Sunday, August 25, 2013

Artist of the Day: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

File:Godspeed You Black Emperor! - London Nov 20003.jpg
GY!BE finally broke through into the
mainstreak with 2012's Allelujah!
Few bands have had such a wide-ranging impact and legacy on their music scene, and yet remained as relatively anonymous, as Canada’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Often considered one of the most important bands in post-rock along with Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and Sigur Ros, the septet has been creating heart-wrenching soundscapes for almost 20 years now. Its sound is almost unclassifiable, as it ranges from samples of street preachers to impressions of Americana, unsettling portraits of crumbling dictatorships to soaring and uplifting anthems, and just about anything else worth taking the time to appreciate.

The group was formed by the trio of Efrim Menuck, Mika Moya (guitars), and Mauro Pezzente (bass), and those three have remained the core of the ever-evolving lineup through the years. 1997’s F A gained the group widespread acclaim in underground circles, though critics were often too baffled by its sweeping scope and intentionally vague storylines to appraise it with any certainty. Three years later, the grandiosely-titled Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven proved a breakthrough for Godspeed, flooring music aficionados with its four 20-minute movements of lush strings and stirring songwriting. After Yanqui U.X.O.’s more straightforward stylings proved commercially successful but concerned long-time fans, the band entered a ten-year lull before roaring back with last year’s Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! The album broke the Billboard 200 for the first time in Godspeed’s career, a huge achievement for a band that bears no resemblance to the catchy but eminently forgettable tunes of pop radio.

Godspeed’s music is unlike anything you’re likely to hear – it is storytelling that gives you an emotion and a direction and lets you forge the path ahead. There are no boundaries of instrument or tradition in the band’s music, so every new piece is an adventure. If you have the patience for it, and a willingness to open your creative mind, then Godspeed You! Black Emperor will have you returning time and again to their often unsettling and always intriguing musical visions.

Official Website

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