Another Constellation record here, purchased largely speculatively. I basically trust Constellation to provide me with interesting music in a variety of styles and moods, presented with loving care and attention. There is something that connects most of the Constellation roster; it’s partially an organic sound thing, but it’s mostly a sense of character. They just don’t put out bland records.
Anyway, with that in mind, the latest Evangelista album, dropped through the letterbox direct from Montreal a few months back, before Constellation changed their mail order charges somewhat against my favour. In true Constellation style, it’s a melange of styles that I find difficult to describe.
This is Carla Bozulich’s band, and Carla Bozulich is a singer-songwriter. These songs have the personal touch that this implies. The production is raw and real, all clattering clanking percussion, roomy strings, murky swirly effects, and teetering-on-the-edge vocals. Her voice has quite a unique character, deep and breathy, with a punky rasp, rising from gentle muttering to ferocious snarling as appropriate.
This album has jazz and folk elements to it, but I wouldn’t really describe it as being either of those things. There’s some light psychedelia, some rockier moments, but as with much of the label’s roster, Prince of Truth falls in a strange murky no-man’s land that rewards patient listening while likely alienating more casual observers. This production is roomy and intimate, rather than polished. There are “rough” edges aplenty, and those define the sound as much as anything else.
Tracks like Iris Didn’t Spell and closer On the Captain’s Side are fascinatingly dark and poetic sketches of drifting fog and bleary desaturated textures, ethereal yet organic. Haunting in fact. Meanwhile You Are a Jaguar and The Slayer are positively prowling with animal energy. There’s rich colours on display here if that’s what you’re after. There is also a kind of dust, a warmth, a worn-in quality. These are songs that really seem to occupy space and time, moving and breathing as if present and unfolding naturally out of the air. Be forewarned, these songs take repeated listens to truly sink in – but as is often the case the reward for having done so is greater.
Prince of Truth is an acquired taste, making up in hand-crafted honesty what it lacks in accessibility. Not everyone has the patience or ear for music like this, of course, but for those who do, it’s a simple joy. It appears this is yet another Constellation artist to keep my eye on. Even if I won’t be mail ordering from them so often.