Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Yanqui U.X.O.


5.0
classic

Review

by biografiend USER (10 Reviews)
April 24th, 2005 | 224 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Although the members of Godspeed have become rather popular over the last few years, no one really knows alot about them. They rarely do interviews. There are no group photos. There is no advertising. They do not like giant media corporations and superstores. Their biographies are shrouded in mystery. There are usually 9 members in the band, sometimes more.They formed in 1994. They are from Montreal. They have violins. They have guitars. They have other instruments, including french horns and clarinets. They have percussion. They have many side projects. Their name is translated from a black and white Japanese movie. And somehow they make some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

Yanqui U.X.O was released in November 2002 on Constellation Recods. According to their label site, U.X.O. is unexploded ordnance is landmines is cluster bombs. Yanqui is post-colonial imperialism is international police state is multinational corporate oligarchy. They prove their point in the album work, showing how most major corporations are connected to bomb production. (http://www.cstrecords.com/html/uxosxs.html)

This album for me is hard to describe. It is emotional. It is intense. It is passionate. It is depressing. The first 2 tracks, 09-15-00, according to the album booklet, "is Ariel Sharon surrounded by 1,000 israeli soldiers marching on Al-Haram Ash-Sharif and provoking another intifada." Basically, Sharon, heavily guarded by soldiers, walked into Al-Haram Ash-Sharif (which most Israelis call "the Temple Mount" ) to demonstrate israel's "sovereignty" over Jerusalem, which resulted in the next intifada, which has caused many palestinian civilian deaths. Oddly enough, the event didnt take place on the 15th, but 13 days later, on September 28th.

The first track starts off with a echo-y mournful violin and a sharply picked guitar. This repeating loop at the beginning is like a wave. It slowly evolves, gaining instruments faintly, increasing in volume, layering sounds, all very depressing. It decrecsendoes for a moment, and comes back in with drums and guitar, that blend into the melody at the beginning. Everything swirls and gains momentum and then stops. The wave has hit the shore and is destroying everything. The previous few seconds remind me of paper. White papers that have been picked up by the wind and are flying and swirling everywhere. The music then gets quiet, and an eerie violin comes in softly and gets louder. Drums and other instruments them come in an a flurry of sound. It is hard to distinguish all of the different instruments here. It then dissolves and clears up abit. The drums are somewhat driving everything along, and it is truly amazing and beautiful, in a depressing sort of way. Everything then drops out exept for a quiet snare drum. The guitar then comes back in, reminding you of the beginning 12 minutes ago. Everything crescendoes and returns to the flurry of noise for the remainder of the song.

The second half is the aftermath of everything on the last track. It begins quiet, with a haunting swirling noise and guitar. Violins also accompany it later. It is is pretty much repetitive, but it isnt overdone. It fits perfectly and keeps your feelings and attention on the music.

Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls begins somewhat normal, with a guitar. But as the song progresses, with zooming nioses and violin and drums, you are reminded of a rocket falling to kill innocent people. There is a point around the 6-minute mark that makes your heart race and get very anxious and unsettling, as everything eerily builds. When it dissolves, toddest feeling ever has just hit you. the rocket has struck the earth and you are in utter amazement and shocked and nervous and impassioned all at the same time. A melencholy movie chromatic scle is then played, which adds to the irony of everything. Things return to a state of normalcy after what just hit you. People are picking up the pieces; in the midst of dying. Around the 15 minute mark, things build once again; but return to the melody played at the beginning. a very haunting spacey melody then comes up and dissolves into a mournful guitar and cymbals, and dies out. The last 30 seconds is made up of quiet violins; playing a tribute of some sort that makes a nice closer for this 20 minute track.

mothe***er=redeemer begins with an almost silent violin. Then twinkly noises come in with another instrument, quietly. Drums and guitar join this. it almost sounds....happy. but things come out otherwhse with a twithching violin. things pick up quickly and build and dissolve to the same course. i get an unsettling feeling with this song as well. an underlying evil. At 7:19, the violin carries out an amazing line that just soars above everything. It is beautiful beyond belief. aftre this and some guitar work, it has a somewhat ambienced part, aside for the casual guitar. after while of this, the guitar comes in heavier, with distortion, playing chords. More ambience, soft guitar. After the violin this song just reminds me of empty. Someone is losing hope and giving up. But I also see an innocence to it. During the last minute, there are beeping sounds. It then ends quitely.

mother***er=redeemer follows up with a violin at the beginning, reminiscient of the previous song, only more desolate sounding. There is an underlying instrument to this that slooooooowly builds, picking up drums with it. A guitar then comes in over this, along with the reoccuring swirling noise. This builds, evolving somewhat into a mezmerising melody that crescendoes and falls. I have very weird feelings about this song. all of them are just jumbled up and its hard to tell what to feel. It finally builds upppppppp beautifully and dissoves into static. underneath, there are is a guitar and a violin playing. another violin comes over the static and takes over the it, with the other instruments following. It then brusts into a soft chaos, with the violin prevailing. The wind and static comes in and makes a vaccum noise. It is over. over. over. over.

After hearing this album, I am always taken aback. The emotions that I feel are indescribable. The album ends, and I feel complete. There is an underlying theme that ties this amazing piece of music together. It flows with such elegance and grace, the you dont really pay attention that two of the songs are over twenty minutes long, or that a section may be repeated numerous times, it settles and evolves like nothing else. Whether the theme it be about killing, war, or rainbows for all that matters, is up for the listener to decide. Whatever it is about, it is truly beautiful in every sense of the word in so many different ways. the end.



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user ratings (1182)
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3.9
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Ashtray Girl
April 24th 2005


108 Comments


Good stuff!

Question: What's the best Godspeed album, in everyone's opinion? I can never decide which one to get.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
April 24th 2005


2125 Comments


Nice review

Wanker
April 24th 2005


139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lovely review.

Truly an amazing album. Don't think it's 5-star material though; not the best from those guys from Montreal.

biografiend
April 24th 2005


55 Comments


Ah thank you

I have some parts of Lift your Skinny Fists.. and it is truly breathtaking. I was going to buy it awhile ago but it was around $22 :eek:. I know this isn't their best work, but as a whole album, not compared to their other works, it is great.

Dancin' Man
April 26th 2005


719 Comments


This album is great but I prefer f#a#(infinity symbol).

woofwoofwoof
May 6th 2005


156 Comments


not their best, but still good

Vamos Scorcho
May 16th 2005


12 Comments


The flies around this pig’s head symbolizes the decay of civilization. “…there was the head grinning amusedly in the strange daylight, ignoring the flies, the spilled guys, even ignoring the indignity of being spiked on a stick…” (Golding 137). This shows the transformation or decay of the children from happy people, to violent, murderous animals without rules. In Hiroshima, it is clear that the nuclear bomb is all that is evil. It shows mankind’s ability to kill thoughtlessly and the disturbing greed and laziness in handling situations. Overall the entire book can be summed up by this.

Wanker
June 18th 2005


139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh, and just to add,

I don't know if it's more disappointing than surprising how this album came out overall. On the last disk of Lift Your Skinny Fists (Sleep, Antennas To Heaven), there are these great, loose drum beats with spacy quitars over them... Yanqui reminds me of one long marching beat almost.

I really really wonder what their next album will be like (and when the heck it will come out) if GY!BE came out with this after LYSF.. something completely different I suppose.This Message Edited On 06.18.05

pixiesfanyo
June 18th 2005


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The lack of quotes and samples is kind of dissapointing.

But this is still a fantastic album.

Killtacular
June 18th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I really didn't like this one near as much as their other albums. I loved f#a#oo and Slow Riot. LYSF... was great, too, but this I just don't really care for. It's too drawn out, and not in the good way of previous works. The lack of samples is also a sort of pitfall. The music itself is far inferior to earlier stuff.

Nra4ever_17
August 17th 2005


65 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the only Godspeed You! Black Emperor album I own, or have heard. I got it yesterday, but I already love this band.

Mirror.Circuit
February 11th 2006


223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i still like this album,even if it isn't their best.

Spectrum
February 16th 2006


347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just bought this last week, and I can honestly say, it's about as close to a life-changing album experience as I've had. Perhaps it's just me, but whenever I listen to this CD, I have a film playing in my head. It's a bleak film, puncuated with brief, violent sequences of action and intensity, of faceless military marches and death counts, of slow realities creeping and expectations being thrown to the rubbish bin and nothing ever resolving. It's a film of my own devising, but I cannot stop seeing it play out in my head every time, and I just can't stop listening to this album.

At first, I will admit, I was rather disappointed by it, notably the lack of vocal samples. But after some repeated listens, it grew on me, to the point that I craved it. This album is filled with a strange beauty, and is possibly even darker than their previous works - but I find it profound, evocative, and deeply affecting. I guess I just have some extreme opinions on the album.

Very good review, sir.

masada
February 16th 2006


2733 Comments


Gush gush gush gush.

Spectrum
February 17th 2006


347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes, but it's my honest opinion on the matter. I can honestly state that this is one of the best albums that ever happened to me.

masada
June 8th 2006


2733 Comments


The first two songs are a snooze.

jameskukucka
June 27th 2006


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album. Motherfucker=redeemer is one of my favorite Godspeed songs, especially the second part. This is very different from Godspeed's earlier works, but i believe the music is equally as epic and moving.

Spectrum
October 30th 2006


347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't see the first two as a snooze, Eliminator Jr. In fact, I'm really impressed with what they managed to pull off in the first track. I'm particularly happy with the middle of the track, where they establish that really creepy riff utilizing the maj7 around the G#m - I love minor maj7 chords. Then, using that same riff and changing the rhythmic and chordal structure to create a pattern that alternates sharply and rapidly between comfort and discomfort - an interesting feat, considering the base simplicity of the work. The second track of "9-15-00" is a bit slow, though. I think it works after the intensity of the first track, but granted, it doesn't really go anywhere on its own outside of the context of the album.

bleep_bloop
January 5th 2007


37 Comments


this one is ok but my favorite of theirs is definetly f#a#oo

any14doomsday
February 7th 2007


679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

GY!BE + Steve Albini = best album they have put out yet, I like the fact that they ditched the samples they were bad or anything but now there s nothing to distract from the music.



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