Montréal's enigmatic and pioneering post-rockers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, led by guitarist Efrim Manuel Menuck, rose to prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000s with a series of seminal releases on Kranky and Constellation, including 2000's ecstatic double LP Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven! That influential record is often critically hailed as one of the most innovative and emulated of past two decades, thanks to its gorgeous dynamic range, and moody, moving interplay of field recordings and electric guitar ambiance. "Sleep," and in truth, the entire record, is the exemplary sound of the rock band composing as a symphony orchestra, with the intent of evoking the cinematic experience purely through transcendent audio landscapes.
After an unexpected hiatus in mid-late aughts, Godspeed returned in 2012 with another exclamatory, satiating holdover, 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! Since then, the band has written new material sans spoken word passages for two more modestly paced records, like the ambient-leaning Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress (2015) and last year's Luciferian Towers. Its opener, "Undoing a Luciferian Towers," may not seek to upturn the formula the band established so prominently 20 years ago, but it feels bolder and more immediate in its droning tremolos, hypnotic bass pulse, and intense but graceful crescendo shaped by the embellishment of guests Craig Pederson (trumpet) and Bonnie Kane (saxophone, flute) in the latter half.
At this sold-out show with opening drone act KGD (Kevin Doria of Growing), expect the band to use apocalyptic poetry through video projection, steadily thunderous volume, and perhaps a few instrumental segues from Efrim's newly released solo record, Pissing Stars. —Grant Phipps