Monday, May 09, 2016
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress (2015)
After a three year break, Godspeed came back with this relatively short album, by GYBE standards.
Evidently, a double-sided poster was included with some pressings, but not mine. This record contains 4 tracks:
1. "Peasantry or 'Light! Inside of Light!'" 10:28
2. "Lambs' Breath" 9:52
3. "Asunder, Sweet" 6:13
4. "Piss Crowns Are Trebled" 13:50
I think the Allmusic critic is a big fan of GYBE:
"Opener "Peasantry or Light! Inside of Light!" thunders in on doom riffs, while squalling, sawing, multi-tracked violins and an army of slow, plodding guitars compete for dominance, with thudding drums -- à la Black Sabbath -- and a taut, layered bassline all playing variations on 12-bar blues but in waltz time. Short cadenzas are woven into the turnarounds, throwing things off and adding a regal element that passes for a schematic; it's almost florid maximalism, but the tension is palpable. After a stinging guitar break, Sophie Trudeau's violins introduce the next phase as Eastern and Western melodies join and soar to the top of the mix and the rest of the band's instruments, puncturing every space in order to catch her. That enormous crescendo we've become accustomed to never quite happens. The pace slows, the spaces get wider, and the opening riff eventually returns, this time with the pomp of those recombined harmonic lines woven in. "Lamb's Breath" and "Asunder Sweet" variously employ blown-out distorted basslines, piercing feedback, single guitar stabs, and sonic washes, culminating in tonal and microtonal drones forming the middle of the record. It's an extended meditation in sound, full of bleak and brooding dread and mournful spaces. Ambient textures from blasted organs and synths and guitar harmonics coalesce toward a squall of maqam violin themes grafted onto post-minimalist repetition. Combined, they create a ground floor for GY!BE to begin to erect their trademark urgent, dramatic tension that gradually announces the concluding "Piss Crowns Are Trebled." Single-string ringing guitar, prodded by open-tuned drones from keyboards and other six strings, whomping bass, and cataclysmic drumming are woven into and through one another as an uncharacteristically intricate violin melody climbs toward the transcendent border of no return. Everything swirls in cacophonous, ever repeating, four-beat drones; only Trudeau's violins offer variation in a frenzied, harmonic counterpoint. There is nowhere left for the music to go; even scaling back the swell of instruments doesn't succeed in relieving the tension or stop the frenetic energy; the music has entered oblivion; shelter from the storm is only unnecessary because it is impossible." [source]
I should add that I love this record. I should also add that GYBE make really fine album covers.