Le mois de mai dernier a marqué le 15e anniversaire de Constellation et, bien que la majorité des événements concernant celui-ci sont prévus pour l’automne, nous avons décidé de regarder dès maintenant les titres que nous avons eu l’honneur de vous partager plus récemment — une liste où l’on retrouve, entre autres, les albums de Colin Stetson, Sandro Perri et Matana Roberts, tous trois acclamés par la critique. Cette compilation offre un éclairage plus large et surtout, célèbre le travail des dernières années.
Mixtape Stream & Download
Stream the entire mixtape here, or see the full post for descriptions in French and English, as well as a download of the entire mix.
Constellation – likely best known for featuring work from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mt. Zion and Vic Chesnutt – has spent the past 15 years releasing albums of patient, intelligent music across – and often in defiance of – a variety of genres. With an emphasis on sustainable practices and artisanal production values, we’ve sought to frame the work of producing records as a contribution to broader, politically- and socially-engaged conversations about culture.
Reconnu pour la parution des titres de Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mt. Zion et Vic Chesnutt, Constellation travaille depuis une quinzaine d’années à produire des albums de tout genre ayant en commun leurs intelligences et leurs beautés. En insistant sur les pratiques durables et les démarches artistiques personnelles, nous avons tenté de montrer comment la production de disque peut être une démonstration in actu au débat autour de l’engagement social de la culture.
1. Esmerine – “Walking Through Mist”
FROM LA LECHUZA (CST80) – WWW.ESMERINE.COM
Esmerine, featuring members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion, The Barr Brothers and Land of Talk, create meditative, modern chamber music, with one foot in the new music/experimental terrain of contemporaries like Rachel’s or Town And Country and the other in a more visceral and lyrical landscape populated by the likes of Dirty Three (and GY!BE themselves). “Walking Through Mist” appears on La Lechuza, the band’s most recent album, dedicated to the memory of the band’s dear friend and collaborator, Lhasa de Sela.
2. Efrim Manuel Menuck – “our lady of parc extension and her munificent sorrows”
FROM PLAYS ‘HIGH GOSPEL’ (CST078) – WWW.CSTRECORDS.COM/EFRIM-MANUEL-MENUCK
Co-founder of Godspeed and A Silver Mt. Zion, Efrim Manuel Menuck released his first solo album via Constellation last year, allowing his skills as a signal-bender and sound-sculptor to come to the fore alongside his stunning electric guitar work and truly singular voice, through an enveloping, passionate, and deeply personal song cycle.
3. Eric Cheneux – “Amazing Backgrounds”
FROM GUITAR & VOICE (CST088) – WWW.CSTRECORDS.COM/ERIC-CHENEUX
With Guitar and Voice, prolific Toronto-based experimental singer-songwriter Eric Chenaux has produced a stunning collection of songs, alternating between heartfelt, patient and subtle vocal-based ballads and shorter, cacophonously harmonious bowed-guitar instrumentals.
4. Siskiyou – “Twigs And Stones”
FROM KEEP AWAY THE DEAD (CST083) – WWW.SISKIYOUBAND.COM
This Vancouver-based quartet led by former Great Lake Swimmers member Colin Huebert make humble, emotionally direct and expertly arranged folk-inflected rock music, marked by a quiet defiance and desperation. “Twigs and Stones,” featuring horns by Colin Stetson, finds the band at perhaps their most exuberant.
5. Elfin Saddle – “The Wind Come Carry”
FROM DEVASTATES (CST087) – WWW.ELFINSADDLE.COM
On Devastates, Montreal’s Elfin Saddle wed an operetta-style song cycle to an organic, junkshop aesthetic to great effect, forging a unique hybrid folk music rooted in a profound engagement with issues of environmental sustainability, and fuelled by the desire to say something both critical and hopeful about our common earthly trajectory. A highly original and distinctive definition of a protest song.
6. Tindersticks – “Frozen”
FROM A SOMETHING RAIN (CST086) – WWW.TINDERSTICKS.CO.UK
The legendary British pop-noir ensemble returns with their third album since reforming in 2008, crafting lush, intelligent, and compelling takes on smoky Northern Soul anchored by Stuart Staples’ signature baritone croon.
7. Colin Stetson – “The stars in his head (Dark Lights Remix)”
FROM NEW HISTORY WARFARE VOL 2 (CST075) – WWW.COLINSTETSON.COM
Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity. He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalizations, making polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the explorations of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.
8. Khora – “The Desert And The Scream”
FROM SILENT YOUR BODY IS ENDLESS (CST071) – WWW.KHORA.CA
Matthew Ramolo’s Khôra project is based chiefly on acoustic/electric guitar and field recordings, with extensive signal processing and digital interventions conditioning these sources to create an immersive soundworld of drones, chimes, rings and other pointillistic sonics. The results are highly organic and meditative while retaining plenty of icy shards, bubbling distortions and passages of controlled monumentalism, making this anything but an ambient listen.
9. Evangelista – “Artificial Lamb”
FROM IN ANIMAL TONGUE (CST082) – WWW.CARLABOZULICH.COM
Carla Bozulich is best known as the singer from LA-based band Geraldine Fibbers and as the woman who re-made Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger. Carla has one of the most unique voices in any genre. Her work is brutally raw and weirdly visionary, continually pushing to new and uncharted sonic and emotional boundaries with her Evangelista project. In Animal Tongue, their latest, was released last Fall.
10. Matana Roberts – “pov piti” (excerpt)
FROM COIN COIN CHAPTER ONE: GENS DE COULEUR LIBRES (CST079) – WWW.MATANAROBERTS.COM
Matana (mah-tah-nah) Roberts is a dynamic saxophonist, composer and improviser, who tries to expose in her music the mystical roots and spiritual traditions of American creative expression. Her critically-acclaimed COIN COIN project is a multi-chapter work that combines conceptual scoring (graphic notation, ‘chance’ strategies), storytelling and historical narrative, performance theatre (personae, costume, multi-media), and a deeply considered channeling of personal ancestry and the ‘universal’ experience of Africans in America.
11. Nick Keupfer – “Tierra Santa Con Montaña Rusa”
FROM AVESTRUZ (CST072) – WWW.CSTRECORDS.COM/NICKKEUPFER
Nick Kuepfer is a guitar player who weaves nylon string and electric guitar pieces with live-sampled tape loops, recordings of animals, and drones from various sources. His predominantly wordless music ranges from subtle and static to frantic and abrasive, with a methodical, vigilant sense of experimentation guided by the search for consonance and dissonance with the sounds of “nature”.
12. Sandro Perri – “Futureactive Kid (Part I)”
FROM IMPOSSIBLE SPACES (CST085) – WWW.SANDROPERRI.COM
Sandro Perri is a Toronto-based music maker, best known for his instrumental/electronic work under the Polmo Polpo moniker. Originally trained in jazz, and playing primarily guitar, electronics and percussion, he composes, plays and produces music that falls on multiple points across a broad spectrum of styles and genres. 2011’s Impossible Spaces is a work of adventurous, progressive, playful and thoughtful songcraft – expertly recorded, wonderfully fluid in its complexity, continually oscillating between catchy and elusive, and guided throughout by Perri’s golden voice.
13. Pat Jordache – “Phantom Limb”
FROM FUTURE SONGS (CST076) – WWW.CSTRECORDS.COM/PATJORDACHE/
Mainstays of Montreal’s DIY noise-pop underground, Pat Jordache’s Future Songs is an album of brilliant off-kilter pop, anchored by woozy baritone vocals, angular guitar lines and a gloriously careening approach to rhythm and arrangement.
14. Les Momies De Palerme – “Medée”
FROM BRÛLEZ CE COEUR (CST070) – WWW.LESMOMIESDEPALERME.COM
Les Momies de Palerme, the duo of multi-instrumentalists Xarah Dion and Marie Davidson, create an uncategorizable sound built up from a core of keyboards, processed violin and voices: slow-paced without being ponderous; synthetic without being retro; methodically restrained and strangely devotional without being easily tagged as ethereal or gothic. Brûlez ce Coeur is often like an ersatz sacred music: canticles on acid, full of strange quirks and avant sounds while remaining soothing, meditative and incantatory.
15. Land Of Kush – “Fisherman” (excerpt)
FROM MONOGAMY (CST066) – WWW.CSTRECORDS.COM/LAND-OF-KUSH/
Land Of Kush is a large orchestra assembled and directed by Montreal composer and musician Sam Shalabi, one of the city’s most unique and prolific players over the past decade. Monogamy is the group’s second album of intensely genre-defying, polymorphic, big band madness, tackling concepts of shame, sexuality and society in a new multi-movement work of psych-arabic jazz.
16. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – “Kollapz Tradixional (Thee Dirty Olde Flag)”
FROM KOLLAPS TRADIXIONALES (CST063) – WWW.TRA-LA-LA-BAND.COM
Since their formation more than a decade ago, ASMZ have diligently crafted complex and starkly emotional orchestral rock compositions, buoyed by stunning string arrangements and marked by a fierce punk rock ethos and delivery. 2012’s Kollaps Tradixionales finds the band in top form, channeling various traditional folk idioms in their singular voice, sliding comfortably towards an expansive, loose and blues-inflected balladry while losing none of the intensity of their earlier work.