reviews of f#a#oo (lp)

hour magazine
now magazine

gordon krieger, earshot/exclaim!, date unknown

the second full-length lp from constellation, a new montreal label, is a debut release from this large, loft-inhabiting group. "ensemble" is perhaps a more appropriate term for them since they seem to grow in size with each show. a core of guitars (several), bass and drums (two at last count) is joined by a french horn, cellos and violins, tape loops and assorted extras. together they produce a slow soundtrack of regret and desire, equal parts morose and expectant. the only element missing is the trance-inducing visuals of their live show, which makes the experience overwhelming.

lucinda catchlove, hour magazine, october 1997

a moody, atmospheric, romantic soundtrack for contemporary urban decay, or more appropriately, the industrially declined. created with classical acoustic instruments (violin, cello, guitar, drums) using distortion, the harmonics that ride the swell of coloured noise on the opening track are richer and fuller than could ever be achieved by purely electronic means. these acid-tinged, filmic compositions reside in the mysterious, misty realm of experimental music close to - but centuries away from - ambient, chill-out music. classically fucked up, godspeed could be really pretentious but the sounds they make are way too cool to be merely coldly superior. sensitive, intelligent, original music for gentlemen and women of all persuasions.

matt galloway, now magazine, october 1997

art rockers with the focus squarely on the art side of the equation, shady montréal collective godspeed you black emperor! doesn't come off so much as a fully formed band as it does an experiment, a dozen folks making noise in a room and sorting out the results as they go.

even with a to-scale blueprint included, the group's cryptically named, limited edition, vinyl-only f#a# infinity album doesn't make things much clearer. two beautifully packaged, side-length pieces of cinematic space-rock ambience, sounds and moods flow into each other at a dreamy pace, mixing tape loops, twanging guitars, violins and a huffing locomotive. how this will work live is anyone's guess. godspeed you black emperor's gig at symptom hall as part of canzine 97 should not be missed.

barb l. stewart, stylus, october 1997

this full-length 12" from godspeed you black emperor! is only constellation's third release, but they are fast becoming canada's most intriguing independent record label. the group is a loose collective of musicians from montreal who intersperse tape loops and varying sound effects with walls of experimental soundscapes. not surprisingly, this configuration often collaborates with filmmakers to produce multi-media events in their homequarters. the instrumentation includes everything from guitar and percussion to strings and french horn, invoking ghostly spirits of dark alleys and desolate highways.

innovative and inventive, godspeed you black emperor! stake out unique territory in a world overrun with hackneyed experimentation. not an exercise in useless meandering, the musicians always have a destination, never leading you on a wanking wild goose chase.

soundbites cascade eerily into gentle dirges with no static beginning or end, weaving in and around each other. musical building blocks are artfully constructed into a greater whole, which is fragile, yet steady in its precision.

a strikingly beautiful handcrafted package from constellation (again!), including a cover featuring an actual photograph and a carefully assembled one-of-a-kind bag of treats containing such delights as a train-flattened penny a once-crumpled show flyer. that alone would be worth the $14 for which you can pick up this beautiful package, but the music itself merits any price.

jam tidy, transmission, autumn 97

i usually refrain from writing about records that are impossible to find, however, when i saw this band open for storm and stress (while on holiday in chicago) there was no way i could keep such a monumental experience to myself. ten musicians on stage (although 17 were involved with the record) playing lush dense mesmorizingly breathtaking soundscapes with instruments such as cello, french horn, glockenspiel, bagpipes, banjo, and a bevy of guitars. think of a mix of labradford, rachel's and rex layered with some intense environmental elements (a fixation with trains is apparent). as of now, it is a vinyl-only release with embossed lettering, a photograph glued on the sleeve and loads of cool inserts, some printed on a letterpress, (independent projects eat your heart out)! my most treasured recording of the year, you will definitely be hearing more about this most unique and inspiring band in these pages!

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