X.Y.R., “Eskimo”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.18.14 in Listen to This

The excellent cassette label Constellation Tatsu has been releasing beautifully-packaged tapes of moody, minimalist synth music for just north of two years now, turning out consistently-excellent releases mostly under the radar. That last fact deserves to change: there’s an artfulness about all of Constellation Tatsu’s releases that elevates them to a plane above mere niche music. The insert for the just-released, aptly-titled Arktika album by X.Y.R. features a cut-out pane window that peers into a painting of a boat angrily tossed on a frigid sea. The music it contains is also icy and remote: in “Eskimo,” a single synth line plunks along like a lone traveler on a desolate winter landscape, pushing his way forward through driving snow. Constellation Tatsu typically releases albums in batches of three; they can be purchased individually, or you buy the entire batch for the eminently affordable price of $13, which includes shipping. Arktika is the perfect entry point into Constellation Tatsu’s weird, wonderful world.