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f#a# (infinity) - EP

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Album Review

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death." Few albums begin with such promise and foreboding, but this first full-length from Canadian genius collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor succeeds in the first few moments. F# A# (Infinity) contains three compositions that run the gamut from grotesque to sublime. The term "composition" seems an appropriate one to use as this band does not write songs. Each piece is at least 14 minutes in length, consisting of three to four sections. The band, a nine-member unit consisting of guitar, drums, bass, strings, keyboard, marimbas, and woodwinds, intersperses voice-over narrative with sprawling instrumental melodies. The arrangements move slowly, building from hushed silence to cathartic crescendo and back again. The narratives that accompany the music meditate on the corruption of the American government and the seeming emptiness of the postmodern era. At times, it seems that the music might offer hope, but alternatively, the haunting melodies can serve to emphasize the confusion encountered in these stories. As "Dead Flag Blues," the album's first track, unfolds, the speaker's voice is undercut by a poignant string melody and the piece builds to a beautiful peak. "Dead Flag Blues" is a four-part arrangement in an apparently symphonic pattern. A theme is stated, followed by a quiet interlude out of which the tension builds to disaster/epiphany and finally a quiet reprise of the initial melody is given. The albums second piece, "East Hastings," follows a similar pattern, producing brilliant results. "Providence" is the album's final piece, a bit longer than the others, but lacking the consistency and unity of its counterparts. The music on this album is unique and powerful. One would be hard-pressed to find any imitators of this revolutionary musical form created by GY!BE Its origins are as much avant-classical as they are rock & roll, and the band has achieved a true synthesis of the two forms, expanding them to new boundaries. This music is inherently inexplicable, and this is its beauty.

Customer Reviews

The Next Generation Of Music

This is the evolution of music - never before have I heard anything that sounded like this. Plenty of the alternative/indie scene is showing promise. The Shins, Sufjan Stevens, and The Polyphonic Spree are all advances in the right direction. Commercial music right now is just a re-tread of what the music industry is claiming as productive. But Godspeed You! Black Emperor is making music that no one else is, and that no one can even touch. Some of its closest relatives are in post-rock, Sigur Ros has a similar technique, but a different aim. Any fan of Sigur Ros will appreciate this, but any fan of music should show some interest. F#A#infinity is the beginning of an excellent catalogue of music by this band. "The Dead Flag Blues" evokes such a mood of desolation and apocalyptic terror that it immediately latches onto you, and despite its subject matter, the music contains such beauty to suggest that maybe everything could turn out alright. "East Hastings" and "Providence" are both longer tracks, whose greatest peaks are with violent violin and guitar that are almost a call to action. This is an outstanding effort that is actually bested by the band's subsequent album.

f#a#infinity

Some of the most complex music on the planet. Dead Flag Blues is the Bladerunner of alternative music. A large ensemble of guitars, percussion (and apparently an av presentation in their live shows) pulses and wails, builds to climaxes and resolves. Ambient sounds of traffic, lost souls raving, fills out the effect. Reminds me of books by Samuel R. Delaney, dystopia, world coming unraveled at the edges, sun rising in the West and setting in the East. But then again it is sometimes hard for us to look in the mirror.

Wow. Just Wow.

This is the type of music that would be played as soldiers looked for their comrades after a battle, or as the last few humans look out over the earth after a nuclear war. It is freaking deep!

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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