Sunday, August 22, 2010

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - The Classic Years

Taking their name from a Japanese documentary about an outlaw motorcycle gang, Montreal's Godspeed You! Black Emperor (often stylized as GY!BE) are to me the best example of the term Post-Rock; a sprawling, cinematic grandeur set to music. They evoke wind-swept and desolate plains in one movement, then on to a post-apocalyptic crumbling cityscape a few minutes later and then back to a dense and forested, seemingly endless orchestration piece after that; all in the confines of one song (sometimes lasting just short of half an hour).

Started in 1994 by Efrim Menuck (guitar), Mauro Pezzente (bass) and Mike Moya (guitar); GY!BE would undergo so many line-up changes and configurations, (sometimes up to 20 members would be performing on stage at one time) the number of credited members for most of their albums would settle somewhere around nine. Adding cellist Norsola Johnson, guitarist David Bryant, Thea Pratt on French horn, violinist Sophie Trudeau, Thierry Amar on bass, percussionists Aidan Girt & Bruce Cawdron, Grayson Walker on keys, James Daytron on guitar, bassist Gregory Borys, multi-instrumentalist James Chau, some guy named simply "Christophe" and guitarist Roger Tellier-Craig, the full scope and tenor of the band's sound would adapt itself around the strengths of the musicians involved.

To listen to GY!BE is an activity in and of itself; what they demand from the listener is unlike any other musical experience I've encountered before or since. I'm basically posting their entire discography here, save for their early cassette-only release All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling (from 1994) and the 2004 Tiny Silver Hammers EP. My favorite of theirs (and my second favorite album by any band of the new millennium) is Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven; it's an hour-and-a-half, four-song magnum opus that runs the gamut from chamber music and classical ensemble pieces interspersed with post-rock guitars and bombastic drumming, building to explosive crescendos replete with field recordings; all the while experimenting with drony textures and and ambient passages.

If you like any of these albums, please support this band by buying their records or checking out their current (or "side") project A Silver Mt. Zion...

f#a#oo (1997; Constellation Records)
145.7 mb, ripped at 320 kbps


icastico said...

Slow Riot is still my favorite, but you just can't go wrong with these guys.

Robert Moses Joyce said...

hey there, what is the decryption code for f sharp, a sharp?

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