Constellation Tatsu micro-label's cassette and VHS releases

NewImageConstellation Tatsu is a music "micro-label" based in San Luis Obispo, California. San Luis Obispo is nicknamed SLO (for its acronym and lifestyle) which fits rather nicely with Constellation Tatsu's lovely ambient, drone, psychedelic offerings. I also appreciate that they keep prices down and the lo-fi aesthetic up by keeping physical releases relegated to tape, in the form of cassettes and, yes, VHS. Stream everything for free to see what you dig. Then you can order a variety of individual products or combo-packs like the "January Batch" that includes 4 cassettes, 1 VHS tape, and digital downloads of the music for $20. The blown-out, color-drenched clip above is from the duo Looks Realistic's "Where Does It Come From?" audio and video project that's included in the January Batch. Constellation Tatsu's "January Batch" (via OMG Vinyl)


  1. So, unless I’m misunderstanding this, these videos are high-quality VHS recordings of intentionally distorted video. I’m not unappreciative towards what this project’s trying to do, but it can’t help but feel super fake, like making a Photoshop that looks like an oil painting, cracks and all, and then screen printing it onto a canvas, rather than straight-up actually painting something. On the flip side, I’d much rather pay good money for faithfully, carefully degraded recordings of originally-high-quality video.

  2. I don’t get this interest in deliberately degrading video and audio.  Maybe I’m just turning into my old man.  He was a longtime electronic tinkerer, always working on his (tubed) hi-fi gear and guitar amplifier.  One of his “these kids” moments was an afternoon, probably in the mid-1960s, when he first heard fuzzed-out electric guitar.  He shook his head and told me, “We worked for decades to get the distortion out of amplifiers, and now these kids are adding it back in.”

  3. So in art the sound or look of “broken” (perceived, as stabilized by technological improvements in media rendering) isn’t as legitimate as the sound or look of happy, or sad, etc?

  4. there are a lot of assumptions going on here. i enjoy this style of video , and i make videos that could be compared to this – however i do it all with the equipment i have been able to put together over the years while living paycheck to paycheck, in debt, as a young-ish perosn who grew up on VHS and cassettes. i cant afford a really nice DSLR but i have 2 vhs cams i can use (with much better controls than digital) to route video into my computer and then edit. and the style is actually more in tune with what i grew up on and appreciate than digital. plus when thats all you have you can exploit the artifacts and visual effects that come with the equipment. so it does frustrate me to see this become a trend , when you know people are buying hi def expen$ive cameras and macs and then doing it with a final cut filter. or whatever. because im doing it with a $300 refurb tower computer and a couple $10 VHS cams. to me it is an integral part of making art and always has been ; doing it on a budget and exploiting that budget (or lack of one) to take advantage of what you have rather than be limited by it. there is a long tradition of this in art. but dont assume people are intentionally downgrading their quality for no reason or artificially..they might be capitalizing on those quirks and unique characteristics of what they have to work with.  i have friends in bands (who i have made videos for) who release cassettes w/download codes because they can put them out on their own terms and still give you a cheap physical object. sorry for the ramble.

  5. Screw the haters, I’m loving this music, as well as the retro-styled media. I mean, c’mon, at least they’re doing something different. Don’t knock it if it’s just not *your* kind of different.

  6. I’m holding out until they release a line of recordings on wax cylinder and some videos on Zoetrope revolving shades.

    Wow, we really are getting decadent in these latter years.

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