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Godspeed You Black Emperor!: Slow Riot For Zero Kanada EP


Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Album: Slow Riot For Zero Kanada EP
Label: Kranky

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EPs recorded between studio albums are often little more than filler-bespattered singles conceived to dupe collectors and completists into acquiring an act's every needless remix and outtake. But that doesn't mean Slow Riot For Zero Kanada, a two-song set by the Montreal band Godspeed You Black Emperor!, isn't remarkably essential. With guitars, drums, and an assortment of strings, the instrumental group's nine members build the 11-minute "Moya" and 17-minute "Blaise Bailey Finnegan II" into diverse, shape-shifting, mood-swinging epics. Opening with creeping, beautiful strings, "Moya" slowly dissipates into languid quietude before swelling into a full-blown orchestral arrangement—albeit one with loud electric guitars—that recalls a more refined variation on Dirty Three's cataclysmic instrumental explosions. The song eventually bleeds seamlessly into "Blaise Bailey Finnegan II," which at first seems like a bit of a throwaway: Behind a dissonant soundtrack of guitars and strings, a paranoid, anti-government conspiracy theorist rants, tells stories, talks about his guns, and reads a scary poem. The music feels secondary, even perfunctory, until about 12 minutes in, when GYBE! takes over and delivers the apocalypse the narrator suggests is coming. It may be a low-priced EP, but Slow Riot For Zero Kanada delivers more intensely beautiful moments than you'll find just about anywhere else for twice the price. (Kranky, P.O. Box 578743, Chicago, IL 60657)