The instrumental, multimedia Montreal group Godspeed You! Black Emperor creates extended, repetition-oriented chamber rock. The minimal and patient builds-to-crescendo of the group's compositions results in a meditative and hypnotic listen that becomes almost narrative when combined with found-sound splices and the films of their visual collaborators. Collection includes: 'F#A#∞' (1998); 'Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.' (1999); 'Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven!' (2000) 2CD; 'Yanqui U.X.O.' (2002); 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!' (2012); 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' (2015).
Luciferian Towers is the perfect name for a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, matched only, perhaps, by the title of its 2000 classic Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven. In a way, this new one - the band’s third since reuniting in 2011 - feels like a bookend to Lift, in that it’s similarly powerful, but far more sinister. (If we want to extend that idea even further, “heaven” is in the title of one, “Lucifer” the other.)
With Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the question is easy: Where do you even begin? For nearly a quarter century the shifting, roughly nine-member Canadian collective has been releasing swelling, torrential compositions that also gracefully loom, like a dewed spiderweb, squaring the circle of neo-classical and punk rock. It is demanding, complex, wordless music, directed in part at the off-switch of the information age. Godspeed — a project that, remarkably, exists completely on its own financial and creative terms — expects an interpretive exchange from its listeners, and rewards surrender to the transaction. This is music that's not a map but an unreliable compass, precise in its dissonance and generous with its emotions.
The Winchester Club's decade-plus career has been gathering exponential steam of late. After wasting several years in near inactivity and repeatedly botched, even misplaced, recordings, the London-based shoegazers finally completed their independently released debut album, Brittania Triumphant, in 2007, then saw it reissued to great acclaim by the Exile on Mainstream label amidst tours in support of A Whisper in the Noise and Neurosis, plus a Roadburn festival appearance: not too shabby. Now the group simply have to prove that this sudden buzz was no fluke, beginning with their sophomore effort, Negative Liberty, which emerged in summer 2011 and reportedly drew inspiration from the cult BB2 documentary series The Trap, which, needless to say, may exclude listeners who have yet to watch the show from some of the conversation…
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, A Silver Mt. Zion (just one of its many names) came to life in 1999 as a project for Godspeed You! Black Emperor member Efrim Menuck in his attempt to learn to score music. The original idea was pushed aside, and the project would go on to become a group setting, and was more in touch with the idea of the organic growth and exploration of music than the heavily composed and arranged theoretical work of Godspeed. Inspired to record an album of the music that had been made, Menuck built up the first version of A Silver Mt. Zion, taking on violinist Sophie Trudeau and bassist Thierry Amar, both known as collaborators in the Godspeed family. The band made its live debut in 1999 and released its first album, He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…, on Constellation in 2000. Still known as A Silver Mt. Zion, the band expanded its membership in 2000 – adding cellist Beckie Foon, guitarist Ian Ilavsky, and violinist Jessica Moss – which led to the first of many name changes.