Godspeed You Black Emperor! | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Godspeed You Black Emperor! 

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GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR!

This large, amorphous Montreal ensemble has generated quite a buzz, considering that no one really even knows who's in it--the credits on its new EP, Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada, list ten members "this time," all by first name only. Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s equally enigmatic 1998 album, F#A#° (Kranky), is a long hallucinatory nocturnal road trip from one headphone to the other, built on apocalyptic mutterings, faint chimes and barely audible horns, ghostly guitars, strings that mass like thunderheads, pounding drums, and moments of ominous, thrumming silence. The live shows the group played to support that record over the last year have inspired more purple prose in zines and on Internet mailing lists than anything since Allen Ginsberg's death, and though there have been mild murmurings of discontent at the Emperor's melodramatic tendencies--imagine the Dirty Three if they were the Dirty Ten--that seems a petty gripe: what did you come for if not to be swept away? Labradford opens. Thursday, September 16, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. MONICA KENDRICK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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