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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven

4.5 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 8, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two CD sophomore release from the instrumental group from Montreal, originally released in 2000.

Canada's Godspeed You Black Emperor raise the ante on their already ambitious orchestral rock by releasing a double CD of material as their second full-length album. The group combines the drums and guitar of typical rock-band instrumentation with horns and strings to create a music built around drones and slowly evolving melodic figures. It rises and falls from delicate introductory passages to unabashed grand climaxes. Their juxtaposition of drums with violins and lush romantic tonality brings to mind Rachel's, but their compositional scale and the pounding repetitive intensity of their dynamic peaks evoke Glenn Branca's The Ascension. Although the two discs are indexed at only two 21-minute tracks each, the package includes a handy road map to the movements into which each is subdivided. The opening piece starts with five minutes of a 15-beat circular melodic pattern that is gradually embellished as the volume swells to an ecstatic roar. The release drops down to a pastoral drone that rebuilds to support an acid-etched guitar solo, which in turn yields to a unified 4/4 kraut rock pound that eventually explodes, leaving behind field recordings of public announcements mingled with wandering late-night Swell Maps piano. The other pieces use a similar set of sonic building blocks to take the listener on comparable journeys. Fans of Godspeed's previous work will be very happy, and the curious might want to hop on board as well. --Bob Bannister
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 8, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Kranky
  • ASIN: B00004ZD69
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,160 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The minimalist packaging suggests that it is a poverty-stricken indie rock band trying to be mysterious. The name evokes some kind of Nordic black metal thing. (Key words being "Emperor" and "black"). It was described to me as "epic." So I bought it, not really sure what I was going to be hearing.
No one could have described the music in a way that could have me anticipating its greatness. To me, the music of Godspeed You Black Emperor! is surreally powerful and nearly impossible to describe without resorting to trite comments. The band is a nine-piece "post-rock" group, accurately depicted by others as a rock orchestra -- the instrumentation includes violins, cello, guitars, bass, kit drums, percussion, and French horn (\m/). Entirely instrumental, GYBE!'s music is identified by its moody epics of a build-build-build-crescendo pattern. Each song on _Lift Your Skinny..._ is around 20-minutes long, consisting of individual movements that are about seven-minutes long. Movements build like the swell of the ocean, until a crest breaks in climax...then it begins anew.
It may sound repetitive, but this is not the case. Within this framework the band deploys dynamic creativity and musical worlds to spend a lifetime exploring. Ambient stretches, crying strings, booming guitar themes, astutely complex percussion, spoken word samples...the works -- all comprise this band's music. GYBE! creates some of the most compelling soundscapes I've heard from anyone. Even if a movement relies on the same melody all the way through, the nonpareil textural richness makes a seven-minute expanse seem to fade away all too quickly. There is so much to hear, but the sonic images are fleeting, as in a dream.
Each song tells a story, but only the listener can articulate it.
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Format: Audio CD
Who knew progressive rock would make a comeback. If you remember the heavy, pretentious music of Yes, Gentle Giant and King Crimson with fondness, as I do, then this is welcome news indeed. In the late 90s a number of groups from odd countries have been reviving the genre and adding their own new twists. Godspeed You Black Emperor, a variable group from 9 to 18 musicians from Montreal, is one of the most interesting of these new-prog groups.
Lift Your Skinny Wrists is a double CD, lasting about 90 minutes in total. On the disc you will find GYBE's trademarks...long droning instrumental tunes which build up to shattering climaxes and then morph into new ostinati that repeat the process. New-Prog in general uses a mixture of traditional instruments, new instrumental techniques and influences from noise-rock to create it's textures. The variety in GYBE's music doesn't come in the forms or melodies, but in this fascinating build up of complex textures and in the powerful rhythmic drumming, which helps to develop the powerful crescendos.
Each track on the disc is around 20 minutes long, forming a sort of non-stop suite. Tracks are also distinguished by the use of found sounds...the sounds of an automated voice warning shoppers at a connivance mart not to let homeless people pump their older man's recollections of the heyday of Coney Island...a new-age preacher talking about the transformation of Man into God...a backwoods folk singer. One gets the feeling that there is a story behind the recording...a program of sorts, perhaps related to GYBE's left-wing political slant. But the album can be enjoyed without any knowledge of that. This is beautiful rock...played with conviction and intensity. If you like Sigur Ros or Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor should also be your cup of tea.
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Format: Audio CD
Since its release in 2000, Godspeed You Black Emperor! has influenced many bands on the art rock scene. When the band formed years ago in Canada, as a nine piece band without any lyrics... well, lets just say Im surprised they made it this far.
The album has the illusion that you are listening to a full orchestra, instead of guitars, basses, pianos, etc. The band has amazing talent, and if you aren't afraid of some odd music for just easy listening, then I think this is a wonderful album.
As 20 minutes go by, you still have the sense that you just listened to about 5 songs, not just one, which is what makes this band so unique. They have the ability to take up so much time, and still have the songs not seem monotonous, which is something which hasnt been achieved since the days of full symphonies that WERE pop music.
This is one of my favorite albums to sit and listen to, especially when I'm reading. You dont get distracted by any lyrics that you have the urge to sing along to, and somehow it is softly comforting.
Comprised of two disks, the first disk to me is beautiful and seems more sculptural. The second disk is more violent, more tomultuous, sadder.
This is a WONDERFUL album, and I strongly recommend it to those fans of art rock or modern classical (oxymoron?) If you prefer something with vocals (okay, so maybe this does have some guy talking about Coney Island and then some little kids singing in French, but im not sure those are "vocals") then I suggest a band like Sigur Ros, who has the same eerie type of landscapes. Rockier, go with Mogwai.
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