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coverpic flag Canada - Full Moon 35 - 08/26/99

Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
Constellation (Can) / Kranky (US)

This is an EP but its content and length makes it a very fine dish that goes with the main courses without any problem. The name Godspeed You Black Emperor! (GYBE!) make you think of a gothic band, but they're way beyond that. I'm still angry with myself because I missed their gig here in Oslo 2 weeks ago. Various sources told me it was a blistering show.

Slow Riot... is their second recording (I'm not counting the rare 1994 cassette called All lights fucked on the hairy amp drooling, and the aMAZEzine! mag split single of last year) after the exciting debut album with that strange title F# A# Infinity (released in 1997). There's one song on each side, BBF3 on 33 rpm, and Moya on 45 rpm, running for about 30 minutes altogether. GYBE! seems to be a collective of people. Sometimes up to 20 people, this time only 9. When they played Oslo I think they were 14 on stage. Their spellbinding (mainly) instrumental music is a fascinating mixture of electric guitars (three guitarists), bass guitars (at least two), drums (two or three drummers, actually), loops, strings (violin, cello), glockenspiel, plus plus. GYBE! are slowly building their amorphous epic sound paintings to massive crescendos, elevating elegantly between silence and noise. They're slightly (but only slightly) related to Mogwai, or Dirty Three (maybe because of the violin), but GYBE! go further. If Sergio Leone was alive today and going to make a mastodon VR-sci-fi movie, GYBE! should definitely have created the soundtrack, replacing Ennio Morricone quite easily. Magnet magazine used this description for GYBE! in their June/July issue: "Sonic Youth and Kronos Quartet performing Ennio Morricone compositions, what else?"

Moya is a pleasure cruise, but BBF3 is the breath-taker that leaves me totally stunned. I simply have to play this track every night before going to bed. It's music out of the darkness, yes, but it radiates a good spirit that takes the listener to several dimensions. It's sort of a song in 3 parts, including pieces of "spoken word" by one Blaise Bailey Finnegan III (hence the title), tape-recorded on a sidewalk in Providence, Rhode Island. Going on about governmental distrust, speeding tickets, guns, and thoughts on the future. The melodical themes come in waves, bigger and stronger for each time, increasing the (god)speed and the steam, sucking you into a whirlpool, a black hole (sweet dreams, then - other editor's note). Revolving and revolting, creating blurry emotions. Finally reaching its orgasmic top, before fading to black, with a short epilogue for chilling out.

Simply amazing, with lots of grace. Make sure you get hold of every recording (on vinyl the cover art is awesome!) they do in the future. I'm sure they'll make it brighter with their gentle darkness.

GYBE!: P.O. Box 2, Place-du-Parc, Montréal, Québec, H2W2N9, Kanada. Or, go see Constellation.

Copyright © 1999 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Godspeed You Black Emperor! article/review: Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven.

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