Hailed as the most important independent music band in Singapore, The Observatory—or The Obs to their fans—is a low-key purveyor of high craft. Through their nearly two decades and eight increasingly dark albums, The Observatory has ventured into the hallowed recesses of music (with their long-time producer Jørgen Træen (Jaga Jazzist)), art (Justin Bartlett, Philipp Aldrup, Andy Yang,) and design (Keith Utech)—all the while remaining completely understated.
A veritable supergroup, the band and its members reach back into Singapore’s musical history. Tracing the footsteps of one of Singapore’s longest-surviving outfits, the experimental music documentary THE OBS: A SINGAPORE STORY looks back in time to understand the creative process of the band and its core members. Through archival footage, photographs and exclusive, in-depth interviews with the band, fans, influential music critic David Toop and collaborators X’ Ho (Zircon Lounge) and Mark Dolmont (Magus), THE OBS explores the relationships and processes behind the group’s brooding, brilliant, and confounding body of work, set against the context of Singapore’s problematic music history, which has weathered governmental clampdowns and wavering public support.
Directed by Yeo Siew Hua (A Land Imagined; In the House of Straw), THE OBS highlights the constant struggle between artistic vision and pragmatic realities, and the tension between an unflinching commitment to evolution and a society that unforgivingly favours the mainstream. More than a music documentary, THE OBS is a tale of uncompromising passion, the power of companionship, and the costs—and invaluable rewards —of being creative in Singapore and beyond.
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