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Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor (who frequently move the exclamation mark to different places, and are also sometimes known as Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Godspeed! You Black Emperor) are a Canadian group based in Montreal, Quebec. Generally GY!BE are classified as post rock, although they might also be seen as having influences from other musical forms as diverse as progressive rock, punk and the avant garde.

The band formed around 1994 with three members, but its lineup has changed many times over the intervening years. The group have had as many as fifteen members at one time, but have tended to settle down to a group of nine. The instruments played vary with the lineup, but typically include multiple electric guitars and electric basses, drums, one or two string instruments and occasionally a French horn.

The band have in the past been reluctant to go in for the traditional self-publicising interviews, and have openly expressed their distaste for the mainstream, corporation-owned music industry. This has left them as somewhat shadowy figures, and not a great deal is generally known about the individual members. They did, however, become considerably more widely known after appearing on the cover of the NME in 1999.

The member who liases with the press the most is Efrim Menuck, and for this reason he is sometimes presented as a front-man. However, he has strongly repudiated this characterisation.

Members of the group have formed a number of side projects, the best known of which are probably A Silver Mt. Zion[?], Fly Pan Am[?] and Set Fire to Flames[?]. The band recently provided the soundtrack to the UK film 28 Days Later.

Discography

  • All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling (cassette only, limited to 33 copies; 1994)
  • f#a#∞ (LP, initially with various inserts including a train-flattened penny; 1997)
  • f#a#∞ (CD, with different recordings/arrangements to the LP, 1998)
  • "Sunshine + Gasoline" (track on split 7" single with Fly Pan-Am; given away free with Amazezine magazine; 1998)
  • Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada (EP; 1999)
  • Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000), aka Levez Vos Skinny Fists Comme Antennas to Heaven
  • Yanqui u.x.o. (2002)

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