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

YANQUI U.X.O.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.97 | 309 ratings

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TCat
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 here....you 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.

TCat | 5/5 |

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