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 Fréquences 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.)
F# A# ∞ is a spectacular testament to GYBE's awe-inspiring power, including "East Hastings" and the elegiac "Dead Flag Blues" and "Providence". F# A# ∞ was recorded at the original Hotel2Tango in spring 1997 on a rented 16-track tape deck and supplemented with various field recordings. In the preceding year, the band had taken shape as a quasi-orchestral outfit involving most of the players that would go on to make three more records and tour the world many times. This is the first recorded document of Godspeed as a large band and is soaring, fragile, awkward, heartbreaking stuff. Three different front cover images (train, water tower, highway lights) are hand-glued on the front cover. Inserts include a penny crushed on Montreal railroad tracks, blueprint album graphic and notes, credit sheet and reproduction of an early GY!BE show handbill - all placed inside a plain manila envelope (original first run of 500 featured acetone transfers hand-printed on each envelope). Additional 8"x8" insert card of train locomotive image silkscreened in various colours on various recycled papers over the years.
Our second vinyl-only release from Godspeed contains two long songs, and sets the bar for the sprawling compositions that would characterise the group in the years to follow. Side A is cut at 45rpm and features “Moya”, a broiling cascade of upward scales that repeatedly explodes beyond its own threshold. “BBF3” on Side B clocks in at 18 minutes, and was the band’s most lyrical, multi-movement music to date — more elaborated melodic figures wind around an angry spoken-word field recording (infamously culminating in the recital of the speaker’s poem — verses lifted straight from Iron Maiden). Both songs were recorded with Dale Morningstar at the old Gas Station studio in Toronto.
After two years of constant turing and near-unanimous critical acclaim, Godspeed You! Black Emperor assembled a collection of new recordings that charted the creative evolution of the band as well as its literal physical movement on the road, criss-crossing North America and Europe. Five expansive full-band compositions are framed by various field recordings, tape manipulations and ensemble pieces in a return to the narrative sonic collage techniques that marked their 1997 debut (F#A#). Four seamless sides of vinyl unfold a world of aching sadness and beauty, with musical quotes ranging from heartland americana to mitteleuropa folkways, all distilled through the unique sonic filters of Godspeed’s pedal-crazy orchestral rock instrumentation. Harrowing guitars, plaintive strings, pulsing basses and explosive drums combine with glockenspiels, horns and tape drones to form an overwhelming palette of sounds, always driven by fierce melodic momentum and intense emotional resonance. GYBE continued to paint on an impossibly large canvas, with an uncanny blend of world-weariness and naive exuberance that spoke volumes about the conflicts and contradictions permeating our political and cultural life. The tension between humility and hubris conjured an epic scope and a raw hope that such sweeping gestures might survive with some semblance of substance.
Jason Sharp has been a fixture of Montréal's experimental/improv scene for many years, chiefly as a saxophonist exploring drone and durational music, while also collaborating in a wide variety of jazz, avant and contemporary music ensembles. His work as a composer, conductor and band leader in his own right is now featured on A Boat Upon Its Blood, the first album-length recording to be released under his own name: a bracingly meditative multi-movement instrumental work that charts a highly compelling arc of shifting energies and intensities. Using custom-built equipment to translate breath and heart rate into variegated sonic triggers, along with other modes of signal processing and in tandem with traditional instrumentation, the album features Sharp's own reed playing with contributions from a few guest musicians on pedal steel guitar, violin and various percussion. Recorded by Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Vic Chesnutt) at the Hotel2Tango in Montréal and mixed and mastered by Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Drip Audio Records), A Boat Upon Its Blood is a genre-defying album with a highly immersive and satisfying sound palette that impels deep listening and demands to be taken in as a whole. Constellation is thrilled to present Jason Sharp as a unique and invigorating new voice in modern-contemporary music.
Celebrated Toronto-based composer, producer and songwriter Sandro Perri is one of Constellation's most long-standing and artistically diverse music-makers, known both for the pulsing, longform instrumental work released in the early 2000s as Polmo Polpo and the tropicalia-, jazz- and prog-influenced vocal music brilliantly showcased on 2011's Impossible Spaces. Over the past couple of years Perri has been letting us in on a fascinating treasure chest of strange and enchanting collaborative recordings, which, now rounded up under the project name Off World, will begin to see release over the next few seasons. Chiefly a studio-based endeavour, the project traces its origins as far back as 2008 when Perri and fellow Torontonian Lorenz Peter began working together, now expanded to encompass collaborations with many other producers and musicians, including Drew Brown (Lower Dens, Blonde Redhead), Susumu Mukai (Zongamin), M J Silver (Mickey Moonlight), Craig Dunsmuir, Jesse Zubot and Eric Chenaux. 1 is alien electronics played humanly, with real-world accents throughout, rich in deconstructed melody, interplay between acoustic and electronic instrumentation, and pointillist and aleatory composition techniques. Off World resists easy categorization: not ambient "easy listening", not strictly "improvised", not "retro" - but eccentrically absorbing and soothingly mischievous as it charts its own sonic trails.
Ought has been burning with a strong and steady flame since flickering to life in Montreal just before the inspired months of the Quebec student general strike in 2012. The mass mobilization against neo-liberal austerity measures indelibly shaped the emerging sound, vision and social mandate of Ought.Then band's earnest, stately and exuberant post-punk is dextrous, deliberate, unfussy and fluid, with debts to Cap'n Jazz, The Feelies, Lungfish, Gang Of Four and early Talking Heads, among many others. They shift from sharp angles and stuttering counterpoint to softer edges and chiming flow, with an economy of elements and fidelity to their basic 4-piece constitution. The instrumental interplay is consistently whipsmart, supple and deceptively simple. Vocalist Tim Beeler's speak-singing can give way to melancholic melodic croons and ragged, desperate yelps, always driven by sincerity of feeling and connection to his subject matter, whether that's the conundrum of our fractured interiority or communion with others in our fractured social space (or, for the most part, both).Ought are a righteous and humble young band, fiercely dedicated to grassroots organizing and artmaking, taking as self-evident the inseparability of politics and aesthetics; we are proud and excited to be releasing their debut full-length. LP is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, credit insert, pull-out art poster and download code for 320 kbps MP3 copy of the album.
Ought returns with their second full-length album Sun Coming Down, following a break-out year for the MontrÃ©al quartet that saw its 2014 debut More Than Any Other Day make well-deserved waves, with a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork and appearances on countless year-end lists.Having spent most of 2014 on the road vitalizing audiences with no-nonsense post-punk and the feverishly observational testifying of singer/guitarist Tim Darcy, Ought spent the first few months of 2015 writing, playing the occasional local gig, and eventually heading back to the studio to lay down a batch of fresh tunes.Sun Coming Down maintains the band's tight, twitchy, economical sound. Ought pursues an artistically apposite austerity in committing these new songs to tape, referencing the arid and unvarnished production of no-wave and early indie rock while balancing carved-out angularity against an evolving comfort with textural coalescences and measured pacing. It makes for an album that's consistently, insistently propulsive but also feels unhurried and pleasantly unhyped. Sun Coming Down confirms the distinctive vitality and purposive naturalism of Ought, which resists facile primitivism and overhyped dynamics in equal measure, keeping things hermetic but never airless, ascetic but never dispassionate, literate but never prolix.
Those Who Walk Away is the new project of Winnipeg-based composer Matthew Patton, best known for his widely acclaimed musical score (and Emmy Award-winning collaboration) Speaking In Tongues with the choreographer Paul Taylor. The Infected Mass is a haunted and profoundly emotive requiem of minimalist composition that combines ghostly strings and choral voices with musique concrète; melodic passages rise and fall amidst rumbling and sibilant drones sourced from humming and whispering voices and the sound of human blood flow, punctuated by cockpit voice recordings of airplanes in distress. Patton obsessively sculpts the recordings with erasure techniques, seeking liminal and transcendent horizons of sonic materiality through absence, subtraction, silence and collapsing structure. Patton explains: "There is something very genuine and at the same time very wrong in what I am doing. But this work is disturbingly personal for me. The music is filled with ghosts and artifacts I couldn't erase, a pathology which infects everything, of decayed memories haunted by the ghost of my brother, who was killed in a plane crash." The Infected Mass is a powerful work of avant-garde sacral music, executed with elegiac beauty and restraint. Co-produced by Paul Corley (Ben Frost, Oneohtrix Point Never).
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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