Bush Lady is the only recording ever made by Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki First Nations and best known as one of Canada's most accomplished and decorated documentary filmmakers. Less well known is that Obomsawin began her artistic career as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s, part of a broad movement of Indigenous artists from across North America rallying in new assertions of cultural consciousness, political rights, and reckonings with oppressive colonial history. She was invited by Folkways to perform at Town Hall in New York City in the early 1960s and spent that decade primarily identifying as a singer, channeling traditional songs hand-in-hand with modern composition. Twenty years later, amidst her burgeoning film career, Bush Lady was born of sessions sponsored by CBC Radio in 1984. Unsatisfied with these recordings, Obomsawin reclaimed the master tapes, remade the album, and issued it on her own private press in 1988. This unique, profound, magical record has been out of print and gaining cult status ever since. Constellation is honoured to be working with this legendary Canadian cultural icon to issue a newly remastered version of Bush Lady on audiophile 180gram vinyl - and for the first time on CD.
Automatisme is the electronic music project of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec-based producer William Jourdain, who has been self-releasing a brilliant series of albums and tracks under this moniker since 2013, exploring various intersections of drone, dub techno, electronica, ambient, electro-acoustic, and noise.
Always taking site-specific field recordings as its starting point, and with nominal reliance on synthesizers, Automatisme samples, signal bends, and transforms his source material into deliberate and elemental soundscapes of white and pink noise, spatial drone and methodically additive beats.
Momentform Accumulations compiles much of Jourdain's most recent and most rhythmically-driven work. We're very excited to be issuing this as Automatisme's first official full-length physical album release - and while Jourdain continues to pursue his studies in Art History, his practice as a painter and installation artist, and his work at Saint-Hyacinthe's excellent FrÃ©quences record store, we also anticipate diverse and fascinating future recordings from Automatisme that will stake out a multi-faceted identity for this viscerally engaged young producer. (We also urge interested ears to check out Automatisme on Bandcamp for previous recordings that similarly reveal the project's multiplicity.)
Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche began in 2011, with bassist, singer and composer Jean-Sebastien Truchy seeking a new live ensemble to fuel his desired return to exploring the highly structured afro-kraut trance rock that was one of several stocks-in-trade during his tenure in early Constellation project and pseudo-legendary Fly Pan Am.
Avec le soleil initially formed with guitarist/engineer Sebastien Fournier and drummer Nasir Hasan; a rotating cast of additional players joined the group for live shows throughout 2012-2013, as the band gained a local reputation for irresistible and levitational live sets that combined an avant-garde/contemporary sensibility with infectiously angular, rubbery grooves. Guitarist Eric Gingras (Pas Chic Chic) emerging as a fourth core member during this period.
Avec le soleil is by now careening towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady avant-funk. Anchored by the brilliant bass and drum work of Truchy and Hasan, the group's music is woven with crisp stuttering guitar and keyboard lines and a continually shifting palette of electronic touches and interventions. The pair of exquisite and exhilarating 20-minute pieces (sub-divided into sections for CD and digital track IDs) featured on Zubberdust! are the culmination of the group's first two years of conceptual and somatic development.
Psychedelic rock, krautrock, desert rock, punk rock, noise rock, afrobeat, experimental pop, post-rock, electronic; all are touchstones for Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche. Their multi-movement durational music arguably combines trance rock and audio collage above all - a diced and spliced approach to longform multi-movement groove music played by a stripped down quartet of two guitars, bass and drums, synched to pre-recorded electronics and musique concrÃ¨te. The band's unique restlessness and inventiveness seduces with shifts, turns and dovetails, consistently destabilizing its own inexorable musical logic in highly satisfying fashion. Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche deploys a panoply of buoyant musical ideas, subtly sumptuous sonic treatments, and joyous stylistic nods - while remaining fundamentally devoted to working the groove from a kaleidoscope of angles. Their sound always seems to be escaping overt homage or retro tendencies; neither freighted with reverence nor weightless with irreverence, the music of Avec le soleil routes and uproots itself along its own refreshingly untrodden path. Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop that sounds like no other.
RIYL: Can, Talking Heads ('80-'83), This Heat, Neu!, Stereolab, Do Make Say Think, Animal Collective, Tinariwen, Black Dice, Battles, Fly Pan Am
Carla Bozulich enters her fourth decade of uncompromising, unceasing devotion to art-punk ethics and creativity with Quieter, an intensely emotive, diversely experimental and enchantingly cohesive collection of previously orphaned and one-off tracks: a couple left over from the bountifully productive sessions from her brilliant and widely-acclaimed 2014 album Boy; others featuring collaborations with the likes of Marc Ribot, Sarah Lipstate (Noveller), Freddy Ruppert, Shahzad Ismaily and more. Quieter is the result of this ceaselessly nomadic and defiantly DIY art-punk legend having settled back in Los Angeles for a spell, recovering from tour-inflicted ear (and back) damage, sifting through unreleased/unfinished material, and being drawn to working on the quieter stuff (relatively speaking) in her abundant archives. Ranging from the searching, searing opener "Let It Roll" - "he most honest work I've ever done" says Carla - to the chiming, deconstructed lullabies of "Glass House" (composed by Ruppert) and "Sha Sha" (from her mid-2000s project The Night Porter) and the album's sultry closing track "End Of The World"(a duet with Marc Ribot, who penned the song), Quieter is a brilliant addition to Bouzlich's impressively diverse, adventurous, and unwaveringly authentic body of work.
Carla Bozulich, an art-punk heroine with almost three decades of exceptional, iconoclastic musical activity under her belt, returns with the third record of her storied career to be issued in her own name. Boy is Carla's self-proclaimed "pop record" and is a refreshing and much-needed reminder of what pop can mean in the hands of a ferociously commanding singer/lyricist who has cut her teeth on genre-bending, genre-blending, and DIY production for 25 years. Boy is unmistakably a pop-influenced album by way of punk, avant rock and lo/mid-fi; a batch of ten songs that clock in at 3-5 minutes each, mostly hewing to recognizable structures of verse, chorus and bridge, but full of destabilizing accents and strategies. The songs are replete with hooks and melodies, delivered chiefly by the singing itself, with the underlying instrumentation and arrangements always in the service of Carla's voice and lyrics.
Boy is without doubt the sharpest, supplest, most satisfying and most generous album that Bozulich has made in recent years, and also happens to be one of her most immediately accessible. It is a definitive expression â and should serve as a welcome reminder â of Bozulich's unique tastes, talents and trajectories.
To say Colin Stetson has come into his own in 2011 would be an understatement. February 2011 saw the release of Colin's universally acclaimed New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, his second official solo record and an album broadly received as a sonic, conceptual, compositional and technical tour de force.
Having premiered a couple of new songs at a small art gallery show in Montreal in May 2011, we were duly blown away (along with everyone else in the room) and encouraged Colin to consider recording them while still in their raw, stamina-testing glory. He agreed and brought in good friend (and now Grammy-winning engineer) Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Islands, Unicorns) to help capture the performances in Stetson's own basement rehearsal/studio space.
The resulting two pieces on this EP both clock in at around 10 minutes and are documented in direct, unadorned fashion, using a handful of mic positions and, as usual, no looping or overdubbing of any sort. These are brilliant single-take performances, one each for alto and bass saxophone, that mark their own sense of time in palpably physical and transporting fashion, showcasing Stetson's love for minimalism as well as his mesmerisingly mantric technical ability.
Colin Stetson established himself as an intensely original solo composer and performer in 2011 with the release of the widely acclaimed New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, which ended up on countless year-end lists. Anyone who has seen Stetson in solo performance can attest to the stunning physicality of his circular-breathing technique and capacity to produce a seemingly impossible palate of multiple voicings simultaneously in real time.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light is the final installment in a trilogy of solo albums, again recorded live in single takes and again mixed by groundbreaking producer Ben Frost. Colin's membership in Bon Iver has also led to vocal contributions from Justin Vernon for this record, who appears on four songs, and whose voice constitutes the only overdubbing on the album.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light is the most cohesive and fully realized of Stetson's solo albums to date. It should reliably stand as the apotheosis of the New History Warfare trilogy, and certainly signals the full flourishing of Stetson's unique talents as both composer and performer, pressing his arsenal of virtuosic techniques into the service of vivid, impassioned and conceptually astute songcraft.
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 vocalisations, making a 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.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation. Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or playing at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz. His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio and Bon Iver. Colin also plays in Belle Orchestre and Sway Machinery.
The music on New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was captured entirely live in single takes at MontreÌal's Hotel2Tango studio, with no overdubs or looping, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room. Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn piece that was multi-tracked.
The Judges sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik and mixed by Ben Frost. The result is a highly original, experimental, euphoric record that fires on all levels: a document of a profoundly gifted player, a compositional tour- de-force, and a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges features cover art by Tracy Maurice and will be issued on CD in custom 100% recycled paperboard gatefold jacket and on Deluxe 180gLP with a limited edition screenprinted poster and a CD copy contained in the first pressing.
Two of Constellation's acclaimed solo instrumental artists join forces on this tremendous new album of original compositions for horn and violin.
Colin Stetson has developed a unique and highly-acclaimed voice as a performer/composer, chiefly on bass and tenor saxophones, rallying an array of technical strengths and innovations to make some of the most captivatingly organic, darkly soulful and otherworldly solo instrumental work of recent years with his New History Warfare trilogy. The solo violin work of Sarah Neufeld has emerged more recently, and especially through 2011-2014, in the period between her primary band Arcade Fire's last two albums; she's forged a distinctive and evocative solo violin practice combining rock, folk, ambient and modernist sensibilities, culminating with her debut solo album Hero Brother in 2013.
'Never were the way she was' charts an expansive sonic trajectory with a multiplicity of structures and voicings that belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The resulting musical chronicle powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon; Stetson and Neufeld offer up an impressively immersive integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture. 'Never were the way she was' is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts.
Trinity Thirty is a reinterpretation of the beloved Cowboy Junkies classic The Trinity Session, on the occasion of the album’s 30th anniversary. Berlin-based Canadian producers Deadbeat and Fatima Camara bonded over a shared love of this iconic album (and their shared small-town Ontario roots) and embarked on their first-ever collaboration. The Trinity Session is legendary for its naturalistic, languorous covers of classic tunes and traditional work songs - and for being recorded with a single microphone in single takes at a church in Toronto. While Deadbeat and Camara couldn’t entirely replicate this approach as a duo, they similarly re-recorded everything with single mics in a big open space at Berlin’s Chez Cherie studio, relying heavily on natural room acoustics, committed to raw first takes, guided by an overriding strategy of slowing down the tempos as far as they could while continuing to channel the warm asceticism of the original album. The result is a gorgeously somnambulant acoustic-meets-electronic collection of ‘covers of covers’, where the reference point is always the Junkies’ original approach, stretched to new and beguiling limits of deceleration and dubby narcotized spaciousness - a sensibility further reinforced by the mastering treatment of minimalist dub-techno legend Stefan Betke (~scape, Pole).
Do Make Say Think has been widely celebrated as one of the preeminent instrumental rock bands of the 90s-00s. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the group's first album in eight years - and a brilliant addition to one of the most consistently inventive and critically praised discographies in the 'post-rock' canon. The band has been acclaimed as "the supernova in Constellation's stellar network...arguably the finest back catalogue of any currently operating instrumental rock band" (Drowned In Sound), creating "some of the most honest, unpretentious, group-oriented rock of their time" (Popmatters). Among the band's strengths is an ineffable naturalism that avoids anything too woolly, proggy, purist or clichÃ©d, while remaining a fundamentally guitar-driven group whose ornate four-and six-string interplay uniquely balances rockism, pastoralism, and electronic-influenced post-production. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is at once familiar and as fresh as anything DMST has committed to tape; produced and mixed as always by the band itself - a continuing affirmation of the group's DIY ethos and their singular self-production acumen and aesthetic. Do Make Say Think enter their third decade with a new album that reaffirms their promise of genuinely expressive, narrative and restorative instrumental rock music - an one that will surely rank among their best.