It’s a brave new (music) world as far as SA is concerned. Founded in 2010, the band takes its name from Northern Chinese dialect, 仨, which means three, as a tribute to their traditional Chinese roots though all three are Singaporeans.
Background One of popular music’s most influential and innovative figures, musician/composer/record producer/singer/writer Brian Eno has been responsible for some of the most cutting-edge music ever made. On The Ship, Eno once more develops the musical form he pioneered, ambient electronica.
The legendary David Bowie thrilled all his fans with his fabulous comeback album The Next Day back in 2013 and diehards have been hoping and praying that the LP was not a one-off. Thankfully, Bowie is back with a new album for 2016 – Blackstar!
With Singapore indie pop music on the ascendancy, it is important not to neglect alternative music that embraces more artistic and esoteric values. Whilst the success of indie pop in Singapore will still be judged by the usual key performance indicators like number of digital downloads, ticket sales, radio play, Facebook likes and Twitter followers, this form of so-called art-rock deserves to be embraced on its own terms – art for art’s sake. In that respect, local art-rock collective The Observatory has taken the lead in not only organizing its own gigs but also curating music events that aim to expose Singapore audiences to new sounds viz, the Playfreely series of 6 shows and MOHA! in 2011 and for this year, the 3 day event Playfreely II, MoE (as part of the Transitions tour).
Not only is The Observatory Singapore’s premiere art-rock band, it also provides an avenue by which experimental rock lovers can discover new music. Case in point, this Thursday (28th August) The Observatory presents Norwegian noise-rockers Staer (above) and Black Packers (below) at the Substation Theatre ($15 at the door) promising a night of noise, with an advisory for pundits to be equipped with earplugs. Tis gonna be loud!
Over at their Facebook page, the trio known as Gitar describes its ‘genre’ as ROCK N ROLL. Which is fine with me! Cuz I understand that term to mean – meaningful 60s/70s rock styles. Upon closer inspection, the band is probably kindred spirits with Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Captain Beefheart & Steely Dan and any other band that gives sophisticated rock music a couple of offbeat & oddball twists.
Which makes new album, Active Cultures, a bit of an acquired taste. I mean, I would not imagine that contemporary indie kids will have the stomach for much of Gitar’s thoughtful experimental progressive work. Tracks like the funky “Spiritual Dunk”, the Beatlesque “Infamy Dream” and the quirky “New Martyrs” possibly get as pop as they get but even then, this is definitely one for the serious minded music enthusiast.
“And now for something completely different…” – Monty Python
Three days 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. This is what one can expect from Playfreely+ to be run over this coming weekend.
Playfreely+ is presented by The Observatory, in partnership with Ujikaji. Supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore, norsk jazz forum, Music Norway, Mackie, Electronics & Engineering Pte. Ltd.