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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F# A# ∞ CD (album) cover

F# A# ∞

Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Post Rock/Math rock

4.09 | 425 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I haven't written a review in ages, so I thought an album from a genre I still couldn't get into would be a good place to start doing it again. Maybe time would finally show me what's so wonderful about albums like this.

But time hasn't changed my views. GY!BE's music still can't reach my heart, and my mind for that matter. What I used to think, I still do; what I used to admire in this group's music, I still do; what I dislike in post-rock, I still do.

The album, in short (why would I take hours of my -and your- time trying to explain something that, it seems, may be better explained by others who understand this genre?) is a good showcase of the band's strengths and -in my opinion- weaknesses. The musicians are very competent, and very able to create lush arrangements and broad, panoramic soundscapes that stretch beyond the borders of regular song structures and album maps. One can't deny that the players here know their craft, and, yes, that they are really feeling what they're playing. Musical-honesty oozes through this disc, making it impossible to accuse GY!BE of trying to adapt themselves to the times or of sacrificing their values and ideas in favor of what's commercially viable. The band is good, I give you that.

Sadly, that's not enough for me (and I seem to be a minority here). What this band loves is to create a theme (usually a simple theme) and develop it till exhaustion. Wait, that's quite wrong. They don't properly develop the musical themes, but they just repeat them till exhaustion. Yes, that's a better way of saying it. These canadians are very skillful when it comes to dynamics, that's an absolute truth, for they know how to take an idea, keep playing it over and over again just adding small harmonic touches or instrumental details till the volume, the musical intensity reaches a high point, and then they can start doing it again. But that's not enough for me. I'm not a big fan of listening a few scarce ideas during the course of a whole album, only changed in ways of intensity. It may show subtlety, it may show finesse, hell, it may show the mark of musical genius! The thing is, I don't like it.

And as I was praising the guys in GY!BE for their musical honesty, I think I should do the same in terms of my review and the rating I give to this band's album. Unpopular rating? For sure. Honest? Even more. I can't give this a high rating just for the rest of the community to agree with me. That would be falling in the same category that many prog fans accuse many artists of falling into: that would be selling out.

But let me at least rationalize my rating, so that the apostles of modern music can understand why I give this album the rating I give.

- This is NOT ESSENTIAL nor a masterpiece of progressive music. Saying that would be a lie (in my opinion). - This is NOT AN EXCELLENT ADDITION to any prog music collection, as I think there are plenty of albums that should go first. - As I'm the one writing, it's also false that it is GOOD. For me, as I've said earlier, it's NOT. - But this is also NOT POOR. As I mentioned, musicianship and musical integrity exists, and original ideas do exist in this album. For an album to be truly poor, it has to be devoid of all of these.

So, this is the perfect example of an album that's ideal for fans, collectors of the genre, as it really encapsulates everything you love -hate- of this new wave in the progressive rock movement.

Recommended for: Fans. You'll love it.

Not recommended for: Whoever doesn't like Post-rock...this won't change your opinion...

...This may be actually very, very good. I just don't like it.

The T | 2/5 |


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