (Plaza Singapura)
Memory Lane (Adelphi)
Roxy Disc House (Adelphi)
Ujikaji Records (online)
Canopus Distro (online)

Hard Graft Records (PJ)
Teenage Head Records (KL)

Gaze Music Shop (Bangkok)

White Noise Records (Kowloon) 

Disk Union outlets

15 and 16 August 2014
The Substation
45 Armenian Street, Singapore

$15* Concession
$20 Advance
$25 Door
*Concession tickets available for students, senior citizens, unemployed.


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Posted on March 28, 2014

Behind These Eyes: The Catacombs Remixes 
Official release date - 25 April 2014. 

A project conceived two years ago and finally completed. Featuring 11 great musicians and sound practitioners, all friends of The Obs, we are so thrilled to present their compelling interpretations of songs off our last album, Catacombs. Sample it here.

Double LP - SOLD OUT  (Stock available in our store has run out)

Go to UJIKAJI RECORDS to grab last copies online.

Hear Records (Burlington Square)
Roxy Disc House (Adelphi)
VinyLucky (Adelphi)
Straits Records (Bali Lane)
Vinylicious Records (Parklane)
Cat Socrates (Bras Basah)
Retrophonic Records (Chinatown Plaza)

Digital on Bandcamp - Sample/Buy Here

BTE Album Art

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Posted on January 03, 2014

PF+ Logo 

10 - 12 January 2014 

Goodman Arts Centre, Black Box

6.30pm Doors Open

Latest news at

Two years after its successful run of six critically acclaimed sessions, the musical experiment we know as Playfreely returns in expanded form! Featuring an exciting roster of musicians from Singapore and around the world, Playfreely+ is a music festival that offers a space for musical conversations - and conversations about music - to take place. The three-day programme consists of workshops, a panel discussion, deejay sets, and three intense sessions that bring together musicians from diverse genres and backgrounds to experiment in spontaneous group composition. Come join us, listen, feel, think, and participate in the conversations.

Playfreely+ is presented by The Observatory, in partnership with Ujikaji. 

"It has no prescribed idiomatic sound. The characteristics of freely improvised music are established only by the sonic-musical identity of the person or persons playing it.- Derek Bailey

TICKETS AVAILABLE at http://playfreely.peatix.com
OPTION 1:  3-Day All-access Pass + 1 free Screenprint / SGD50
OPTION 2:  Day Pass / SGD20 PERFORMANCES + DJ Sessions Nightly from 6.30pm onwards.
RSVP via the "Workshop + Panel Discussion" ticket option.

DJ Sessions - Prior to each evening's main programme, Ujikaji will spin a selection of music that mirrors Playfreely's themes of regional discoveries, unfettered stream-of-consciousness, and oddball juxtapositions.
Main Programme featuring Yong Yandsen, Rit Xu, Sudar Shan, Zubir Abdullah, Christy Smith, Natalie Alexandra Tse, Wukir Suryadi, John Hegre, Darrel Xin, Cyril Wong, Lionel Tan, Hankil Ryu, Nizar Fauzi, Ramu Thiruyanam, Andy Chia, Robert SK, Duto Hardono, Tan Boon Gee, Weish, Koichi Shimizu, Luqman Hakim, Riduan Zalani
Workshops by 
John Hegre, Hankil Ryu, Wukir Suryadi, Koichi Shimizu, Mohd Riduan & Sunday Jukebox ft. Aya Sekine, John Hegre, Duto Hardono, Mark Wong, Harold Seah & Samuel Wong.

Supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore, norsk jazz forum, Music Norway, Electronics & Engineering Pte Ltd and Mackie.

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Posted on June 02, 2013

Very happy to announce that FINALLY, our Split 12" with noise-rock Norwegian band MOE, has emerged!
Thank goodness. It's out and ready to ship.
This record was pressed at Recording Industry on 180g Black virgin vinyl.
Limited 100 run.

Sample and buy album

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Posted on July 25, 2012

In the wake of a stirring transformation, The Observatory deliver more of their divine mélange of taut rhythms, sinister tones and spectral shards of a deep, searing sound.  Sheer and primordial, a voyage to mirror modernity as she struggles towards transcendence. From the depths of our irate existence, we purge and crawl.

The Observatory, with new member Bani Haykal, proudly present a two-night concert at the Goodman Arts Centre Black Box.

Get your tickets here.

Friday the 13th - Pop in on our Pop Up!

Posted on April 08, 2012

Come Black Friday, Dharma, Victor, Leslie and Vivian will have an open housewarming at our studio at Goodman Arts Centre. To commemorate the release of CATACOMBS, we will man our shop and sell our wares for 2 hours.

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The Obsservatory - Catacombs Album Launch

Posted on March 30, 2012

The Obs will be having their album launch gig on the 20th and 21st April at the Substation Theatre.

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The Observatory New Album - Catacombs Pre Order Jan 3rd

Posted on January 01, 2012

Our new album Catacombs will be up for Pre-Order on January 3rd.

Stay tuned to our website for that.

Many thanks to the guys at Plate Interactive for helping us do this over this festive period.

Happy New Year everyone!

Oslo and Bergen

Posted on December 09, 2011

Sorry that the updates aren't that prompt.

We had a great time last night playing at Torpedo for Lasse Marhaug's fanzine (PERSONAL BEST) launch!

Today we will be having a workshop at Notam in Oslo, on the relationship with vision and sound, organised by Dans for Voksne. Click here for more info.

After that we will be heading back to Bergen for a performance at the Bergen Kjøtt on Sunday. More info here.


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Fukushima! (Singapore)

Posted on August 04, 2011

Fukushima! is a series of simultaneous events happening throughout the world on 15 August. In Singapore, it will happen in Goodman Arts Centre, Black Box, on 15 August, 8pm.

Dharma will be collaborating with Shaun Sankaran, while Leslie will be performing with Yuen Chee Wai for this event. Other musicians include Hanging Up The Moon, Aya Sekine and Angie Seah, aspidistrafly, Tim O’Dwyer and Ian Woo.

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Playfreely VI

Posted on July 20, 2011

This will be the last of the Playfreely series.

Playfreely VI features the most edgy noiseniks and sonic pushers from our humble SG scene - Shaun Sankaran, Evan Tan, Yuen Chee Wai, Darren Moore, Matin Fellani. Plenty of analog electronics, guitar noise, raw drums and percussion for a generous delectable offering of manipulated sounds.

Guest duo from New Zealand, Mr Sterile Assembly (bass/drums/vocals) rounds off this motley gathering with their fiery brand of outsider-punk noise experimental rock. if you'd some literary, intellectual cacophony, don't miss this last one.

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Posted on July 14, 2011

The Obs will be performing this Sunday at The Pigeonhole.

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Posted on July 08, 2011

Bani Haykal adds his point(s) of view to the expanding collection of responses to Playfreely.

Brought to you by The Obs in partnership with Ujikaji Records.

Click on the link below for more:

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Playfreely V

Posted on July 01, 2011

Playfreely is back! Catch the 5th Installment, this time in the Multi Purpose Hall over at Goodman Arts Centre.


Speaking of which, The Obs have moved out of Republic Poly and are in the process of moving into Goodman Arts Centre. Our deepest gratitude to the guys at RP for putting a roof over our heads for the past months! They define the meaning of Hospitality :).


See you!


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To Become & To Create

Posted on June 20, 2011

Here are some ink drawings and notes by visual artist Elizabeth Lim on Playfreely IV.

Click here and the link below for more.

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Anitya showcase for Nokia Blackbox

Posted on June 09, 2011

As Leslie has headed off to Norway for the Norweigian Seaman's project, Dharma, Evan, Victor and Vivian will be involved in this incarnation of Anitya, once again featuring artist Andy Yang.

For those who are attending, as this is a "by-invitation" event, do mention to the guys at the door that you are there for the Anitya showcase by The Obs featuring Andy Yang. As we are limited to a 100 guests, do go early to catch the showcase!

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Posted on May 31, 2011

We'll be playing songs from The Beatles White album this friday!

Ray Aziz will be joining us on drums.

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Posted on May 25, 2011

“there's an amazing atmosphere at playfreely. it's as if a musical fabric has been set up connecting the performers. as much as i wanted to get up there and jam with them, all i had with me was my sketchbook. so i let the music do the drawing.”

 Chris de Joya, concept artist and audience member at Playfreely II



Check out his sketches by clicking the link below.

See you guys at Playfreely IV!

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Playfreely IV

Posted on May 18, 2011

PF-IV will be purely acoustic, without any amplification!

Since the start of the Playfreely series, we have received many emails from musicians who are interested to participate in this event. We have also received tons of help from our friends and fellow musicians to organize and document this series. This has all been very encouraging to say the least!

It is great to know that there IS a community of musicians from diverse backgrounds who are willing to gather and spend the evening together in the spirit of improvisation!


On another note, due to renovations at Goodman Arts Centre, Playfreely V and VI will be moved to July, tentatively on the 15th and 29th. Do check back here for more updates.

Click below for more details on Playfreely IV.

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Posted on May 06, 2011

We have just finalised the musicians for playfreely III!

Come catch this 3rd installment if you can.

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Picking It Apart - Interview with Mish’aal, Isyraf, Az & Phid (Playfreely I)

Posted on April 29, 2011

Here's an interview for Playfreely I conducted by Cher (supported by Ujikaji Records with members of the Psalms and Stellarium who were involved in Playfreely.

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The Observatory Presents - Playfreely II

Posted on April 24, 2011

We were really pleased with the way the first installment of Playfreely turned out. Everything was in fact better than expected. What was most important to us was that the spirit of improvisation was clearly evident in that event. Everything was spontaneous right from the start. The atmosphere was fantastic and we hope to replicate that in our second installment.

We hope you can join us for Playfreely II on April 29th (Friday), with yet another exciting line-up of musicians!

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The Observatory presents MoHa!, Horacio Pollard & Obs vs Syndicate Live at Homeclub

Posted on April 09, 2011

On 16th April, we are pleased to present MoHa! (Norway), Horacio Pollard (UK) and Syndicate vs The Observatory live at Homeclub.

The band and leading audio-visual collective, Syndicate, are joining forces for the first time to push the boundaries of sonic & visual expression. This special night will witness a live collaborative improvisational set from both acts followed by the sensorial light & noise performance by Norwegian duo, MoHa!, and the noise antics of Berlin-based London musician, Horacio Pollard.

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The Observatory Presents - PLAYFREELY I

Posted on April 09, 2011

As The Obs, we're truly happy to announce our new 6-part series called PLAYFREELY.

The idea is a kind of open-concept jam, a 'playroom' for musicians from different backgrounds and practices, to come together and share in a musical experience. It is not a performance but a get-together, to explore and express through improvisation. We have no idea what... to expect. It may be uncomfortable, unusual, puzzling or simply different. But in carrying out these sessions, we hope to get going a regular platform for music without prejudice, to foster new connections and bring unlikely groups of musicians together to encourage collaboration.

For the band, why are we doing this? In a nutshell, we like sharing our excitement about music and experiment. No frills, no judgement, just music. We want YOU to come with an open mind and share in the magic that's in playing freely.

Our first Playfreely is on 15th April at the Black Box at Goodman Arts Centre. Playfreely 2 to 6 will happen every fortnightly thereafter.

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