Saturday, October 20, 2012

'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Well as most probably know Godspeed You! Black Emperor has a new album out. And I don't yet have it. I was thinking of heading down to Other Music downtown to get it on vinyl, but then I remembered, oh wait a second, I don't have a record player. Which made me think that maybe I should get a record player, but then that reminded me that I don't have good speakers. So that pretty much defeated my mission to get the new Godspeed album.

But in any case, their new album is called 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! and it includes four tracks, two of which, if I understand correctly, are older tracks they were playing live back in the early 2000s, in their first incarnation. The track "Mladic" was originally called "Albanian" and is apparently a reference to Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb accused of committing war crimes in the early 1990s.

OK, OK, since I wrote the last two paragraphs, I gave up on my quest for a record player, and instead downloaded the album and I've listened to the album a couple of times. In fact, I'm listening to it right now. It's really fantastic. I was a but lukewarm on their last album Yanqui U.X.O. ten (!) years ago (although it included one of my favorite Godspeed tracks "Motherfucker=Redeemer"). But this new album is much more compact, produced much better, and most important, the two tracks that make up the heart of it are just perfect. They don't outlast their welcome. "Mladic" (aka "Albanian") is the more heavy track, reminding me of an army of Black Sabbath guitars stuck in Morocco. The latter track, "We Drift Like Worried Fire" is the more melancholy of the two, but still heavy and discordant in places. It's also a bit more complex, moving through different movements and moods, some sinister, some sad, as it sails towards its inevitable conclusion. These two tracks are rounded out by two shorter drone-ish pieces which are actually quite interesting. I'm not a big fan of the drone, but these two drone-tracks are sequenced well, in the sense that they serve as short periods to recover from the long 20 minute epics. It gives you space to breathe and regroup before heading into back into the vortex world of Godspeed.

For those interested in my earlier musings on Godspeed, I had a long love letter to Godspeed from a couple of years ago. You can tell I really liked them (ahem). I also felt strongly enough to name Godspeed's 2000 album Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven my top album of the entire first decade of this century. I think I'll stick by that choice still.

All four tracks from the new album are streaming here, but I don't know for how long.

I will still buy the vinyl version, but that might have to wait until I buy a new record player. Readers of this blog are invited to suggest relatively inexpensive models to buy. I'm not an audiophile but I do appreciate warm/good sound. I'm thinking something in the range of $200. Any suggestions???

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