BREAKING SOUNDS: Constantine 'Day of Light' LP

posted Friday Mar 4th, 2016

Mining the terrain of pure expression via expertly synthesizing life-long kicks to maximum effect, Chicago-based Constantine has quickly amassed international accolades from lauded deep heads and trainspotters alike with his dulcet-toned, ambitious psychedelic folk dosed with moments of meticulous, atmospheric mellow and mammoth moments of high-flying psychedelia. After deep, teenage woodshedding and a succession of short-lived bands throughout his 20's he focused his efforts into composing material for a solo project, in which he'd utilize players from Chicago present and past, with diverse backgrounds in jazz, folk, rock and world musics. In addition to putting his own hand to the keys of the Mellotron and Vox, guitars, bouzouki and percussion, he was aided by local friends and comrades from his most recent combo—Constantine & The Emperors (which dissolved in 2009)—on autoharp, harmonium, harpsichord, mandolin, sitar, tablas, et al. Additional augmentation was provided by Steve Hastalis—flute and piccolo virtuoso who contributed to the Ides Of March's Common Bond (and is the artists' uncle)—as well as members of early '70s lost baroque acid-folk combo O.W.L (Of Wondrous Legend) in Al Keeler (vibraphone, marimba, bells) and Stephen Titra (12-String acoustic Guild—and creator of the striking cover and gatefold art which includes ancient story book-like illustrations) in draping the flesh over his bare-boned compositions to bring his debut
solo album, Day Of Light, to life.

Self-released in a minute edition of 300 copies in December of 2015, after four years of recording and separating wheat from chaff, Day Of Light weaves a tapestry of sounds from the late '60s/early '70s with nods to melodic West Coast psych, Anglophile acid folk, the Bosstown Sound and shades of cult acts such as HP Lovecraft, project collaborators O.W.L., Serpent Power, Subway, Tudor Lodge—especially apparent in Constantine's femme foil, the soaring and soothing songbird Jen Williams—and Ultimate Spinach, while maintaining its own unique voice and not descending into a paint-by-numbers bit of museum-piece idol worship. Like Balduin and The Coral, Constantine creates pitch-perfect recreations, while leaving enough modern polish intact to not render his creations inaccessible or too arcane. Imbued with a child-like sense of wonder concerning one's environment and enraptured by the mystical, the album treads on "the lifelong search for the strange and beautiful utopia you experience as a child..." says Constantine, while still focusing on contentedly working toward future bliss. Day Of Light's lightly whimsical, gentle, dreamy, beatific and sublime qualities have astonished even the most scrupulous, with respected reissue house Guerssen buying half the initial pressing to distribute in Europe, while cassette label Eye Vybe has recently issued a tape edition and Greek label Sound Effect has plans to re-release the album in Summer 2016. Until then, Constantine will continue dreaming, creating and searching for, "...the small gems of beauty that can sometimes be found in life if you [stop] and pay attention."