Tag Archives: constellation records

Matana Roberts to release COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile, sample two album tracks

12 Aug

Constellation Records and Rarely Unable HQ are excited to announce the next of the label’s Autumn 2013 releases: Mississippi Moonchile, the second installment in Matana Roberts‘ ongoing COIN COIN project. 2011’s COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres was an utterly breathtaking affair, met with widespread critical acclaim and featured on several year-end lists, and Chapter Two constitutes a triumphant and thrilling return of Roberts’ utterly unique voice. Released 30 September.

Listen to an audio sample of album tracks “amma jerusalem school” and “for this is”: https://soundcloud.com/constellation-records/matana-roberts-amma-jerusalem-school-for-this-is/s-l0exl

ABOUT THE ALBUM…

COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile is the much-anticipated new installment of Matana Roberts’ unique and forward-looking project. Guided by an aesthetic practice she has dubbed ‘panoramic sound quilting’ (partly in homage to the literal handicraft heritage of her patrilineal line), COIN COIN finds Roberts conjuring some of the most nuanced, thoughtful and substantial American liberation music of the 21st century.

COIN COIN has also been a profoundly generous and collaborative process for Roberts, who has been developing various chapters of the COIN COIN cycle with a wide range of musicians from diverse backgrounds over many years. The hugely acclaimed Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres was the culmination of two years of regular visits to Montréal and featured fifteen musicians assembled from that city’s out-jazz, experimental and avant-rock scenes. Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile was developed for a more intimately woven New York jazz sextet and was recorded with this group in late 2012, following several years of local and international performances of the piece with this line-up.

Mississippi Moonchile takes the next leap forward in Roberts’ iconoclastic and complex project of memory and recuperation, where historical and contemporary musical tropes, fragmentary spoken and sung narratives, and Matana’s cascading alto saxophone are supported by prodigiously talented players on piano (Shoko Nagai), trumpet (Jason Palmer), double bass (Thomson Kneeland), drums (Tomas Fujiwara) and operatic tenor voice (Jeremiah Abiah). While demarcated by 18 titles and track IDs, the album presents an uninterrupted, incantatory swirl of through-composed music, where thematic structure and free improvisation are propelled in continual and fluid co-existence.

While Chapter One was marked by more defined set pieces, stark juxtapositions, and the epic cacophony of a sprawlingly unconventional big band, Chapter Two unfolds as a cohesive album-length piece unto itself, channeling the drama and catharsis of Gens de couleur libres into something more measured and circumscribed, playing with notions of dignity, rarefaction and restraint. The inclusion of a male operatic singer contributes significantly to the tone and tension of Mississippi Moonchile in this respect, and operates as a fascinating foil to Roberts’ own voice, which alternates between splintered ‘wordspeak’ and deeply soulful singing. The six players are in a perpetual motion of coalescence and divergence, where melodic themes, occasional ostinato passages, and variously deployed literal voices (“There are some things I can’t tell you about…”) serve to rally the overriding theme of individual narratives and personal expressions as struggles with, celebrations of, and threads within collective history. The contortions of empowerment, pride, shame, suffering, eulogy, empathy, liberation and transcendence are Matana’s raw material in the broadest and most specific senses; she has given this raw material another beautiful and compelling shape in the second chapter of the COIN COIN story.

Roberts is a major talent – a unique and easily identifiable saxophone voice who’s also a thoughtful composer capable of choosing empathetic and supportive collaborators.” – WIRE

Within this short space of time her career trajectory has soared ever upwards…mightily impressive.– JAZZWISE

A modern exponent of the free jazz aesthetic…She makes an arresting noise – but not for the faint-hearted. – RECORD COLLECTOR

This utterly compelling album not only demands and deserves attention in its own right, but has serious potential to be the start of a truly masterful greater musical and cultural work.” – ROCK A ROLLA

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Colin Stetson reveals two new video clips “In Mirrors” + “And In Truth”

6 May
Colin Stetson
Pitchfork have premiered a new video for two clips from Colin Stetson’s forthcoming New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light.
It pulls an excerpt from “In Mirrors” as well as Justin Vernon-assisted album-opener “And In Truth”, with stunning visual work from Kurtis HoughDan Huiting and Tabb Firchau.

Watch it now on this direct link: http://youtu.be/G9VvS4mLr9MNew History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light will be available in stores on April 29 via Constellation Records, and puts Stetson’s startling skills both as player and composer on beautiful display.

The Wire applaud the album’s “extraordinary aural illusionism” while Textura say, “To call it amazing is no exaggeration.” According to Under The Radar, “Stetson has ventured into uncharted territory, and the heretofore-unheard sounds that he’s brought back are utterly bewitching.”

Get the full run-down on the album below and feel free to listen and share this MP3 of album track “High Above a Grey Green Sea.” – https://soundcloud.com/constellation-records/high-above-a-grey-green-sea

ImageProxy

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. Judges ended up on countless year-end lists and emphatically proved that Stetson’s approach to solo saxophone transcends niche or genre; a unique and emotionally resonant instrumental music with influences as wide-ranging as jazz, metal, pop, soul, drone, industrial, minimalism, electro-acoustic and modern contemporary.

Remarkably, Stetson channels these manifold musical strains into a singularly identifiable and personal sound as a polyphonic soloist who doesn’t rely on looping/layering or multi-track/overdubs technologies. 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 – making his already beautiful and evocative compositions all the more enrapturing and viscerally human.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light is the final installment in a trilogy of solo albums and is Stetson’s most ambitious song cycle to date, again recorded live in single takes with a wide array of microphone positions and again mixed by groundbreaking producer Ben Frost. Colin’s membership in Bon Iver over the past two years has also led to vocal contributions from Justin Vernon for this record, who appears on four songs, with a diverse approach on each, and whose voice constitutes the only overdubbing on the album.
The record’s 15-minute centrepiece, title track “To See More Light”, is the longest piece Stetson has yet recorded and possibly the heaviest: a tour de force of swirling arpeggiation, continuous breathing, pumping valves and vocalizations through the reed of the horn that gives way to a tremendous, screaming, sea-sawing dirge through the song’s final movement. This latter stretch conjures a sort of saxophonic sludge metal, and the album’s heaviosity references other sub-genres of metal as well, most notably in the hardcore blast of “Brute” (abetted by Vernon’s barking) and the ambient grindcore throb of “Hunted”. In other instances, the album is soulful and even hymnal, especially where Vernon’s vocals play a lead role: opener “And In Truth” (featuring Vernon’s most instantly recognisable contribution, of massed, multi-tracked harmonies), the cover of Washington Phillips’ gospel tune “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today”, and “Who The Waves Are Roaring For” where Vernon delivers one of the more tender and honest vocal performances we’ve heard from him in any context.
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.

Constellation new release | Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

30 Jan

Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

Released on Constellation in the UK/EU 29 April 2013

Colin Stetson

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. Judges ended up on countless year-end lists and emphatically proved that Stetson’s approach to solo saxophone transcends niche or genre; a unique and emotionally resonant instrumental music with influences as wide-ranging as jazz, metal, pop, soul, drone, industrial, minimalism, electro-acoustic and modern contemporary.

Remarkably, Stetson channels these manifold musical strains into a singularly identifiable and personal sound as a polyphonic soloist who doesn’t rely on looping/layering or multi-track/overdubs technologies. 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 – making his already beautiful and evocative compositions all the more enrapturing and viscerally human.

New History Warfare Vol 3

New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light is the final installment in a trilogy of solo albums and is Stetson’s most ambitious song cycle to date, again recorded live in single takes with a wide array of microphone positions and again mixed by groundbreaking producer Ben Frost. Colin’s membership in Bon Iver over the past two years has also led to vocal contributions from Justin Vernon for this record, who appears on four songs, with a diverse approach on each, and whose voice constitutes the only overdubbing on the album.

The record’s 15-minute centerpiece, title track “To See More Light”, is the longest piece Stetson has yet recorded and possibly the heaviest: a tour de force of swirling arpeggiation, continuous breathing, pumping valves and vocalizations through the reed of the horn that gives way to a tremendous, screaming, sea-sawing dirge through the song’s final movement. This latter stretch conjures a sort of saxophonic sludge metal, and the album’s heaviosity references other sub-genres of metal as well, most notably in the hardcore blast of “Brute” and the ambient grindcore throb of “Hunted”. In other instances, the album is soulful and even hymnal, especially where Vernon’s vocals play a lead role: opener “And In Truth” (featuring Vernon’s most instantly recognisable contribution, of massed, multi-tracked harmonies), the cover of Washington Phillips’ gospel tune “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today”, and “Who the waves are roaring for” where Vernon delivers some of the more tender and honest vocal performances we’ve heard from him in any context.

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.

Sample album track “High Above A Grey Green Sea below” on the Constellation website.

EU TOUR DATES:

03.01.13 Copenhagen, DK Jazz House Copenhagen
03.02.13 Hasselt, BE Cultuurcentrum Hasselt
03.03.13 Vendome, FR Chapelle St. Jacques
03.05.13 Metz, FR Caveau des Trinitaires
03.06.13 Kortrijk, BE De Kreun
03.07.13 Paris, FR Cité de la musique
03.08.13 Amsterdam, NL Muziekgebouw aan´t IJ- main hall
03.09.13 Stavanger, NO Tou Scene/Maskinhallen
03.10.13 Bergen, NO TBA
03.12.13 Luxembourg, LU Carré Rotondes
03.13.13 Marostica, IT Panic Jazz Club
03.14.13 Venezia, IT TBA
03.15.13 Reykjavik, IS TBA

 

 

Colin Stetson unleashes new video, European tour now in full swing

12 Nov

The ridiculously talented Colin Stetson is on the road this November performing live across Europe – you can see all the dates on his website. This Saturday 17th November he will make a stop in Dublin to perform at The Twisted Pepper’s birthday, details of which can be found here: http://www.bodytonicmusic.com/events/2726/

Constellation Records also announced the arrival of a new video on their vimeo page, which continues to baffle and amaze each time I watch it. Check it out for yourself:


And if you get a chance, do check him out…one day I will see it for myself. Until then, I can only marvel at the video footage and read live reviews in envy.

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR – ‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND!

2 Oct

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 15, 2012:

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR –

‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND!

CST081 – 180gLP + 7″ / CD / DL

We are proud to announce the first new recordings by Godspeed You! Black Emperor in a decade.

It’s been a full decade since the release of Yanqui U.X.O., Godspeed’s last album. Never a band to care for conventional industry wisdom, Yanqui was released with no publicity or press availability, no marketing plans, no cross-promotions or brand synergies, driven by word-of-mouth from a passionate and committed fanbase galvanized by the group’s sonic vision and its dedication to unmediated, unsullied musical communication.

To suggest that such simple principles and goals have become harder to maintain and enact a decade later is an understatement. For all the contents and discontents – for all the “content” – of our present cultural moment, the very idea of circumventing the glare of exposure or the careful plotting of media cycles and identity management appears futile.

But Godspeed is looking to try all the same. The band wants people to care about this new album, without telling people they should. They want people to experience the thrill of anonymous and uncalculated transmission, knowing full well that these days, anti-strategy risks being tagged as a strategy, non-marketing framed as its opposite, and deeply held principles they consider fundamental to health as likely to be interpreted as just another form of stealth.

The band has been blazing its own path again since 2010, regrouping as the same self-managed collective entity it has been from the outset, making appearances at a small clutch of music festivals, and otherwise touring its own shows. It’s been a bit disorienting to have them back, but mostly it has felt overwhelmingly right, honest and good.

We also think they have made a new record that maintains if not exceeds the standards of their previous work – a high bar, many would agree. GYBE picked up right where they left off and after almost two years of post-hiatus practicing, playing and touring, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! delivers two mighty sides of music that the band had been working up prior to their 2003 hiatus, which they have now shaped into something definitively stunning, immersive and utterly true to their legacy. Two twenty-minute slabs of epic instrumental rock music previously known to fans as “Albanian” and “Gamelan”, now properly titled as “MLADIC” and “WE DRIFT LIKE WORRIED FIRE” respectively and two six-and-a-half minute drones (stitched into the album sequence on CD; cut separately on their own 7″ for the LP version). Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! provides soaring, shining proof of the band’s powerful return to form. The future looks dark indeed, but on the evidence of this new recording, Godspeed appears wholly committed to staring it down, channeling it, and fighting for some rays of sound (and flickers of light) that feel hopeful and true. GYBE have offered up a fifth album that is absolutely as vital, virulent, honest and heavy as anything in their discography.

We don’t have much time for mythology, but we’d be lying if we said the return of Godspeed You! Black Emperor in 2010 didn’t signify a whole lot to us as a marker from which to look back on the past decade, to reflect on what’s been gained or lost within the confines of independent music culture and what’s been gained or lost in the socio-political landscape writ large. Godspeed’s music will do that to you. It is music that bears witness to, channels and transforms this predominantly terrible, infuriating, venal and nihilistically sad story we’re all living, sharing, resisting, protesting, deconstructing and trying to change for the better. GYBE once again provide a uniquely moving and compelling soundtrack for these acts of analysis, defiance and ascension.

GYBE will be performing two dates in the UK at London’s Kentish Town Forum on 4th and 5th of November. You can find more information on the Constellation website.

Truly, thanks for being open to hearing it.

Rarely Unable’s Ones To Watch…Elfin Saddle

13 Jan

Constellation Records are gearing up to release a brand new album by Elfin Saddle and having heard a sneak preview myself, I just know that great things are coming to this band.

The Montreal group, led by multi-instrumentalists Emi Honda and Jordan McKenzie (who also share vocal duties), has always shown a profound engagement with issues of environmental sustainability and the emotional impact of economic/political ideologies that continually foreclose on the possibility of genuine, progressive renewal and redirection. The band’s music-making – and the parallel art practice on display in Honda and McKenzie’s installation and video work – investigates the tensions between nature and technology on multiple levels.

More news on the album and more from Constellation very soon…