Monday, August 9, 2010

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F♯A♯∞ (1998)

"The car's on fire and there's no driver at the wheel, and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides, and a dark wind blows. The government is corrupt, and we're on so many drugs, with the radio on and the curtains drawn. We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death. The sun has fallen down, and the billboards are all leering, and the flags are all dead at the top of their polls."

If one were to picture the apocalypse, this album would be their soundtrack. This is the kind of music you listen to while reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Dark, somber, and hauntingly beautiful, the music that G.Y.B.E. has crafted defies categorization, using sounds, lifting string sections, voices, and musique concrete to create a compelling sonic landscape that will send chills down your spine. My favorite parts of the album are probably the spoken word monologues, especially the one on Dead Flag Blues. It’s touching and almost unsettling. The band plays like a mini-orchestra; the guitars, violins, and percussion working together as an organic part of one collective unit. The music itself is full of calm, eerie silences followed by loud crescendos that can creep up on you unexpectedly. The three songs are split up into multiple movements, each movement musically separate from the other but emotionally fluid. Turn off your lights, play this album, and crank the music up LOUD.

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