17 May 2020

CONSTANTINE – In Memory Of A Summer Day (2020, LP/CD Guerssen Records)

 

 

 

RELEASE INFO:

Label: Guerssen Records

Format: LP, Album, Black Vinyl, Includes six double-sided lyric inserts

Format: LP, Album, Limited Edition, Clear Vinyl, Includes six double-sided lyric inserts, 75 hand-numbered copies

Format: CD, Album, Includes a 16-page booklet with lyrics

Release Date: 20 May 2020

 

I first met with Constantine’s music, back in 2015 when I witnessed his modern age lysergic odyssey, the Psychedelic Acid-Folk Masterpiece “Day Of Light” which was a self-release (private edition) and became a cult album almost instantly among the underground Folk-Psych scene. That album really blew me away and along with the fact that Constantine is rooted to Greece – coincidentally from a small village just 25 kilometers outside of Tripolis, Arcadia, the place of TimeMaZine’s Headquarters – I hosted an interview on TimeMaZine Issue #9 (Autumn 2016) and of course the CD of the issue figured a track from “Day Of Light” (“Egyptian Days”). Of course, we kept contact and I was learning his news and the progress of his new album which finally will see the light of day (!) in May 2020. This time, the Spanish label Guerssen that did the European distribution of his first album, took over the release of Constantine’s second album. Constantine Hastalis is based in Chicago and just as his previous debut album, the follow-up “In Memory Of A Summer Day” it took him almost 5 years to be finished! So, here we are with 12 musical pieces of art and poetry and story-telling, moving generally into the neo-folk scene but with many surprising interesting admixtures, all composed by Constantine, of course. I believe “In Memory Of A Summer Day” is a concept album, telling the imaginary story of some people living in the past old ages, a story with castles, dragons, kingdoms, meadows, rivers… The album opens with “Upon Your Rise”, a lovely and warm kind of interlude with flute, acoustic guitar, and Constantine’s melancholic voice. With “Morning – The Meandering Path” you know that the fairytale has started… Flute, birds’ singing, under a Folk and strong medieval musical background, male vocals, then female, then together male-female that wonderfully tightens up with the music and the story that is told. An incredible Folk-a-Delic song! On “Spring” the scenery becomes darker, colder, and sadder, even it’s Spring Time and everything is efflorescent… Constantine sings “… a resurrection of your mind… searching for the flower queen…”…  with a beauteous ethereal flute section in the middle of the song, an acidly drenched folkie sad tune… “My Dear Alice” – every Great story has one Alice inside, right? – is Acid-Folk Psychedelia “painted” with beautiful sitar sounds, double male/female vocals, weird but sentimental orchestration with a strange sweetness, a song with “ups” and “downs”. When it’s “up” it’s warm and sweet and sunny and happy but when it’s “down” becomes weird dark-psych, it’s like Alice through the Looking Glass, but slowly disappearing, magical!!! The wonderful story-telling continues with “Slaying Of The Dragon”, kind of “Renaissance” keys blending with medieval-like flutes and acoustic guitars, with a tremendous pompous cinematic middle section, it’s really unbelievable how many “things” are happening in just 4 minutes, and I mean musically! This song overflows inspiration! On “Far, Far Away” acoustic guitars and organ sounds are delightfully mixed together so Constantine can continue his exciting story-telling… Under a peaceful soft and sweet flute sound “Matilda Of The Meadow” starts… Double male/female vocals and another excellent piece of Folk-a-Delic bewitchment! For the last 3 minutes, the tune dives into a beautiful psychedelic colorful field of sunflowers, really trippy and fascinating while by now the acoustic guitars have turned into mellow fuzzy acid-psych ones! My personal highlight of the album is definitely this one! “Afternoon – In Memory Of A Summer Day” starts under a melancholic and kind of bucolic way as the story unfolds, a folkie ballad with a distinctive church-like organ while the last 40 seconds are literally dipped into late 60s British Psychedelia… The next 3 ones, “Along The Castle Wall”, “Upon A Dream” and “Rivers” act like a short suite, acidly drenched Folk short tunes full of reminiscence and melon collie! The album closes with the epical “The Kingdom Must Fall”, 10 minutes of supreme magical Folk pleasure, filled with the necessary psychness and dangerously flirting with progressive-rock, simply majestically brilliant! So what we have here? A modern Donovan? A new old-fashioned storyteller? Another version of Pied Piper of Hamelin? Well, we have a man from Chicago, named Constantine, he is a talented awesome modern troubadour and his 2nd album “In Memory Of A Summer Day” will “adorn” many Underground lists with the Best albums of 2020! TimeLord Michalis

 

Credits:

Artwork, Illustration – Stephen Titra

Bass – Constantine Hastalis, Max Brink, Mike Novak , Patrick Tsotsos

Drums – Brendan Peleo-Lazar, Constantine Hastalis, Matt Smalligan

Flute – Steve Hastalis

French Horn, Trumpet, Recorder – Alex Rowney

Guitar [12-String] – Constantine Hastalis, Mike Novak

Harp – Janelle Lake

Mandolin – Mike Novak

Mellotron, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano – Alex Rowney, Constantine Hastalis

Sitar – Clar Monaco

Tabla – Stevenson Valentor

Tambora – Gigi Wong-Monaco

Vocals – Constantine Hastalis, Jen Williams

Written-By, Lyrics By, Guitar [6-String], Synth [ARP String Ensemble], Synth [Moog], Celesta, Vibraphone – Constantine Hastalis

 

 

Tracklist

A1 Upon Your Rise 1:32
A2 Morning/The Meandering Path 5:17
A3 Spring 4:41
A4 My Dear Alice 4:18
A5 Slaying Of The Dragon 4:04
A6 Far, Far, Far Away 2:51
B1 Matilda Of The Meadow 7:00
B2 Afternoon/In Memory Of A Summer Day 3:34
B3 Along The Castle Wall 2:06
B4 Upon A Dream 1:04
B5 Rivers 2:20
B6 The Kingdom Must Fall 10:09

 

Buy it directly via Guerssen Records:

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