Pissing Stars

CST129: 180gLP • Digital
Pissing Stars, the latest offering from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion member Efrim Manuel Menuck, finds him charting a course through richly textured electronics, drone, and noise-tinged soundscapes. Layers of modular synth and guitar are shot through with Menuck’s alternating chilling and plaintive vocals, infusing the album’s maximalist sonic aesthetic with a distinctly human sense of emotion and vulnerability.

• STREAM: “LxOxVx / Shelter in Place”

Drowned in Sound: “Pissing Stars is a fever dream whose central tensions feel all too real. Of course, Menuck never has and is never likely to create straightforward, routine, or prosaic music. Consequently, it’s down to his expressive soundscapes to drive the narrative. Yet abstraction is never a barrier to intent on Pissing Stars. It’s Menuck’s gift that he can take chilling melody lines and unsettled, often ugly, effects and turn out something so beguiling, like a trick of the light; desperate, terrifying and strangely beautiful.”

Stand Above The Streams

CST130: 180gLP • Digital
Jason Sharp has become one of the foremost names in Montréal’s avant-garde community, and Stand Above The Streams serves as a gripping testament to Sharp’s compositional strength and groundbreaking creativity. Incorporating saxophone with an array of custom electronics, including rhythmic and textural elements triggered by his own heartbeat and breath, Stand Above The Streams raises the bar for musical innovation while remaining organic, visceral, and deeply powerful.

• VIDEO: Watch “Stand Above The Streams Pt 4” live at Eastern Bloc

The Wire: “Sharp continues to synthesise his vast array of influences into his distinctive style of electroacoustic music. Electronic pulse plays a key role, as does some artful sampling and a few subtle jabs of John Carpenter-esque synth lines. Sharp’s sax appears too, while his toolbox of crystalline processed sounds does the musical heavy lifting. While guest instrumentalists fleshed out his 2016 debut, Stand Above The Streams scrapes away those chamber rock semblances and deals more in synthesis, leading to even more microscopic detail and alien timbres. Stand Above The Streams makes it clear that the home of post-rock is carving out a niche as the home of whatever lies beyond.”
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Slowly Paradise

CST131: 180gLP • Digital
With Slowly Paradise, Eric Chenaux has managed to stretch the boundaries of singer-songwriter territory in wonderful new directions. These long songs incorporate the hallmark elements of Chenaux’s craft: his experimental guitar, buttery crooning, and dextrous compositions are on full display, all buoyed by a sense of playfulness and joy. Chenaux’s explorations of tone, timbre, and harmony result in a truly gorgeous listen that is (rightfully!) being praised as his finest album to date.

• VIDEO: “Wild Moon”

The Quietus: “This is a remarkable record – it is wildly experimental and as comforting as a soft embrace. The way he takes from the singer-songwriter tradition and from the avant-garde somehow enables him to avoid the pitfalls of both, leaving him free to sculpt his own deeply idiosyncratic vision for songwriting. The most interesting art almost always has a sense of duality, and Slowly Paradise is no different; where it radically differs is in the lack of combat between those opposing forces. Chenaux’s love for Sade, for example, in no way contradicts or confuses his love for Derek Bailey…This album is truly his strongest yet.”
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CST132: 180gLP • Digital
Carla Bozulich, the legendary and uncompromising DIY hero, is no stranger to collaboration. Over the years, she recorded a collection of tracks with dear friends across the globe and eventually brought them together for Quieter. While it may seem like an album of orphaned tracks in concept, the result is a deeply moving, stunningly cohesive record that serves as a natural progression from her highly praised 2014 album Boy. Quieter commemorates Bozulich’s temporary loss of hearing in one ear, resulting from her decades-long touring life, and ultimately proves that she and her fellow musicians are an unstoppable creative force, regardless of their volume.

• STREAM: “Glass House”

Tiny Mix Tapes: “”Bozulich’s decades-spanning career has produced a diverse and enviable oeuvre, which includes stirring performances and productions, impassioned writing, and clangorous sound art. Bozulich has built her reputation by celebrating everything non-traditional for years, often to gloriously resolute and raucous effect, but on Quieter, she lets her mastery of delicate intimacy shine as she taps into an eternal, cold 2am mood that few can. Featuring a crew of tremendously talented co-conspirators (Marc Ribot, Noveller’s Sarah Lipstate, Freddy Ruppert, Jessica Catron, Jhno, Shahzad Ismaily, Francesco Guerri, Andrea Belfi, and Ches Smith), Quieter is, remarkably, a collection of song foundlings recorded by Bozulich over the years and revisited for this album. Touchstones of hurt, loss, and anger in excelsis.”
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Bush Lady

CST133: 180gLP • CD • Digital
Best known as a documentary filmmaker, Abenaki artist and activist Alanis Obomsawin also has a rich history as a singer-songwriter. Her album Bush Lady, originally released in a small private pressing in the mid-1980s, gained cult status over the years and Constellation is honoured to present a remastered version of the album on 180g vinyl and CD for the first time, complete with updated artwork. A unique and magical record that blends traditional folkways with avant-garde composition, Bush Lady is an essential work from a truly compelling, pioneering Indigenous artist.

• VIDEO: “Odana” live at Le Guess Who?

Drowned In Sound: “It’s remarkable that someone can conjure so much from such a limited palette. With vinyl sales on the rise, in particular, each week sees a glut of re-releases, many of which feel utterly pointless, but this record is an exemplary instance of an essential repressing. As a true rediscovered treasure it sounds as radical as it must have done on its release over 30 years ago. Bush Lady is a thoroughly magical record that is also deeply compassionate and strikingly real.”
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Plurality Trip

CST134: 180gLP • Digital
Emerging from rural Nova Scotia with unbridled creativity, JOYFULTALK use a variety of homemade and modified instruments to construct ear-bending electronic worlds. Their junkshop tendencies find them drawing from a wide range of sonic palettes, including dark trance, techno, krautrock grooves, new age soundscapes, and industrial jank, all while managing to blend these elements into a heady and immersive whole. Plurality Trip is a wild ride, and a hugely rewarding listen for fans of experimental electronics.

• VIDEO: “Kill Scene”

Exclaim: “Every sound and sample feels custom-built here, tailor-fit into the layers (and layers, and layers) that compose its seven tracks…It’s the sort of experimental electronica that rewards deep dives and layer-by-layer excavations. And to that effect, it’s well worth the effort: Plurality Trip is fascinating wormhole to get lost exploring the nuances of.”
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CST135: 180gLP • Digital
Transit is the second Constellation LP from producer William Jourdain, aka Automatisme. Expanding upon his earlier work, Jourdain has masterfully collected and processed a stunning variety of field recordings and shaped them into an album of cerebral, absorbing electronica. Using material sourced entirely from the field that has been rendered through generative and probability-based digital patches, Transit is a dynamic and highly detailed work that occupies a liminal space at the boundaries of ambient, glitch, dub and environmental sound.

• VIDEO: “Bureau 1”

PopMatters: “As the title of the album suggests, this is a record that does not stay still. It is always moving between different moods and areas with great fluidity…The interpretation of the field recordings through this impressive barrage of drones, glitch, noise and sound design make ‘Transit’ feel like a work of sonic cubism. While the shapes and edges of the original structures are still present and the overall offering displays many qualities of electronic music, the result is one of true avant-garde expression. Jourdain performs an extravagant process of transformation, one that mutates and, to an extent, mutilates the qualities of the original recordings, in a most fascinating way.”
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In Another Life

CST136: 180gLP • CD • Digital
In Another Life is Sandro Perri’s first solo album since 2011’s acclaimed Impossible Spaces. Building on Perri’s notion of ‘infinite songwriting,’ it’s a gorgeous display of meditative, minimalist pop songwriting that incorporates guest vocals from André Ethier (Deadly Snakes) and Dan Bejar (Destroyer). Perri’s extended compositions are rich in minute detail, both contemplative and whimsical, yet consistently anchored by his impeccable musical craftsmanship. The sense of warmth and generosity in Perri’s work is abundantly evident, and In Another Life firmly solidifies his position as one of contemporary music’s most gifted songwriters.

• STREAM: “In Another Life (edit)”

Aquarium Drunkard: “Across this expansive and cosmic piece, arguably his finest work to date, Perri muses on the possibilities of what can and cannot be: the complete divesting of one’s own ego…and the bittersweet melancholy of romanticized nostalgia…The bubbling swirls of minimalist synth, astral guitar moans, and glistening flashes of electronic squeaks and shimmers cements his place as our space age Arthur Russell.”
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Dada’iq Tudaiq

CST137: 180gLP • CD • Digital
The Montréal-Beirut audio-visual duo Jerusalem In My Heart is renowned for pushing aesthetic and creative boundaries, and their latest album Daqa’iq Tudaiq takes this reputation to dizzying new heights. Equal parts Middle Eastern musical tradition (JIMH recorded a modern version of the popular Egyptian classic “Ya Garat Al Wadi” with a 15-piece orchestra in Beirut) and experimental electronics, paired superbly with hand-processed 16mm film visuals, Daqa’iq Tudaiq is a visionary and highly rewarding album.

• VIDEO: “Thahab, Mish Roujou’, Thahab”

The Wire: “Moumneh blends virtuosity with unbridled inventiveness in composition, songwriting and collaboration to create an evocative and richly referential body of work…tension reflects a wider motif of duality, and just how brilliantly music can mediate these poles to create something far more articulate than language, particularly when it comes to understanding the modernity of the Arab world.”
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CST129: 180gLP • CD • Digital
The second solo LP from longtime Silver Mt. Zion member Jessica Moss, Entanglement layers violin, voice, and electronics into staggeringly beautiful sonic landscapes. Channeling Klezmer, Balkan, and Middle Eastern tropes into drone-steeped post-classical minimalism, Moss’s compositions are as expressive and affecting as anything in her collaborative oeuvre. Warm, refined, and deeply fulfilling, Entanglement is a profound new offering from one of Montréal’s most talented artists.

• VIDEO: “Fractals (Truth 4)”

A Closer Listen: “These long-form works allow the performer room to expand on her theme as she tangles and untangles melodies and phrases, allowing them to tumble like strings in space. The violin continues to be her main instrument, layered and looped, dancing between the speakers as if held aloft on gossamer threads…By the end of the album, Moss has woven seemingly disparate threads into a unified whole. Strong, dark melodies close the album, declarative and confident. The last ninety seconds introduce chant, underlining the album’s spiritual content. By the time the album ends, every knot has been undone.”