Local singer-songwriter Constantine Hastalis has one of the finest record collections of anyone I know. What’s most admirable about it is its focus: virtually every LP is psychedelic rock, pop, folk, or experimental music from the late 1960s and early ’70s. Many of the releases are obscure, and more recognizable records tend to be imports or rare editions of famous albums. At one point, Hastalis was posting pictures of highlights from his library to Instagram, but he’s since discontinued the practice. Instead, he’s rerouted his love for this era of music into something more creative and fulfilling: his debut full-length LP, Day of Light.
Released simply under the moniker Constantine, the songs on Day of Light are spacy, woody, and groovy throwbacks to the oddball acid trips of bands like Comus and the Incredible String Band. Part of the sound is probably due to the musicians who back Hastalis, some of whom are members of the band O.W.L. (Of Wondrous Legends), to whom Plastic Crimewave devoted a Secret History back in 2011. O.W.L.’s Stephen Titra also contributed the gloriously Tolkienesque album art, and there’s a deeply trippy passage on the back cover:
Follow the sound of echoing flutes and sleeping bells; past the willows, far over the hill. Disappear on a journey down the forest path, where kings and magicians are hiding in the trees. Beware the darkness of the forest and enjoy the vibrant colors of the land; harpsichords and Mellotrons as your guide. Come wander til the day has vanished and a new day begins . . .
Count me in!
Hastalis did a small pressing of 300 copies of Day of Light in vinyl to see whether it was worth a wider release. Distributed through Guerssen Records in Spain and advertised on Bandcamp and a few other online publications, the LP quickly sold out. A limited edition is currently available on cassette via Eye Vybe Records, and Hastalis plans on issuing a wider LP and CD release this summer, albeit exclusively in Europe, where there’s more demand for the album. However, you can still download Day of Light on Hastalis’s Bandcamp page.
Tonight, Hastalis and O.W.L. play the Burlington; doors open at 9 PM and there’s a suggested $5 donation. Day of Light is unavailable for purchase, but the trip is there for the whole audience. I’ve included my favorite track, “Rania,” with vocals by Jen Williams, below.