Godspeed You! Black Emperor
F#A# (Infinity)


1.5
very poor

Review

by Zettel USER (35 Reviews)
May 21st, 2010 | 308 replies | 16,771 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So, are you considering listening to this?

30 of 46 thought this review was well written

You have been waiting for almost two hours. It is getting dark and cold, but she still does not arrive. The train station is getting loner, and there is this annoying, almost disturbing silence. She could give you a call if something was wrong, but she is always like this. You have to wait. Every time you hear a distant sound of a train approaching, you are completely sure it must be her. Of course, after six times you start getting angry. Then you are sad. Then hope arises. Sometimes you question your relationship. For moments, you even get deeper and question your very life. In the end, you simply abandon yourself to whatever thoughts and feelings you may have, under the desperate conviction that it all be worth it. You kid yourself, but, what more can you do? Is leaving an option? What is time? True happiness is in the anticipation.
.

.

Godspeed is not going to follow the rules. There is nothing obvious on F#A#oo; if you listen to it, you are warned: it is not a nice journey. Godspeed You! Black Emperor is not really a rock band, but they would like you to think so; it helps you to cross the bridge and enter their acid, opaque world. It is instantly clear they are comfortable defying conceptions, challenging you and breaking your patience into pieces. Despite its bleakness, their music is a constant promise of something great and beautiful to come. Of course, they are not going to deliver it in the expected way, what would be the point in that? Instead, they choose the most tortuous, long and unusual paths to get there. You are confused from the very beginning; unfortunately, you are also intrigued. Something like this must have a marvelous, stunning conclusion; therefore, you continue.

F#A#oo features these soundscapes thin and fragile like a hair, where balance is sustained and variety is achieved by adding a few more layers every now and then, changing or alternating them, using different instruments to produce the different tones and vibes. This proceeding is convenient because a sharp, worked contrast is essential to their purpose: that sudden burst of energy, that operatic conclusion, that sense-providing key event known as the climax. Everything on the album exists for, and only for, the climax. During several minutes you hear almost nothing; the tension and expectation rise; the rarified air is unnerving and there is no light, you can only but wait; finally, there is a small sign of resolution, a direction and a conclusion glaring on the horizon...or at least you thought so. Godspeed quickly changes the venue and start all over in a similar vein.

Astonishingly, what it is missing is precisely that conclusion. Sections or “movements” succeed each other, without achieving anything concrete. The music always is always transitory, pointing to the future, to the next moment; it does not have a present. Instead of making time disappear, it makes it more apparent. The long instrumentals, if at times suggesting, are excruciating as they are devoid of sense, deriving in music that is desolate like the atmosphere it aims to evoke. Vocals samples, subtle guitars, horns, cellos, violins, percussion, keyboards, all of this huge arsenal is merely used to color the diffused and amorphous picture that F#A#oo turns out. All is overdramatic; the weirdness is used for theatrical effects, impact is favored over substance; it asks too much from the listeners without giving them anything in return. But with a little imagination, you can make up for it. You can talk about the imaginary it creates, how the masterful soundscapes bring up forgotten memories and reveal hidden feelings; how many subtleties and intricacies can be found; how it never gets old. Or you can talk on how masterfully it depicts the apocalypse; it all works. The music is so undefined and void that is open to any kind of interpretation. But, once you have heard the whole thing, there is no reason in listening to it again. The road is harsh, the destination, disappointing. There is no secret to be found, no mystery revealed, no self-realization.

Complexity here substitutes content, long passages simulate profoundness and originality tries to equal craftsmanship. Clever and unique on the surface, underneath its grave appearance it is all vain and empty. And perhaps this is the secret of its critical success. The album is weird, obscure, ambiguous, difficult and cutting edge enough to pass a tasteful, skillful and even mature work. If you do not like it, it is because you do not get it. Its greatest virtue is to serve as a stepping stone, as a reminder that you can always find new turns and be more ambitious: a lot of bands successfully draw inspiration from it. And yet, sadly, it must be said: F#A#oo inspires more than it achieves.


1.7/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2010



10240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bold

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Yotimi
May 21st 2010



6436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is my newest 5.

SeaAnemone
May 21st 2010



19677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

holy shit. can't wait to read this ; )

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Nagrarok
May 21st 2010



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Review is one single argument, but still I must admit that argument is valid.

AnotherBrick
May 21st 2010



9770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so you just don't "get it"?

SeaAnemone
May 21st 2010



19677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well, it's not overtly badly written... but your analysis can basically be summed up in one sentence- "Everything on the album exists for, and only for, the climax. [and it doesn't come]" which I think is a very twisted view on the album. How did you not feel chills when you heard the bells concluding "Dead Flag Blues"? And honestly, I feel like this is the single most substantial piece of music I own. It's weighty, it's full, sometimes to an overbearing point on the album. Anyway, no neg, as the writing isn't particularly bad, but now that I think about it your analyzation is pretty skewed.

alachlahol
May 21st 2010



7471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i also exist only for the climax

Nagrarok
May 21st 2010



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

A climax is no climax without build-up.

Skimaskcheck
May 21st 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

not too badly written, but can you say attention seeking...

Titan50
May 21st 2010



4588 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't get this review

AnotherBrick
May 21st 2010



9770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

attention seeking or not, these are the reviews that i like to read. i get bored reading the same classic review over and over

Foxhound
May 21st 2010



4570 Comments


true, album isn't bad though.

alachlahol
May 21st 2010



7471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[IMG]http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/5071/climax.jpg[/IMG]

Zettel
May 21st 2010



582 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

SeaAnemone:

Thanks for your input. This album does not make me feel anything, aside from a aesthetical pleasure at parts. On the other hand, I do not get how can you find this piece of music "full".

Foxhound
May 21st 2010



4570 Comments


it's hard to see this as a 1.5 though. This is as bad as Aiden, Brokencyde ect? a 2, at least.

Roach
May 21st 2010



2149 Comments


idiot review

Roach
May 21st 2010



2149 Comments


not even gonna read it

Wizard
May 21st 2010



19206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You should write a 1.5 review for every other Godspeed album except this one. This is the one and only album I like by these guys.

Digging: Merzbow - Dust of Dreams

ffs
May 21st 2010



4807 Comments


pretty good review tbh, i can see where you're coming from. i dont think you justify a 1.5 though

SeaAnemone
May 21st 2010



19677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Zettel:

interesting... how many times have you heard it? many? personally, when I listen to this, it's engrossing. I'm not waiting for a climax or waiting for things to get exciting like I have to do with lesser post-rock, but rather the entire thing is an experience that builds upon itself-- darker at some times, hopeful at times, but altogether incredibly heavy and engrossing, like as corny as it sounds- listeneing to this album really puts me in an entirely different world, an experience that very few albums have ever given me, and none nearly as consistently as this. on top of that, that's simply the aesthetic appreciation I feel for this... I feel like there's also more of an objective value that this is simply superb music, on top of that.

hasty response there, hope it makes sense



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