Godspeed You Black Emperor — Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven!
(Kranky krank043, 2000, 2CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-07-01
Despite the recent hyped press, which this Canadian performance group has received, there is still a large dose of mystery, which surrounds them. In fact, after about three plays from start to finish through this two disc, four-track set, the group sonically owes an implied debt to Ummagumma era Pink Floyd with a resident string section. Not many credits are given to individual personnel, but the lead guitarist stirs up shredding soundscapes that leads equally to industrial chaos and crafted drone. Plus the group spreads the arrangements wide enough to include brass and tuned percussion, blurring the dividing line between rock group and orchestra. An example piece from disc two opens with "Terrible Canyons of Static" that begins with a narrative from an old timer recalling the days of New York's "Old Coney Island." Then the song transitions into "Broken Windows Locks of Love Part III," which is characterized by a slowly building theme further developed by a supporting violin passage. Sadly without the live presentation of the troupe to refer to, the visual element is missing and cannot be commented on. Now if we could just get some one to go see them in Quebec, maybe they would tell us what in the world it all really means. But then again, maybe not... Highly recommended.
Related artist(s): Godspeed You Black Emperor!
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.