Jazz folk song-warper Sandro Perri is no stranger to thee Constellation record releasing orchestra, though with new band Off World he takes a different tack. On 1 this fledgling band of musicians contribute to the label's triple-bill of instrumental Autumn releases, using a mix of electronics and acoustics to create short-form tracks that feel alien and mountainous, establishing patterns and them examining them on an insect level.
LP £19.49 CST117LP
180g vinyl audiophile pressing LP + pull-out poster on Constellation.
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CD £11.49 CST117CD
CD on Constellation in 100% recycled gatefold paperboard jacket.
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With a very apt name and a lot of synth-twiddling, Off World unleash ‘1’, one of the year’s most peculiar electronic records and by the way it includes a banjo player. One of three new instrumental set-pieces being released by Constellation (ever heard of ‘em?), it comes from the brain of seven improv pals, with skewed songwriter and label mainstay Sandro Perri listed among them on electronics, harpsichord and piano. While they make a large ensemble crew, their music is strikingly sparse, its minimal melodic oscillations making for a surrealist landscape that feels both barren and crystalline.
I said minimalist: that’s how it feels. The more you unwrap this record, the more its sneaky, super-subliminal layers begin to make contact with your ears. It’s easy to concentrate on the brazen loop at the core of “2”, but there are shimmering sounds underneath it, as if you’re looking straight down on the flourishes like they’re tiny humans at the bottom of the mountain you’ve climbed. The half-jazzy, arguably-Kosmische synth melts of “3” are met by remote whistling sounds as diluted as a Dolphins In The Future recording, while “4” posits a quiet but cavernous drum machine that’d make Laraaji proud against synths blurting words and interruptions onto one another. An eerie melody starts to emerge from the rubble, but it’s so slight you barely notice -- you’ve sunk too deep.
It’s compelling, but how! I must know. This record takes apart my notions of what sounds nice and what’s experiment for experiment’s sake; at times I think this record sounds gorgeous, at others I can’t help but follow it down the rabbit hole in search of answers -- at times, a lovely sound just skews in a direction I wasn’t expecting and it becomes both. Specifically, I’m talking about “6”, and I hope you listen that far -- maybe this record won’t feel like much at first, but I bet you’ll play it again.
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