The inspiration for the blog name itself came from recent album ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!‘, which was released by the Canadian post-rock band ‘Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘ a few months ago. The band, originally hailing from Montreal, Quebec, have been playing as GY!BE since 1994 and have released 5 albums thus far. Known for their long tracks, inclusion of spoken passages taken from old tapes into their music, and for playing film loops during their live shows, GY!BE have become a staple of my weekly CD rotation of music. Independence, and being able to play what they want to play, has long been a strong motivator throughout the bands history, and as such they have always released albums via the Montreal based independent record label ‘Constellation’. The band themselves work to, and maintain, a strong work ethos of independence within the largely conglomeritised music business, and help to produce local and international acts. Letting fans actively record their gigs is heavily encouraged by the 8 person band.
If you are a big fan of singing, it may be wise to give this band a miss. Content to rely on their instruments to invoke emotions and convey feeling, GY!BE engage with modern day politics in the world at large by highlighting contentious issues in their album artwork and live performances. Never one to blow their own trumpet, they rarely advertise releases or upcoming tours, yet have attracted and maintained a dedicated fan base. Although they rarely give interviews an insight into both the dynamic and the passion of the band can be gleaned from this Guardian email interview, conducted in October 2012, ahead of the ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ release date.
I have mentioned this band in past entries, and doubtless I will mention them again. They remain a strong source of inspiration for achieving success in a way they wanted to achieve, and remain dedicated musicians. As individuals they have also became embedded with their local music scene, pursuing involvements in other bands or helping to produce new artists. This is something that I believe is key to helping maintain key connections and shared musical experiences. If you have time, I heartily recommend a listen to Goodspeed You! Black Emperor.