Album 0417: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A#∞

godspeed-you-black-emperor-f-sharp-a-sharp-infinity-1997

Release Date: 1997
Genre: Post Rock

Tracklisting:

1. The Dead Flag Blues

    I. The Dead Flag Blues (Intro)
    II. Slow Moving Trains
    III. The Cowboy…
    IV. The Dead Flag Blues (Outro) (16:28)

2. East Hastings
    I. …Nothing’s Alrite In Our Life…/The Dead Flag Blues (Reprise)
    II. The Sad Mafioso…
    III. Drugs In Tokyo
    IV. Black Helicopter (17:58)

3. Providence
    I. Divorce & Fever…
    II. Dead Metheny…
    III. Kicking Horse On Brokenhill
    IV. String Loop Manufactured During Downpour…
    V. Untitled
    VI. J.L.H. Outro (29:02)

Total Length: 01:03:28

The Dead Flag Blues is one of three large pieces that comprise the album. The Intro portion itself takes up the first third of this monstrous track, with a voice describing a somewhat apocalyptic scenario, and depressive music builds up. The atmosphere that forms here is quite good. Slow Moving Trains begins, appropriately, with sounds of a train. It’s kind of useless to me though. It could have been chopped into a fraction of what it is, or altogether and it wouldn’t have lessened the impact of the whole. The Cowboy… sounds more like a soundtrack to a cowboy film, or something similar. It’s kind of uplifting. The Outro is beautiful though, it’s probably the most upbeat piece of music on this whole album, I just really enjoy the feeling it gives me, it strikes a certain kind of nostalgia.

East Hastings isn’t much longer overall, but even more dense than the first track. …Nothing’s Alrite In Our Life…/The Dead Flag Blues (Reprise) is a pretty short opener despite the length of its title, and it’s pretty creepy with the bagpipes surmising the reprise part, while the creepy sample takes up the other. The Sad Mafioso… is the single longest section on the album, and I very much enjoy it. It is basically what I love about the band, the odd choices and the emotional buildups to amazing climaxes. It’s great. Drugs In Tokyo was originally in the previous song on the vinyl version, which is kind of a neat tidbit. The section is pretty nice, and feels bleak. There are strange noises swirling around and it just adds more strangeness to the whole deal. Black Helicopter is kind of an annoyance though, with sounds of bugs buzzing that don’t sound very pleasant.

Providence is the monster on here though, being nearly twice the length of either of the previous tracks, sort of. Divorce & Fever… is a decent enough beginning, with a sample that’s not their best pick and some okay backing music. Dead Metheny… is pretty cool, being of the same quality of the large section pointed out in the previous track. Kicking Horse On Brokenhill transitions fine, I really like the creepy phasing and delay on what seems to be a recording of possibly Amazing Grace? Then there’s a march like section that builds and is cool. String Loop Manufactured During Downpour… begins (I believe) with a sample from a musical repeated in that same manner as the other, and it’s still just as cool and creepy. The rest is kind of a big long loop, which actually did loop on the vinyl. Here is just kind of ends. Untitled is just that for a reason, it’s many minutes of silence. The music doesn’t start up again until nearly the 25 minute mark, signaling the J.L.H. Outro section. This closes the album in more of a rock way than anything else on here. It’s fairly nice, but not really fulfilling after sitting through a bunch of silence. I really enjoy some bits of this album, but they hadn’t really nailed their style yet for me. It could have been cut down some and I’d be fine with it, so maybe I should check out the vinyl version.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

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