“ Artist: Godspeed You Black Emperor / Genre: Indie Rock & Punk „
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, hailing from Montreal, are a curious band; brilliant and bland by turns. This may sound an odd statement but I find it?s true. Yanqui UXO is brilliant. I mean from the first moment brilliant. The whole album, consisting of 3 mammoth tracks, are just sublime. The album is a work of genius; I?m not kidding. Every note, every inflection and sound is taut with emotion. Though the tracks last 20 minutes (approx) apiece they?re flawless, magnificent pieces of music. I?ve sat at my desk at work while listening to this and wanted to cry so much that I was amazed that I didn?t. It?s stunningly powerful and almost unbearable emotive. Have a got my point across? Well, what is Godspeed You! Black Emperor (you?ll note that they is considerable disagreement about where the exclamation mark should go) musically? It?s odd because there is a core band that is surrounded by other musicians who seem to come and go. They sound almost orchestral and yet are nothing to do with classical. The band themselves equate themselves to punk rockers which the music most certainly isn?t. It?s somewhere between rock, progressive instrumental, ambient and? and what? This is the thing about Godspeed, they appear almost entirely original. Some people equate them with Mogwai and I can see the connection. But they are their own band and they make their own music. But to return to the beginning: they can also be a remarkably self-indulgent band. Infinity is not the greatest of their albums because, well, it just doesn?t go anywhere. Let me digress here a moment. There is a simple pattern to almost all Godspeed tracks (regardless of their use of spoken word ? notice not singing) which is this: Slow build up, the music so quiet it?s barely audible. It builds and it builds and it builds and it builds and it builds and it builds and it builds and it builds and it builds and it builds till the most amazing, crashing, (often) b
eautiful crescendo. Then it slowly winds down, returning slowly to its quiet beginning. It may sound boring, but when done right it?s stunning, awe-inspiring, beautiful, luxurious? Of course, as I said it was with Infinity, it does not always work. Sometimes it appears that they can?t get their energy going. But I think that Infinity is a blip. Their double CD Lift Yer Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven is pretty heavenly itself; constituting 90 minutes of great music (though quite as good Yanqui UXO). There only other album was always a bit of a mystery to me ? not because it was bad ? but because I never found myself listening to it. Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada rarely goes into my CD player. WHY? I have no idea, it?s better than Skinny Fists because though an early EP it has the energy, the thrust and the excitement of Yanqui UXO. It?s Godspeed at their punishing, pulsating, intelligent best. For it is intelligent music for intelligent people looking to challenge themselves. This is not generic music made by morons. This is at best exceedingly clever and deeply emotional. Frankly it?s a must for Rock fans, for fans of progressive, for instrumental jazz, for ambient, for well, anyone who willing to give the time to listen (what?ve you got to lose, twenty minutes?). It?s the type of band you rarely see. By way of a postscript, Godspeed is interesting because they also diversify. The band has a number of side projects that are ran by different member of the band. Each has their own distinct sound, none of which try and sound like Godspeed though most eschew conventional vocals. What there is though is an overall aesthetic. I?ve found myself reviewing films/book/music recently and using this term a lot. Because I find great artistry has an aesthetic. Here Godspeed and their sub-bands (Do Make Say Think; Broken Social Scene; Fly Pan Am [and a million more]) have an aesthetic. Which is entirely different fr
om saying that they have a ?sound.? I feel there is a sense of philosophy behind what they do which is not meant to sound pompous though I can understand how it might. It simply is how it is. The music exists for a purpose for the musicians far more than for the listener -which is saying something. Really Godspeed just (and usually I hate this term and would never use it) rock. Official website http://www.cstrecords.com/html/godspeed.html (this also has links to the other bands in which the members play - enjoy!) PS ? if you like Godspeed try Explosions in the Sky ? they?re just as good, similar but shorter. Their music is absolutely beautiful. Though they?re from Texas not Canada like Godspeed. But you?d never know it!
I bought "lift yr skinny..." from GYBE quite a while ago. I bought it because my friend had told me that I would like them. So I heard some MP3's and I liked what I heard. They at one time had I believe 18 members in their band. Which is amazing, and i guess makes them an orchestra. but they are no less. their music is very soft and quiet at some points in the album, and the music builds into a beautiful luminiferous cage of unwanted babies. they are absolutly wonderful. there are a lot of bands that are compared to godspeed, like stars of the lid. they are nothing like godspeed. but that doesnt mean their good. but no one else can amount to godspeeds redwood forest hight like atmosphere that they create. i enjoy listening to their music when i am in bed, or when i feel sad. their music has this kind of power of commonality that makes you feel welcomed in their blizzard of static inpowerment. i dont listen to a lot of dance music. but i know that godspeed isnt dance music. they are the music you'd listen to when you get home from a horrible night of dancing i guess. they are the ones that you can always fall back on. its happy music for sad people. and sad music for happy people. it depends on your mood but either way, you will be left somewhere other then where you were when you started. they are gods.
Long, big, epic, ungainly. You could criticise Godspeed with those words, but you'd have to miss out the words Beautiful, and moving. Post-rock is the genre that Godspeed you black emporer are dragged into, kicking and screaming... i mean, who wants to be pigeonholed these days? Defining their music is difficult, 'experimental guitar music' just sounds terrible doesn't it? They're like crafted, pieces. The last album was on two cd's, consisting of two tracks on each, and there are peaks, of noise, and melody, and lulls, where you can take a breather. The music feels like things have been taken away from it, it seems quite minimalist, but the silence used itself is almost deafening, Godspeed's world is a place where everything has meaning.
Rising up like a sleepy dragon, the music of Godspeed You Black Emperor is like nothing else you will ever hear. From minimal beginnings the sounds slowly build up, instrument by instrument until an almighty cacophony of noise and music is exploding from every direction. The music this band plays creates a unique atmosphere that defies description. The first album is an amazing achievement and the second album promises to be more of the same. Open your mind to some of the most amazing sounds you are likely to hear all year!
Having heard this band, I find it difficult to categorise them. The closest I can come is to call them a gothic version of Mogwai. And as such, they are deeply entertaining. Their music is haunting, well crafted, epic, and yes, pretty gothic. It gives you the impression of evilly spiky uninhabited churches, in fact. It is quite moving, and the length of the tracks, and general mood, allows for some particularly climactic moments in the music. If you like Mogwai, but want something darker, look no further. Worth checking out to see how sprawling, epic and genrally evil guitars can actually be.