Constellation Tatsu Winter 2023 Batch

1.18.23 by Matty McPherson

Constellation Tatsu had a steady and immensely giving 2022. Their 10th anniversary offered a chance for the label to decide to dig back in and champion over 20 of its chill-out, deep zones, and sonically veracious releases. All with an additional 2 batches of tapes. Lockstep pattern that seems to be going about right on time in 2023 with a batch of electronic veterans and label newcomers. Keeping to around 30 minutes a piece, each tape stays to a particular lane of techno runoff, amplifying different modes of dub, ambient, and lo-fi variations.

Grim Beazley – Big World

Grim Beazley is an entirely new name from all that I can tell. At least only holding a single appearance on a 2021 Australian 12″ 4-cut compilation. Big World’s 4 cuts across the C27 minutes are still a nifty fit in the CTatsu star chart, a sauntering display of new agey synths and four on the floor that remains starry-eyed and funky fresh; vaporous and gaseous zones that cruise like midnight interstates. There’s still a level of character building and finding one’s sense of self that Beazley’s music is working itself into. Arheron Way and Eucal Regnans more or less chill quite hard, with rigid drum programming that often lacks an immediate flair or trait to them, and yet slowly spurn and prove themselves over the cuts. Meanwhile, Reefer Red Gum, the tape’s standout, often brings in metallic textures and clap-beats that combo off of each other in snappy, tantalizing manners. All the while, synth noise, hi-hats, and beloved bird-sounds feel of a chiller strain of transient electronic listening music that was hiding on Artificial Intelligence. On Big World, a sample about technology and its affects away from the physicality of time & laws of physics. It’s a lofty sample that comes across the ethereal piece, which recalls Ki Oni’s own works. And I bring up Ki Oni because this piece indicates an MO and perhaps an argument for mutating the chills of “stay indoors/plant life” type music with a heart for creation and physicality; if anything alone, it all edges towards why this music is destined for rave spaces and I’m curious for what Beazley is tuning into next.

Strategy – Graffiti In Space

With a long spanning catalog that dates different eras and ideas of his approach to music, Paul Dickow can turn wildly between releases. Graffiti In Space has precedent in the catalog, perhaps stray invocation of Drumsolo’s Delight’s glitzy textures or a more looser approach to the Infinite File’s rigid psych dub. There also stands a deep thought line towards DJ’ing chiller and more sinisterly playful works than where his last for Peak Oil had done only months prior. Over 40 minutes, Dickow gets to the brass tax with custom instrumentation attempting to tackle a larger summation of dub aesthetics in the process. His approach goes in two directions splitting half the album. 3 lighter cuts that play up the ambient and house textures of the bass’ rhythm, having patterns on his synths or keys work in focus and towards pleasurable repetition; bubbly, if glitchy “Daydream Space Graffiti” or “Surface Words” ensure.

Then there’s the moments where he strikes lightning in a bottle, when he lets his technology create noises that are each their own acid tests. The lazery twitches of Fountain of Youth find a cyclical trance that dub bass refracts and reflects further and further. The Pan•American nod and dubby fun of “In Space No One Can See Your Screen” is bolstered by glitches and wobbly keys that skip around the edges of the piece. That this is all rendered in a lo-fi, vhs tinged fidelity adds to the tape’s highest moments. It also gives a crisp feeling, the kind like mountain air, towards “Remote Dub” and “Message from Ouroboros.” Across the 40 minutes, the bass remains both a reliable bolster towards dance and equal to the general alienness that his sounds are easily mutable and fantastically easy to lose themselves in.

Hoshina Anniversary – HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう

Yoshinobu Hoshina is a DJ based in Tokyo, having released a series of recordings that date back more than a decade across letter soup imprints like TCY, GND, BNR, & ESP–as well as Impatience and patience sister labels. He’s a busy fella you have to tip your hat. HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう’s six techno cuts are omnibus pocket dimensions that brilliantly balance ambience with crushing beats and twinkling details. HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう is a deceptive C32, a bonafide mula of lo-fi dubby drums, orange milk-esque left-field midi magic, and Japanese house aesthetics–pockets of gaseous space and the time between climaxes feel of mini-orchestras or beat sequences. I’ve seen works from 99 Levels and Row Arai before that have played to this, but the addition of more “goo core” type sound effects give this noise a precocious and unique quality.

It’s a compressed, crisp tape as well, and the egging of the fidelity turning into sauna-like finesse in its best moments. Dakuten 濁点’s razor jagged edges slowly unfurl, providing a grungey characteristic to this. HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう’s pulsing broken-transmission melody brings out queasy jazz keys (themselves the center of Sugisaru Hito 過ぎ去る人) and frantic clap-patterns, before revealing a reverberated peak that echoes MJ Guider’s own effort for CTatsu nearly a decade prior. It spends it’s back half not building from the ground up, but digging deep into an underground tangle of wires. Dareka no Rettoukan wo Nomikomu 誰かの劣等感を飲み込む’s mechanic 240p quality pulse is a wildly versatile match under somber keys or illbient-esque hi-hats and a unnerved bass, as synthesizers give it a divine almost-transcedence that’s left in breadcrumbs. Nothing on the release ever quite feels like it’s suffocating each other and all loaded together it has consistency with massive repetition allowing for short stories to unfold.