Archive for September, 2013

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Win 2013 Polaris Music Prize

Posted on: September 27th, 2013 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By James Sandham

So the big news in indie music this week was that Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GY!BE) won the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Although there was some controversy around GY!BE’s response to winning, it all ended well: a great Canadian band was awarded for its art and, thanks to the band’s donation of their winnings, some prisoners will have access to musical instruments. Leaving controversy behind for a second and focusing back on great music, here’s a little retrospective of GY!BE’s work over the years.

The song below comes from GY!BE’s first album, F A (pronounced “F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity”), which was released back in 1997 on Constellation Records and then again in 1998 on Kranky as an expanded edition. The song is typical of this release: devoid of traditional lyrics, mainly instrumental and incorporating a wide variety of sampled, ambient sounds. It’s almost cinematic in its scope – due, perhaps, to the opening words, which come from an unfinished screenplay by guitarist/keyboardist Efrim Menuck.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “The Dead Flag Blues”


Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada is a two-track EP that was released by the band in 1999. It contains the songs “Moya,” which is a reference to band member Mike Moya, and “BBF3,” which refers to Blaise Bailey Finnegan III, an interviewee on the once-popular American radio show “Vox Pop,” whose ramblings comprise the core of the song.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada”


The selection below comes from the band’s second release, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (also known as Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! and Levez Vos Skinny Fists Comme Antennas to Heaven), which was released in 2000. The release was a double album and “Sleep” is the first movement from the second disc. It includes the three songs “Murray Ostril: ‘… They Don’t Sleep Anymore on the Beach…’,” “Monheim” and “Broken Windows, Locks of Love Pt. III.” Q Magazine named it one of the “50 Heaviest Albums of All Time.”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Sleep”


“Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls” is the third of five tracks that comprised GY!BE’s third studio release, 2002’s Yanqui U.X.O. It was their first album recorded outside of Canada – in Chicago, to be precise, at Electrical Audio – and it took a turn from their usual interwoven field recordings and specifically named movements for a sound the band described as “just raw, angry, dissonant, epic instrumental rock.” It was shortly after the release of this album that the band announced an indefinite hiatus to pursue their individual musical interests. The album’s name means Yankee (in Spanish “Yanqui”) Unexploded Ordinance (“U.X.O.”).

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls”


After a decade of silence, GY!BE returned with ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, which was released in 2012. At the time it was heralded as a comeback for the collective and it ultimately went on to win them the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. The 20-minute track below is the oeuvre’s opening number. So sit back and enjoy.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

This Week in Music History: September 23 to 29

Posted on: September 24th, 2013 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By Adam Bunch


It was on Sunday, September 25, 1932, that Glenn Gould was born in his parents’ house in Toronto. The young genius grew up in the Beaches, just a few blocks from the shore of Lake Ontario, and even as an infant he showed musical promise.

It was no coincidence: his parents were both musicians who made a concerted effort to expose their son to music as early as possible, even in the womb. They say that, as an infant, Gould wouldn’t cry – he would hum. He would also waggle his fingers as if he was playing the piano. He had perfect pitch and could read music before he could read writing. By the time Gould was six years old, he was playing one of his own compositions at the local Presbyterian church. By the time he was 10, he was studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. By the time he was 12, he had graduated with the highest marks of any candidate and reached “professional standing as a pianist.”

It was, of course, only the beginning. The Canadian phenom would become one of the most famous and celebrated classical musicians of the 20th century. His interpretations of Bach were particularly acclaimed, including his famous Goldberg Variations. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1983, a year after he passed away. If he were still alive today, Glenn Gould would be celebrating his 81st birthday.



During this week in 2002, 80 bands were playing in 40 different venues around Montreal. It was the first-ever POP Montreal International Music Festival. Right off the bat the organizers pulled together an impressive lineup. Broken Social Scene, Stars, The Dears, Constantines, Blonde Redhead, Julie Doiron and Martha Wainwright were all among the acts to play that inaugural edition. Since then, the festival has attracted some of the biggest names in Canadian music – Arcade Fire, Holy Fuck, Grimes – along with international giants like Beck, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Interpol and Franz Ferdinand. They’ve even been known to feature a Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee or two: Buffy Sainte-Marie was one of the highlights in 2009.

This year, POP Montreal is being held from September 25 to 29. More than 600 bands will play to more than 50,000 people. Big names on offer include Kid Koala, Plants and Animals, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning. But if you’re looking for a new discovery, the festival lineup is also full of lesser known hidden gems and up-and-coming Canadian talent. Weaves, Pow Wows, Mozart’s Sister and Les Soeurs Boulay all promise to deliver some of the most exciting sets at this year’s fest.

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