Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 1999 - Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada

chunky andi, cafe bliss, spring 1999:

"well, here we go once again. my constant rambling on about these canadian visionaries continues at pace. you‘ll already know of my love of this band so the prospect of some new material was as worrying as it was exciting. in terms of music i can think of nothing worse than having one of your fave bands knocking out a real stinker after an unexpected classic so i always approach follow ups with a sense of caution or even dread.

thankfully i can report that this thirty-ish minute ep of two more outstanding and lengthy instrumental bliss fests really is a fitting follow up to the breathtaking f#a# infinity album. this ep is partly the reason that this issue has been a little late, i desperately wanted to be one of the first to bring you a review of this record as I know most of you are amongst their biggest fans like myself. so big thanks to the lads at constellation for taking the time and effort to send me a test pressing just for this purpose, it‘s appreciated as you know! right, so what‘s it like?, well i think you‘ll have a pretty good idea already..

'moya' is the delightful track on side a, fourteen minutes long and hauntingly beautiful. an annoying clicking sound appears at the start under a deep humming drone, gradually the violins and cellos glide into range with their cheerless and distant strains, like the sound of the earth burning as it draws its last breath beneath a dripping red sky. slowly a single guitar emerges from the dark, and strums out a deathly end as in the distance a xylophone tinkles and a sudden calm appears, like a ray of sunlight through the thick dirty air, the bass and drums appear and start pounding a rhythm like weary legs after a heavy fall, stretching out for survival and a clue of where to go, they rise and start looking for a new home as the sound once more begins to grow to a crescendo and once more they‘re crushed cruelly without hope. if the millennium commission decide to score a piece of music for the end of the world then i think maybe, just maybe that it‘s already been written and waiting to be asked...

side two is a track called 'BBF3', clocking in at about seventeen minutes it‘s equal parts inspiring, despairing and beautiful. dedicated to the disappeared cats of mile end it flickers into life over a haunting, desolate drone, a spoken field recording from what appears to be a conspiracy theorist/street preacher emerges. recorded on the streets in providence he talks as the background music grows with customary grace and vision, violins court battle with hushed drum beats, rolling cymbals and picked guitar. slowly the sound disperses into a quiet empty void where guitar strings bend slowly with your mind as you try and guess where the songs going next. slowly the guitars begin to strum and fall in place with the distant drums growing into an euphoric swirling mass of noise with marching beats, it builds and builds to sound like you‘re reaching out for the top of the world, then slowly it begins to fall back, deeper and deeper into a bottomless void where just a piano idly plays with the re-emergence of the rambling street preacher and his gun toting tales. as he recites a captivating poem at speed over the piano and strings, the guitars start to re-emerge from the quiet almost unnoticed, at first just quietly strumming but building all the time, slowly, until it‘s all hands on deck as it grows into a giant ball of sound, rolling drums merge with everything else into a final fury of fucked up noise, intense controlled feedback sparing no thought for subtlety or restraint. as you begin to accept the end is near and the wall of sound starts to die you are left catching your breath whilst the ghostly final sounds emerge, soulless strings begin to swirl and glide like vultures picking on a fresh corpse. superb!"

1. Moya
2. BBF3

An absolutely superb work. Check it out or kick yourself later.