Man Up / Man Down

Constellation Men's Ensemble

18,9926,99
(1 press review)
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Man Up / Man Down is the debut album by the Constellation Men’s Ensemble from Sono Luminus. The Constellation Men’s Ensemble has been in existence since 2013 and yet, 10 years later, this is our first album to be released.

Part of that was simply our longstanding focus on “Music & Brotherhood” that began with Saturday morning rehearsals followed by a “cheers!” in Evanston, IL. Another part of that has been the uphill battle to create, sustain, and grow an arts organization in America today.

But the biggest focus has always been the “why” of all of our performances. What place does another vocal ensemble have in the recorded history of music to release albums unless it has something to say? With the creation of Man Up / Man Down, I knew we had something important to add to the conversation.

The album features Robert Maggio’s large-scale work of the same name, Man Up / Man Down, which explores masculinity in America through multiple lenses, including anonymously sourced responses from prompts about pride, parenting, our past, and more.

This release begins with Jeffrey Derus’ Home, depicting a mother rocking her child to sleep and the world that constantly tries to invade our innermost peace. It ends with David Lang’s Manifesto and after a journey of such intense introspection regarding societal norms of masculinity, simply wanting “to be with someone who gets me” is such a perfect close. Thank you for trusting us with your ears and your minds.”


Constellation Men’s Ensemble
Carl Alexander
Dario Amador-Lage
Matthew Brennan
Matthew Cramer
Matthew Cummings
Micah Dingler
Ian Prichard
Ryan Townsend Strand

Tracklist

Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
1.
Home
04:50
2.
Man Up / Man Down: 1. Skate Park Guy 1
01:16
3.
Man Up / Man Down: 2. All the Silences
02:51
4.
Man Up / Man Down: 3. Interlude I: Manhood in the 21st Century
00:51
5.
Man Up / Man Down: 4. Skate Park Guy 2
01:06
6.
Man Up / Man Down: 5. Jet
04:12
7.
Man Up / Man Down: 6. Interlude II: Refrains and Misconceptions
02:32
8.
Man Up / Man Down: 7. Skate Park Guy 3
01:14
9.
Man Up / Man Down: 8. Flower Beds
05:39
10.
Man Up / Man Down: 9. Interlude III: A Life just like their fathers'
03:11
11.
Man Up / Man Down: 10. Skate Park Guy 4
01:18
12.
Man Up / Man Down: 11. West Point
04:41
13.
manifesto
04:08

Total time: 00:37:49

Additional information

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SKU

DSL92266

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Original Recording Format

Release DateOctober 17, 2023

Press reviews

AllMusic 5 out of 5

The story of the Constellation Men’s Ensemble is an inspiring one. The ensemble began as a group of friends at Northwestern University who came together, began serious rehearsals, and have performed around the Chicago area.

Its sound, developed outside the usual choral channels, is distinctive, with links to the U.S. glee club style, and the execution is knife-sharp. The group has stated some idealistic goals, reflected on Man Up / Man Down, which is the group’s first recording. It is entirely original stuff.

The titular work by Robert Maggio draws together diverse texts that reflect on contemporary masculinity. It revolves around a central thread about an encounter at a skatepark leading to an attempt to recruit a nameless narrator into a white nationalist movement. Surrounding this are interludes of various kinds on the masculinity theme. It may be a bit disconcerting to hear the group sing text like “I should use my platform as the dominant gender to uplift and support the movements of marginalized groups,” but musically, this is so boldly done that it works.

Maggio’s piece is framed by works for Jeffrey Derus (setting a Carl Sandburg poem) and David Lang. It is quite difficult to pull off a theme of this kind without seeming preachy, but the Constellation Men’s Ensemble does so, and one is anxious to hear more from the group.

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