"sunshine + gasoline" is a song by the Canadian post-rock super-group Godspeed You Black Emperor! The song appears only on one side of a split seven-inch record, the other side belonging to Fly Pan Am, which was released with the fourth issue of Amazezine, a Montreal-based fanzine, in August of 1998. The first 550 copies were printed on white vinyl, with all subsidiary back issues being pressed in simple black. Contained within the zine itself there was an interview with Godspeed themselves, which, if you are aware of Godspeed’s politics, is something they rarely do.
In general "sunshine + gasoline" is very reminiscent of Godspeed’s more drone oriented works on F# A# Infinity, and parts of Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada. More specifically "sunshine + gasoline" sounds exactly like the overture of Moya, as both of these songs use drastically similar progressions...
Maybe it is because Godspeed didn’t have faith in their musical ability or maybe they just like it, but their early works are filled with found sound samples to fill up the calm parts. "sunshine + gasoline" is no different. It’s a similar story to the rest: a homeless or insane man rants on about one thing or another, and tonight the topic is "geeks". This particular man, however, might be a standard fixture in the Canadian post-rock community, as he is also heard on both of the set fire to flames albums where he can be heard asking "wha ha ha what’s going on?" But like I said, tonight the topic is "geeks":
"Oh yeah, all kinds of them...everybody seemed to uh, that's right they're just walkin’ around doin’ nothin’, even on their own...play with the children, kid around. Anybody that the son wasn't ashamed to walk out the way they was, who had a tattoo, or the fat lady and the bareheaded person, or the alligator skin...that wouldn't be odd, they had so many odder things down there.
But that goes out to whatever carnival all over the world, all over the countries. And a lot of freakof natures were put into it. Used to call them "geeks." A "geek" was a person who was an alcoholic or on drugs. And they put ‘em in a cage, and he was a wild-man. But they stopped that in the cities and they...but the carnival got traveled in the country...they still had the "geeks." They'd all come pay money to see a man, like an animal in a cage.
But uh, it wasn't done because it was uh uh uh a playground...you see, some for the first time were amazed...and you remember it was part of the sideshow. But today they got so many "geeks" out there...that they're actually running amongst the public, not in a cage where they should be.
They're runnin’ in the street amongst us all..."
Behind the mans voice sirens, regular folk, and other public sounds compete to be heard, but once his voice fades away a newcomer overpowers them all. The string and screwdriver driven guitar combo that seeps in hollows out that familiar Gorecki inspired progression that can be heard on Moya. Moving up and down, and always forward, the combo is scratchy and grainy and very distant sounding, as if it were all recorded on a boom-box or a 1-track recorder. As more screwdrivers and strings join in "sunshine + gasoline" becomes louder and louder.
Unlike most Godspeed You Black Emperor! songs this one refuses to break into a full blown orgy of chaos. Instead, when the drone comes to its screeching climax it is over, without the big huzzah that is expected and wanted. Perhaps this is because of the length limit of occupying one side of a seven inch record, or perhaps it’s just because Godspeed didn’t know where to go next, but either way, the lack of "fast drums + distorted guitar" is welcomed.
This seven inch, along with the magazine issue, is well out-of-print now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t ever hear this song. In fact, it’s easily found on various file-sharing networks, or if you’re the music elitist you can pick up a copy on eBay, as people are usually looking to cash in on it’s rarity.