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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O. CD (album) cover


Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Post Rock/Math rock

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5 stars One of my best friends Simon gave me a newspaper article of GODSPEED and it was only thru this that I knew of this release... of course it was not long after I was into my local specialty store to pick up a copy (I know this may sound a bit wonky, but I refuse to buy their material at a chain store... as per their instructions). "Yanqui U.X.O." as is dubed the title is yet another explosive symphonic trip with inspiring themes and tonal climaxes. The chemistry of the band remains unchanged with Aidan, Bruce, David, Efrim, Mauro, Norsola, Roger, Sophy and Thierry. This means of course several guitars, basses, percussion, drums, cello, keyboards and violin. Although little in known about this band (and that is way they prefer things!) their music is more than exposed in this household. Songs are highly emotive with warm interludes and lovely themes building slowly and methodically until the climatic high energy release. Thematically this album is not unlike "Lift Your Skinny Fists" and in many ways sits as a companion musically. This album is a continuation of their forboding atmospheric stringed and electric vibes with daunting percussive surrounding. This would have made The Exorcist soundtrack feel like a drop in the old bucket! Everytime I hear their latest I tend to think it is their most complete and "Yanqui U.X.O." definitely has my full ears attention. Pure magic and an essential recording my friends...!
Report this review (#32057)
Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow. Due to the forum on this site I heard about this great band from Canada. I heard nothing but truly positive things. So I went to Frankfurt to buy "Yanqui U.X.O.", their latest output. Unpacking the disc with anticipation I was wondering how a band could give so less information. You get almost no hints, no musicians, just a few forenames and information about the drawings on the paper wich holds the disc. Songtitles, the only chance to get informations about the titles is the disc itself. Furthermore the band recommends to not buy their albums in cain stores because the band is guilty of profiting by these sales, funny.

"Godspeed you black emperor" is a nine piece from Canada. It's hard to describe their sound and style because there's nothing comparable, at least I don't know assimilable music. I like to think that it is a kind of Tangerine Dream with "instruments" (not only keyboards) and more power, this is maybe a symponic version of Tangerine Dream but more energetic. The guys create an atmosphere wich constantly rises. The instruments get louder and more and more different melody lines appear untill they reach a fulminant climax. The songs are mainly of epic lenght and the creating of the atmosphere is very distinctive. The use of cellos really enriches the overall sound. As I read about GYBE I first thought that it might be a bit to longbreathed for me but "Yanqui U.X.O." belied me in this point. Sure you have to exercise patience but isn't it what prog in general is all about? What makes us different from fans of other genres? Our patience and concentration on the music? And refering to the terrific climaxes you really get rewarded for it. GYBE makes music to let oneself go, it really encourages daydreaming. Another point to mention is the awesome lenght of the album. About 75 minutes of outstanding and innovaive music are pressed on this disc.

"Godspeed you black emperor" really blew me away and all I can do is to recommend this album. Every star is warrantable that's for sure. Maybe I have to make a little exception: Extreme impatient people substract one or two stars. All others may agree with the (4,5) rating. Atmospherical and full of energy at the same time, terrific.

Report this review (#32059)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars I am only giving four star to this one because of their previous achievement. If you discover , like my fellow reviewer Diddy , GYBE! through this album , you will think this is a great album. I am a strong believer of discovering a band from their earliest work and working chronologically ( when the distribution of the albums permit it of course - Constellation Records is not widely available) to understand and fully appreciate the evolution and progress and history of a band. I had high hopes that Steve Albini might produce a slightly different sounding album, that would allow the band to keep progressing and uncover new grounds to explore, but unfortunately the progression seems almost stopped or at least strongly slowed down . This might sound harsh and rather easy for a reviewer to say as artist are trying their best to make original music , But if you are to discover this band , start from the first one out and you might catch my drift. Still well worth a spin , though.
Report this review (#32060)
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Somewhere along the line something got seriously [%*!#]ed up with rock music and what should have progressed along and grew became nothing but washed up redundant and irrelevant, plastic and synthetic. Godspeed You! Black Emperor make the music that could in general have been the progression from the sixties through the seventies and by the beginning of the 21st century had a healthy and solid recent history where the old wave could have been permanently retired, as it reached a new era of creativity but instead that got lost in sea of celebrity and image conscious spandex wearing bollocks and MTV exposure that spelt its death knell. Yanqui U.X.O is dark, intense, hypnotic, entrancing and as a double album can easily appear lumbering but that is largely because of the countless numbers and units of [&*!#] that the drones masquerading as semi literate marketing men, with [%*!#] all knowledge in music but some how still work in the mainstream industry, who have presented nicely packaged inferiority to ram down our throats in a wave of hype and spin. Or at least taken our money and then ram the [&*!#] we don't want down the throats of the weaker. Because God Speed! You Black Emperor stand alone it makes them look innovative but what they are is a testimony to a creative nuance that has long been forgotten, hidden away, and it's emergence may be the reason behind it's towering dark layers of brooding fury verging on anger, but somehow almost too sympathetic and concerned with its self to release that anger fully. This music would have made it's way out there regardless of the retarded mentality of the industry. We need this. This is the first recent release I have bought since 1999 and the first time in a decade where I have felt cautiously optimistic about the state of current music.
Report this review (#32061)
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars more of the same here. Godspeed, surprisingly haven't run out of ideas, they still manage to create unique, interesting instrumentals on this album. These are pieces of beauty. This album has some noticeable differences to the rest. One of the main differences i found was the lack of trippy effects, and voiceovers. Every release before this uses them but this one does not. I don't know if this means the band are maturing or not. They could be trying to carry their sound into a new direction.

GYBE! certainly sound a lot more confident here, perhaps producing their darkest work to date. Most tracks use less optimistic sounds, there are lots of droning bass sounds, orchestrated well amongst other instruments. The bass sound really stands out on this album, especially on "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls".

The song titles suggest a darker edge, with more negativity, especially the viciously named "mother[%*!#]er=redeemer" parts. Whilst their previous albums gave me a vast impression of beauty, this album suggests more apocalyptic and destructive soundscapes, in true GYBE! style. Even so, i think this is beauty in it's own right.

This album is just as demanding as their previous efforts. I found this one to be the least accessible as it can be difficult to be gripped into this album. I think that maybe it is the lack of familiar sound effects and voiceovers that add to this albums struggle, still it is a very interesting piece and definetly a brilliant piece, just short of a masterpiece. One advantage about this album is that clearly tried to make their music less dominated by effects and voiceovers. This one definetly reveals their pure musical talent in a much stronger light. It also shows how well a nine piece band of muscians can arrange instrumentals that can last around 20 minutes. A very original and inspiring concept!

This album is definetly worth a look. I loved the other 3 albums and this is no exception but dont be surprised if this album doesn't get as many listens as the others. I think their other albums, "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven" especially, are arguably more memorable than this album. "Yanqui UXO" specialises in subtlety and is more for the true Godspeed fan.

Report this review (#32064)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For lovers of innovative, well crafted and ORIGINAL instrumental music ...what are you waiting for ?? Get down to HMV and let those moth balls out of your wallet.Hand over the money to the stroppy cow behind the counter. This is quite stunning,brilliant,magical,clever,inspirational,complex,dark,forboding,earth shattering,nerve tingling,knee quivering stuff.Goosebumps a plenty.A ride ..a trip...into the stratosfear.ITS TANGERINE DREAM WITH BALLS!!!

Report this review (#32065)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The word to associate with this album is power. Raw gut wrenching bring you to your knees power. I consider Godspeed You Black Emperor! to be the most structured and emotional post rock band there is, this album is no exception. This is also amongst the most depressing things I have ever listened to. It reflects the worst conditions of the world, the poverty stricken war torn nations. One cannot help but feel a sort of sadness listening to the album, the musicians brilliantly composed the three movements to perfectly recreate an atmosphere of anger and despair.

Most post rock has a detached feel, but this album is very direct. Layering melodies and rising volume mount the pressure on. Directed by a drum kit and string section, with many other instruments providing the body. Its conveyance of emotion matches that of classical music, relying on complex buildups to properly effect the listener. It is more symphonic then most symphonic rock bands, and certainly more so than any post rock band. At times it is very ethereal, at other times it is as substantial as a block of wood. It drags you into some very dark moods, and shows you ugliness while remaining beautiful the whole way through.

The thing that really makes this album stand out is the emotion of it. Whatever the band wants you to feel you WILL feel. The amazing sound textures which fill the empty space, the march like drumming, the haunting beauty of the strings, the incredible drive of the lead instruments. It is an assault on the soul. All of it contributing to the futile sense of righteousness and anger that it all amasses to. This is the kind of music to blare at the apocalypse.

There is only one thing that keeps me from giving this piece of music 5 starts, its length. Something this dark and depressing running at 74 minutes and 58 seconds is very hard to swallow. It begins on a sour note, and it finishes in a depressed mindset. Whenever the music does become upbeat it is usually violent or it finishes with a sense of futility. Listening to this album is comparable to watching one of those starving African children commercials for over an hour. Although it is rather amazing and moving, it certainly isn't pleasant and would have been perfect had it been about 15 minutes shorter.

All three "songs" on the album are amazing. "09-15-00", "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls" and "Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer" all go perfectly hand in hand, each one contributing more than adequately to the entire mood. My personal favorite however is "Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer". The beginning comes off as a desperate call to action, listening to it makes me clench my fists and want to jump out of my seat and fight for the downtrodden of the world. It then fizzles into a very slow passage which reeks of sorrow. This completely throws off the sense given at the beginning of the song, and brings you into the same place mentally that the music went. The third part of the "song" suggests anger, and like the rest of the album remains very bleak in its outlook. Rather brilliant in my opinion.

I regret that I could not find it in me to rate this album 5 starts because it appeals very much to me as a human being. It isn't perfect, but its damn close. Although probably not the best introduction to GYB!E because it is very different from the rest of their work, it is still very highly recommended by me. Even if you dislike post rock, there is a very good chance that you will love this recording. It's worth every penny, even if listening to it regularly is virtually impossible.

Report this review (#45385)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars The low amount of stars that I give this CD is a result of real hard effort to like it, but I just can't. It drives me mad!! It just goes on and on and on and on for eternity in this massive and hypnotic rattling way. Not that there aren't beautyful parts on the album, but when stretching these out till ages I'm starting to lose all interst. Time after time. All respect to the band though, because this album (and their others as well) is for sure nothing that they come up with easily. I can picture the hard work behind this music. Even if I see qualities in this, it seems to me that the "progressiveness" would benefit if the band would move on from here and not fall in love with their own thing at this stage. Things are starting to settle in this "genre", it's time to develop this that they and others have created.
Report this review (#59723)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is just another piece of incredible music from a quite unique band, with a very "steady" discography. By steady I mean that you won't find any poor releases, no matter wich one you're buying. The five themes of Yanqui U.X.O are a very slow and tense progression, from a very peacefull (yet disturbing) beginning, to the loudest, more intense tracks of the end. Innovation?... I try not to use that word so much. But the music of this band clearly deserves it. Pure instrumental experimentation; with no abuse of their skills, and a lot of thoughts behind any of the notes and noises used to create that grey - mellow - red - desperate atmosphere. Now, in terms of "musicscape", the greatest achievment of every GYBE album is, off course, that sense of "political" comment, wich I don't know where exactly is placed in the music (instrumental all the time), but seems to be perceived by every listener. GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! is, certainly, one of a kind, and every of their album must be present on every prog music colection.
Report this review (#62778)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this record. I don't know why actually, because it's sad and moody, but when the last track ends I feel PEACEFUL. Really. This album is a mix of war, love, fear and the music collapses on me. It's impressive. Even if it's simple and repetitive, I could call it a masterpiece.

1. The first track is probably the best. The volume increase till it blows up. The construction of the piece is classic GYBE, but here it's truly effective. 2. A calm piece after the first storm. 3. The intro is georgeous. A mellow guitar line and a long crescendo. This is the more "orchestral" composition. 4. A new atmosphere, more rock and "disco". Amazing. 5. A really moody ending for this astonishing album. Nice drums.

Report this review (#81912)
Posted Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars These guys had really managed to renew my hope and faith in the future of progressive music with their debut F# A# ∞, specifically because ofits originality, passion, and the fascinating field-recorded spoken words. The Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada EP was just as appealing, this one for the hilariously pitiful and bizarre tale of “Blaise Bailey Finnegan III”, and for the absolutely stunning beauty of “Moya”. By the time “Lift Your Skinny Fists…” came along I was glad to hear four extended tracks along the lines of my first love – “Providence”, slightly more polished but exquisitely arranged and orchestrated. But I was wondering if the sound would begin to wear at some point, maybe not then, but eventually. Other offshoots like A Silver Mt. Zion and Set Fire to Flames were introducing subtle nuances to their music that just weren’t obvious in “Lift …”, and frankly I was beginning to think I was growing bored with Godspeed. The bloom was beginning to fade on the lilly, in other words.

And when Yanqui U.X.O. released, I sensed this even more. The first couple of times I listened to this album – nothing. Not that it was bad, but I kept finding myself comparing certain sounds, passages, or transitions to something I had heard before, usually either in “Lift…” or on the Set Fire to Flames album. It just seemed like Godspeed had played itself out. But by the forth listen or so it began to dawn on me that there were some subtle but significant differences to this album over the previous ones, although not enough to inspire the kind of giddy pleasure I'd had in listening to the band's first couple of releases.

First and foremost are the none-too-subtle political leanings. Based on previous Godspeed albums I’d developed a suspicion the group had leftward political leanings, but there was nothing overtly Che Guevara-like in their messages. Well, maybe just a little on “Lift…”. But with Yanqui U.X.O. the band hits you right in the face with their flaming anarchist Canadianism, and frankly I found their honesty at least a refreshing change from some of their previous aloofness. Yanqui = oppressive Anglo (most likely American) occupiers, and U.X.O. = unexploded ordnance. It’s a perfect segue into the first track on the album.

So I guess the story this song is trying to tell is about a military invasion into Palestine by the Israelis. Talk about your timely topics! One review I read suggested you play this while listening to the evening world news. How sobering (and at the same time, what an incredibly powerful way to feel the music!). Technically there are a few interesting twists here, with the violin portions in the middle having been recorded and played backwards over the rest of the piece to give a kind of halting feel to the slowly building crescendo (which itself never actually ‘crescends’ – it just kind of ebbs and flows a few times with succeeding force). The only downside I hear on this song is that at the end I’m left with a very vague notion that the whole story hasn’t quite been told. Of course, there is the quieter ‘second half’ also entitled “09-15-00”, which on close listen could be construed as a continuation of the opening track. It could also be something completely unrelated – hard to say. One is left to surmise what this one is all about. Although overall the sound is quite a bit less strident than it’s similarly-named predecessor, this track also has a bit of a kick in the persistent cymbals and almost droning strings. The dull grind of the cello especially causes the listener to feel a bit out of sorts, apprehensive, almost as if the song is foretelling of some terrible happening. The end is rather abrupt and slightly disheveled.

“Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls” starts off with plucking (guitar and also violin, I believe) and a brisk, quiet guitar strum, slowly augmented with violin and cello in that trademark lazy, maddeningly slow way that Godspeed is so good at. This sets both an idyllic and tense mood as the informed listener knows this is building toward something big. And it does, comparatively quickly for these guys – after only about three minutes there is a turgid drone of guitar and drums that alternates with short lulls several times over the next ten minutes or so, with a few bells and a persistent ringing guitar thread that hovers over the whole sordid affair. I won’t bother to explain the entire progression of the track as it lasts a good twenty minutes and moves from what I’ve just described to an interminably slow lull accented with horns and mild percussion, and finally working its way back to the obligatory climax.

The two part “Motherf**ker=Redeemer” is practically an album unto itself, clocking in at an admirable thirty-two minutes plus. From what I understand the album version differs from the CD in that it has a long melodic intro, and is missing the hidden track at the end with the only spoken words on the album (check them out for a chuckle).

This album differs from the previous Godspeed works in that the crescendos are not as predictable, the sound is a bit more stark than anything since their debut, and the variations are more pronounced. But this is a brave new world they have moved into, and leave the hope and promise of further forays in the future, whether under the label Godspeed, or otherwise. Three stars, and very close to four.


Report this review (#84781)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is extremely mournful and depressing, it's hard to get through it in one sitting. It's very dynamic, and well produced. Even though they have done the same methods before, they still make it sound new and avoid sounding like they've rehashed their work!

This album is my favorite release from gy!be, even though it's sorta underrated by the fans.

The first set of songs(09-15-00) is the equivilent of getting hit by a train, and flattened like a penny then having it done all over. I would probably say this is my favorite song off the album, it's classic gy!be but the forumla really comes to liff on this one song. Ending on a hint of hope... that's what I like about gy!be. Sometimes the song is immense in sadness but there's always a light at the end of a song.

Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls is a very disocomforting song, while about til 7 minutes builds up into a huge wall of music/noise. Then as a cartoonish "bomb drop" happens the song slowly meanders along with low percussion funeral sound. Ending with a nice crescendo.

MF=Redeemer is a breathtaking journey... built on percussion and guitar mostly, very thin. It's also the most haunting of the songs on this album. It's very echoic til the 2nd part of the song comes in. It slowly comes in with guitar, and drums in the background, with more echoic sounds. It's a musical prophecy...

"This should be played when the news is on, it makes the perfect soundtrack."

Report this review (#87176)
Posted Monday, August 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars GYBE in their darkest

No samples this time.No happy tunes.Just Darkness all the way.I adore it - not all,only Rocket Falls haven't got me,but even considering this Yanqui U.X.O. is awesome.It's a must for every Post-Rock and GYBE-collector and a very good experience for newbies to a genre.Nevertheless I'd recommend it to anybody on this planet - GYBE was (and I hope IS) one of the best new bands in our dimension...and in few others ;-)

Report this review (#94721)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Minimalist beauty, A highlight within the genre of post-rock.

This is a very minimalist album which explores and develops themes, tones, and riffs for extensive lengths. These developments reach their climaxes in an excellent matter. If I had to choose the aspect I like the most about this album is how masterfully the band grows from lows to highs in terms of decible levels and emotional power. The album consists of only three songs, two of them being divided into two parts. Even though there are only three songs, the album is over seventy minutes long, requiring patience to the listener. The mood of the album, which has several military musical references, is completely dark, angry, and gloomy. I wonder what the album is really about, but based on the title of the album and the name of the last song, it seems to be an album against USA's Government (possibly Bush) though 2002 isn't a year were Bush was widely frowned upon by the world. Back to the music, as the album is very repetitive, it is recommended to listen to it as background music. I actually consider it one of my favorite albums whenever I am studying as it is instrumental, doesn't distract myself, and doesn't require abrupt dynamics as I am mostly focused on how to solve a damn linear algebra problem. 09-15-00 is the most accessible song in here, showing what the band is about. You hear themes and riffs repeated for numerous minutes, growing slowly and slowly into climaxes. The instrumentation is extremely unique, and interesting, containing a huge number of layers of sound involving instruments rare in rock. The theme of the song is repeated since around minute 6-8 and ends at the end of the first part, yet it keeps my interest. The climax is very powerful. The second part sounds a bit like the beginning of the first part yet it doesn't recycle the themes. Very atmospheric and enjoyable: one of my favorite moments in the album. The atmosphere and style continues with Rockets fall on Rocket Falls , an excellent song that uses all the elements of the first, without sounding like the same old thing again. This song is a bit more dynamic and appear to have tiny climaxes (gasp, choruses!??) in parts. Overall, a great, if repetitive song that has its best moments in its first 6 minutes. Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer pt1 is the highlight of the album, one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard in the post-rock genre, rivaling the most beautiful Sigur Ros songs. The song is mostly a couple of main themes, but the way the song is arranged is absolutely brilliant. The guitar riff in the second half of the first part of this song is mesmerizing and screams doom. pt2 closes the album in style, with the same style.

Who should get this album: Anyone who is a fan of post-rock, minimalist music, and does not mind repetition in their music. Anyone who is looking for an album that doesn't distract the listener when doing something rather than focusing on the music. If you focus on the music, you find a huge amount of layers. If you don't focus on the music, you find a great atmospheric instrumental music that serves excellently for background music.

Who should NOT get this album: Anyone with a short attention span, anyone who does not enjoy repetition in their music. Anyone who is looking for dynamic and structurally complex music. Anyone who does not favor long songs, especially when they don't have a lot of melodies to explore.

My Grade: B+

Report this review (#97466)
Posted Monday, November 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Possibly the best post-rock album, and definitely the best output from Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

This album shows the group experimenting with stranger musical ideas and motifs... there is far more dissonance than their previous albums, especially in the last two tracks.

I can also hear a higher degree of classical influence in this album, especially in "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls".

Though GYBE has always been a band that made dark music, this is darkest of all... the oppressive chords that build tension, the march-like rhythms, and the sickening melodies are nauseatingly depressing. This band is good at evoking images, and the images it evokes are bleak - post-apocalyptic skylines, burning oil wells, and mass graves. Just because the music is slow and often acoustic does not mean you can enjoy this album as background music. The sensativity of the textures are not to be missed.

If you had to have one post-rock album, this would be it. This is the one that proves post-rock is more than ambient, relaxing music. It is something that takes an analytical mind and maybe even some courage to listen to. 5 stars, without question... anybody wishing to experience the best post-rock has to offer should acquire this album.

Report this review (#98467)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ah yes, my first introduction to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This album is perhaps a tad overrated, because people said that there are some truly beautiful melodies and emotional content. The latter is present, very present, however the beautiful melodies have been replaced with loud, menacing rhytms buried beneath a sea of violins and reverbed guitars screaming of echo, soon to be washed away and start all over again with another melody. This will appeal to many people perhaps, but the music is somewhere inbetween chaos and heaven. What you get is crescendos which rise in volume and mass until it finally stops and segues into another one. This is beautiful at times, but does tend to drag on a bit during later tracks. Now let's start...

01. 09-15-00 (16:27) begins with a lonely tremolo guitar soon joined by the piano. A loud, tribal-like rhytm is soon pounded out on giant percussion toms whilst the violins overencumber what's left of the piano playing. This segues into a fairly upbeat (Upbeat when talking about Godspeed, that is) section with the tribal rhythm still strong in the background. Eventually the guitars go into a reverb section of stunning beauty with the violins coming in too, creating a sort of interplay between the two without anybody dropping their guard. This crescendo keeps on for a short time, with the music going louder. Eventually all you hear is the violin and quiet bass, and again, time for a new crescendo, although this one has atonal violins in the background, which makes it quite scary with the lights off. A lonely, sad guitar texture comes into play soon afterwards, but it doesn't take long for the violin to overpower the guitar. This is one of the longest crescendos on the album, and after 2 minutes the drums come in and a strange thing happens... The first two beats of this 'riff' are atonal, and the last 2 beats are beautiful. I've never heard such a collaboration before, and frankly, it works quite well. At about 12 minutes in, another lonely melody is heard through heavily effected guitars. This is quite a short crescendo, and gives us a last, loud timber of crazy music. I can't say it's beautiful, but it's not ugly. The song ends with a screeching violin timber.

02. 09-15-00 (06:16) is perhaps the most beautiful piece on the album, and the shortest. It begins with something unusual for Godspeed; an uplifting melody. But then again, it's still drenched in sad piano chords and windy guitar effects which makes you feel like you're walking along an abandoned train track for all infinity. However, though incredibly beautiful, there's not much to say about this song, as it's one giant crescendo. Anyways, perhaps the most enjoyable song on the album.

03. Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls (20:42) begins with a spiraling riff going down tone for tone, then eventually begins again. The echo on the guitar makes for a cool effect as well. Of course, this is another monster crescendo where the instruments join one after another. When the drums kick in, the music goes loud. This goes on for a good 2-3 minutes and ends on the same tone repeated at least 8 times, and what we hear after that is nothing but loud guitar feedback. After this, a short violin section segues into the most rhytmic section on the album. Loud tom-drumming goes on for what seems forever (over a minute) before the other instrumentalists decide to participate. And when they do, it sounds like a bad medieival-inspired movie soundtrack. But after 2 minutes... What's this? Ah yes, we find out that it's an incredibly slow interpretation of the original riff that started the song. When the guitar joins as well, we get perhaps the darkest moment on the album. When it ends, this crescendo has thus been 8 minutes long before it segues into a space-rock esque version of the introduction riff again. However, the riff soon changes to a brilliant interplay section of drums, guitar and wind instruments. Awesome. After two minutes, it goes lunatic while maintaining order at the same time. Then it goes quiet, but we soon hear the violins and guitar again. It ends with an atonal chord.

04. Mother****er=Redeemer (21:22) starts very quietly. It keeps quiet until three minutes in, when the bass drum keeps a very upbeat beat, which I don't like at all. It sounds cheesy and too childish actually. It gets better when the snare and cumbals arrive though. Again, the 'intro' is a 10 minute crescendo, eventually going into quiet guitar playing, which is sad, and to me, quite emotional. A brilliant display of how Godspeed can make 10 minutes of the same thing sound so fresh every time it repeats. This dark section becomes more and more emotional as the bass and violins join too, to emulate that heart wrenching minor riff that makes me want to hug the stereo each time I hear it. Brilliance, pure brilliance. At 18 minutes in, we get the arguably most beautiful section on the entire album. It's unexplainable actually. A quiet bass leads a gentle guitar note through this gorgeous, but too short crescendo which doesn't go anywhere, but eventually fades out after the last note.

05. Mother****er=Redeemer (10:10) is probably the most boring track on the album. Starting out quietly, it eventually turns into a 10 minute noodle-fest which doesn't sound like Godspeed at all really. My advice is to skip this track And let the first two and second-to -last blow you away.

As I said, this album is perhaps a tad overrated when you want beautiful melodies. This one is based more around the chaos around us, and of course the music reflects that. Still, if you're interested in hearing the more avant-garde side of post rock with darker melodies that go lunatic at times, this is for you. 3 stars. Thank you for reading this review.

Report this review (#104426)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album that got me in to post rock. At first when I first heard it I didn't like it at all. It really took me time to get in to this album. After a time of listen it I really felt like WOW! This is totally amazing. This album is a truly masterpiece in every sense of the word. The album in simple words its perfect. This is the first album I have ever heard of GYBE as well as for post rock. The album's atmosphere totally blows me away, from start to finish. With a variety of instrumentation using it to create a variety of rhytms and making this album a true essence of post rock. Sincerely I'm not a big fan of slow song intros but this band finds a way to make them real amazingly emotional and make the rest Parts of the song sound extremely amazing.

In overall the album itself (the song names) really describes the songs well. 09-15-00 intros are really amazing with a very emotional touch in it. This song is the most completed piece of music I have ever heard. It offers many different rhythms and yet they all fit the same page very well. Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls it's really breath taking. The song really offers a very explosive and evil mood just as its name implies. The song really captures the whole ambience of the album. As for Motherf**ker=Redeemer this the true masterpiece if the album just as Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls the name describes well the mood and rhythm of the song and overall it's the best of the album.

In my opinion the album it's truly a great masterpiece. I REALLY recommend this album if your really a die-hard post rock fan.OUTSTANDING!

Report this review (#108802)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Been There, Done That.

While not a poor release by any means, this album fails to really explore any new grounds as might be seen on the previous 2 albums, in addition to the fact that the atmospheres created are not as inspiring, (or any many listeners case, depressing) as the previous albums (odd description yes, I'm aware). It's a bit more disturbing of an album, but ultimately as an artistic work is not "up there" with the others. Think Pink Floyd releasing WYWH and Animals and then The Wall, kind of falling along similar lines here.

The biggest problem with most of this album is drag. It's difficult enough with other aspects of the bands releases and the amount of patience that is required to make the album a pleasant listen. The reward isn't worth the effort, as it was with songs like Providence or Storm. Other than this we have much of the same, although the music is still quite good, I guess I'm most disappointed as this is the band's last release (unless they happen to reform) and would've liked to see them branch out in other areas.

Regardless, still a very good album with many enjoyable moments. GYBE will always be considered one of the founders of the post-rock movement and a staple of the genre.

Report this review (#117688)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars To me, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is truly the Black Emperor or post-rock. Bands like Mono, Explosions in the sky, Mogwai may try to emoulate their sound but, even when they manage to make something own out of it, Godspeed will still sit peacefully on their peak in the sky, watching all the other bands as they build their tower of Babel.

And Yanqui U.X.O is where they perfect their sound.

That said, it is still my least favourite Godspeed outing. "Huh? But didn't he just say that this was where they perfected their sound?" Well, my friend, it is simply a matter of taste. As the group gain experience, their music will inevitably sound more and more polished, more perfect, less raw. Me, i like that rawness that can be found in "F#A#oo" and "Slow riot for new zero canada". They are very ambitious as well, of course, but the first steps are always a bit trembling. At the point of release of Yanqui U.X.O, however, the insecurities were gone, and the band marches on, knowing at this point that they are more or less unstoppable.

So, to compare Yanqui U.X.O to the previous release, "Lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven", there are two major differences which will strike fans of Godspeed immediately after first listen. The first is that Yanqui U.X.O has none of the pre-recorded interviews and monologues which, in my opinion, was one of the main things which put Godspeed ahead of their competition, and made songs like "Static", "Sleep" and "BBF3" so powerful. The second difference is that it contains none of the noise which could be found on songs such as "Static", "Antennas to Heaven" and "East Hastings". Now, many will see this as a blessing, and for a long while i used to hate having to listen to those noisy parts myself, but soon i found myself liking those parts more and more, to the extent that i actually feel that the absence of it drags down Yanqui U.X.O slightly in my eyes. But that is purely subjective, and i can't really let such a thing affect the rating.

Having said that, it is in no means an easy-listening experience that you have ahead of yourself, should you decide to try this album out. The climaxes are the most bombastic ever, and there are some really long and slow passages that test your patience. Most notably the song "Rockets Fall on Rocket falls". It starts out very much like any other Godspeed piece, building to a climax a few minutes in. Then, when there is 14 minutes left, it stops. From there, an extremely long, slow buildup starts. It gets very intense as it's nearing it's end, but be sure that this piece will test your patience if you don't know what you're expecting.

The least accessible of the Godspeed discography, and also the odd one out in terms of concept, but every bit as good as the rest. Not the one to start with, though.

Report this review (#130204)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Breathtaking.

This is one of the greatest post-rock records I've ever heard in my life. Post-rock masters Godspeed You! Black Emperor seem to have gone out of

comission, but not without leaving us with their masterpiece: Yanqui U.X.O. This album differs a bit from their previous efforts: no samples, no musique

concrete sections, just purely an hour plus of music. Though I loved these aspects about their previous albums, this one fares quite well on its own without


09-15-00 (Pt. 1)- my favorite GY!BE song to date. The whole song seamlessly transitions from one section to the next, not a single one overstaying it's welcome, and arranged that the song is one continuous buildup (rather than one buildup and almost as much falling action as they do on many of their songs including track 3 on this album). There are no words to describe this, one must hear it for oneself.

09-15-00 (Pt. 2) a fair amount more subdued than the previous track, but the mellow, dreary mood it creates provides a good aftermath for the previous track, and stands quite well on its own as a post-rock track. Probably the closest sounding to typical post-rock that they've ever sounded (which is by no means derivative or unoriginal)

Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls- Starts off with a very nice ostenato that crescendos (wow, I could really say that about half of their catalogue, but for whatever reason, it works every time) and has a substantial amount of falling action that may tend to be a little long but not agonizingly so, only to build again to a second climax that's just as intense as the first.

Mother***er=Redeemer (Pt. 1)- This proves to be the first (and only) GY!BE song that has a remotely danceable beat, which at first sounds somewhat out of place, but as the other instruments come in, it really works, with somewhat jumpy and uncharacteristically upbeat sounding (yet still bleak) strings joining in after time until that reaches the top of the crescendo, and the rest of the song falls into a more calm, somewhat sparse section.

Mother***er=Redeemer (Pt. 2)- Starting with some airy space filling strings, a 7/8 bass groove (probably their catchiest since Static) comes in and propels the song to the next section, with a gradual accelerando, changing and building for 9 whole minutes until it all falls out into a similar section to the beginning, and it ends with it sounding like the sound being sucked right out of the speakers.

This album is fantastic by post-rock standards and prog-rock standards, with its lush and sweeping orchestral arrangements and intense emotional peaks. I unhesitantly give this album 5 stars, essential for any post-rock collection.

Report this review (#133164)
Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The title of the album is no doubt political as "Yanqui" is Spanish for Yankee and "U.X.O." stands for "Unexploded Ordinences" like cluster bombs or landmines.They also attack the record companies by connecting them to the military as diagramed on the back of the album cover.They suggest in this diagram that the four major record labels fund armies indirectly. And they also encourage fans not to buy from the big retail chain-stores. The big difference for me between this record and their previous ones is the removal of samples. They are stripped down for this one and this it's also quite long at 75 minutes. My only complaint is that the music is predictable for the most part. You know the drill, slowly build to an explosive climax and then start over and do it again. There is nothing new here but it still impresses big time !

"09-15-00 (Part One)" is also political as mentioned in the liner notes it refers to "Ariel Sharon surrounded by 1,000 Isreali soldiers marching on Al-Haram Ash-Sharif and provoking another intifada". Their words not mine. I'm a huge supporter of isreal. The song starts out quietly as it slowly builds to the first climax before setttling back down. It then rebuilds to less of a climax. Violin melodies 8 minutes in start to build (surprise) as guitars join in. We get the biggest explosion of sound in this song 10 minutes in that lasts a minute and a half. Nice. It calms back down we go again ! 14 1/2 minutes i'm laughing because they're in the power-rage mode again, a wall of sound. "09-15-00 (Part Two)" really compliments the first song as we get slowly played beautiful melodies. "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" starts to get powered up 3 1/2 minutes in when the drums arrive followed by some scorching guitar. It's absolute mayhem 5 minutes in as the rockets have fallen ! The drums slowly pound for quite a while as some trumpet comes in and then guitar, and 13 minutes in it's getting louder. 16 minutes in we're close to an apocalyptic-like soundscape. The drum pattern finally changes 16 1/2 minutes in and then an ear piercing sound follows. "Motherf**ker=Redeemer (Part One)" starts to build especially when drums and violin come in after 3 minutes. We get a brief outbreak but not the real thing until 7 1/2 minutes in when they are on fire ! It calms down as we get some brief heaviness before it becomes very sad and depressing to the end of the song. "Motherf**ker Redeemer (Part Two)" actually has a catchy melody that builds. Machine gun-like drumming after 3 minutes. This might be the best song on the album, the drumming is great.

Well there it is, perhaps the last record from this legendary band. Yes it's different, and it has divided a lot of their fans. For me this ranks right up there at 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#134678)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm honestly not too familiar with the post-rock genre, not yet anyway. It's something I discovered fairly recently, and I have to say, this band is my favourite for the genre at the moment. The music is dark and moody and is good music for sitting in a dark room contemplating things, especially when you are in a bad mood or are just pensive in general. Most songs start off slowly, often with only one or two instruments, and gradually build to a cathartic climax of crashing instruments. One thing I particularly enjoy is the lack of synths. Now, I'm a keyboard player, but I have so much admiration for this band that creates textures in a more orchestral style, relying on guitars, strings, and woodwinds, as well as the occasional glockenspiel. This album consists of three songs, and two are divided into two parts each. Taken as whole songs though, none of the songs are under twenty minutes. However, this does not get boring, though I tend to prefer longer songs anyway. Many people might find it boring though, because of the minimalist approach and overall slowness of the music. I, however, think this works well for this band who I look forward to exploring a bit more. I hesitate to give it five stars, but I think it deserves four and a half. Highly recommended, but maybe hard to get in to for those used to traditional symphonic prog.
Report this review (#157930)
Posted Monday, January 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Post-Rock's greatest.

Ah, it's that genre of Post-rock. Characterized by space-outed-ness and long, slow songs. Truly this album characterizes the genre to the enth degree, taking advantage of very long, slow, tracks that seem to go on and on and on. Surely this album is everything that people say it is: Emotional, skillfully played and well orchestrated. What then, keeps me from giving this album the praise that it apparently deserves then? Well, it's fairly long winded and the songs just keep going. This is great for people who very much enjoy spacey, ambient post rock, but everyone else is likely to get bored after a while.

However, that being said, you do have to give respect to the quality of music produced here. There's not too much to say about the album, being that it's fairly hard to break down track by track; every track would have me say - another long instrumental. Three stars for eing well played but inaccessible to anyone other than post-rock fans. Recommended to anyone who loves Sigur Ros or long-winded emotional roller coasters... and a big /avoid/ sticker for people who want something a little more lively.

Maybe I've missed something that makes the album inexplicably wonderful... it's good, but it's rating is beyond me.

Report this review (#161603)
Posted Monday, February 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Godspeed You Black Emperor! - 'Yanqui U.X.O' 5 stars

I recall the sound of the debut album describing what the apocalypse would look like. I recalled the sound of this album describing the apocalypse right before it happens. This is the most shadowy album I have ever heard.

What splits this album from the preceding couple is the absence of dialogue. Ironically, the music has stepped it up. From the ambient intro of '09-15-00', I was very excited about how the rest of the song would pan out. The typical bombastic climax the music eventually climbs into featuring some harsh strings is replaced by a more sustained and slower tempo fuller-ensemble. The music is never supposed to sway your emotions, but just keep you down, the excitement just makes you sit and wait for the end.

'Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls' displays the kind of music I would think of if a bombing was occurring. A plucked guitar and violin intro do not last too long on this track before it gets moving into a haunting bombardment of drums, droned guitar and daft strings. This piece has many different movements that I can't keep describe so feeblish, but there are some nice things added in this song besides its unpredictable structure, like horns and percussions.

'Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer' is my favorite on the album by just a hair. I just love the Jewish celebration music that slowly oozes its way in right after a small intro. It stays for a while and makes itself back into the piece time to time, and more varied each time it makes its presence. This track can sum up everything Godspeed has included during their short career. It is mostly a guitar driven track, peculiar for Godspeed since one instrument is never really dominant. The guitar leads the pieces in many different ways whether it would have a flanged/ambient tone, harsh dissonance, tremolo picked or just a straight up, well, guitar sound. Godspeed's most diverse track that is ironically their longest.

Really dark, I mean, realllly dark album. It serves its purpose. If you want something that will really make you feel down, this is it.

Report this review (#173955)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The trouble for me in listening to this kind of music is truly the extra (in fact, super duper extra) patience waiting for the music movements from one segment to another. Typically it takes four to 5 minutes from one segment of repeated chords and notes to the next one. The opening track "09-15-00 (Part One)" (16:26) requires me four minutes of intro with repeated chords and notes to another movement. This span of time is about the same with listening to one great song like Marillion's "Hotel Hobbies" or "Emerald Lies". Also, this opening track only allows drum work at minute 9:30, with just a simple drumming for maintaing the beats, nothing dynamic on drumming. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time listening to this piece of music. But when I look at rave reviews on the net, I feel depressed as I have differing perceptions compared to most people who have written on the net. What's wrong with me? Am I getting mad? Why can't I enjoy this kind of music? If this kind of music is considered as prog, I might not be a prog man any longer!

The other problem that I feel, with this album, is the music style that moves from something soft and then very slowly moves to louder sound and get louder and get very loud that annoys my ears really. I cannot help it that I may be able to enjoy this kind in a very very special case when something like self-reflection or silence is required. Or, in some cases, to create the nuance before reading the Koran. And I have to be honest that I can not give high rating with this album as there is little complexity from its composition and the music is typically moving very very slowly which makes me bored.

Out of all five tracks, I probably can enjoy track 3 "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" (20:42) and "Motherf**ker=Redeemer (Part One)" (21:22) as they music have some more variations than the others. Yes, both of them move very slowly but there are segments with good sounds.

Overall, I can only say that I truly appreciate those of you who can enjoy, and therefore admire, the music of this album. But I have my own stand that until this point of time I feel that this is not the kind of music I aspire. Hopefully, with the passage of time it will grow on me and I would adjust my rating accordingly. I still have to deal with my patience to enjoy this music peacefully. I know that this is Ramadhan (fasting month) for me as Moslem, but still .. I can not help it yet. So, I think this music is for true collectors. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Report this review (#182819)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This 2002 release whilst still a good album does not quite live up to expectations. Again very hard to improve upon Lift Your Skinny Fists or even their debut but the track 9:15 (part two) does offer much of the same vintage sound we had become used to. Yanqui has a more measured laid back sound, the production seems crisper but the repetitive embellishments do not evoke as much convincing emotions. Not quite as melancholic either, even the heavier parts. They needed a change of direction but perhaps they did not shift direction enough. Redeemer (part two) and 9:15 (part two) defintely the pick of the bunch. If you are new to this band seek out any of their first three releases. This is by no means a poor album but it is not best representative of their finer moments.
Report this review (#207968)
Posted Saturday, March 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This one didnt blow me away like Lift Yr. Skinny Fists did...quite a disapointment actually...

Yanqui UXO is Godspeed's most recent, and probolbly their last (what a shame) but this attempt dosnt have the same quality as their other two albums do. The sound produced on Yanqui UXO is simalar to Lift... but their isnt the raw emotion and quality put into the compositions. It feels like they got really lazy with this album, as it is EXTREMELY repeditive, and can get quite annoying. Dont get me wrong though (I can listen to Sigur Ros's ( ) twice in a row, and Im still entertained) I love ambiant music, as long as the quality is there.

9-15-00 (part one) 4/10 - This one isnt terrible. The texturing of tremalo guitar under the other instruments is interesting, but it gets really repeditive. The original theme builds and falls and builds to a climax where it tapers off into the next song. Good ideas, but they didnt take them anywhere.

9-15-00 (part two) 7/10 - I like this one. Its slow and ambiant, but the raw emotion and mood really draws my attention. They also didnt drag it out for 15+ minutes.

Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls 3/10 - the "3" out of ten comes directly from the first six minutes, which are very good. Its fast paced and a heavy wall of sound which creates the greatest images. Though, once this dies down, they make some mid range dronging noise layered over low pitched droning noise for another fourteen minutes ?!?!?! Im sorry, its pretty lazy to fill up space on a record like that. I never listened to the entire song again all the way through after the third listen or so

Mother****er = Redeemer (Part One) 8/10 - My favorite song on the album. The song builds like 9-15-00 does, but they take the song somewhere by adding some new themes and ideas. The climax of the song is much more powerful and conveys an intense amount of emotion. The song falls again, and this time, Godspeed suceeds at filling up the last 10 or so minutes. The tremolo guitar comes back, but this time, the band supports it and plays off of the theme to make it interesting. The ending is also very emotional.

Mother****er = Redeemer (Part Two) 4/10 - This is where the album should have just ended, because it starts to really drag on. The themes in this song sound really simalar to everything else in the album. The distored guitar drones are cool, but there isnt anything new here. The violin sounds very harsh about half way through the song, like its out of tune or something. I mostly skip this song when I listen to it.

The production is fairly clearer on this album than previous Godspeed albums though which is a plus. The song composing is not anywhere near the quality on F#A# Infinity or Lift... and the ideas and sounds on this album are very single colored. There isnt very much variety on this album. It has some nice moments though, and I think any Godspeed or Post Rock/Metal fan should give it a spin.

Highlights: Mother****er = Redeemer (Part One), 9-15-00 (part two), The first six minutes of Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls

Letdowns: The last fourteen minutes of Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls, Mother****er = Redeemer (Part Two)

I hope they come back and release a better one! 2.4/5

Report this review (#218461)
Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars This creative post-rock group uses a alternative instrumentation (mostly acoustic strings), powerful compositions, and an exceptional use of dynamics to create music that can reach heights of crushing beauty and anxiety-inducing intensity. In many ways, GY!BE is the iconic post-rock band, and this is their probably their most powerful and interesting album. I think the overall experience can be summed up as baleful, taking the listener to powefully dark places of their own imagining.

The template "Yanqui" uses is repeated throughout this album: slow, delicate, threatening introductions, swelling over the course of several minutes to nightmarish crescendos of distortion and frantic rhythm. This is largely accomplished by the heavy use of violin and guitar distortion, and will almost certainly make the listener feel something. Many won't like "Yanqui" sound, it can simply be too dark and too stressful to be enjoyed; for those initiated into the conventions of the genre, it offers an original sound of destructive, depressing instrumentals which pack a whallop. Play "Yanqui" to clear the room at a party, scare your neighbors, and make your relatives wonder if maybe "your 'music' has gone too far".

A dark, brooding highlight of the genre.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#250068)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yanqui U.X.O. is my least favourite Godspeed You! Black Emperor album. It strips their musical formula of the soundscapes that made it so original and maximizes the space with the extended, evolving post-rock pieces that dominate their live performances. The core part of their music that painted vivid mental pictures is lost in favour of mere musical experimentation.

And yet, I can't hate this album. The music is just too fantastic in its own right for my anger at the abandonment of their style to overcome it. While some will see this album as merely the natural progression of the band, I see it as a slight step backwards. But even a band like this stepping backwards manages to make some of the finest music you will ever hear. It's difficult to reconcile, but this album is still fantastic. It's a must-have for any fan of post-rock or progressive music.

I'd like to give it a 4.5/5, but alas, I must round down to a 4.

Report this review (#294173)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars Ever since this album came out I thought it was a step down from the great Lift Your Skinny Fists... I first discovered GYBE around 2001 and heard Skinny Fists first. I loved it and it convinced me that, indeed, there was still great music being made. I heard their pre-Skinny material and I liked what I heard. I thought this ensemble were going somewhere and could only get better. So, when Yanqui came out, I couldn't wait to hear it. When I finally did hear it I was disappointed. The vocal samples were gone and the music just seemed to drag on and on in places.

Here they change the position of the "!" for some reason. They would go on a long hiatus after this album. Now working with producer Steve Albini on this album, who was known for his work with grunge bands in the 1990s. Yanqui is a sort of instrumental concept album about the weapons of war. They make a connection between major record companies and how they are in bed with weapons manufacturers on the back cover. The music here is not much different from previous releases, but it has less memorable moments than before.

"09-15-00 (Part One)" has the music slowly building and then it stops around 6 minutes in. Then a different section begins. Drums come in around 9 minutes and the music gets more interesting. Later everything quiets down and there is some military style drumming. Builds up to a loud crescendo at the end. "09-15-00 (Part Two)" has a steady hi-hat throughout. Basically just guitar and violin textures.

"Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" starts with some nice 3-note guitar playing before other instruments join in. 3 1/2 minutes in it gets louder and more intense, then dies down and comes back again. I like the guitar effect used here. Later on some tribal pounding on the drums and some strings come in. The song then grows into a more chamber-prog style; this part will appeal to some avant-prog fans. After post-rock guitars start to drown out everything else except the drums which get louder. The cool guitar effect comes back. Ends with tremoloed guitar and strings.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer (Part One)" begins with a 'ping' sound and random noises on different instruments. Some guitar and strings before a steady bass drum and hi-hat. Then melodic violin and bass. Some snare drum now and more guitars and strings. Builds towards first crescendo. Before 9 minutes starts some great melodic bass playing. After the music dies down and then a 6-note guitar figure which gets repeated for about 8 minutes with random noises from other instruments coming and going. This guitar part is done on a heavier guitar at one point. Not always the same 6 notes and there is a little variation, but this part takes up the majority of the last half which is really, really boring.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer (Part Two)" is the best song. It takes awhile to get going. The music is mostly based around what the bass is playing. Builds to a crescendo and pretty much stays there with changes in tempo. When the drums stop begins the best part of the song with good guitar parts. Drums and bass then join in. Last minute or so is guitar feedback and violin.

If you want to get into GYBE I suggest you put this at the bottom of your list. You should hear their previous work first. This group, and post-rock in general, seemed to have reached a dead-end in the mid-00s. This situation has improved slightly in the past few years, but for awhile it appeared that post-rock had said all it could say. GYBE is now touring again, and if they make another album , I hope it is better than this one. Yanqui U.X.O. deserves 3 stars.

Report this review (#371745)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Where Godspeed You! Black Emperor perfected their sound...

Over time I have amassed Godspeed's three albums and EP, and I found all of them (before this one) slightly dissatisfactory in some way. It just seemed like the band had a lot of good music in them, but theydidn't know how to filter out the sub-par moments, that didn't the spectacular revalationatory sound of other times in the songs. What made it worse was that it seemed like almost every song had moments that were lacking. One exception I think is 'Antennas to Heaven' off of their second album, and that remains my favorite song by them.

What changed on this album I do not know. But now the sound is more natural, it seems like the sections flow together in a way that makes sense, to create a very round, complete feeling. One effect that makes the feeling on this album sound so universal that I have noticed is that all extended notes that are hit then fade out rather than stoping have vibrato to them. This sound is not obtrusive at all but adds a very mysterious quality to all of the songs.

That brings me back to my initial argument. This album, literally, has no bad moments, or times that the band sounds misguided at all. It flows more perfectly than I've heard any Post-Rock I've heard before.

It starts very well, with the first section in '9-15-00 Part 1' very reminiscient of the beggining of 'Storm' off of their last album, with a very bright sound and a natural crescendo. This song has many storybook moments for the band, and I can find myself actually humming some of the repeated melodies of this song at times. Part two is a bit darker and serves for preparing you for the sound of the next song. It is though, very melodic and not static at all, as some may have said before.

"Rockets fall on Rocket Falls" is the most individual song on this album, and is basically 'figure a' for this albums reputation for being sad. It is basically an audio representation of, you guessed it, a bombing. The first seven minutes cure as an optimistic pretext for what is to come, then a steady marching drum beat starts and is slowly built on for the rest of the song. Explaining it like that makes it sound quite dull, but I assure you, this is quite possibly the greatest crescendo to climax that Godspeed has ever done.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer Part 1" is a bit of an oddball for Godspeed, but I have liked it since the first time I heard it. You can divide this song into 3 basic parts, though they go into each other easily. The first is the begining that is comprised of this very soft 'ping' sound. That sound ventually loses its tempo as it's taken over by more instruments that lead it into the second part, which starts roughly at the fourth minute. This part is actually rather more symphonic progressive than anything else this band has done, with a steady drum beat and a polymelody going on in the background, with an eventual guitar solo going on above that. The sound is very controlled and doesn't drift too far from Godspeed's normal sound. The third part of this song is comprised of the last ten minutes. This begins as a repeated guitar sound is used. This never becomes dull before it is changed with a heavier sound being used in front of it. That quickly goes away and fades intoa more melodic sound that finishes the song.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer Part 2" is quite similar throughout but it never overstays its welcome, and ends rather quickly with the intruments fading to feedback.

Despite this being my favorite album by the band, it is tough to understand, and not an album I would have gotten before having owned the other ones by this band. At that point you can decipher which parts of the band you enjoy the most. If you feel this may be a great addition after doing that, buying the album can do no harm.

Report this review (#501634)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having reached a brilliant peak on the Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven double album, Godspeed You Black Emperor returned with a reconfigured sound on Yanqui UXO. Gone are the scratchy extracts of found audio shimmering in and out of focus which gave their preceding releases such a distinctive sound; this all- instrumental album seems to be a deliberate attempt to prove that the band could produce brilliant music without such tricks or chicanery.

And, of course, they can... but we already knew that from their preceding material, which was never as dominated by the audio samples as the band's detractors made it out to be. As it is, the album is pretty decent, but the atmosphere does lose a little something when the band are on their best behaviour and not getting up to tape-recorded mischief. Of the Godspeed releases to date (excepting the All Lights Fucked On the Hairy Amp Drooling tape, which pretty much nobody outside of the band has heard so I can't comment on it), I'd say this is the least essential. Still damn good... but Godspeed at their prime were so much more than this.

Report this review (#657893)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The pioneering Post Rockers of GY!BE faced an inevitable challenge in the follow-up to their epic twin-disc "Lift Your Skinny Fists...etc". And the mixed reception that greeted the band's third album in 2002 showed even devoted fans struggling to keep pace with what was really just a natural advance in their musical agenda.

Like any evolutionary step forward the change was almost infinitesimal but very real, signaled by the artful relocating of the exclamation mark in the ensemble's already odd moniker. It's true the new album was more overtly political, at least in its artwork and title. But the music itself, being entirely instrumental, maintained a fidelity to art over propaganda, despite contentious track titles like the two-part "Motherf*cker=Redeemer" (of course it would have been even more provocative the other way around).

The band didn't tinker much with their neo-classical instrumentation and arrangements, often presented with an avant-garde lassitude ideal for anyone who thought the music of kindred spirits SIGUR RÓS too bouncy and bright. The Godspeed crowd was also renowned for not using keyboards in their mini-symphonies, but is that a mellotron I hear early in "09-15-00", or just the treated sound of a violin or viola?

More attention was devoted to structure and internal flow: note the lack of enigmatic sub-sections. Having fewer transitions between interior movements allowed the players to stretch their music to the breaking point, as heard in the slow heat-death of "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls". Just when it seems like the tempo is succumbing to the second law of thermodynamics it begins powering up, slowly gaining strength and momentum like a vast, unstoppable glacier (before global warming), at one point suddenly swapping its relentless 4/4 rhythm for an even more urgent 3/4 time.

There seems to have been a deliberate attempt to dial back the uncanny power of earlier efforts. As loud as it often is, the music here leans more toward minimalism, favoring monochromatic repetition instead of Technicolor drama. Maybe the title U.X.O (Unexploded Ordinance) was something more than just an offhand slap at the global military-industrial complex: this is the sound of a highly explosive ensemble, but without the expected detonation.

Or maybe what we're hearing are the smoldering ashes left behind by the auto-da-fé of "Lift Your Skinny Fists..." Either way the results won't have the same immediate impact as the previous album, but given time and patience it may yet prove to be their most accomplished statement.

Report this review (#931767)
Posted Sunday, March 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars YANQUI U.X.O (Spanish for Yankee followed by "unexploded ordnance" is the fourth release (third full album by GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR (they dropped the "!" on this one) and although it wasn't lauded with the praise that their previous releases had because of the fact they dropped their field recordings and some of the techniques they had utilized in the past, this album still retains the post-apocalyptic feel and sense of impending doom and dread of the others. In fact, the album cover says it all. It is simply an aircraft in the process of dropping bombs which leaves a world of devastated death, destruction and bleakness. The fact that they included no human utterings whatsoever only heightens that bleakness for me. The music is admittedly a tad more simplistic but it feels even darker and more hopeless than even I thought possible.

In short, this album is the logical extension of the others. It still retains the pulsating post-rock triumphs that GODSPEED is so famous for without all those extra touches that some may have deemed distracting. The music is the sole focus and they deliver it in a mesmerizing and hypnotic fashion. The repetitive string laden passages and the ominous hooks ratchet up to a harder and more frenzied climax this time around however it is true that GODSPEED doesn't really add much new to the mix. I can understand the criticism and all about this particular release but when a band catches on to a sound this profound and powerful I am not the least bit disappointed to hear another similar album in the vein of its predecessors There was more than enough life left in this sound to make a fourth release that was a viable addition to their discography. Due to the crazy amount of side projects taking up band members' time, there would not be another GODSPEED album for another ten years. Creepy and excellent.

Report this review (#1294363)
Posted Sunday, October 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another amazing collection of music by this seminal band. There isn't a lot of political music out there anymore, but GY!BE is political...and they are Canadian. They hit the political message right in the nose.....and they are mostly instrumental. In fact, in this album, they are completely instrumental and this is probably their most political/musical album. But that is one of the beauties can take the political side and guess at what they are trying to convey by looking at the album art and etc., or you can close your eyes and imagine any image that the music conjures up in your mind.

Like I said, this is all instrumental. There are no sound collages and field recordings that were evident on their other albums, and, unfortunately, it is the one thing that is missed here. But the music itself is awesome. There are 3 main compositions here, two of them are divided into 2 parts, plus the vinyl had one extra track (which, by the way, is a spoken word recording by George Bush which has been cut and pasted together). Each separate composition is actually a multi-movement work, but, and this is another unfortunate fact, the movements are not outlined in the program notes or track list like it was on "Lift Yr Skinny Fists....". I do miss that because it would make the tracks seem less dense on this album. I know having that diagram of the breakdown of the tracks on the previous album really helped in the understanding of the music structure. But, once again, the music is still amazing. This album is more of a musicscape where their other albums were soundscapes.

It always surprises me, that given the length of most of GB!YE's works, that the time always seems to fly by when I am listening to them. On this album, you have 2 tracks that are over 20 minutes, but, even with the slow buildups and long releases, the time still goes by quickly and they are over before I know it.

A lot of this music was actually in existence before the recording of the E.P. "Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada", so it's been around for a while before the recording of this album. The music was perfected and retitled (from titles in GY!BE concerts). The music works off the basic Post-rock formula, which in many cases for me, has been a failure for many other bands because they don't expand on the formula enough. However, it always seems to work so well for GY!BE, because of the emotion put into the music, the way all the layers work together so well, the timing seems to always be right as far as when to reach the inevitable climax, and the fact that the music always moves or progresses. Rhythms change almost seamlessly but at a moments notice, the music is symphonic and epic. To me, this is in the same category as Classical music, even if it is still rock (progressive art rock), it is rock music pushed to newer boundaries.

A lot of fans seem to have had a harder time with this album. I know I did at first, but now I notice a lot more variety and movements within each song, which were not quite so evident without the program notes that were available in "Lift...". The music seems denser at first too because it isn't broken up by the field recordings. The thing is, with this album, it takes more time for it to sink in. But, the beauty and the wonder is still all there. Dynamics are determined more by layering then I think it was on earlier albums. There is definitely a lot more dissonance in this album also, which works well for the music on this album.

When I first heard this album, I considered it a lesser recording than the previous albums. I have gotten past that now. It took time, but I have found the masterpiece in this album and now consider it as great as their other albums. Yes it is a masterpiece and, as the other GY!BE albums, I consider it essential, especially for the proclaimed lovers of Post-rock.

Report this review (#1352603)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yanqui UXO, for a long time, was my bedtime album. Whenever I had difficulty going to sleep, I'd put this on and by the time the main riff starts building up in 9-15-00 (Part 1), I'd be out. It's not that it's necessarily a boring album, or that it's based more in ambient than the others, but it is nowhere near as stimulating as its forerunner, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven.

Yanqui UXO lacks the atmosphere that made its predecessors stand out. F#A#Infinity had mood, this album has more compositional value, and Skinny Fists had both. The glorious post-rock crescendos of Yanqui UXO are still satisfying to reach after the trademark lengthy buildup, the layering of riffs and gradual intensifying of each movement done well with the band taking everything they can get from a theme. Also woven into the album are many ambient portions (no samples this time) that help to break up and emphasize the post-rock parts. But something is missing; Yanqui UXO provokes no emotion like the previous GY!BE albums did. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what atmosphere is and how to create it, but that aspect is gone from this release.

Yanqui is worthwhile, though maybe only after listening to some of the band's other offerings first. Their weakest, musically competent but lacking the extra factor that made Skinny Fists so incredible, is still good.

Report this review (#1468377)
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Second-Best GYBE Album.

This double album (shortened to 77 minutes for the CD) is a huge musical accomplishment. It contains some of GYBE's most original and innovative music, in their whole catalogue. However, it is largely missing the street noises and voice-overs that characterized the first three albums (I include Zero Riot in those). This is both a curse, in that those additional tapes added a welcome emotional and political layer to their sound, and a blessing in that one can now thus really focus on the music itself. Some reviewers don't seem to like this album as much as some of the others. I think this is because of two things: a) the missing street noises and tapes, which we all had come to love, and b) the first song here, titled 09-15-00 (broken into two parts), which is quite slow and lasts 20 minutes. I can easily see someone wanting to zip through this album to provide a review, and getting bogged down in that first song, and perhaps not fully listening to the rest of the tracks. If so, this would be a shame, because the third track, Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls, and the fourth and fifth tracks (part I and II of M-F-Redeemer) are so highly original, different, and musical. There is nothing quite like them, either recorded by GYBE or any other band - they stand as testaments to the bands' significant musicality and creativity. Only a couple of pieces on LYSF match them in quality. The first song (09-15-00) is musical too, but involves the slowest and weakest tracks on the album, though I still quite like them. But one can't listen to this album just once and make up an opinion. It needs a number of full open-minded listens. For anyone who is interested in this band, I highly recommend this album. I give it 8.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which places it as (high) 4 PA stars. Close to 5 Stars.

Report this review (#1697631)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | Review Permalink

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