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Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! [Vinyl]

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Vinyl (15 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Constellation
  • ASIN: B009DQQDEO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,170 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
30
19:59
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2
30
6:30
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3
30
20:07
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4
30
6:31
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Product Description

Product Description

CD in gatefold paperboard jacket, 180gLP in tipped-on gatefold jacket includes 7 vinyl + 12 x 48 pull-out poster vinyl is non-returnable. LEGENDARY INSTRUMENTAL ROCK BAND RETURNS WITH FIRST ALBUM IN 10 YEARS. Touring Europe in Nov. A decade has passed since the release of Yanqui U.X.O., the last album by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Never a band to pay heed to industry wisdom, Yanqui was released shortly before xmas 2002 with little publicity, no press availability, no marketing plans, cross-promotions or brand synergies, adorned with now infamous back cover artwork diagramming the links between major record labels and the military-industrial complex. Like all GYBE albums, this one did just fine and found it s audience : a passionate and committed fanbase galvanized by the group's sonic vision and its dedication to unmediated, unsullied musical communication. That such simple principles and goals have become harder to maintain and enact a decade later is an understatement. For all the contents and discontents for all the content of our present cultural moment, the idea of circumventing the glare of exposure or side-stepping the careful plotting of media cycles and identity management seems profoundly illadvised, if not futile. But Godspeed is looking to try all the same. The band wants people to encounter and care about this new album, without telling people they should. They seek to preserve the thrill of anonymous and uncalculated transmission, knowing full well that these days, anti-strategy risks being tagged as a strategy, non-marketing framed as its opposite, and deeply held principles they consider fundamental to health as likely to be interpreted as just another form of stealth. The band has been carving its own path again since 2010, regrouping as the same self-managed collective entity it has been from the outset, making appearances at a tiny clutch of music festivals, and otherwise just touring its own shows. It's been a disorienting time to resurface, but it has felt overwhelmingly right, honest and good. We think Godspeed has made a new record that maintains if not exceeds the standards of their previous work a high bar, many would agree. GYBE picked up right where they left off, and after almost two years of practicing, playing and touring, Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! Delivers two mighty sides of music (bookended by two new drones) that the band had been working up prior to their 2003 hiatus, which they have now shaped into something definitively stunning, immersive and utterly true to their legacy. The future looks dark indeed, but on the evidence of this new recording, Godspeed appears wholly committed to staring it down, channeling it, and fighting for some rays of sound (and flickers of light) that feel righteous, unflinching, hopeful and pure.

BBC Review

Although they returned to the live stage in 2010 from a hiatus which began in 2003, this fourth studio album from the Canadian post-rock cyphers nevertheless comes as a surprise, its release – in contrast to the music it contains – silent and unheralded.

And it’s a surprise that should please followers of this most exclamatory of bands (in music, as in punctuation). The album consists of just four tracks; two stretching over 20 minutes (Mladic and We Drifted Like Worried Fire), the shorter two (Their Helicopters Sing and Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable) available on the vinyl release as separate 7” singles. The longer tracks are re-workings of Albanian and Gamelan, long part of the band’s live set, now recorded for the first time.

Each piece has its own distinct mood. The mind-blasting Mladic, from which the album risks never quite recovering, is characterised by intensity. From the opening snippets of dialogue (the repeated “With his arms outstretched” could be interpreted as a nod to their Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven), its running time allows a gradual layering and build.

The increments of speed, volume, tone, and the addition of small details and instrumentation are almost imperceptible at times. But at others the flourish of a whirling dervish guitar fill, or a portentous pause followed by a dramatic reintroduction of the track’s main melodic motif, are marked and breathtaking.

We Drifted Like Worried Fire is from the gentler, more melodic end of the post-rock spectrum, its key melody repeated like a mantra, its use of strings emotive, lush and filmic, punctuated with rhythmic paradiddles. The two shorter tracks are the album’s darker moments: Their Helicopters Sing is a hissing, rumbling, disturbing piece, angry sawing violins seeming to attack the surrounding music.

Later, Strung Like Lights… wrings eerie ghost-like noises from its instruments, a thick and murky soup developing into what would be describable as white noise were the resulting sounds not so black. By the time it literally fades to nothing it is clear that Godspeed have once again created a challenging, intense, evocative work, worthy of their canon.

--Jude Clarke

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
After a long musical hiatus, Godspeed You! Black Emperor return with a new line-up and a surprise new album `Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!', their first record in 10 years since 2002's `Yanqui U.X.O.'

`Mladic' begins as a delicate middle eastern-tinged drone, patiently building multiple washes of soaring distortion and screeching strings. Particularly impressive were the waves and waves of clashing percussion, driving the track throughout its 20 minutes. Possibly the noisiest track Godspeed You! Black Emperor have created, it's a beautiful showpiece opener, a slow-focused visceral onslaught that leaves you breathless. `Their Helicopters Sing' brings you back down from the elation of `Mladic' to channel you into tenser, flakier transitions. Bowed strings and dissonant pulsing drones are placed at the forefront, producing an altogether very different, almost elemental experience.

`We Drift Like Worried Fire' is the other 20 minute opus, and possibly Godspeed's most ambitious track. Some plucked strings set the tone, more instruments emerge but the development is at a strolls pace. The shifting music is allowed to grow organically but you don't often feel that any sound is wasted. Ten minutes in and the first climax has elapsed, a multitude of varying melodies and rhythms follow, a harrowing and moving journey ends with an uplifting final sequence. `Strung Like Lights...' ends the album, shallow layers of drone grow into thicker slabs of muzzled noise, diminishing back into a long continuous drone. A great way to end the album, after all the stirring and emotional upheaval, things settle, you move on.

You may quibble that `Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!' only has 4 tracks, or that `Mladic' and `We Drift Like Worried Fire' aren't even new tracks. But once you press play you forget everything and just enjoy the music which is so beautifully crafted. Godspeed You! Black Emperor return with a tremendous album, its a pleasure to have them back.
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Format: Audio CD
I like Explosions in the Sky and appreciate some of the less bombastic work of Mono, but I've often wondered whether the spirit of experimental rock in the 1990's that helped give rise to what was later dubbed Post-rock, has been somewhat lost by the sort of music the Texas four piece and its Post-rock contemporaries have been making throughout the last ten years. To paraphrase a quote from Tiny Mix Tapes "Is Post-rock about stretching the possibilities of the live rock band, or delivering the emotional peaks and crescendos of the classical orchestra circa high-romanticism, with the economy of a touring punk band?" Godspeed You! Black Emperor is often seen as being one of the bands that turned Post-rock into something of an unrestrained spectacle in the late nineties. Their mixture of abstract vocal samples; lengthy movements and Slint indebted crescendo/diminuendo dynamics, basically shaped the landscape for what the genre would become in the 2000's.

If it weren't for the fact that Godspeed released several masterworks in this style before going on a ten year hiatus, they perhaps could be blamed for the lack-lustre state in which post-rock currently finds itself in. Of course it would be churlish of us to ridicule GY!BE for having such a strong influence on the bands that followed them, their amazingly apocalyptic music was far too powerful not to invite imitators. It's just a shame that nobodies been able to take that inspiration (beside Sigur Ros) and produce anything as forward thinking/genre defining as what the Canadian Octet were able to do before retiring indefinitely. When I heard GY!BE had reformed in 2010 I was veritably pleased (as you could imagine), but I didn't think they'd release any new material, at least not in what has become a terribly clichéd form anyway.
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I've loved GYBE since they had their exclamation mark at the end instead of the middle (no, me neither) and this was a real surprise, their first new album in ten years, released somewhat under the radar in October 2012. I'd heard this on a pre-release stream but that does not adequately prepare you for the CD which sounds huge. It's great to have them back. Apparently some of the tracks have been road tested under other names, so the band is well on top of it's material here. The bit on Mladic which on the streaming sounded a bit like Hawkwind here sounds more middle eastern and really massive. Surprisingly heavy. The two shorter tracks are more drone and trance like. We Drift Like Worried Fire is more like godspeed of old - classic. You can read a lot about the political import of what the band does, but this is, as always, instrumental music, which you can interpret or not; an attitude comes across which is sorely needed in a conforming music world. In doing so it is the music which rises above all else. As a rare press interview in the Guardian had it: "Do people like me just take you too seriously?" "Probably." Allelujah! indeed.
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this is storming, the opening track is immense. I had to a have a lie down half way thru. I love mogwai, sigur rus, explosions in the sky even sunn o))) this lp really throws down a musical gauntlet that I think all these great bands will struggle to pick up. it's not for the faint hearted and you won't hear it in bookshops or these new fangle coffee bars, but alone, in the dark with the headphones........................
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