Godspeed You! Black Emperor has rapidly become my favourite band of all time over these last few months. They are a Canadian post rock collective formed in 1994. This is their only EP, "Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada", released in 1999. They've always been a very political band, although their music features no lyrics. Much of what can be interpreted from their music comes from field recordings and voice samples from other media.
The packaging of Slow Riot is very interesting. The band is not referenced anywhere other than the liner notes. The cover features Hebrew text meaning "formless and empty", and the back contains Italian instructions on how to make a Molotov c***tail.
Inside the cover, Jer 4:23–27 is written in Hebrew and English.
Slow Riot has two tracks, Moya and Blaise Baily Finnegan III (BBF3). Moya is an instrumental which works mostly to set the "musical context", I guess, for BBF3. It starts with a deep drone, slowly adding more instruments on top of it, and then drops intensity. It rebuilds, and loses it again. The final quarter has it build into somewhat of a march, a call to action, before losing it's power once again as the album transitions into BBF3. Without Moya, BBF3 would lose a lot of its impact.
BBF3 features an interview with a man called Blaise Bailey Finnegan. The interviews have slow and quiet music played over them, weaved in with moments that builds into powerful crescendos with intense violins, and drop as Blaise Bailey begins to speak again. The ramblings of this character mostly have to do with his opinions of America and his problems with the police, government, and judicial system.
"America is a third world country, and people don't recognise it... and I think that that's pretty god damn sad, that they don't recognise their own country as a third world, third rate, third class slum"
The end of the interview features Blaise Bailey reciting a poem which he says he wrote, but is mostly lyrics from the Iron Maiden song "Virus".
After this, another violin crescendo rises, far greater than anything else presented in the album, and to me represents a great deal of agitation, especially given where in the track it is placed. The violin soon drops, and a heavy drum rhythm is played along with a heavily distorted guitar, before introducing the violin again, continuing to build intensity more and more and feeling more and more angry.
The sound once again drops to being slow and hopeless, as BBF3 began.
I obviously can't do this justice writing. The album is far too great to put into words, nor would I have the skill to do so anyways (I'm not a reviewer). But, the only reason I've bothered writing this much is because I want everyone else to listen to it and the rest of GY!BEs discography because they are absolutely amazing.
listen to Slow Riot for Zero Kanada thx