Godspeed You! Black Emperor has toured extensively over the past few months. Hardly anyone expected to see them again. I mean, you give up releasing albums or touring for about eight to nine years. That’s a long time particularly in the rapidly moving music world. A few years are an extremely long time in the music scene. Eight to nine years could be considered a lifetime. People change a lot, tastes change.
Certainly their music contributes to this feeling of epic-ness, of something bigger and better than normal. Most bands take a few minutes pure song. GYBE had no problem letting a whole song take up twenty to thirty minutes. It gets hard not to personalize how much this group meant to me. Once they went on hiatus I felt alone. Sometimes after a particularly hard time I’d put them on and feel a little less overwhelmed by my situation. Things looked up when I felt the music soar. When you listen to so many musicians working together for a genuine love of music it is inspiring. I doubt GYBE were ever conceived as a money-making enterprise. Moving around the ensemble alone must have been a ‘break-even’ situation, never mind the fact they were ‘taper friendly’ and encouraged the audience to record the concerts. Upon going to the concert with a few friends they remarked how difficult it must be to tour in such a massive group, logistically speaking.
We hear great news from the otherwise shadowy collective, from Bruce Cawdon specifically (I know, it is weird they have names). All the shows they have been doing were for a greater purpose. Members from the collective will be working on a new album after the end of the tours. That rewards the faith (or hope as GYBE would put it) of those who continued to listen to the band during the prolonged hiatus. Finally they have decided to rise again from the ashes and release music once more for their devoted.
I can’t express how happy I am at this news. Whether or not what GYBE does is considered popular is totally irrelevant to me. GYBE doesn’t mind that Post-Rock or whatever people pigeon-holed it is no longer popular. For them popularity was never an issue nor will it be. Probably the opposite is true: when they began their hiatus in 2002, they noticed the proliferation of countless copycats. They moved on to other greener pastures as the genre tired itself out and exhausted, died an inglorious death.
There is nothing in the concerts to suggest what direction their music will be headed. For most of the concerts, they have stuck with their album material. If they do decide to something new, it will be completely unexpected. Perhaps they may be louder or quieter. We don’t know. All I know is I’m glad to see them return after such a long time away. Slow music is making a comeback.