F#A#∞ - Godspeed You! Black Emperor
This album is the closest musical equivalent of a thriller movie that I have ever heard. Like a blunt object, once beaten over the head repeatedly with action causes film to lose its effect, its excitement. Where both this album and the thriller genre succeed is in subduing outrageous, realizing that a quick jab of the knife will create much more of an impression than constant explosions. Especially when these stabbings of excitement emerge at times unknown to the audience. The element of surprise is even furthered in this album with it’s creation of a false calm. This album has a lulling ability to calm one’s pace to a sluggish march. And yet I noticed my step quickening as the middle of “East Hastings” picked up tempo. It caught me so off guard and filled me with a daze of paranoia causing me to run in the vain attempt to keep up with it’s explosive velocity. Of course this rush of activity bursts into another hush, giving the time to account one’s bruises in a way an action film couldn’t. With these bleak, desolate calms matched with the occasional horrific storm, this album reminded me of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. It truly accomplishes its goal of illustrating an apocalypse of American culture. One aspect of this album which really interested me was that with all of its ebb and flow, it’s difficult to differentiate between what is apocalypse and what is post-apocalyptic. It made me think of how our American culture and its ideals can fade away, and yet we leave the husk of it around because we are unsure if it is fully dead or not. It is always unknown if the Western-influenced instrumentation and melodies are to return. This is an extremely powerful album which is great for walking in an unpopulated night. It is a rare example of an album which is as enjoyable to hear as it is to analyze.