"lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven!"

leves vos skinny fists comme antennas to heaven

(...more awkward pirouettes in the general direction of HOPE+Joy...)

Godspeed you black emperor! make music that is the soundtrack for the end of the world. They know it's coming. Their apocalypse is fundamentally material, not the spiritual fundamentalism of religion, not part of some larger redemption, but an end result of this sad human history. Their apocalypse is heralded not by the signs of Revelation, but by rampant corporatization, by covertly oppressive and imperialistic government, by superpowers with nukes and wars, by money, the only thing that the world still values. It's too big for any of us to change. The nine men and women of Godspeed have no illusions. All they can do, all we can do, is hope, and try to pull some beauty out of this madness. So Godspeed you black emperor! sits in the dying light with their amps, smoke, skins, and strings, and they play their instruments as the sun goes down.

But to Godspeed, hope is a hammer. It's too big for any of us to change, but beauty is defiance, and their music conveys more passion, purpose, and power than any political polemic.

so:     this tape recording is the last stanza of a 3page
   chapter;   we dedicate this stanza to quiet
   refusals, loud refusals, and sad refusals.   we dedicate it
   to ========== every prisoner in the world...
   (we dedicate it to the empty streets at dawn.)   <--- (wet streets...)

Godspeed you black emperor! are an improvisational and instrumental rock ensemble from Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Its nine members play guitars, strings, piano, and drums. Their music commonly described as post-rock, a rejection of traditional rock structure and themes still rooted in improvisation and catharsis. They are known for long, slowly rising works that lead to emotional culminations. A screwdriver applied to guitar strings creates the wailing dirge sound that underlies nearly all of their music. They often employ extended periods of musical drone that builds tension and suspense. Their music is not explicitly political, but eerie found-sound samples—often the monologues of religious madmen and antisocial rebels or simple depictions of modern life—create a subtle commentary upon society. They are tied to the post-rock scene that has crystallized about the Montréal Constellation label, a fiercely independent and anti-corporate organization of musicians. Godspeed's message of refusal is carried mostly by their liner notes and online manifestos.

In the style of nearly every Constellation release, "lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven" is carefully packaged in an elaborate cardboard sleeve. Its inner drawings, by artist William Schaff (http://www.fortunate-accident.org/samsa/), depict a crying man, his hands being removed by shears wielded by a business-suited founding father, his face an image of the portrait from a 100 dollar bill, obscured by a mask of death. The man has just signed a contract. Opposite, two masked fathers menace a feebly protesting man, proffering him a business suit as the bandaged, handless man reaches down from the clouds.

— — — — — —


Storm opens delicately, with gentle horns, not the trumpet blast of Revelation. The work's opening movement, diagrammed in the liner notes as the titular "lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven...", rises out of silence through light guitar and violin. Godspeed crescendo eternally toward climaxes, the first a hopeful martial drumbeat and shimmering melody. Hope, hope, hope and joy and possibility! Ever building unto the beautiful break.

Now the guitar becomes more pensive, plucked softly over quiet strings and screwdrivered guitar. You wouldn't know it, but we are in the midst of "gathering s†orm." The strings come on like clouds on the horizon, dark, but not yet dangerous, carrying a native beauty. Strings shiver in every direction, bursting into a scintillating quiver of guitar, the storm still beautiful.

The beauty breeds a breakdown, the genesis of "il pleut a mourir [+clatters like worry]" A demonic, hellish bass beat breaks into a dissonant chorus of strings, recalling images of war, genocide, goosestepping soldiers in grey, the horrors of the 20th century. The worrying darkness fades, but it leaves a shadow, images, ominous fear.

A short silence introduces Storm's first sampled texture, "welcome to barco am/pm..." [l.a.x.; 5/14/00]. An automated message begins in Spanish, incidental sounds clattering. A disembodied female voice: "Welcome to Barco AM/PM. We would like to advise our customers that any individual who offers to pump gas, wash windows, or solicits products is not employed by or associated with this facility. We discourage any contact with these individuals and ask that you report any problems to the uniformed personell inside. Thank you for shopping at Barco AM/PM, and have a pleasant day." The message repeats.

It's an innocuous snapshot of everyday life in this modern world, yet in Godspeed's hands and following the clamour and fear of the previous movement, its message seems fit for the intercom of a prison camp. Its divisive nature and its incidental commentary upon class, poverty, and convenience is revealed. It bleeds into far off sounds of a man yelling into a megaphone, words indistinguishable, somehow reinforcing the fascist undertones of the convenience store message. Somber piano closes with the derelict futile sadness of "cancer towers on holy road hi-way."

— — —

Static begins with a mournful trainwhistle, a movement leading us into "terrible canyons of static," a locomotive in the night. The droning undertones are a similar whistle, through a passage that is simply dark, dark and bleak. Static and the buzzing of spy satellites.

"At the tone, three hours, twenty-one minutes, coordinated universal time." The beep of the "atomic clock." is like an atom bomb being armed. "chart #3" brings in sweeping, utterly tired violin over a new-age preacher's recorded monologue on madness, meeting the essence of God, penetrating the darkness. "There's many a man or woman who's been put in the insane asylum when this has happened to them, and they're sitting there today and people think they're insane, but they saw something—that's real." His sermon is pleading in its insistence that we shed our selves and become the "Heavenly man, the heavenly woman." "This is all a dream, a dream in death." Godspeed's apocalypse, I have said, is not religious, but the multitude of apocalypses in religion contribute to their vision of the end, because it is a universal vision of the end.

The strings are plucked insistently. You can feel the build from the first moment. This is "world police and friendly fire." The guitar drones onward as ever. This is not a pronouncement, but a prophecy. This bleak violin is what we are fighting. We cannot let this become our reality. The wailing drone that moans in the background of this slow build oscillates into a squealing dirge flying upward to a crescendo that does not yet come, is sublimated, moves again, ever upward over the insistent insistent insistent strings repeating their chorus. It builds like the tension of a protesting crowd, each side of the two fronts, the police and the people, each side provoking the other, the lines drawn, the plans laid, the plans broken, order lost, the tension building building, an explosion of chaotic screaming over the growl of strings and percussion that silences itself in a harmonic wave of feedback as suddenly as it burst forth.

"[...+the buildings they are sleeping now]" is like the aftermath of a battle, the mists moving over the mud, the blasted landscape, barbed wire and the twisted wreckage of trees. Ghosts. Metal upon metal. Sleep. Silence.

— — — — — —


Sleep begins with the sampled monologue of "Murray Ostril: '...they don't sleep anymore on the beach..." an old man's rambling, wistful reminiscence about Coney Island, about the changing world, so dangerous now, less innocent. Sleep's first movement is "Monheim," elegiac strings and softly strummed guitar over sad, wailing screwdriver drone. The music is almost pastoral, though relentlessly bleak, sounding like shifting mists, like loneliness. The guitar drone rises into a slow drumbeat and cascading cymbals, crescendoing again and again, exploding into a wail that can only be described as pure sorrow. Again and again the music rises like a flood, cymbals washing, drums like the surf, strings like the horizon. Finally it burgeons into a static drone and driving beat, becoming transcendent, sailing faster and faster, degenerating into a lone screaming growl of guitar.

"Broken windows, locks of love pt.III./3rd part" opens with a hypnotic, subdued guitar rhythm and delicate bells. It bursts into drumbeats and resolute guitar, ascending in hopeful tones, full of energy and light. The guitar drone joins horns as the passage falls back into a subdued state, strings taking over, a concerto over a drumbeat that circulates rhythmically like hot currents of air, demanding movement in response. The guitar eddies swell into another flood, into the wind atop a mountain, gradually subsiding into drums and bass, a quiet scraping, and bowed strings.

— — —

Antennas to Heaven starts with the grotesque Appalachian bluegrass of "Moya sings 'Baby-O'..." Over banjo a drunken voice sings "What'll we do with the baby-o? Every time the baby grins, give my baby a bottle of gin. That's what we'll do, that's what we'll do with the baby-o." The recording is overtaken by an eerie collage of formless sound, "edgyswingsetacid," and is followed by the spectral lilt of [glockenspiel duet recorded on a campsite in Rhinebeck, N.Y.], segueing into the voices of children singing in French: "attention... mon ami... fa-lala-lala-la-la..." [55-St.Laurent]

"she dreamt she was a bulldozer, she dreamt she was alone in an empty field" begins with slow strings, washing back and forth, detonating suddenly into powerful motion, every ounce of Godspeed's passion and emotion shooting in sparks to heaven. Subsiding quickly into an icy and desolate Arctic wind, "she dreamt" continues with the tiny, faraway vibration of strings, falling off, personal and forlorn. The drums reemerge, alongside an expectant guitar melody and that shower of cymbals, arising again in a chorus of beauty, dropping away as suddenly as the end of a dream, returning to faraway light, the sun rising or setting, its last bright sliver, a tiny arc on the horizon. Night slips its curtain over the sky, majestic.

The drone is at first like the tides pulling darkly against the ocean floor, becoming terrible in its barrenness. "DEATHKAMP DRONE" is not as horrifying as its name implies, simply sad, devastated. It rises, becoming almost like the sound of bagpipes or a whale's song, like the night sky, like pinpoints of light, like hope, like refusal of hate, like proud and lonely [antennas to heaven...]


— — — — — —

lift yr. skinny fists like antennas to heaven!


  1. Storm — 22.32
  2. Static — 22.36


  1. Sleep — 23.17
  2. Antennas to Heaven — 18.57

was 9 days in february with daryl pushing play&record
at chemical sound.   (other scraps of tape were
  magnetized all over the last 4years at the mighty
hotel2tango.)  godspeed
(god's pee) as of late is sophie, norsola, david,
thierry, aidan, mauro, bruce, roger, efrim.
horns on "lift yr. skinny fists like..." and "...locks
of love." was brian and alfons.

          (...=======, what
        doesanyone want
         but to feel a little more free?)



— — — — — —

HIS Saved Again
Nation IS The Break
Away Nation from
the 666

arm nation reign rule

that killed HIS Holy Body On HIS Property
At HIS Secret First Coming And At HIS Lost Coming the false
giant nation their Hereafter Eternal Birh In Disappointments And Sorrows

— — — — — —

All teletype text recreates liner notes.