Hall of Justice

Impervious to kryptonite since 1974. Bragging about it since 1974.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Music Primer: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the bastard child of a hard rock band and a chamber orchestra. Hailing from Montreal, the group consists of a bunch of weirdo commie types (try finding a picture of the band on the the web). The band recently changed its name from Godspeed You Black Emperor! to its current name. That's right. They moved the exclamation point. How's that for weirdo, not to mention pretentious?

Although the music is all instrumental, the band uses field recordings, including an interview with a whacko named Blaise Bailey Finnegan III (during the track by the same name on the fantastic EP Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada) and a recording from a grocery store loudspeaker, to pass on its socialist message. The instrumentation is as varied as you would expect from said bastard child: guitar, drum, bass, cello, viola, violin, French horn, organ, and glockenspiel, just to name a few.

While all this sounds like a recipe for crap, you might be surpised. The results are elaborate layers of dense repetitive sound, usually building from something much more minimal. Although the music is incredible, it is not something you will want to use to get pumped up for your rec league basketball game or include on a mix CD. It is easy to call the tracks "movements" rather than "songs" with a straight face, as most change course multiple times and clock in at well over 10 minutes. Their best offerings are the afore-mentioned EP and the full-length album Yanqui U.X.O. Below is the first movement from "Storm," which is the first track of the Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! double album.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven


Post a Comment

<< Home