22 Apr 2021 - Thorsten
Post-Rock | Constellation Records | Release date: 02 Apr 2021
What is more boring than a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor Record? People who complain about a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor record. Because they are just plain stupid and somewhat ignorant as this record once again proves the radiant brilliance of GY!BE.
Ever since this record was announced the hype was immense, and then even multiplied when the Montreal-based band streamed an event online. Was this new record really that good? Or was it just a Halo-effect and we wanted it to be that good? Soon the discussions became heated and less-controllable, and they even led to some people leaving groups because of the insulting level of some of these “conversations”.
Nevertheless, if one sits back and tries to analyze the new record there are a few things that immediately blurt out into one’s face: The fact that they “fired up the shortwave radios again, for the first time in a long time” was enticing as well as the fact that the record was birthed on the road because the live-shows of the Quebecois collective has always been among the most memorable experiences of anyone in the audience. The latter is based on the fact that they can produce some kind of pull-effect that one is more than only drawn to it but attracted by it.
But how does that happen? It has got nothing to do with any song-length, because the band has already shown on Lift Your Skinny Fists… that they do not think in track lengths but more in terms of “how do I have to structure, arrange and record the record so that it makes sense to the people?” Take “Job’s Lament” and “First Of The Last Glaciers” - these two tracks flow into each other so effortlessly that when listening to the record one doesn’t even notice that they aren’t one long track at all. And this over-lapping has always been a GY!BE-trademark – the creation of a completely album. Another element that definitely reminds the careful listener of olden glory days is the use of the violin and of reverb and echo. Very often the violin supports the reverb of the guitar and therefore lifts it up (listen to the middle part in “First Of The Last Glaciers”). Or one can hear the radio waves being used like a reverb organ with lots of subtle meandering waves (take the beginning of the longest track “GOVERNMENT CAM”). The guitar work on this album is once again mind-blowing and so variable and yet concise that it seems as if the three guitar players on this record – David Bryant, Michael Moya and mastermind Efrim Manuel Menuck – share one brain. What struck me about the album was the drumming because only seldom has one heard such an a-rhythmic and yet so dynamic riffing. Listen to “GOVERNMENT CAME”: The cymbals and hi-hats are played like singular rails at the beginning and then all of a sudden they “fall” into the intended rhythm and carry the track from there. Before that it sounds like free-jazz on the drums accompanying some kind of psychedelic Avantgarde-Blues with a lot of wordless texts, and when the drums start the rhythm is so sparse that one might question its existence as such. And that is something that GY!BE was always so good at, that one might call them the kings of this kind of music: instrumental post-rock. It’s not only that they do not have any vocals, they also don’t need them.
Also from a philosophical point of view: Languages indirectly confirm borders, nationalities and (indirectly) government. However, for Godspeed, the time has come to overcome borders and boundaries. And their mind-bending, slowly building never boring crescendo-filled, reverb-ladden post-rock is like the soundtrack to the end of the world.
If anyone is annoyed by this record – that certainly shows one thing: That person has never really listened to the new record by the kings of post-rock, Godspeed You! Black Emperor.