Tag Archives: Constellation Tatsu

Ex Medici

Featuring : Jonas Reinhardt

Ganymede_terrain

Welcome back Jonas Reinhardt.  Welcome back to 20JFG, where we’ll attempt to describe your music, ethereal as it is.  And this time you’ve bought a friend.  And that friend is a moon.

We’ve slept on this one a bit — somewhat fittingly as our ability to post music is occasionally measured on a planetary timeframe.  But here we are with an album that accompanies a feature length film.  A film about Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter that may well support life under its icy surface.

Malevolence In Blue comes towards the end of the album (you can hear the final track, Lox Moon coming in at the end).   It’s a rare moment of momentum on an album largely focussed on texture.  A moment of consciousness within the watery maelstrom of nature that occupied the other tracks.

Jonas Reinhardt – Malevolence In Blue

Malevolence In Blue is taken from Jonas Reinhardt’s album + film, Ganymede.  You can pick up a copy of both right here.

Spaced-out Soul

(gif is by davidope)

In space, no one can hear you scream. But what about in time? In fiction, space is usually depicted as an empty, cold, haunted place – full of fear. Stories involving time travel, though, are not fearful but full of melancholy.

As the fandom-loathed BBC Cardiff’s in-house bombast meister Murray Gold outlives yet another regeneration of the Doctor (his fourth, since the show itself regenerated back in 2005, when this blog was still a mewling infant of a thing with a Dalek and a naked lady in its masthead), we would like to make our official nomination for Rachel Evans aka Motion Sickness of Time Travel to be the new resident composer for Doctor Who.

Motion Sickness of Time Travel – Song of Zenana

Full of spaced-out soul, her electronic scores have all the eerieness and majesty of Delia Derbyshire and the prime Radiophonic Workshop ‘special sound’. Song for Zenana is just a sliver from Rachel’s epic split cassette with Aloonaluna.

Buy the Aloonaluna/Motion Sickness of Time Travel split from Constellation Tatsu

Hold hands and it will happen elsewhere

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(Concept art for Tron, illustration by Peter Lloyd based on a Syd Mead design, via here.)

We continue the Constellation Tatsu bonanza after III Professor last Monday with three cassette releases that together comprise a ‘Summer Adventure Pt. II’ to bootstrap another summer holiday within your summer holiday or non-holiday, a transversal expedition into another spaces and another times, through a sonic wormhole, powered by the mightiest of motors, hope and imagination.

You can pick them up together here.

grapefruit

The SF in Grapefruit’s SF Chrome could refer to Science Fiction or San Francisco, and both connections would be meaningful, not least because they represent things that should themselves be linked.

SF Chrome (1), the smooth surfaces and clean lines of the silver machines in Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, the silver machines that mankind rides out of the cradle of the mind, silver that pays our membership fee at the society of galactic civilisations.

SF Chrome (2), a psycho-enhanced collective intelligence flipping the dial of radio reality to discover new modes of perception, swim with the wild beasts lurking in the abyssal depths of its own self.

These two modes have historically been in conflict. Tribes of technocrats at war with the constructionist drop-outs, this is another manifestation of the rift between the two cultures that keeps mankind stunted. Yet we will need both tribes to work together if we are to achieve escape velocity and thrive in the real worlds out there. We will need the silver machines, and we will need the alternative modes of perception, tools to make sense of the great weirdness that lies awaiting.

We see them come together, if only for a few minutes, in SF Chrome, the elegant swing of metal objects peacefully dozing in their perfect orbits, the progressive pulse of emotion preceding the primal scream with which we are born into the stars.

Grapefruit – SF Chrome

Go and order Stolen Highway from Constellation Tatsu.

bataille

The stories of true explorers brim with the unbelievable because these individuals see the frontiers they are pushing in a febrile state, their sensorial systems on the verge of a breakdown (which is why the perceptual experimentation we mentioned above is good training for outside-bound mankind), there is only so much they can take in, remember unbiased and recount in a way those of us who stayed at home can understand. Hence the chimeras, sirens, leviathan and four-legged selenites that populate the first maps of a terra incognita.

Bataille Solaire’s Documentaires feel to us like the musical translation of the voyages of one such adventurer, an Olaf Stapledon or Stanislaw Lem touring the natural & natural-like wonders of the universe, staying away from commercial hubs and urbanised planets, and in his loneliness and misunderstanding attaching faces, personalities and human motivations to the phenomena he encounters – motherly nebula and old red crones, curmudgeonly black holes and ululating pulsars, a whole society of bickering Gods embroiled in the great Epic.

The tools Bataille Solaire uses for this translation are the synthetic melodic chains of the modern French and German masters, the emotional grand gestures of Jan Hammer or early Vangelis, and the bass flips & slaps of the P-Funk diaspora.

The format of its output may well be a science Documentaire, but distorted and stretched so that it mirrors cosmic ‘reality’ like Miami Vice mirrors a day down at the police station –distorted, thrilling, hyperkinetic and truer that truth, it makes us want to go to the stars even more than before, but also makes us feel a pang of fear at the potential disappointment, for how could they live up to our expectations of burning pastel & nova swing?

Bataille Solaire – Échelles humaines

Acquire Documentaires here.

panabrite

Panabrite has now been featured twice in 20jazzfunkgreats, so we revisit what we had to say about him before. We used his songs as inspiration to reinterpret the financial-capitalist ziggurats rising by the Thames as pieces of a modern day Stonehenge, and suggested that if Laurie Spiegel had been born in Atlantida instead of Chicago, she would have sounded like he does.

These two descriptions could still be applied to the marvellous spirals of sound contained within Cortex meditation, spirals which are abstract not in a theoretical way, but in the realest way there is, in the way in which blood pumps through the circulatory system and the brain, abstract in the way in which synapses fire away to translate light into sights, and sights into emotion, and emotion into an understanding that goes beyond the here and now to encompass much more.

Do you want to see how real? Walk down the hill where you live while listening to a Panabrite song, say Night Sweat, through a park where a man pushes a child in a swing, under trees strobing the setting sun, and feel the soft melancholy piano, the questing packet of bubbling synths & the deepstaria enigmatica of ambient noise prise the container of this moment open so that information from parallel realities, past realities and future realities, may overflow it and be overflown by it, and overflow you with an epiphany that’s best not put into words, but kept in music.

That real.

Panabrite – Night Sweats

Get Cortex Meridian here.

Songs for a dying Earth

lastofus 

The Last of Us is a majestic accomplishment for many reasons. Arching over them is the seamless coming together of history, setting, mood and gameplay.

The game is about surviving in a world wacked out of civilisation by a fungal plague that turns people into mindless, bloodthirsty, craggy excrescence-matted creatures. This leads to societal collapse and anarchy, and authoritarianism, and cultism, and cannibalism. You are Joel, a smuggler going through this collapsed America with teenager Ellie.

It isn’t pretty, but it also is pretty, and that contradiction is captured (and reinforced) across all elements of the game, including the awesome soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla, who also worked on Los Amores Perros, 21 Grams, The Motorcyle Diaries and Brokeback Mountain.

We celebrate all of this today.

Why isn’t it pretty? Because surviving in a world defined by a zero-sum situation will never be pretty, or moral. To do it, you have to be willing to become something worse, more cruel and vicious than the other. And you do, and you get to see the consequences. The lizard brain coils and blood splatters the walls.

The gameplay (if you play it in hard, as it is meant to) is all about improvisation and ingenuity, inspired by the action scenes in No Country for Old Men.  Managing resources, scrounging for supplies and ammunition, lurking while you magic a shiv out of gaffer-tape and a handful of scissors, lurking in a sea of shadows where there be sharks, perhaps you become the shark. Santaolalla’s music has a similar hand-tooled feel, as if it had been put together with instruments made of wood stripped from houses where families used to live, and carried inside it their memories, those psychic barnacles with which the human survivors of this world mirror the awful infected.

And why is it pretty? It is pretty precisely because, as a zero sum game being played in an entropic universe,  it converges on an abandonment of the world by the human species, a leaving of the world to its own non-devices, which are forests cracking through urban concrete, toppling skyscrapers like desecrated churches from an abandoned religion, an explosion of green, a smoothing of angles, a filling of corners with water, soil, bones, a world smogless upon which the sun shines with a new clarity, a world with colours that didn’t exist before – slate-colored dawnlight, rosy crepuscule, [or] overcast white tinged with lemon.

As is often the case with the post-apocalyptic and zombie genres, the survivors are ultimately shown to be the source of evil because they have a choice, perhaps it’s all for the best that their days here are counted, these are the last of them, they leave the stage with a tinge of shame at having blemished the world, also great loneliness, and a final moment of awe at the beauty they leave behind.

All of these feelings are there, in the music, and this is the reason we celebrate it today. And partly why, in spite of everything that has happened, everything that we have done, all the blood that we have spilt, we push forward, because this music is beautiful, and without us, it also dies, in silence.

Gustavo Santaolalla – The Quarantine Zone (20 Years Later)

You can purchase the soundtrack for the Last of Us from iTunes.

iiiprofessor

III Professor’s (Zelienople’s Brian Harding) Wire and Air overlaps with the above in so ways such that to pass the occasion to incorporate it into this post would have been a sin.

The hand-tooled feel is there, which in part means the imperfections created by the subtle mistranslation of synaptic messages into muscular action, upon wire, through air, and into us.

Also a mood of stasis – and ecstasy, perhaps preceded by apocalypse and bloodshed. This is reflected in the creative process behind Wire and Air, wonderfully summarised in the press release that accompanied it (paraphrasing), ‘a stripping away of everything that is not essential for the song to exist’, which we understand as an evolutionary journey where the accessory is eroded away up to the limit where it feels like these songs could exist without us listeners, like the lullabies that the mountains may well hum to each other after we are gone. Perhaps, we will never be know.

III Professor – Slate line

Go and get Wire and Air from Constellation Tatsu.

Pastoral Nightclub

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20JFG went on a trip this weekend, without stepping on train, bus or plane, this trip didn’t even require walking.

We flicked a switch in the desktop of this machine, and we were washed ashore in Proteus.

What is Proteus?

In haste:

1. Proteus is a procedurally generated 8-bit island developed by Cambridge programmer Ed Key. The visitor to Proteus roams its hills and valleys, like Key strolled down English fields when he was a child. The visitor also roams the melodies and moods of Proteus, the vegetable ragas and fuzzy drones of a vivid dream enacted live, so that it can become the substrate for further dreams. Oakland based musician David Kanaga is the marshal of Proteus’ musical winds.

2. Proteus is a language with one word.

The word not spoken is outside, everything minus Proteus.

The word spoken is Proteus, a poem broadcasted from a radio tuned to the cycles of an island which may be heaven or limbo or that odd place where we scatter from our scattered bodies. Its alien words rain upon us while we descend a hill, into algorithmic clouds blocky like the clouds which are one of a children’s first 5 drawn shapes (body, house, sun, tree, bird), and we are drenched, cleansed, rejoice.

3. Proteus is a paradise and its denial, arcadia tinged with the sadness of alien memories and abandoned ruins, and of the realisation that we will soon be ejected (also so that we can carry its message outside like we are doing now – is it a weaponised meme for mass enlightenment? Hum).

4. Proteus is a Pacific Sandpit dreamed in that theoretical space where the astral personas of Philip Glass, Terrence Malick and Notch play together in a summer night.

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It is like the songs we leave with you today. We could easily imagine them chopped and scattered in graciously self-contained modules of feeling, across the spaces of Proteus:

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Anarresian physicist Shevek integrated simultaneity and sequence with intervals, making possible the ansible for trans-galactic communication, and also faster than light transport.

Minimal Electronic legend J D Emmanuel achieves the same effect with his synthesiser meditations: dissolution of eternal distances, opening of wormholes into a vast series of vistas, most of them of barrenness, silence and peace.  It is not a coincidence that his latest release of live pieces in the phenomenal Aguirre records is called ‘Time Traveller’.

J D Emmanuel – At One Ment

You can acquire ‘Time Traveller’ here.

looksrealistic

Constellation Tatsu cadets Looks Realistic produce, on their part, chunks of sound of an almost geological ponderousness, tectonic beats dropped at the pitch with which glaciers descend upon the south, like brave astronauts voyaging between the elements. We then experience a combination of awe (the epic through which our world is formed) and homeliness (for this is the state of the world to which we owe our existence).

Looks Realistic – Happening In Your Community

Acquire their ‘Where does it Come From?’ tape from Constellation Tatsu.

Sourcing Superior Perceptual Strategies from the Beyond

hamilton 

“What we are doing here, see, is using sound as a vector to explore the space of possible models for interpreting the universe.

The constituent components of these songs (as well as their combination) are probes that bring from the unknown plug-ins we can add to our sensorial apparatus and increase or modify the perceptual dimensions of any situation we face. These sounds turn squares into cubes, and cubes into ice! They get us closer to the bottom of bottomless reality, and to the shape of elusive truth. They increase our evolutionary fitness.

The little dioramas, stories, visuals, legends and folk-tales that accompany these sounds, or that we devise to describe them are simply user manuals, illustrations of the way the world can be made to look or feel by adopting these perceptual models, by flicking the switch.”

(Jonny Von Neu!mann, Head of R&D at 20JFG Corporation).

goldendonna

Golden Donna is the third vertex* in the base of a prism that is a lens through which we gaze, to be made aware of certain things as we leave our house and step into the neighbourhood outside.

We realise that this place is regulated by a nefarious consensus.

We hear the crunching of bones and the snarling of ghouls from under the hill where the neighbourhood is perched, looming upon the city.

Hands or claws or paws slide mouldy curtains in our wake.

We overtake a mom pushing a pram down the hill.

What is that thing trashing in the pram, what is that thing coiling in the pram.

When we gaze through this prism, we gaze into the apex of an iceberg sliding into an black abyss inhabited by things that unfailingly stare back. It’s like turning on the radar. Everyone can see us. Now we are the star.

We might as well give them a dance.

Golden Donna – Machete Bathtub

Golden Donna just published ‘Gloaming Thirst’ in Iowa City’s All Hell Label. Bathtub Machete is the unnerving, dead eyed disco hit therein. Go get before it gets you.

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Samantha Glass is a lightning rod or epiphanic wand that we point at the dull sky as we leave our house and step into the neighbourhood outside.

It is as if Mother Goddess had thrown wide open the blinds of our perceptually teen-aged bedroom, sternly clapped her hands, and admonished us: “You will be late for your trip to the museum of everyday sublimation!”

Which is where the universe which produced the society which produced the materials of which our neighbourhood was assembled, and the generations of people who did the assemblage, of the neighbourhood and each other, reveals its face and, for once, it is a benign face, one that observes our collective battle against the tide of entropy with keen interest.

It will not help us, but it will write our epic in all things, this is what we are made aware of as we walk down this hill, with an extra bounce in our step while the coralline drone of the First Movement thins the dullness away, and paints everything anew.

Samantha Glass – Movement 1

Samantha Glass is the persona holding the key to a treasure. Go to Bandcamp for lots more material, and acquire Rising Movements, which Movement 1 obviously launches, from the wonderful Constelation Tatsu.

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*- The others are Umberto & Xander Harris.

A Good Place To Think About Not Thinking

Featuring : Pleq/Quinn Walker + Prayer

(Image is Meditation Hood by Sea Moon.)

Admittedly the closest we come to praying is whenever a new series of Doctor Who starts and we’re hoping Moffat and Gatiss don’t find yet more ways to abominate the great classics of British design that are the Daleks and the Doctor Who theme, so while we might sometimes affect a wise and saintly air, it’s mostly not advisable to pay too much attention to anything we have to say on matters any more spiritual than what comic books, video games, and music we like.

But recently we’ve been thinking a lot about drone, and how the act of prayer seems forever implied in the experience of either creating or submitting yourself to a drone. On a superficial and fashionably new agey level, drones make appropriate meditation tools. There’s also a historical relationship of drones in sacred musics – think of the raga and Hinduism, the figurative dreamtime in didgeridoo drones, or the harmonium patterns in qawwali devotionals.

Words jumble the brain and beats excite the body. An unadorned drone can convincingly denote the sacred because it doesn’t offer any more detail then those gradual shifts in tone, colour, and mood that seem at once ascetic and ecstatic. There’s an underpinning sense of travelling without moving – a good drone piece being full of constant movement and micro-fluctuations, like particles of dust in a sunbeam, swirling with data. Though delivered typically as mantras, a good drone should also be like a haiku, it should fire powerful images with only the most economical palette of syllables. It should be more functional than beautiful. More than simply acting as aural anaesthetic – an uncluttered soundtrack for ‘chillaxing’ – drones are a good place to think about not thinking.

Prayer – excerpt from Second Species

Constellation Tatsu deal in delicious synthdrone bliss better than anyone, and this tape by Prayer is just one fifth of their frankly awesome-value-for-money October bundle. Just picking one highlight is difficult enough – the Pleq/Quinn Walker tape is also beautiful.

The label have already sold out of some of their November/December package featuring xxjfg favourites Food Pyramid, so interested parties are advised to get in early on future bundles. These are the kind of epiphanies we can get with.