Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Godspeed You Black Emperor!: Slow Riot For New Zerø Kanada E.P. (1999)

"Moya," the album's first piece, is a lot like weathering a torrential downpour: torn between moments of uncertainty a final deluge occurs absorbing everything in its path. The second piece, "BBF3," is a history lesson set to music, a story of dysfunctional government, militias, and human rights. This one album spans the emotions of terror and delight in 30 minutes. The same feelings of fear and triumph found in Beethoven can be found here, and there is perhaps no better endorsement for such music.
-- Allmusic [source]

Side one of this record--Moya--is 45RPM and side two--BBF3--is 33RPM. For an EP it is quite long, clocking on at almost 29 minutes. Here are some things I learned from the Wikipedia entry:

- "Users of the website Rate Your Music rate it as the greatest EP of all time."
- "The front of the album contains Hebrew characters, in transliterated form, 'Tohu va bohu' (formless and empty)."
- "The back of the EP contains a diagram with instructions in Italian on how to make a molotov cocktail."
- Side One, Moya "is a reference to band member Mike Moya. Concert setlists sometimes refer to this song as Gorecki because it is a reworking of his third symphony." And, by the way, if you have never listed to Gorecki, you should. I have some recordings on CD, including String Quartets 1 and 2, performed by the Kronos Quartet, which is simply stunning. I also have Symphony No. 3 (Dawn Upshaw, London Sinfonietta, David Zinman).
- Side two, BBF3, "refers to the vox pop interviewee going by the name of 'Blaise Bailey Finnegan III', whose eccentric ramblings form the core of the song. Finnegan recites a poem which he claims to have written himself. The poem is, in fact, mostly composed of lyrics from the song "Virus" by Iron Maiden that were written by their then-vocalist, Blaze Bayley. Blaise Bailey Finnegan III is also apparently the same person being interviewed at the beginning of F♯ A♯ ∞'s "Providence", and indeed some concert performances of 'BBF3' also incorporate that sample.

Wikipedia also notes the following, which I already knew:

"The album packaging makes only sparing reference to either the band or the album title: the outer packaging does not make any reference to Godspeed, but mentions them in the liner notes; the album title is only shown on the spine of the album cover. The song titles are not listed anywhere on the cover."

I personally believe that every Canadian should own all of the recordings of Godspeed You Black Emperor! In fact, I'd like them to record a version of the national anthem, if they haven't already done so.

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