Constellation Records (Canada)
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|Founder||Ian Ilavsky and Don Wilkie|
|Genre||Experimental, Alternative rock, Indie Rock, Instrumental rock, Post-rock|
|Country of origin||Canada|
Constellation Records is an independent record label based in Montreal, Quebec that is known for its contributions to experimental genres of music. It is most famous for releasing the albums of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, and Do Make Say Think.
The label was founded in 1997, operating out of a loft in Montreal's inner city. Its founders had intended to begin by providing a live performance space for the musicians of Montreal's thriving underground music world, with the label to follow, but bureaucratic difficulties put an end to this plan, and the stage was skipped. Instead, the label and the live performance series—entitled Musique fragile—began simultaneously. In 2004, the label relocated to larger quarters in Montreal's Mile End district, where it currently resides.
Constellation is anti-corporate, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalist; according to its founders, its mission is 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." It also hoped to recover and rebuild an independent music ethic that it saw as commodified and corporatized. To this end, Constellation tried to avoid selling its music through large corporate chains such as HMV and Virgin Records, preferring instead to deal directly with small and local businesses. Constellation releases are now available, however, from major media retailers such as Amazon.com.
The packaging of Constellation's music also reflects this ethos; the label eschews the ubiquitous jewel cases and ship their albums in unique hand-designed cardboard packages, which are made, as far as is possible, by local artists and artisans. Constellation spends 3-4 times as much on developing packaging as the average label, and that all of the packaging is handmade by a small in-house team. Items ordered through Constellation's Mail Order service are sent with a handwritten note of thanks.
The package of the Godspeed You! Black Emperor album Yanqui U.X.O. was especially noteworthy, containing an extensive chart which demonstrated the links between four major record labels—AOL Time-Warner, BMG, Sony, Vivendi Universal—and various arms manufacturers. The band later apologized for some extensions of the chart, conceding that some of their research had been inaccurate. This chart accompanied a photograph of falling bombs.
On 25 February 2010, Constellation Records founders Ian Ilavsky and Don Wilke signed, together with 500 artists, the call to support the international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli Apartheid.
The music on the label is usually categorized as post-rock (a label which Constellation abhors, regarding it as an invention of "hipper-than-now taste-makers").
- 1-Speed Bike
- Black Ox Orkestar
- Carla Bozulich
- Eric Chenaux
- Vic Chesnutt
- The Dead Science
- Do Make Say Think
- Elfin Saddle
- Elizabeth Anka Vajagic
- Feu Thérèse
- Fly Pan Am
- Frankie Sparo
- Glissandro 70
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor
- Land of Kush
- Lullabye Arkestra
- Matana Roberts
- Efrim Menuck
- Pat Jordache
- Polmo Polpo aka Sandro Perri
- Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band
- constellation » Accueil
- "A Note On the Artwork for Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui U.X.O.". Archived from the original on 2003-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- Tadamon!: 500 Artists Against Israeli Apartheid
- Official site
- 2004 Interview with Don Wilkie, co-founder of Constellation Records (ARTNOISE/DFB).
- Audio Interview with Don Wilkie, co-founder of Constellation Records
- Chart from Yanqui U.X.O. packaging Archived from the original on 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2013-01-21.