Current Address P.O. Box 55012
Montréal, QC, Canada
Constellation was founded in Montreal in 1996 to provide avenues and resources for the city’s marginal and overlooked punk/experimental music community. Initially conceived as a site−specific endeavour, with a small performance space acting as the magnet for musical exchange and live recordings, by the spring of 1997 plans for an ‘official’, permanent and legal venue were abandoned amidst a web of municipal red tape. Constellation released its first recordings, by Sofa and godspeed you black emperor!, in the middle of that year. Small pressings of full−length albums by each band were issued in handmade jackets and started trickling out around town.
Don and Ian (the Constellation guys) moved into a loft on the derelict side of Old Montreal during the Summer of 1997, called it the Constellation Room, and began figuring out international record distribution while launching a live performance series called Musique Fragile. At the same time, they collaborated with Efrim and Thierry (from godspeed) to mount larger shows at godspeed’s rehearsal space in a loft called Hotel2Tango. These two spaces operated under the radar until the end of the 90s, hosting performances by a diverse collection of musicians from Eastern Canada, including most of the Constellation roster (Sofa, godspeed, Do Make Say Think, Fly Pan Am, Mt. Zion, Frankie Sparo, 1−Speed Bike, Hangedup) along with dozens of others.
By mid−1999, the Constellation catalogue had grown to 14 releases and the label was selling records to a small but dedicated international audience via the fine folks at Southern Records Distribution in Chicago and London. godspeed had by then become a minor international phenomenon and were mounting long tours in Europe and North America, helping to shed light on other Montreal bands (both Constellation−released and not). The label continued to release godspeed’s records on LP while committing to both CD and LP formats for all other full−lengths. Musique Fragile was discontinued as the Constellation Room filled up with boxes and work tables, and the label became a full−time concern. Two years later, the label relocated to a larger space in Montreal’s Mile−End district, just blocks away from the Hotel2Tango (now a 24−track analogue recording studio).
Constellation remained determined to dоcument Montreal bands, use labour−intensive and artisanal packaging, keep everything in print to avoid collector’s markets and inflated prices for earlier releases, and minimise spending on promotion and media relations. These were all natural conditions for a label devoted to constructing a local workshop and local economy in spite of international attention and the demand for standardisation. Constellation continues to fervently believe that any ‘business’ initiative should be governed by sustainable economics and the prioritisation of a local community infrastructure. Globalisation of communication and information must be anchored by regional production, labour justice and economic transparency.
Constellation operates without contracts; agreements between the label and bands are based on regular contact and conversation, with the bands retaining full rights and ownership of their recordings and a split of any surplus generated by record sales. The relationship is entirely based on good faith, and has thus far worked without contention or complication. Constellation has also extended interest−free loans and donations to various political and artistic initiatives in the neighbourhood. The label continues to work closely with Southern on international distribution, as they have from day one. And, the Montreal music community continues to flourish, offering up many wonderful bands who make recordings for Constellation and a host of other small independent labels in the city.
1-Speed Bike • Post-Rock / Electronic / Canada
Black Ox Orkestar • Experimental / Folk / Post-Rock / Canada
Clues • Indie Rock / Canada
Do Make Say Think • Instrumental / Post-Rock / Canada
Elfin Saddle • Avantgarde / Experimental / Folk / Rock / Canada
Elizabeth Anka Vajagic • Post-Rock / Singer-Songwriter / Canada
Eric Chenaux • Experimental / Canada
Evangelista / Carla Bozulich • Experimental / USA
Exhaust • Ambient / Experimental / Minimal / Canada
Feu Therese • Experimental / Noise Rock / Canada
Fly Pan Am • Experimental / Indie Rock / Post-Rock / Canada
Frankie Sparo • Experimental / Post-Rock / Singer-Songwriter / Canada
Glissandro 70 • Post-Rock / Canada
Godspeed You! Black Emperor • Post-Rock / Canada
Hangedup • Experimental / Post-Rock / Canada
Hrsta • Experimental / Female Vocal / Post-Rock / Canada
Jem Cohen • Documentary / USA
Land Of Kush • Avantgarde / Canada
Lullabye Arkestra • Experimental / Canada
Re: • Ambient / Electronic / Experimental / Noise / Post-Rock / Canada
Sackville • Indie Rock / Folk / Canada
Sandro Perri / Polmo Polpo • Ambient / Electronic / Post-Rock / Canada
A Silver Mt. Zion • Experimental / Post-Rock / Violin / Canada
Sofa • Post-Punk / Canada
The Dead Science • Indie / Experimental / USA
Tindersticks • Indie Rock / UK
Vic Chesnutt • Folk-Rock / Singer-Songwriter / USA