Constant Light are a really unique Melbourne duo creating experimental minimal music with lots of space. Their music is dreamy, krautrock influenced, quite repetitive and mostly instrumental, with drum machines and droning synths, bubbling atmospheres and elongated loops. Many of us first heard them via the excellent Iceage label compilation of last year Shape of Sound Vol.1, but this collection really expands upon their palette, offering up a band who have a unique ability to create really beautiful lush and hypnotic music, yet also retain an experimental edge, either via structure or a few difficult sounds thrown into the mix. You can hear elements of everyone from Budd and Eno to Vangelis in these sounds if you wish to.
It’s the work of Sasha Margolis who was previously part of experimental noise band Y35.5 and also Automating, as well as James Dean who helms Electric Sound Studios. This isn’t an album per se, rather it’s a collection of newly remixed material they produced and released in 2010 on miniature cds as well as the aforementioned piece from The Shape of Sound as well as three previously unreleased works, including a Suicide cover, the only track featuring vocals, and probably the weakest track here, shattering the mood they had so effortlessly created. So even though it’s not an album, it fits together beautifully (aside from the Suicide track), and it’s the kind of music that just washes over you, these beautiful ambient drifts, experiential music where your consciousness is affected but you barely remember you’re even listening to music. Beautiful.
Bob Baker Fish
Constant Light are a duo comprising James Dean (no it is not a coincidence) and Sasha Margolis; operator of Second Language Records and one of the hardest working musical pariahs in Melbourne. Having been active for a number of years in a number of guises (Automating, Spitfire Parade, Salivation Army, and Y35.3 to name a few) each one of these projects produced quality sound works, that for the most part remain/ed under the radar.
In Constant Light, the two have found a common interest in drones, krautrock, synthesizers and organs, teaming up to create pulsing rhythmic sound scapes comprised mainly of layered Acetone, Farfisa and guitar. The appeal lays in their clever ability to treat their source components to such a degree as to render the original instrumentation almost non existent. Dean’s mastering and production experience ensures they hit the senses with full sonic impact, walking the tightrope between lush and abrasive but never uncomfortable. Having listened to the album several times seated and motionless, it was not until hearing it on a long car journey that it really took off, with the stabbing repetitive organ lines and pulses greatly enhancing the linear nature of driving.
A special mention must go to the finale, a very Australian cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” displaying a cheeky irreverence to which I believe Alan Vega would give the thumbs up.
Although only active since the beginning of 2010, they have amassed a sizeable recorded output of mainly limited editions, downloads and compilation tracks (the majority of which comprises this album), and besides their recordings, the duo are a formidable live entity, often performing in line-ups of varying numbers of two to five members and audiovisual projections.
Krautrock no loner reigns supreme on the road, Constant Light are the new soundtrack for cars. 8/10.
There are a lot of artists these days riding the minimalist/experimental wave, as if through lack of musical aptitude they have clamored onto a genre that is loose in definition but often fall short of true artistic ability. Then there is Constant Light, an act from Melbourne Australia that have a veracious appetite for well crafted [for the most part] instrumentals often lacking in today's underground music scene. Observations/1 is a compilation album of tracks from several short run E.P.s released by Second Language Records. The album is driven by its repetitive melodic hooks that are infused through each track. With such a dazzling display of musicianship and songwriting dexterity this album is by far one of the best releases to come out of Australia for quite some time.