Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
The first CD of the double set starts slowly and quietly. Above the soft guitar, a pair of trumpets sneak into your ear and brace you for the experience to come. In a time when only the fastest, meanest, and loudest get radio play, it’s nice to know bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! exist. With the exception of a sample from an AM PM store and an old man’s speech about Coney Island, the songs are almost completely instrumental. As you might guess they would, GYBE! takes a unique approach to the division of tracks. Each CD has only two tracks, and anywhere between three and five movements within each track. This allows the band to segue from one song to the next without so much as a breath. The texture builds from the trumpet duo to an ensemble I won’t even attempt to describe. There are strings, piano, guitar, trumpets, drums, and heaven knows what else. This, the band’s second album, is unquestionably a landmark recording of the year. If you listen to it and you’re not impressed, give it a little bit of time. At least wait until fourteen minutes into the first CD, when all the instruments are playing one chord, when without any warning, the next song begins on the chord one half step above. It’s music fit for a king.
Kranky Records, P.O. Box 578743, Chicago, IL 60657; http://www.brainwashed.com/kranky