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


5.0
classic

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
March 6th, 2011 | 89 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is my apocalypse.

It went like this:

The buildings tumbled in on themselves
Mothers clutching babies
Picked through the rubble
And pulled out their hair

The skyline was beautiful on fire
All twisted metal stretching upwards
Everything washed in a thin orange haze

I said, "Kiss me, you're beautiful -
These are truly the last days"

You grabbed my hand
And we fell into it
Like a daydream
Or a fever

The eradication of a species intelligent enough to be cognizant of its own demise would likely lead to paranoia, disorder, and panic far more widespread than we have ever witnessed. Our minds lack the capacity to fathom our own end, and therefore we replace that understanding with overwrought emotional extremes such as terror, denial, and despondency. This fact about the human psyche has led us to believe that the end of the world will be hell on Earth. But the simple truth is that nobody really knows. The scenario above is just one interpretation…others may cite the apocalypse as a beautiful thing, a chance to witness the final chapter in the book of life. Or maybe the end of the world will happen too fast for us to exhibit any kind of sustained reaction to the events occurring; perhaps there will just be nothing. No matter where your stance on the issue lies, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s F#A#∞ can provide the ideal musical backdrop to the experience in your mind.

The reason F#A#∞ can cover such a vast ideological scope is because it is perfect. No need to adjust your monitor, and yes, your glasses are on correctly as well. Perfection exists in music, in the form of post-rock’s finest record and the greatest apocalypse-themed album ever recorded. F#A#∞ does not achieve faultlessness so much as it defines it; there is not one thing about the album that could have been added, removed, or altered to make it a better version of what it symbolizes. What exactly does it represent…annihilation? Freedom? Both? With Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s approach on this album, both of these ideas are embodied in full. Annihilation is present in the ever-tangible apocalyptic atmosphere, as death looms around the corner of every acoustic strum, downtrodden drum beat, and swelling string. Freedom exists double fold, both in the liberation associated with death as well as within the articulate, almost entirely instrumental expression of F#A#∞. Using words to set a premise for the album only, the majority of the record is music in its most liberated state, without any vocals or lyrics to bog it down. As a result, F#A#∞ possesses the rare ability to transcend any one way of thinking, while still holding its overriding concept together with flawless, structured cohesion.

This is also one of the most complete albums you will ever experience. It is necessary to listen to F#A#∞ in its entirety, as every moment on this album depends on what came before it as well as what comes after. There is no understanding just how magnificent the climax of ‘East Hastings’ really is without hearing the slow, eleven-minute buildup that precedes it. From the rambling preacher who implores his bystanders to seek Christ overtop of a bagpipe serenade to the dramatic orchestral buildup, the song is a perfect example of how every little detail on the album is related. The same goes for the other two songs comprising the album. ‘Dead Flag Blues’ sets the stage with apocalyptic poetry and the sound of a distant train before transitioning into a bluesy, acoustic atmosphere and ‘Providence’ features multiple valleys and climaxes over an eighteen minute duration that not once feels dull or recycled. F#A#∞ is constantly evolving within itself, ever-changing and always on the prowl towards another ominous cloud that looms on the horizon.

In its never-ending pursuit, F#A#∞ explores the apocalypse but (perceivably) never reaches a resolution. This speaks volumes about the album’s ability to remain interpretable on so many levels, from personal beliefs about the end of the world to the cyclic nature of life and death. It does everything that a post-rock record should do, and it is likely the most essential thing ever recorded within the genre. There is little more that can be said about the debut album from one of post-rock’s most revered bands. Those of you who have already grown to love this album may find that this review simply reciprocated your current opinions; but for those of you who have heard great things about F#A#∞ and still haven’t explored it yourself, it is time to be overcome by this massive record’s finality and slip into it, like a daydream or a fever.

The sun is blotted out by endless clouds of smoke and an unbreathable haze. Mothers weep and fathers curse themselves for not preventing this. Sirens wail in the distance as crowds of people raid stores and houses; desperately seeking to stockpile what they need in an era where currency is no longer relevant. There is no government, only chaos. Plagues and natural disasters have sickened society, with the foul stench of death littering the streets of every once proud nation. Wretched hopelessness grips the world as it plummets into another dark age; only this time, we are all too certain that there will be no coming back...

This is my apocalypse. Listen to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s F#A#∞ to discover yours.



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user ratings (2594)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2011


15053 Comments


last sentence yours*

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2011


23911 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fantastic review, nearly as good as the album (that's a huge compliment, Mr. Sowing)

The reason F#A#∞ can cover such a vast ideological scope is because it is perfect


So true. LYSF is better, but they're both 100/100

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

erasedcitizen
March 6th 2011


716 Comments


/wrists

eternium
March 6th 2011


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Someone is coming rather close to 100 reviews.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2011


16571 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Nearing 100 reviews, figured I might review some classics as I gear up towards the big one-zero-zero.

I hope I did this album justice. I think i geared it more towards people who still haven't heard this (which i feel is the point of a review anyway). I kind of focused on intriguing people just as much as I did describing the music, which even when I did do it was kind of in an abstract, philosophical way.

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

eternium
March 6th 2011


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You did it justice, sir.

Rev
March 6th 2011


9438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm glad it wasn't as damn long as Chan's haha

Great review man

TheArkitecht
March 6th 2011


1673 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

awesome review, sums up perfectly how I feel about this album. Took me a long time to truly appreciate it but once it clicked, it changed my perceptions of music all together.

Yotimi
March 6th 2011


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love the hyperbole in the second paragraph, because I agree

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2011


16571 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys. Chan's review of this pretty much summed up how I felt, but I don't know. Felt like doing something for F#A# for a while so i finally did.

North0House2
March 6th 2011


5878 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bueno review.
I love this album, Providence is the way to go.
It's so much eerier than LYSF, but I agree with some other posts on here, LYSF is better... Not that this is below perfection or anything.

Digging: Ef - Ceremonies

Fugue
March 6th 2011


7353 Comments


Lots of big words, review must be good.

Fugue
March 6th 2011


7353 Comments


Edit: Read it properly and the review is good. Basically sums up my exact views of the album better than I could possibly express them. Obviously pos'd.

ffs
March 6th 2011


4880 Comments


dludes this album is freaking SWEEt

ConsiderPhlebas
March 6th 2011


6157 Comments


Review is a little rich for my tastes, but interesting

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2011


16571 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Too rich as in too dramatic? Or what

Also mutatedfreek, looking back I realized I used a bunch of huge words which is weird because I wasn't even thinking about it as I typed it. Glad you still liked it though

MO
March 6th 2011


18891 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

solid reveiw, this album is tits, just one thing if not mentioned:

"into an a bluesy"

me thinks its obvious good sir

Fugue
March 6th 2011


7353 Comments


No sweat Sowing, I always thought you to be a mix of Waior and Davey anyhow ;-).

FadeToBlack
March 6th 2011


11034 Comments


SUFFUGH ONTO MA APOCALYPSE-AH

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2011


16571 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

thanks for the edit metallicopeth

@mutatedfreek: Waior and Davey? Sounds like the perfect user.



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