4. 27 JEREMIAH
23 I beheld the earth,
And, lo, it was waste and void;
And the heavens, and they had
24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo,
And all the hills moved to and
25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no
And all the birds of the heavens
26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful field
was a wilderness,
And all the cities thereof were
At the presence of the LORD,
And before His fierce anger.
27 For thus saith the LORD:
The whole land shall be desolate;
Yet will I not make a full end.
SLOW RIOT FOR NEW ZERØ KANADA E.P.
Ignore everything that you see above: it’s bullshit. Godspeed You Black Emperor! just likes to throw that kind of stuff in your face. Then again I’m almost not even sure this is Godspeed You Black Emperor!, as the only time that name shows up anywhere on any of this release is in the scrawled out thank you list on the inside jacket. It’s that same familiar handwriting that has shown up on at least half of the albums to come out from Constellation Records, assumedly from the hands of "the leader-who-refuses-to-lead", Sir Efrim Postrock.
People like to call Godspeed You Black Emperor! "apocalyptic", but those people are just lazy critics and fans who think they’re saying something profound. No matter which way you look at it, or listen to it rather, everything that Godspeed You Black Emperor! does is just music. Their crazy rants and tiny silver hammers don’t matter at all. When it’s all said and done it’s just music; like any other music, it’s music.
For thus saith the LORD:
Godspeed You Black Emperor! are good;
And by good I mean god-like.
Early ’99 was a great time for Godspeed You Black Emperor!: their fan base was roughly the size they wanted it to be, allowing them to still hold live concerts in the Hotel2Tango. Then Kranky released the compact disc version of Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada on March 8th, 1999, with Constellation Records tossing out the vinyl version a little later on. On came the buzz, and with good reason: this release can easily be interpreted as the most genuine of all Godspeed’s work, in a production sense and in an artistic one as well.
F# A# Infinity has one important thing going for it that will never be recapture fully on any Godspeed You Black Emperor! release to come: the lo-fi sounding production quality. But what F# A# Infinity gains in brilliant sound is almost loses through it’s "art-for-arts-sake" façade, whether intentional or not. On the other end of the spectrum lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven! and Yanqui U.X.O. have rather advanced composition, something that F# A# Infinity might have lacked during some of the more drone oriented areas. But these more advanced songs are almost outweighed, and taken away from, because of the hi-fi production quality.
Now combine the lo-fi sounds of F# A# Infinity with the composition from Lift Yr. Skinny Fists and you have...
...Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada...
...Moya...Dedicated to the "disappeared cats of Mile End", this opening track opens itself with nearly four minutes of droning strings that are very reminiscent of Henryk Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony, or the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Godspeed You Black Emperor! are very conscious of this, in fact, the song originally had a working title of Gorecki, and they still go by this title on their set lists. When this stringed drone gives way only a hauntingly lonely reverberated guitar remains. This lonely guitar is greeted this it’s long time friends xylophone and screwdriver, with mid-tempo drums and orchestral strings showing up late for the party. The pace and instrumentation evolves and expands to include more melody and more chaos until everything collapses to a climaxing drum roll death march. With a sudden explosion everyone has arrived at the designated rendezvous and the group is moving along at an alarming rate. When all is worn out only a pair of cellos remain swaying back and forth with each other.
...BBF3... Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada could easily be looked at as just one twenty-eight minute piece of music, as Moya and BBF3 flow into each other seamlessly. However, distinctions are made between the two songs, so we’ll go with that. This song revolves greatly around the rant of a man, going by the name Blaise Bailey Finnegan III, which the band recorded on a street in Providence, Rhode Island. This man rants on about the U.S. government, paying a speeding ticket, his insane weapons arsenal, and, of course, gives his now-famous poem that is actually an Iron Maiden song. Godspeed You Black Emperor! was apparently unaware that the poem was actually "Virus" by Iron Maiden until two years after they had recorded the man. The music to BBF3, however, begins with plucked and delayed guitar, with swelling additions, all wrapped around the mans voice. After an early on climax everything disintegrates to another guitar line that is somewhat similar to Moya, only with rhythmic tom drums building in the background. The movement gets fast for you before it trips on itself and falls back on a piano chord. Mr. Finnegan is back to tell us more about how things are while the piano agrees quietly in the background. The instruments waiting patiently next to the piano don’t quite agree, however, and they begin their angry protest. Finally, after much suspense, the now enraged electric instruments go crazy and overpower everything in sight, bringing about the absolute climax and destruction of Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada. To put the final punctuation on an amazing experience, Godspeed You Black Emperor! throws one final and beautiful drone/string composition on the rubble of the fallen BBF3.
For thus saith the LORD:
let's build fallen cathedrals
+ make impractical plans.