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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven CD (album) cover


Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Post Rock/Math rock

4.13 | 522 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Meditation

Film Music...maybe


Too Long...probably

Furniture Music...Yes!!!

Eric Satie, a turn of the 19th to 20th century composer and forefather of ambient music, coined the term "furniture music" to describe his work. The music was designed to be performed live but remain in the background, part of the mood of the occasion (part of the furniture). When I listen to Godspeed You Black Emperor's LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS (sorry only four words in a title and no pretentious random punctuation marks) the term seems remarkably fitting. The music is an ambient-styled, dark moody journey based on rock instruments with additional strings and electronic effects. In typical post-rock fashion the music depends on sssslllloooowwww builds from simple melancholy to multi-layered bombast and then back again.

The bombast really makes using this as meditation music impossible. It becomes quite chaotic with a fair bit of energy and too much demand of attention at that point. The quiet parts, however, would be perfect for this purpose; they are quite new-agey. There is essentially no melody here just mood, timbre, layers. But even with the multiple layers, there's really no formal harmony either. Different instruments move in a somewhat related manner such that some counterpoint and movement fuels the emotion, but this is not jazz. More like krautrock but more structured, long sequences revolving around the same tonal center.

If this sounds colossally boring (considering the whole album consists of 4 twenty minute pieces of this), I'm sure it is to some people. Even to me, the band spends way to long to evolve through the different textures. This would be fine if the music was intended to be only background music, but it's not. It asks for just enough of you attention that you must give it some focus but does not give near enough back for the majority of prog fans to enjoy it. What's more, it is very hard to consider this progressive. The techniques employed here are familiar movie soundtrack moves, though again the music here moves way too slowly to work functionally in that capacity either.

However, there is something beautiful going on here. The music is quite emotionally evocative. It IS pretty. The skill of the musicians is not in doubt. The sense of risk and adventurousness is there. It is not surprising that this music connects to a narrow target audience and has them hooked. But again, that audience is going to be narrow.

For me there is just too much repetition and not enough melody. I have very mixed feelings?though to call this masterpiece seems alien to me, it is also undeniable that some real art is happening here. I'll take the middle road with 3/5 stars.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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