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.)
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).
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.