2012, Music

‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (2012) by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

I love this, and so I have a dilemma.

On the one hand, much of this music (all of it?) is not exactly new. I don’t know how much as I’ve only seen them live once and so I can’t say for a fact that everything here is old. Moreover, with the exception of their willingness to play shorter compositions, this isn’t exactly earth-shatteringly different from what they made a decade ago. GY!BE still sounds exactly like GY!BE.

On the other hand, the music that is old was not available on CD before. But more importantly, I think the particular sub-genre of post-rock that GY!BE inhabit – one that they perhaps invented – is one that lends itself to, let us say, greater musical statements than some of the other post-rock styles. I am tempted to say that this particular style of post-rock is not necessarily all that distinct from the equally horribly named catch-all “modern creative” that denotes music made by composers – and improvisers, sometimes – who are working within and without the traditions of western “classical”, jazz and rock. In fact, aside from the fact that I know these guys are untrained and have been labelled post-rock from their beginnings is the only reason why I wouldn’t otherwise label this music ‘modern creative’. The music they produce stands within this post-modern world where all musical traditions blend together – for good or ill. And it stands as some of the most significant; I’d say GY!BE are the most important Canadian band of the 21st century, personally.

And so even though I’ve heard some of this before and maybe some of you have heard all of this before, I still think there is great value in what they have done and continue to do. And I think that even though this release doesn’t exactly force us to rethink GY!BE, it did surprise us – kudos to them – and it does still manage to stand as some of the greatest music I have heard all year. Even if it is very much just more of the same GY!BE.


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