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4.6 out of 5 stars54
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Vinyl|Change
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on 30 January 2013
I bought this MP3 download for a paltry £2.49 on the spur of the moment, based on a recommendation from Amazon - presumably as I had bought a couple of the earlier Sigur Ros CDs to plug the gaps.

The previous reviews of this work are intriguing, and promise much...but on first listen I hear a relatively straightforward, yet eclectic, melange of Philip Glass; Brian Eno and/or Robert Fripp (collectively No Pussyfooting, or Fripp's later Soundscapes era)...and Frank Zappa (circa Orchestral Favourites).

There are bits of Pink Floyd's (More / Zabriskie Point) soundtrack work in there, and some of the passages are reminiscent of the aural landscapes I associate with Porcupine Tree. There is also a bit about 4 minutes into 'Sleep' that conjured up a spaghetti western flashback...remember the musical pocket watch theme from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly? Dare I add Gong and White Noise (Visitation / Electric Storm) to the references?

It also prompted me to look for a CD or MP3 reissue of an old vinyl LP compilation I used to have, called 'Angels in the Architecture'...which contains one of the simplest - yet most beautiful pieces - of music I have ever heard: The Sound of Someone You Love Who's Going Away and It Doesn't Matter, by Penguin Cafe Orchestra...

So, all in all, this isn't quite as revolutionary as I thought it might be...but it is still worth (a) the effort; and (b) every penny. I have given it 4 stars as I clearly 'like it', but don't yet 'love it', although I am hoping it will improve and become more cohesive on repeated listening...
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on 19 March 2003
This CD is amazing...although I'm afraid I can't really say much more than has already been said in previous reviews. Its definitely some of the most moving music I've yet to hear...strength of mood is applied in so many ways on this double album...sometimes subtly, sometimes uproariously dramatically. Combination of rock drums with orchestral arrangements ensure that the bands "blueprint" of "quiet, quiet quiet, LOUD LOUD quiet" never gets boring, mainly because it's so epic and enthralling that mosttimes you don't realise its the same type of track in most cases. I have yet to judge the bands other releases, not having heard them, but from what people say, this album is a good starting point. Definitely get it as soon as you can! PS if you are sucker for elegantly designed packaging you will not be disappointed either.
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on 26 October 2000
It's odd. They format hasn't changed, the band aren't doing anything different to what they usually do, but somehow it IS different. The tone has changed. The apocalyptic pre-millenial gloom that permiated f#a infinity and Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada have become something more optimistic. The band have honed their skills at adding layer upon layer of sound to create incredibly intense movements, such as the incredible 2nd track, which starts with several minutes of waves of sound before giving way to a constant beat that slowly build over nearly ten minutes, getting faster, with different instruments joining in until you think your head will explode, then just at the last moment it stops. If you have bought other Constellation releases, you can hear where some of the members other projects influence this album. There are parts that sound exactly the "A Silver Mt Zion", (most notably the end of the 1st track) the splinter group formed by Sophie, Theirry and Efrim. There are other parts that sound like Fly Pan Am (one of the guitarists other band) on track 3 i think. This is not a bad thing, in a way it kind of helps you trace who has the input where on the album, allows you to gain an insight into how the songs are written. A must buy album, even though it would be spoiled if it became too popular.
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on 3 February 2007
Godspeed You Black Emperor! enjoy a pre-eminent position in the post-rock field, proved by the fact that the majority of other bands in this genre are compared to them in reviews. Most pale by comparison.

`Lift Your Skinny Fists..' is generally reckoned to the band's defining work and with good reason. The power and gravitas that the nine musicians achieve is simply extraordinary. Your CD player will tell you that there are only four tracks over the two discs, but in reality the work is split into over twelve passages that segue into one other to form an album that needs to be listened to as a whole to be fully appreciated.

Musically, the range and breadth of styles here is dizzying. There are gentle passages of mournful strings, piano and plucked guitars which in the next heartbeat may build to fearsome guitar crescendos. Godspeed You Black Emperor also employ `field recordings'; found sounds and samples of spoken words which are by turns mundane, banal, nostalgic and evangelical. The sense of atmosphere that the band evoke is thrilling, yet the music is also accessible and melodic.

There are few relevant musical reference points here, because the band's large personnel allow them to create an orchestral power that is virtually unique, but I was reminded in places of the equally epic `Soundtracks for the Blind' by Swans. This is most apparent in the pounding drums that cut in towards the end of `Gathering Storm' on the first CD. Godspeed You Black Emperor's use of spoken word samples also owes a debt to Swans in my opinion. If you love this CD and have not heard `Soundtracks for the Blind' do check it out - you will not be disappointed.

Essential stuff for any serious music fan. Five stars well deserved.
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on 21 June 2010
And I mean the word literally. Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven is a full on assualt on the senses, an emotional rollercoaster that's far too grand or subtle to be taken in on a couple of listens. As with all great records, especially those of the less structured genres, this takes repeat listening.

The two cd's are divided into four tracks, but LYSFLATH is really a linked collection of fifteen to twenty pieces, playing out a spectrum of emotion. Vocal-less save for spoken-word sample, it's the music that does the talking.

Often rising from silence, pieces become dense with instrumentation and emotion, only to be swept into something totally different by quick changes is timing, tempo and volume. At times I'm left grinning ear to ear, with moments of pure perfection punctuated throughout the record.

At first listen LYSFLATH may sound a little disjointed, but repetition brings meaning and purpose to the pauses, silences and unexplained noises.

My only criticism would be that at times the production leaves more delicate parts overwhelmed, but these moments are far too sparsley distributed to be a criticism of the whole record.

Utterly magnificent.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2006
With this album GYBE simply sweep aside the rest of the field. Sprawling over 2 discs, the epic 'Lift Your Skinny Fists...' is a tour-de-force of GYBE's unbelievable ability to create beautiful yet shatteringly powerful `soundscapes'. The wall of sound they have become known for is better than ever, the powerful moments are sure to get your adrenaline pumping and the softer periods are just so touching, they make me feel like a big lumpy sack of uselessness. This album will hit you hard if you let it.

The first track 'Storm' instantly (well, over its 20 minute course) shows what GYBE are all about. The mood changes are simply perfect, the band weave in and out of themes, from beautiful and calming melodies to sinister driving sections. 'Static' is my favourite GYBE song, it takes a while to get going with numerous samples and introductory themes, until it enters its main motif played sinisterly by the strings, gradually building to a full band onslaught that defines crescendo. 'Storm' is a touching piece, once again a great use of sampling, but this piece is a showcase of the fabulous and inventive guitar playing, the sound is quite unlike anything I have ever heard...soaring...wailing...something completely ethereal. The title track is probably my least favourite of the four, but is still a fine piece.

GYBE simply destroys the boundaries. Every piece and every individual movement inside it, is utterly compelling and brutal. If your interested in post rock, or are already a post rock fan but without this (gasp!), then I cannot recommend this enough.
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on 28 November 2000
There is no doubt that Godspeed have come a long way since F#A#00. In my opinion every album they have made has improved a lot. This is their best yet!! I found F#A#00 a bit directionless, while Slow Riot was more focused and had a definite destination. You could argue that there are places here with this new piece that have got "lost" but the direction through the most part far outways any possible flaws. I also like the increased use of ambience in between pieces, it is a shame that this didn't tie in so well with the main pieces(if you can call them that). There is also a greater use of the rhythm section throughout the album, which i think is a good thing, although there is also a lack of dynamic range compared to F#A#00 & Slow Riot. If you havn't seen Godspeed live then you haven't heard half of what they are. So far what i have said may seen a little critical but these are only minor qualms in a beautiful masterpiece. If you like what Godspeed have done you NEED this album.
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on 16 October 2000
Godspeed you black emperor. Remember the name because you will probably never hear it again. A band this good simply cannot function for long without imploding, exploding, or simply disapearing back from the way in which they came: Obscurity. I have seen this band twice now, and they have been absoulutely brilliant on both occasions. Both times I have left the gig's feeling, sincerely, like I had just witnessed something sacred. Something so rock and roll that no one outside the four walls had any clue it was going on, and probably never would. Godspeed will never be the most popular band in terms of chart success. They will never have a single, but they were the largest selling band last year in terms of internet sales. This album is two cd's full of the most heavenly yet mornfull, beautiful music you can buy. Samples of preachers, of shopping attendants, of French Canadian children singing rhymes. The guitars wail and the strings weep. This will have you in tears.
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on 21 February 2001
This record is chock full of beautiful orchestrations, pulsating rhythms, and weeping movements. Based mainly on crecendos climaxing into immense beauty, the latest Godspeed album is nothing short of Godspeedy perfection. Storm and Antennas to Heaven are highlights.
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on 28 October 2004
Much has been said already of Godspeed! and their approach to music, producing an excrutiatingly intricate soundscape from a seeming melange of instruments and samples. Crescendos build as individual melodies entwine and climb, intensifying beyond expectation then suddenly withdrawing leaving you to plummet back to haunting, subdued refrains.
This stunning piece of music has no parallel to anything else I have heard. Their first album is superb, but this is something else. And it is also very very special.
If you haven't already got the hint - BUY IT.
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