Lady Coast/Reflection Mandible (Self-Released, 2010)
For: Autechre, Public Image Ltd., Burial
Byline: Denver proto-dance-punk-electro band returns as a “nationwide collective” ...finally. Plz and thx.
In a world where there’s no shortage of bands that make things look easy (and I hate most of them for it), Constellations purposefully make their music sound hard. That’s because music is hard... especially for this gang, the once Denver-based dance-punk-gone-electro-infused outfit that made serious waves on the scene before ever having the chance to release a full-length record. As members began piling on the projects and other members began to disperse about the country, hopes for an official LP from the band were nearly dashed altogether. But just like the challenging nature of their dark, highly intellectual, intensely layered, syncopated, grinding beats and scathing textures, the group’s reemergence as a “nationwide collective” represents a refreshing tenacity—some things are just too good to give up on, distance-obstacles be damned. Several years in the works now, this single is at once a welcome return for the band, but it’s also, frustratingly, only but a taste—but a morsel of that sickly-sweet’n’sour mix of sound that’s somehow progressed fantastically beyond expectations. Lady Coast is über-meticulous, fascinating, but maintains an extremely high level of listenable gusto.
For those new to the band: Expect dark. Expect beats. Expect electronics. Expect rad (uh... really rad) bass lines. Expect haunting vocals. Expect piercing guitars. With Lady Coast, you’ll get all this and more, though—Constellations is certainly parts and pieces, but it’s uniquely whole and individual. Instruments and elements simply wouldn’t survive without their symbiotic partners... Constellations is an electro-ecosystem. Real drums rely on their glitchy, gated counterparts, synth lines flow relative only to threnody drones, and so on. See those “For” artists listed above? Yeah, those guys all certainly had something to do with the overall sound of Constellations, but this band’s got something else... these are but primers pieced masterfully together to (at the risk of being cliché here) sound one of a kind. Nothing else today comes across quite like it—an extraordinarily, uncommonly unique blend into something new... and thank Jebus for that.
The songs themselves find the band largely slowing things down and really pulling from the monstrously massive dinosaur stomp of dub-step. A new-jack swing feel finds its way into hi-hats alongside a biting backbeat that lays the path for the bass to flicker in and out with catchy snippets. Zack Brown’s hushed, creepy whisper will have you following his every command in your nightmares. The best part is the detail with which programmer Cory Brown so painstakingly saturates his work. Uncrackable codes and rigorous trial and error surely worked to ensure that nothing sounds the same twice, as beats and tones are cut up and scrambled with the complexity of a calculus equation. The music constantly, consistently evolves itself, tricking you into looking for patterns where there aren’t necessarily any. This’ll have you digging for days to unlock its mysteries... but you may never be able to go quite deep enough. Accompanied by a couple of remarkable remixes, Lady Coast is one of those don’t-miss-the-boat releases of the year. Plus, it’s free, so you don’t really have an excuse.