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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

Post Rock/Math rock • Canada


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Godspeed You! Black Emperor picture
Godspeed You! Black Emperor biography
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1994 - Histus between 2004-2009 - Still active as of 2017

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! is an experimental nine-piece that specializes in semi-avant-garde instrumental music of haunting beauty. They've released five discs of music, with a grand total of eleven pieces of music, so you know they can write some extended ideas. Formed in 1995, GYBE! consists of Roger Tellier-Craig (guitar), Norsola Johnson (cello), Efrim Menuck (guitar), Mauro Pezzente (bass), David Bryant (guitar), Thierry Amar (bass), Sophie Trudeau (violin), Aidan Girt (percussion), and Bruce Cawdron (percussion). GYBE!'s music should probably be described as long, dark, moody, and brilliant. Their sound was once compared to TANGERINE DREAM, except that GYBE! uses no keyboards. They paint a similar sonic texture to TANGERINE DREAM, but they do it using cello, violin, upright bass, and three guitars, rather than synths. In fact, GYBE! is very organic, often bringing in spoken word samples, as well as glockenspiel.

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR!'s best album is arguably the double-disc "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven". It consists of four 20 minutes pieces. "Yanqui U.X.O." is also an excellent album, having two 20 minute tracks and a 30 minute track. GYBE!'s other albums are "f#a#infinity" and "Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada."

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! is highly recommended for prog fans as Kraut Rock, epic-length experimental, or anyone looking for something a little different to sink their ears into.

BrainRock Ben, USA



See also:
- A Silver Mt. Zion
- Fly Pan Am
- Set Fire To Flames
- Valley Of The Giants
- Exhaust
- HṚṢṬA

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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR discography


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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.14 | 473 ratings
F# A# ∞
1997
4.13 | 671 ratings
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
2000
4.00 | 363 ratings
Yanqui U.X.O.
2002
3.73 | 198 ratings
Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
2012
3.74 | 134 ratings
Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
2015
3.79 | 150 ratings
Luciferian Towers
2017
3.96 | 90 ratings
G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
2021

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.55 | 13 ratings
All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling
1994
3.33 | 6 ratings
Split (ft. Amazezine)
1998
2.05 | 2 ratings
Split (GY!BE / Fly Pan Am - Sunshine + Gasoline / L'espace Au Sol Est Redessine Par D'immenses Panneaux Bleus
1998
4.45 | 217 ratings
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
1999
3.25 | 4 ratings
Tiny Silver Hammers
2004

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.13 | 671 ratings

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by alex_newgrass

2 stars Now, I'm a big fan of post-rock, but mostly the first wave stuff. Bands like Moonshake, Disco Inferno, Long Fin Killie, Disco Inferno, Talk Talk, Disco Inferno, etc.. but this is just not that interesting. I'm already not a fan of crescendocore, if you choose to call it that, and even though this is a little better than some of the more generic stuff within the genre it eludes me as to why this receives such incredibly high acclaim. The album is just irrationally long, which is fine if you have lots of variation, but this one doesn't. I also don't like the cinematic sound, which is also an issue I have with F#A#. The biggest problem, though is that the tracks feel a bit too similar with their crescendo-based structures. And even though each track is slightly different, they're each stretched out to unnecessary lengths to the point where they blend together in my head, leading to a pretty unmemorable experience.
 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.13 | 671 ratings

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Boi_da_boi_124

5 stars Review #82!

This album is singularly one of the most beautiful and touching things I've ever heard. I hate to compare this to Yes's 'Close to the Edge', but I might have to. The amount of emotion Godspeed You! Black Emperor manages to bring to the table is immense, and that is what makes this album so emotionally connecting. The album opener is 'Storm'. This track conveys such a feeling of melancholy, lyrics are unnecessary. This song feels like a metaphorical storm, with the peace before, the panic in the midst of it, and the return to peace after it is over. I personally think it is about life as a whole, and how it begins without a care in the world and ends with (not to quote Shakespeare, but) second childishness. 'Static's weird speech is so confusing and odd it is disturbing. About halfway through the track is a movement that sounds like a modern rock song. Then the music returns to the sad feel found before it. The song ends with ambience, making good use of the track's title. I think this track is about religion, an obvious guess regarding the subject matter of the spoken word. 'Sleep' begins with a man talking about Coney Island, and then about sleeping on the beach. Sleeping. This is an introduction to the theme of this song. Then there is a sad orchestral melody. Another beautiful highlight of this album. A nice little guitar interlude fades in and out of the music until crescendoing at one of the most powerful parts of this entire album. The music eventually slows down. After a slow section, the music suddenly explodes and turns into a hopeful guitar solo. Another beautiful highlight of this album. The solo fades away and the song ends. This song seems to be about how life passes you by. The closing track, 'Like Antennas To Heaven?', begins with a little country ditty and fades into ambience. Then, like in 'Sleep', the music explodes and slows down again. Another explosion slows down yet again and the album ends. 'Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven' is a great album, and a great introduction to math rock for anybody. It sure was for me. Everyone can find something to love in this album. Good crap.

 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.13 | 671 ratings

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Error Code 864G

5 stars I was recommended this album by someone, and it did not disappoint. This album is genuinely the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, and most likely ever will hear. Even without real lyrics, I could sense a story in each of the songs. "Storm" felt like it was about helplessness and the feeling of hopelessness. The feeling that your life is happening around you, but you can't control its direction. "Static" felt like it was about panic; a drawn-out descent into hysteria. Although the religious bit kind of threw me off. "Sleep" felt like it was about nostalgia; a fleeting love for the past, the sorrow of it being gone, and a feeling of anger at its passing that turns to mindless rage that slowly morphs back into sorrow. As if the past was a pit and anger was their attempt at climbing out, only for them to fall back into sorrow. Every time the anger returns, it is another attempt at escape that fails. A cycle that they never escape from. As for the final song, "Like Antennas To Heaven...", I couldn't discern its meaning. It felt like there was so much meaning there, but it was something I was not yet ready to understand. This album is just amazing. You can't describe it accurately with words. I am still young, but if I die early I hope this album is played at my funeral.
 All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
2.55 | 13 ratings

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All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

2 stars There is a difference between gone and lost. When something is gone, it can never be retrieved again, when something is lost, it can be found again. This happened one time in history. One day, in 1911, a painting, a rather famous painting more specifically, was stolen from the Louvre. It sparked a full wide investigation and speculation on who took it. When it was finally brought back, it was a lost relic at the time and soon became one of, if not the most important pieces of art in culture. That painting was the Mona Lisa. However despite it being the most important pieces of art, a lot of people who saw it were let down. While I haven't seen it myself, people who have said it was rather underwhelming, with it being fairly small and not some big grand spectacle the lore built it up to be, however it is not the painting that should be appreciated, but giant story surrounding the art piece. This reminds me though, you know the saying on how history repeats itself? It happens a lot, and I feel like now, especially after these past few weeks, we got our own Mona Lisa, the post modern Mona Lisa.

In 1993, the frontman to the band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Efrim Menuck, created a 70+ minute demo tape, which soon was the cinders to what would late become the band to make such albums like Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven and Alleujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, however due to him being poor and homeless at the time, he could only make 33 copies of the demo as cassette tapes. Soon, somewhere in the 2000s, due to constellation records releasing art of the cassette tape's art, Godspeed fans started to go wild. What could this album be, what did the early forms of Godspeed sound like? With interviews of people talking to Efrim about the album, hype around the album soured higher and higher. One day, on Reddit, a user by the name of CasketJack unveiled that he had the cassette and he asked what the deal was about it. Soon he leaked 2 songs off the album, Random Luvly Moncton Blues (S) and Dadmomdaddy. A lot of people really wanted to hear the full thing, but the begging, pleads, and even the occasional threat made CasketJack delete his Reddit account, never unveiling the cassette, leaving it lost to time, never to be found or heard ever again?is what I would say if an unexpected occurrence happened. This year, a 4chan user uploaded the entire cassette tape on the messaging boards, and soon, a YouTube channel by the name of naskivik uploaded the album onto YouTube, which set the entire Godspeed fanbase into a frenzy. The lost album has finally surfaced, the lost has been found, but was it the real deal. Later that week, Godspeed themselves uploaded the entire album onto Bandcamp, confirming that this was the real album, the real deal. The Mona Lisa has been found for the modern generation, however is it like the Mona Lisa to where the journey is more brilliant than the destination, or is the destination as good as the journey?

Now fair warning, do not expect the sounds you'd hear on albums like Yanqui U.X.O or Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada. You aren't gonna get that. What you will get is some fairly decent noise, ambient, and Avant Garde rock music. These definitely feel like the pollen of the band's beginnings, but they also feel strangely obtuse in compared to their other releases. Think of this as The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Different sound compared to what they would make in the future. It also has vocals, and the singing is kinda bland honestly. I can definitely tell why Efrim would not sing in any other Godspeed release since, because he cannot sing. It is also pretty hard, both in song and quality. A lot of grainy textures, bassy guitars, and some headache inducing noises. Hearing this album feels like an intense, experimental nightmare of noise, chaos, sadness, confusion, and unlike the stuff on their later releases, no hope. This may be the most cynical and gloomy album I have heard from any band, and while it definitely peaks my interest for a possible timeline where Efrim would continue Godspeed as a solo project than a 9 piece post rock group, it doesn't make me want to experience something like this headache induced mess of an album. It is clear that Efrim made this when he was at his most low, and his music reflected his life, a messy and confused ensemble of pain. But luckily, even when there is no hope in the songs, it is strangely uplifting, hearing such chaos, but you know the storm will settle down, and will rise a beautiful sun on the horizon, and I think this is the album's strong suit, but that doesn't detract from the fact this album isn't all that good, or really worth hearing again.

So, as I said, this is the post modern Mona Lisa. A historical piece of pop culture that has been lost for nearly 30 years and gave way to some of the rawest historical events in post rock history, and it finally being found gave way to what could be the most important album to ever resurface on the Internet, however like the Mona Lisa, it is not particularly good. Really it's not bad, but what more can you gain or lose from it. It's a experimental and loud mess, but without it, we might get a whole new music world as we know it. A world without Godspeed You! Black Emperor would be terrifying, moreso than their music. So while I do not like this album musically, for what it is worth and what it brought forth though should not be discredited. Keep doing what you are doing Efrim, you are doing good.

 G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.96 | 90 ratings

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G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Special Collaborator

4 stars Offensive appearances they have expressed via this creation. "G_d's Pee At Status End!" was released as GY!BE's 7th full-length album in the spring of 2021, when people all over the world suffered from the coronavirus pandemic and lost their purpose or goal. I cannot help feeling that it appears as if they would intentionally declare an offensive attitude against such a tough situation honestly to say. This creation consists of two around-20-minute long tracks and two short ones. Both of the two long ones are formed as suites but smooth, sliding, gliding vibes and movements make us feel no lengthy impression. Downtempo, repetitive, gradually developing structures are their musical basis as well, and they do have energy to propose the 'routines' without boring nor tiring the audience. It's kind of a mystery and amazement.

The most massive, positive, offensive declaration is coming on the first track "A Military Alphabet ?" that features a delicate calm tension in the beginning, followed by such an exaggerated sound fuzz grandeur and strict rhythmic bases like a marching song (it might be natural because of the title?). The latter part involves upbeat ballooning  musical improvements and polished bluesy connections filled with crazy distorted sound manners. Such a mixture of diverse, colourful sound variations is their characteristic and simultaneously their unique charm, let me say.

"Fire At Static Valley" gives me a wonder what they mean, what they want to tell. Such a deep, heavy, depressive melodic / rhythmic discharge ? I'm afraid if they would have a concern for some massive wild forest fires around their nation Canada or US. Magnificent, tranquil, sedate, but serious, critical phrases collective remind me of various things. I consider the shortest stuff should be upon another important position in this album.

In "Government Came ?" quirky, noisy electric guitar playing flavours fascinating. Somewhat dissonant, twisted melody lines are quite fresh and impressive. Edgy, sarcastic violin touches shoot painful scratches to our heart. Dramatic development in the middle phase and sudden flexible temper interlude after loudly fuzz should be good diversion. And in the last part we can enjoy slightly uptempo (for their sound style) dreamy melodic delights. This delightful atmosphere could expect the following hopefulness, I guess.

The last "Our Side Has To Win (For D. H.)" featuring enthusiastic, gorgeous ambience with dizzy, fuzzy, postrock authentication completely thrills me. They might say we need to settle our mind, to deal with tough problems currently around us, never to give up and see the bright sunshine in the near future. Yes, every night comes to an end. A brilliant hope is matured with this song.

So, their positive intention and attitude through this production can definitely encourage us.

 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.13 | 671 ratings

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Gorgut Muncher

5 stars If you look at the reviews of this album, you can quickly realize how divisive it is. While I think it's an irrefutable masterpiece and the best post-rock album ever made, some others think it's an eighty minute snoozefest. I think it all depends on the approach you give it, Godspeed You! Black Emperor really isn't a very accessible band and a record with four long, drone infested, atmospheric tracks wasn't going to appeal most classic prog rock fans who enjoy listening a Hammond keyboard wank for an entire album.

With that said, the importance of this album to this genre is monumental. I really can't say another post-rock record released before was as ambitious and bold as this one, and it influenced the genre by proclaiming itself as the most quintessential post-rock record. Lots of build ups, lots of droning, lots of atmospheric sections, lots of talked sections, no vocals, all the properties that can be heard in post-rock can be found in this album.

I understand if you don't like this record, but saying that it's a 1 or 2 star record is wrong considering how important it is to its genre. I'm giving it five stars because it is an essential record and because I absolutely love it.

 G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.96 | 90 ratings

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G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Gorgut Muncher

5 stars Ouch. I got a headache trying to read that album title! The seventh Godspeed You! Black Emperor is without a doubt their best album since Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! it features some of their classic elements such as massive suites with their own multiple build-ups and lots, lots of droning. Having the strongtrack/weaktrack album format, this album manages a great balance between light chords and heavy trance-ish riffs that plague the album, all this connected by droning sections.

Is it inaccessible? Yes, their entire discography is. However I'm completely sure that if you like Post-Rock you will really enjoy this album. It's without a doubt one of their best. It might sound bold to give it five stars, but it deserves it.

 Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P. by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
4.45 | 217 ratings

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Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Isaac Peretz

5 stars One of the best atmospheric albums ever made, and one of the cornerstones of post-rock itself. The second work from Godspeed You! Black Emperor is truly an outstanding EP that perfectly manages to capture the essence of a ravaged and isolated world with its string arrangements, crushing and emotional riffs and beautiful acoustic guitars. There's practically no doubt that their management of atmosphere and emotion is flawless in those two lengthy +10min tracks. Despite coming from a considerably inaccessible band, this extended play is an amazing starting point for anyone who wants to get into more atmospheric music.

Five stars, no doubt!

 Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P. by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
4.45 | 217 ratings

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Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by King Brimstone

5 stars - Review #30 -

A truly outstanding work from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada is the second EP the band and a major release in their discography, consisting of just two long songs that sum up for ~28 minutes of Post-Rock. The songs work in a build-up type of song structure. Moya is the first one, my personal favorite, and Blaise Bailey Finnegan III is the second (and lengthier) one, and a fan favorite. I absolutely recommend this album to any Post-Rock fan and it's essential for all Godspeed You! Black Emperor fans.

It's five stars for me.

 G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.96 | 90 ratings

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G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR may not have invented post-rock but i'd be hard pressed to find another band that has taken the genre to the limits that this Quebec band has done. For all the Mogwai clones, Bark Psychosis wannabes and Slint worshippers in the mix, nothing really compares to the transcendental recordings that GODSPEED has so successfully forged for over two decades now and for me personally it's always a beacon of light to hear that this excellent band has returned to unleash yet another apocalyptic instrumental display of epic post-rock that continues the style laid down so very long ago.

Emerging just in time for Easter 2021 after a weary planet has grown ever so fatigued by a decaying world of corruption, disease and economic collapse, GODSPEED's music has never sounded so relevant as a soundtrack to the planet upon which we reside and the newest edition of the band's maestrohood comes to us in the form of G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! which pretty much resonates in the awesomeness that we have come to know as GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR with that instantly addictive post-rock cyclical journey accompanied by chamber rock, drones, slow building tensions that result in phenomenal crescendoes and of course freaky sounding field recordings. The album title seems to display a disgust for the world situation in a time when all of us whether we reside in Albania or Zimbabwe are sharing a common human experience.

G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! is probably the closest thing to the band's critically acclaimed masterpiece "Lift Yr. Skinny First Like Antennas To Heaven!" which featured a mere four tracks and encompassed a whopping playing time of over 87 minutes however GODSPEED was wise when revisiting similar textures and soundscapes that evoke the so-called "classic" era (since the band's last two albums haven't been quite as revered). While the "Skinny Antennas" album warranted the double discker status as it provided that WOW value for most of us who have never experienced post-rock performed at such levels, the following albums had to stand in the shadow of that powerhouse production and although i found them extremely satisfying they clearly didn't achieve the state of perfection that that 2000 release had reached.

Thankfully G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! mined those past achievements but eschewed the ridiculously long playing time as in the last 21 years our attention spans as we music lovers have eroded and as many of us have taken on the task of not only keeping up with the contemporary world of music but also have mined the past as more and more obscurities. This official 7th album of GODSPEED features four tracks but only clocks in at a rather short (for GODSPEED) playing time of 52 minutes and 38 seconds. Everything there is to love about this band is back in full vengeance. We have those beautiful mysterious soundscapes that take eerie distorted guitar sounds with creepy violins, dark atmospheres, erratic percussion, perfectly selected field recording sounds and oddball tones and timbres from glockenspiels and radio feedback.

Led by the now post-rock gods and founding members Efrim Manuel Menuck and Mauro Pezzente, GODSPEED has been quite successful at keeping its integral sound while existing as a collective with a rotating cast of members over the years. G_d's Pee features two long tracks with ridiculously long titles and both hover around the 20-minute mark and provide the connection to the band's glorious past with lengthy journeys through sound that result in the desired outcomes. The two shorter tracks hover around the 6-minute mark and rely less on the cyclical loops and develop ominous atmospheres. The album seems to balance these aspects perfectly which results in a hella satisfying post-rock experience.

Yes GODSPEED is back and just when we needed another dose of "Skinny Antennas" styled apocalyptic post-rock that shows all those whippersnappers how this music is supposed to sound (sorry if i sound like a fanboy but i am!) In my book, GODSPEED hasn't released a single bad album with even their last two releases scoring high in my world but with G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! this band takes things back to familiar grounds that although not exactly new offers a beautiful display of ominous guitar driven post-rock in conjunct with the chamber rock sounds that brought them to the limelight. True that this album simply regurgitates that which has been expressed before but with music this dynamic, i can't help but being blown away. While clearly missing that extra oomf from the WOW factor, GODSPEED has to stand on the strength of its own unique style that doesn't ever seem to get old for my ears. Perhaps it's because the band hasn't overplayed itself with a huge canon of similar sounding albums but i think this one is going to stand the test of time even though i've only just begun to let it sink in.

4.5 but i can't seem to round it up (yet)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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