Tag Archives: Constellation Records

Very Special NEW SHIT!

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It’s funding drive o’clock! Tune in today at 3pm to 90.3 CKUT for an extra awesome edition of New Shit: we’ll have LIVE performances by Un Blonde and Clear Spot as well as an interview and guest DJ set from Drainolith.
You know what might even be better than New Shit?
PRIZES!!
For the first few lucky donors of $25 and up, we have packs featuring a cornucopia of releases from independent Montreal label Fixture Records, cassettes from Egg Paper Factory, and a bunch a vinyl goodies from Constellation Records. Those who call early can take their pick of the packs below.

Fixture Records Pack
Phern – Pause Clope flexi 7″

The Submissives – Do You Really Love Me? cassette
Brave Radar – Lion Head LP
Jef Elise Barbara – Sexe Machin / Sex Machine 7″
Lantern – Black Highways and Green Garden Roads cassette
Fixture Records compilation #4 CD

Egg Paper Pack (all cassette)
Gretchen – Oblique Contours
Whitney K – Pony
Inland Island – Zsa Zsa’s Window Opens Slowly
The Painters – Specks of Dust
Family Band – Family Band ’15
…and super cool Egg Paper stickers and a pin!
Vinyl Pack #1 – CLAIMED
Ought – More Than Any Other Day
Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufield – Never Were The Way She Was
Vinyl Pack #2 – CLAIMED
Automatisme – Momentform Accumulations
Jason Sharp – A Boat Upon Its Blood
Vinyl Pack #3 – CLAIMED
Jerusalem In My Heart – If He Dies, If If If If If If
Off World – 1
Vinyl Pack #4
Ought – Sun Coming Down
Drainolith – Hysteria (+ bonus patch!)

Album Review: Jason Sharp – A Boat Upon Its Blood

Jason Sharp

A brooding sense of instability sets in from the outset of A Boat Upon Its Blood. Rattling percussive clicks emerge from the crevices with a warm glow of electronic drone filling the barren soundscape. Around the midpoint, the audience is granted an element of melody but the uneasy darkness remains ingrained in every developmental move. With each song, bass saxophone player Jason Sharp continues to disregard comfortable resolution, utilizing the captivating nature of dissonance to its full capacity. Sharp also displays a mastery of texture throughout the record. Just as the bass saxophone lurks in the background as a simple cog in the machine, elements of ambient, electronic, and acoustic musical practices all circulate throughout the project with no single element taking over the majority of the focus.

Bookended by two long-form pieces, the record dives into a slightly more dynamic pair of tracks in the middle. In doing so Sharp avoids formula, again feeding into the idea of instability. “A Blast at Best,” the second of these tracks, offers the most direct assault on the ears. Every moment in this track is filled with abrasive sounds: from fuzzy blasts of distortion to screeching saxophone and violin sounds, Sharp truly puts all his cards on the table. This is where track listing comes into play. From the beginning, the album breathes intensity; however, it also leaves room for growth by reserving the most chaotic elements until the second half of the album. Following this loud outgoing burst, Sharp returns to long-form ideology on “Still I Sit, With You Inside Me.” Violin grasps the spotlight for eight minutes of heart-wrenching melodic work before the second part of the piece moves into hopeful bliss and a final push into the anxious intensity so present throughout the project.

Similarly to the final piece, the first lengthy composition is split into different tracks. In both cases the musical ideas melt into each other quite cohesively; however, contrast remains a vital component. “A Boat Upon its Blood Part 1” sets the dramatic tone for the space that follows, but an immediate crunch of dissonance hits at the beginning of part two. In the final section, the dissonance settles for a moment before a tense rhythmic motive ensues. Because of the nature of drone music, it is fair to consider that listeners might not pick up on the fact that the first three tracks are meant to be under one umbrella with the fourth track sparking the beginning of a new idea, but behind these contrasting aspects of each track lies an element of connection. In “Part 3,” rhythmic activity emerges from the remnants of the dissonant drones of “Part 2.” Obviously this signifies a change, but it also provides a nod to the first portion of the piece and its rhythmic intensity. On top of that, as “Part 3” continues forward, drones of electronic dissonance make their way into the soundscape and succeed in bridging all three tracks into one space.

This idea of “cohesive yet dissonant/contrasting” can also be applied to the individual songs. Returning to “A Boat Upon its Blood Part 2,” the crunchy dissonance accomplished on this song is mostly enacted by the upper register. Played by acoustic string instruments, the raw droning notes juxtapose the clean electric tone of the bass part, adding even more shock factor to the dissonance. On the next track, “In The Construction of the Chest, There is a Heart,” a similar contrast occurs. Here, scratching rhythmic motives work alongside screeching electronic drones, making for another polarizing relationship.

What it comes down to is the balance of blending and clashing. Sharp has a wide-ranging field of sound at his fingertips and his longer pieces showcase his knack for long-standing development, but by varying track lengths, and approaches to rhythm and sound pallet, the album successfully surprises throughout.

– Review by Donovan Burtan

Concert Review: POP Montreal @ the MAC

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Despite booking huge, internationally recognized artists and having the capability to appeal to those unfamiliar with the city, Pop Montreal reads more as the fall version of Suoni Per Il Popolo than anything else, holding the spirit of the city it inhabits above all else. The Plateau and Mile End are filled with a particular energy this week, with daily passes allowing for young folks to bounce around to various venues and enjoy a multitude of events in a very free spirited way. On my first night I was actually drawn downtown to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to experience three local projects with an ear for droning soundscapes. The ominous room set the perfect tone for the evening as concertgoers were met with high ceilings and black walls to complement the enveloping sets that took place over the course of the night.

This show really did wonders for me, here are my thoughts on each set:

                                                                      Automatisme
The throbbing drones that began William Jourdain’s performance never really left his sound pallet, resulting in a sort of industrial lens that encompassed each stylistic change throughout the set. By stretching songs on for periods of seven to ten minutes Jourdain certainly paid respect to the Constellation Records Ideology, but his ability to touch upon dance-able grooves amidst more abrasive material stood as a relatively unique quality. Blissful electronic melodies could occasionally be heard over the dramatic background with textural shifts evolving into moments of dense, wobbling beats. These songs may serve as an indicator of the direction of dance music in the future. Moments to encourage both head bobbing and critical thought filled the experience resulting in a capability to appeal to a wide audience without sacrificing musicality.

                                                                       Jessica Moss
Jessica Moss clearly understands the violin’s natural capability to produce heart-wrenching material, which was indicated by her set’s most climactic points. However, she also avoided riding this wave too heavily, contrasting her anxious moments of instability with gradual resolutions into silence. Playing a quick-hitting, 25-minute piece based on the “journey for all people to find peace,” Moss set an impressively lush tone considering her reliance on a relatively minimal set-up. Simple ideas grew into echoing soundscapes with manipulated violins filling every corner of the room. Raw, distorted melodies from vocals and violin, occasionally breached the surface of the backdrop resulting in moments of stunning transcendence.

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                                                                 Jerusalem in My Heart
Jerusalem in My Heart has a vision. Besides the ability to create massive musical moments with the juxtaposition of shimmering synthesizers and high intensity buzuq playing, the group adds to their aura with projection screens and stage magic. The theme of instability follows the music everywhere, each phrase dancing around resolution as nonspecific visuals float around lead singer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh adding to the hypnotic nature of the whole experience. More intense vocal moments were matched with stunning strobe lights, dancers emerging from the background only at the very end to cap off the constantly growing emotional weight. Perhaps a good summary of the set’s effect on the audience came in a moment of silence. After finishing a song towards the end, Moumneh took an extra minute or two to adjust for the next song. Unsure of what to expect next, every member of the crowd remained completely still, signifying the breath-taking nature of the performance they had just engaged in.

– Review & photos by Donovan Burtan

The Kitchen Bang Bang Law: Tuesday 15th 2015

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This week we had a very special episode of The Kitchen Bang Bang Law, as the esteemed Constellation Records cellist/vocalist/composer Rebecca Foon joined us in our studios for a live performance and interview. Rebecca’s sound explores the intersection of drone, no-wave, improv, dream-pop and minimalism. An eclectic mix definitely, and yet she managed to bring it all to the table for the show. To learn more about her music and life, you can read her bio on her website.

You can also check out her live performance on our archives~~

Adam Basanta + Siskiyou // Underground Sounds

underground sounds logo

Welcome to another episode of Underground Sounds with your host Nick Schofield – airing new Canadian independent music with a local focus on the Montreal scene.

Tonight, Nick has invited Adam Basanta, a much-loved local sound artist, to perform and share his new compositions in anticipation of an exhibition opening and and album release. Lots to talk about here! The exhibition is called “The Sound of Empty Space” and opens at Galerie B-312 on Thursday February 19th.

Stick around, ‘casue later in the show Siskiyou is in to talk about their latest release, Nervous, out on our brethren label Constellation records. Want more? Check out the show blog for past interviews and performances.

Album Review: Ought ‘More Than Any Other Day’

ought - more than any other day

Ought – ‘More Than Any Other Day’

By: Michael Chung

Ought is making waves. Huge waves. Since its first heartbeat in 2011, when members Tim Beeler (singer/guitarist), Ben Stidworthy (bassist), Matt May (keyboardist) and Tim Keen (drummer/violinist) first convened in an apartment loft, this post-punk quartet has seen plenty of action about their communal living space… and the Montreal music scene at large. 

Gritty and visceral, Ought reflects the tumultuousness of the city’s current sociopolitical landscape, initially ignited by the student-led anti-tuition-hike protests of 2012 and the worldwide Occupy Movement of the same year. Following the release of their massively successful debut album More Than Any Other Day in the spring of 2014, the denizens of Ought are still riding their apex of critical acclaim, one they reached in the second half of last year at a meteoric rate, perhaps unwittingly, in the midst of a world tour. 

More Than Any Other Day is a watershed in post-punk. It’s intended to be art-rock in its most genuine form… and it is. The album is imbued with brutal honesty, tinged with the angst of a twenty-something, and politically charged enough to raise the hairs off one’s neck into tiny fists. Tim Beeler’s swashbuckling wordplay and the jagged rhythmic phrases hashed out by his band are incentives powerful enough to leave listeners ready to empathize, if not deeply sympathize, with the practical and existential struggles of an entire generation of youth. 

The melodic and tonal passages of the vocals are fresh and captivating – oscillating transitions of singing and spoken-word often in aperiodic schemes. In combination with the interspersing of various instrumental tracts cement the album’s pervasive, sprawling and yes, epic, quality. 

It’s difficult, and perhaps unfair in this case, to decide which songs in the album are the strongest. Although all share a common arc, each track has a different reason for existing. Some are on celebrations of everyday life, others are marginally introspective, some are laden with complex allegories, and still others are the cathartic decrying of the excessive lifestyle and social stratifications. Though, Today More Than Any Other Day is an obvious lightning rod – it’s a fun and quirky song, with some seriously catchy hooks, that happens to boast a truly profound message.

More Than Any Other Day comes in with a collective mission. And More Than Any Other Day comes out swinging.

Stream Habit and The Weather Song off Constellation Records right here: http://cstrecords.com/cst103/ 

Post Pop New Shit!

Ramzi Album Cover

This week was our annual Post-Pop hangover broadcast, featuring highlights from the festival including Big Brave, Pop. 1280, and Dam Ships.

Also in the last week, the annual Polaris Music Prize was awarded to longtime station fav’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor. New Shit regular (and current blogger!) Dorian was in Toronto for the gala, and had a word or two to say about the event, the jury and of course, the winner.

You can read Godspeed’s internet-debate-igniting statement on the Constellation Records website.

We were also lucky enough to be joined live in studio by local noisemaker RAMZI! We got to chat about small scale independant touring, performing four times during Pop Montreal, being selected to play as part of “Best of the Fest” on Sunday at Casa del Popolo, and her upcoming release on Los Discos Enfantasmes.

It all made for some enjoyable, if mildly hungover, radio making.

If you missed it live, check it on the archive!

Show in Review: Eric Chenaux, Le Fruit Vert, MiSR

Chenaux in Beirut

Monday, July 23, Casa del Popolo

One of those quiet nights at the Casa where the room sat completely empty until the minute before it was packed near to capacity. A full room on Monday for MiSR, Le Fruit Vert, and Eric Chenaux. MiSR found Radwan Moumneh (seated, wearing sunglasses) on mandolin, Jessica Moss (up font and standing) on violin, and (forgive me) a third on a floor tom.  The trio played a single piece, starting rhythmically and quiet, slowly building into percussion, and ending with a sparse group acapella.

Le Fruit Vert features former CKUT music director Andrea-Jane Cornell and Marie-Douce (of Pas Chic Chic, others) facing off on a near-total-dark casa stage. For those familiar with Cornell’s other musical exploits, this performance was particularly exciting as the duo ventured into decidedly more… tonal waters. Chanting, churning, and overlapping vocal melodies fought break against slow, measured chest-ringing bass hits and the dark stirrings of Marie-Douce’s organs. Other sounds: the pair wore bells on their heads. Andrea-Jane was obviously conducting some other unidentifiable spectral sonic daemonry from an immense pedal-spread on the floor.

The night finished with Eric Chenaux (seated next to a chair bearing his effects pedals). He switched between a heavy hollow-body electric guitar and a smaller classical, but with both he laid out distinctive and simple songs (mostly, from what I can tell, from or in the style of his newest release Guitar & Voice, out now on Constellation). Simple is perhaps not the best word considering Chenaux’s songs were sprawling—meditative and tense tracks that often featured 5-10 minutes guitar interludes. To pull off such… adventurous guitar riffing (this blog-poster having seen even the likes of Dinosaur JR’s J Mascis fall very short on a similar seated fuzzed-out riffing odyssey) is a feat in and of itself, but to see Chenaux play crescendos up and down the neck with the evocative emotional gut punch of a Really Good violinist was something else entirely.

Barely moving, and with the mic a few inches further than normal away from his face, Chenaux played quietly, but had no trouble being heard over the rapt crowd. What a voice! I had heard of his involvement with fellow by-way-of-Toronto Constellation artist Sandro Perri, and the similarities are definitely there (but, oh look, a young Chenaux playing post-punk, a bit of a head-turner as well…).

All ’round: one of the better shows I’ve had the pleasure of attending in quite a while. Watch out for Le Fruit Vert’s immanent debut tape on Los Discos Enfantasmes as well as Eric Chenaux dates in Ontario and Quebec this summer.

http://cstrecords.com/eric-chenaux/

http://andrea-janecornell.com/

http://losdiscosenfantasmes.com/

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Marie Davidson Interview on New Shit!

Marie Davidson

This afternoon on thee New Shit Radio Programme we were joined by the ever evolving Marie Davidson in preparation for the launch of her solo debut self titled cassette this Wednesday at Casa Del Popolo.

Already well known in the Montreal music scene for her work with Les Momies de Palerme, Essaie Pas, DKMD, Land of Kush and more, Marie is now beginning a new musical chapter. She refers to her solo work as Existential Pop: Dark, haunted sounds with some seriously dance inspired inclinations define this new release.

We spoke about the move towards dance music, her past collaborators, new label and more.

And as always: upcoming shows, brand new tunes, and all kinds of good times!

What are you waiting for? Snag it on the Archive!

Nick Kuepfer live on the Free Music Archive!

Remember how our lovely pals over at Constellation Records stopped in a few times over the month of March to host the Montréal Sessions on CKUT? For their final broadcast, the brought local sound-smith Nick Kuepfer along to finish off their residency in the utmost style!

Nick Kuepfer live on CKUT's the Montreal Sessions

The performance was something truly special, and now we’ve got it preserved in the digital amber of the Free Music Archive for all eternity – or at least until the oncoming digital dark age.

Listen right here!

In the decade that he has called Montreal home, Nick Kuepfer has ventured through a wide range of sonic territory: from playing with infamous noise rockers AIDS Wolf to layering minimal guitar compositions with ambient drones, his contributions to the city’s musical community are stunning in both their quality and diversity of sound. Continue reading