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C is for Constellation
By Michael Kaufmann
Monday, October 5th, 2009


For the letter “C” I asked Nathan Gage of Shapes and Sizes and Elfin Saddle to comment on the Montreal based Constellation. Elfin Saddle is on Constellation and Nathan runs the Montreal based record store Phonopolis. Here is what he has to say:

Apparently the original mission statement for Constellation records states that they hope to “enact a mode of cultural production that critiques the worst tendencies of the music industry, artistic commodification, and perhaps in some tiny way, the world at large”.  That the folks at Constellation utilized such Marxist terminology for their manifesto doesn’t surprise me, it was the late 1990’s after all. What surprises me is how much their political beliefs prepared them for the uncertain reality of music and music labels in the late 2000’s. It’s not that Constellation records are particularly a political label; I don’t recall any of their bands ranting politically charged lyrics. At the start, they were a label that documented a vibrant post-rock scene in Montreal, and much of it was instrumental. No, they infused their ideology into their means of production. (Marx, remember?) A Constellation record or cd is something special; beautiful prints on beautiful cardboard, nice think vinyl, all assembled by hand here in Montreal. It’s the kind of packaging that makes you think twice about downloading. As for the music, it feels like Constellation has expanded on its post-rock roots, adding Sandro Perri, and now Clues, it’s perhaps become a bit less specific but always outside, or at least pushing the edges, of the mainstream.  — Nathan Gage (Shapes and Sizes / Elfin Saddle)


1. The Dead Science “Make Mine Marvel” from Villainaire
2. Vic Chesnutt “Chain” from At The Cut
3. Evangelista “Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space” from Hello, Voyager
4. Black Ox Orkestra “Az Vey Dem Tatn” from Nisht Azoy
5. Sandro Perri “Circles” from Plays Polmo Polpo
6. Godspeed You! Black Emperor “Outro (Live)” from Song Of The Silent Land
7. Clues “Ledmonton” from S/T
8. Silver Mt Zion “Mountains Made of Steam” from Horse In The Sky
9. Do Make Say Think “Reitschule” from & Yet & Yet
10. Tindersticks “Boobar Come back To Me” from The Hungry Saw
11. Elfin Saddle “Temple Daughter” from Ringing For The Begin Again

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