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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven Double CD
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Two CD sophomore release from the instrumental group from Montreal, originally released in 2000.
With no vocals (the closest they get is spoken word samples) God Speed You Black Emperor let the music speak for itself. The two CDs which make up Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven divide into four compositions (each about 20 minutes long) that see a continuation of GSYBE's orchestral exploration of space rock, utilising instruments such as violins, cellos and French horns along with the rock standard guitars. These are used to create richly woven and layered music which rises into dramatic crescendos and--when combined with subtle percussion and feedback--falls back into ambient soundscapes. This enables God Speed You Black Emperor's music to have a narrative, cinematic feel as it moves between intense emotions like anxiety, loneliness and anger, often within a single track. For some this is a weakness in Lift Your Skinny Fists..., making it more fragmented than Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada--it is clear GSYBE are trying to say something, its just not clear what. For others however, this is their beauty. --Caroline Butler
Top Customer Reviews
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...
`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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The album's quality is simply amazing. From the moment you open it and hold all the materials and illustrations, until you listen to it and enjoy GYBE melodic dreams. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Heard them first played by the great/late John Peel (like many in the UK). Operatic in scope, fiercely (sometimes annoyingly) conceptual but never less than an all-round... Read morePublished 5 months ago by SimonHague
The band who defy category.
They just fill your room and head with stunning sounds.
A must for music lovers from the psychedelic 60's, to those who find today's... Read more
Bought to replace older formats of the same album in my collection - it was always going to get 5 stars!!Published 9 months ago by The Pantsman
Beautiful music. Sounds even better on vinyl. Don't think they'll ever surpass this.Published 15 months ago by Mossy Egan
absolutely amazing album
one of those few albums you can just sit down and listen to, nothing els needed, no book, no game, no computer open, just you and... Read more
This was bought for my son's Christmas. He was delighted with itPublished 19 months ago by Happy shopper
Little to be said. This is an album that has to reach everyones ears for the good of humanity. It is a story, cinematic with intricate crescendos and plateaus and tells a unique... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Nick