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Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada

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Album Review

A low hum is the first thing heard. It's nearly an inaudible sound, like the opening of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Soon other instruments join and overlap: strings, guitar, and glockenspiel. For a while, the listener hovers in a mist feeling the musical waves ebb and flow, warning of impending danger. In these moments, uncertainty breeds and devours the weak, swallowing them whole. This is probably Mile End, the location alluded to in the liner notes of the Canadian ensemble Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada. Mile End is described in detail, and the influence of this locale on the recording of the Slow Riot must have been immense. In fact, the best way to describe this album is as a direct result of Mile End's setting: the abandoned buildings, haunting forest, burned out railroad cars, and empty train tracks. All of these physical images pervade the tone of this album: they are its sadness, beauty, and anger. The darkness is there too. Once immersed in Mile End, it's near impossible to find your way out. The darkness limits your freedom, and at the same time hides you from the rest of the world. You are alone and it is both frightening and liberating. As for the music, there's really not much to say. If this description of Mile End appeals to you or intrigues you then it will be a worthwhile listen. "Moya," the album's first piece, is a lot like weathering a torrential downpour: torn between moments of uncertainty a final deluge occurs absorbing everything in its path. The second piece, "BBF3," is a history lesson set to music, a story of dysfunctional government, militias, and human rights. This one album spans the emotions of terror and delight in 30 minutes. The same feelings of fear and triumph found in Beethoven can be found here, and there is perhaps no better endorsement for such music.

Customer Reviews

You no idea what you are about to get into...

The first few seconds of Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada is the beginning of where you start to realize what music can be. Moya is unbelievably sentimental. With its drowsy strings, the song later turns into a barrage of gut - wrenching sorrow and hope. And Blaise Bailey Finnegan III is a demonstration in catatonic despair. And while the poem Blaise recites is not his own (it’s an Iron Maiden song), it fits in beautifully with the music none the less. Blaise’s account of his day in court and his gun collection sum up the state of our country even now. And while BB3 is more disturbing than Moya, it is also sonically more provoking. Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada is undeniable catharsis. It will make you reflect on your whole life whether you want to or not. And when the final seconds of this EP are finishing up, you will thank yourself for it.

A Unique Experience

I heard this album for the first time at about 4 in the morning on a great stereo system and was absolutely blown away at how powerful it was. The soundscapes and textures GYBE! creates in their post-rock, orchestral arrangements are not only nothing like I've ever heard, they manage to really fill the space you play them in. Unlike many other ambient artists however, Godspeed has a truly organic and symphonic feel to their music, and it definitely shows through in track 1 of this single. I think it's a bit highly priced for a first listen, but I found Slow Riot to be well worth the ten bucks.

Classical Music For A New Generation

Unfortunately the sound clips provided by iTunes don't do justice to 2 13(ish) minute long tracks. This album reflects what the classical masters were trying to do from the baroque through the reformatory periods of classical music, in a modern setting. This record has all of the highs and lows of a great Beethovenian symphony, with modern rock insturmentation. It goes way beyond what we call shoegaze, and makes you wish more people were willing to shirk the 3-4 minute pop song trap and write truely beautiful music.


Formed: 1994 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The instrumental multimedia Montreal group Godspeed You! Black Emperor create extended, repetition-oriented chamber rock. The minimal and patient builds-to-crescendo of the group's compositions results in a meditative and hypnotic listen that becomes almost narrative when combined with found-sound splices and the films of their visual collaborators. GY!BE formed in 1994, and that year self-released a limited-run (33 copies) cassette entitled All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling. The band's...
Full Bio

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