how about starting the week spending about forty-five minutes with a few members of one of the best music labels ever? today, we would like to tell you about a record label that highly deserves to be under the spotlights, a small and mythical independent music label from Montréal, Québec.
And We Made The Room Shine is a very enjoyable film made by François Clos and Thomas Lallier from La Blogothèque to commemorate Constellation Records‘ 15th birthday in 2012.
shot in Vienna, Austria, it offers us a little journey to six acoustically bewitching places.
Emi Honda and Jordan McKenzie from Elfin Saddle take us to a small kitchen with Reed/Rise, Eric Chenaux mesmerises us at Red Theatre where he interprets a very inspired and beautiful version of Dull Light (White Or Grey).
Mike Moya (both Hrsta and GY!BE) invites us to a short but magnificent meditative guitar experience before three pairs of legs lead us to the Franziskanerplatz fountain, where Do Make Say Think give a delicate and fantastic intro to the excellent The Land Lord Is Dead.
we may also sing along Libation For Mr. Brown: Bid Em In with Mantana Roberts at Porgy & Bess, an exhibition room.
the journey ends with a treasure hunt in an abandoned post office in company with Gen Heistek and Eric Craven from HangedUp.
this exciting and short insight in Constellation presents a wise selection of its catalogue, far from the usual sticky post-rock label. do not hesitate to let your mouse stroll on the images of this post to discover full albums you may listen to while reading to this first home-sweet-home article.
Constellation Records is the holy home of an opencast mine of astounding musicians – among others Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mount Zion, Hanged Up, Colin Stetson, Eric Chenaux, Pacha, Jerusalem In My Hear, Hrsta, Elfin Saddle, Mantana Roberts, Esmerine. you may know that the label headed to Europe two years ago to celebrate its 15th birthday and offer us quite a few exquisite moments.
the frog’s eyes are still filled with wonder, remembering two days of concerts in the clouds at UT Connewitz in november 2012, in the company of three music addicted toads. on this occasion, Do Make Say Think killed me with their cold but exhilarating gig (and came back to my top 10 ever), not to mention Jerusalem In My Heart’s flamboyant foggy experiment and Thee Silver Mount Zion’s tremendous concert. what a blast!
founded in 1997 in Montréal by Ian Illavsky and Don Wilkie, Constellation first aimed at supporting underground and experimental musicians from Montréal, offering them a concert platform. however, some bureaucratic difficulties forced Constellation Records to convert to a record label instead and to launch the live performance series called Musique Fragile simultaneously.
despite the challenging times the music industry went through, Constellation Records’ ideals remain untouched: anti-capitalist and anti-globalist, the label’s idea was originally 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 is to say, producing independent music and turning one’s back on the biggest and powerful major labels, with a focus on experimental music and without compromising.
as the label started releasing instrumentalist bands such as GY!BE, Sofa, Exhaust, Do Make Say Think and Fly Pan Am, it was (too) easily pigeonholed to post-rock.
but if you take a close look at Constellation’s catalogue, you will find more adventurous projects such as saxophone experimentalists (Colin Stetson, Mantana Roberts), alternative rock project (HangedUp, Carla Bozulich), jazz-fusion and instrumental rock (Do Make Say Think), apocalyptic post-rock (GY!BE), dark ambiant electro (Sandro Perri/Polmo Polpo), songwriters and guitarists (Elizabeth Anka Vajagic, Eric Chenaux), contemporary chamber group (Esmerine, Saltland), poly-ethnic music experiments (Jerusalem In My Heart, Elfin Saddle), choir post-rock (Thee Silver Mt. Zion), rock with added vitamins (Ought), etc.
vinyls and CDs released on the label are made with a certain idea of artistic work. no ugly damn plastic jewel case, but real piece-of-art jewels, under the form of unique hand-designed cardboard packages produced, whenever possible, by local artists or artisans.
would you remain unconvinced that Constellation greatly deserves your attention, we prepared a play list that will perfectly complete And We Made The Room Shine. open your ears and do not forget to buy Constellation’s records at your record shop, an independent and committed one, or even here if you are close to Canada.