Constellation’s three new fall releases by Off World, Automatisme and Jason Sharp are dropping on September 30th… These new releases are wildly different yet satisfyingly leftfield albums that share an electric thread of sorts. Electronic music strategies, technologies, histories and sensibilities come into play, in very diverse ways, with each of these debut records – making them stand out a little differently in the context of the Constellation catalogue perhaps, but also informing one another and making a lot of sense to our ears as an album trio (somewhat in the spirit of our Musique Fragile series).
This is the second of those three.
From the Constellation site: “Automatisme is the electronic music project of 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.”
This album is, indeed, very drone, dub techno, electronica, ambient, electro-acoustic, and noise. There are six tracks: Transport 1, 2, and 3 and Simultanéité 3, 1, and 4. The Transport tracks are all about 5 minutes and the Simultanéité tracks are all about 9 and they are interfiled on the record.
“Transport 1” seems to be all about the thumping drums. The synth lines are fairly simple and serve to propel the song along as almost an ambient dance track. “Simultanéité 3” opens with some mechanical drone sounds and a beeping almost like a heart monitor. The beeps change and then a new drum beat is added while fiddling synths tickle along the top of the song. Things slow down and speed up and the track reminds me a lot of something you’d heard on NPRs awesome Echoes program.
“Transport 2” is more about drums. There are several different percussion themes going on–fat repeated drums, the main steady beat and then some low synth that runs through pretty much the whole thing. “Simultanéité 1” is a drone song with a drum sound that is like a heart beat. About a minute in the note changes and 30 second later the song takes on a different texture and pulse. It remains largely ambient for most of the song.
“Transport 3” has more percussive sounds that make this track much faster than the others. The final track “Simultanéité 4” has what sounds like voices (although I assume they are not) echoing underneath the slow pulsing rhythms.
While the track listing alternates between drum heavy tracks and more mellow tracks, the whole disc has a very chill vibe.
[READ: December 5, 2014] Sardine in Outer Space 4
Sardine is a children’s book published by First Second. It was originally published in France (and in French) and was translated by Sasha Watson. There are six Sardine books out.
This time the inner flap says “No Grownups Allowed (Unless they’re pirates or space adventurers),” and this book had some of my favorite cartoons yet.
“Under the Bed” has the kids getting lost under Little Louie’s bed and finding all the monsters that hide there. But Sardine’s adventures are so scary that the monsters don’t stand a chance trying to frighten him–they’re even a little afraid of Sardine, too. Of course the kids have someone who they can go frighten.
“The Boring Bunny” was a weird story in which there is an actual boring bunny. Its origin is fascinating–if you leave kids alone on a Sunday afternoon the boring Bunny’ll bother ’em because first boredom puts you to sleep and then it gnaws at you slowly.
“Sardine in Time” was funny because they use time travel and have lots of fun with it. First they go to the future where everyone has aged (a nice twist on typical time travel stories). Uncle Yellow is so old he just sleeps, but Little Louise (don’t call me “little”) and Sardine (who has suddenly gotten quite pretty) are teenagers. Louie notices that Sardine had gotten quite pretty, but since she thinks of him as a brother she is grossed out.
In “Purr Power” the sadly underutilized cat proves to have great powers–she can fly. I like the nods to other cartoons and the fact that the TV is showing a scene from The Simpsons.
“Flesh Eating Tattoos” has two interesting ideas going on. The first is that you can get tattoos that are removable (but very different from the kind that we have) and also that there are other kinds which will eat your flesh. You can imagine where those wind up (hint: Supermuscleman).
“Little Lost Rocket” is a story of a baby rocket that has fallen from its nest.
My favorite was the wonderfully meta story “Out of Ideas” which a very funny intro drawing of what I assume is Guibert. The kids wind up inside a giant book where they meet an author who is having so much trouble with the words (he is falling off of them) because he has writers block. There’s some clever author jokes about writer’s block that play out in the story.
I also enjoyed “Pep Tonic” Parts 1 and 2. I liked that the story was so full of ideas that they had to start Part 2 without even recapping what happened in Part 1. The doctor is checking them for pep. Everyone should have a frog in their head–it puts a gleam in your eye and a smile on your face. And everyone should have a bee in their feet which keep your feet buzzing. But if they get flipped watch out! The kids go on a mission to get some infernal peaches to give the doctor so he can make pep tonic out of them. When they get to the inferno they learn that Supermuscleman is giving lessons for misbehavers. There’s an amusing joke throughout the stories in which Little Louise keeps asking if everything hurts.
I really enjoy the meta stories a lot and I’m curious what the last two volumes will hold. It’s quit a change from not wanting to read them–since I didn’t enjoy the first two books all that much.