Label: Constellation Release date: 25/10/10 Link: Myspace Elfin Saddle’s second record for Montreal based label Constellation is a curious thing, comprising a limited edition run of a musical recording and an accompanying short film. In line with the label’s continuing aesthetic towards lovingly rendered packages, the boxed set is a beautiful thing- screenprinted artwork and postcards complementing the media. It is perhaps fair to judge the film and music both individually and collectively, as the soundtrack music to the film more than stands up on it’s own. Included in the disc are two bonus recordings, another 14 minutes of wonderfully recorded music, and on the dvd, a whole plethora of noteworthy supplements. Having opened at the Vienna International Film Festival, Wurld represents Elfin Saddle’s devotion to performance art and installation pieces. Both Jordan McKenzie and Emi Honda, the artists behind the project, are devout inventors, instrumentalists with an eye to DIY and the ad-hoc. Wurld, the film, can be loosely surmised as a narrative retelling of a society’s evolution and fall- filmed in stop-motion, rendered in a quaint archaic style that captivates your inner child’s imagination. Opening with television static, this gives way to muddy voids, from which horizons form, green shoots and the beginnings of what you might call civilisation. What is interesting about the composition here is how technological development is animated much in a similar fashion to the natural evolution. As plants stutter and arc toward the sky, so too do the beginnings of infrastructure- timid building blocks dancing across the screen, positioning themselves into a semblance of civil order. Just as form materialises, so too does it disperse. The film is broken into numerous sections, each transitioned with a knowing fade to black. These epochs allow for a passing of time, a skipping of centuries, as the diorama’s structures take on greater development. This is a film about nature and culture, how both are subject to evolutionary spurts and moments of waning, recession- the inexorable linking of these two oppositional modes. As pre-industrial mining and monarchic theocracies give way to highly technological societies, does Wurld imagine these existences any differently? One development gets layered over another and evolution’s rebuilding, its process of continual renewal, is revealed as one of fairly arbitrary determinism, a causality without thought or pre-consideration, only impetus for change. Elfin Saddle similarly have constructed a soundtrack that befits this narrative exposition, a layered sound recording that is foreboding and enchanting in equal measure. Sourced from an array of acoustic instruments, found sound and assembled kit, the soundtrack to this short film is a lovely piece of music, the kind of avant-garde instrumental folk that is as progressive as it is timeless. The two extra recordings on the LP are similarly interesting pieces of music, crafted from choral chanting, evocative chord progressions and intricate homemade percussion. Their music is enveloping and hugely beautiful, but so unconcerned with notions of grandeur- even when reciting such a grand meta-narrative as a history of society’s evolution. Accompanying the short film on Wurld’s DVD is a full concert recording as well as a selection of out-takes from the edit. Lovingly put together and fully realised as a conceptual work, Wurld is a small, assured statement of artistry and example by one of Constellations most intriguing new bands. Photobucket