2015 Albums of the Year: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress


The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2015. We gathered best-of lists from staff and contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us this year.

Music genres were made up, left right and centre, in the ’90s; some stuck and some fell to the wayside. Some died (or close to it): industrial, trance, grunge, to name a few.

Post-rock (as a term, at least) emerged in the ’90s, but with a slow burn that found the industry and listeners catching on well after the fact. The birth of the movement was defined by the likes of Chicago’s Tortoise, Glasgow’s Mogwai, Toronto’s Do Make Say Think, and Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It was a style of music for people who didn’t like pop or mainstream offerings—a punk rock for those who knew song structure. While Tortoise, DMST and Mogwai made their music more and more accessible with each album, GY!BE originally stuck to the mold.

There were a few moments when we thought they’d completely disappeared. They went on a lengthy hiatus in 2003, and rumors went around that they’d broken up, but in 2010 they returned for a tour and by 2012 they’d released the critically acclaimed ’Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! This marked not only the return of the band, but also a slightly more accessible sound—adding the appeal of a film score and leaving their trapped-under-a-pile-of-chainsaws leanings behind.

In 2015, GY!BE kept the momentum going with their most pop album to date. Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress is made up of four tracks, but the opening “Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light’” is the heart of the album. Track two, “Lambs’ Breath,” gently brings you down from the opener and track three, “Asunder, Sweet,” builds you up for the epic and amazing “Piss Crowns Are Trebled.” They really packed a lot into these 40 minutes—swells upon swells of GY!BE bliss.

The clip above is a live version of “Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light,’” filmed in their hometown. It’s the perfect clip for demonstrating what GY!BE is all about. The way you feel when you see them live is best described as a wonderful confusion. If you can get past the “What’s going on here?” and let yourself un-focus you can truly understand the wonderful-ness of GY!BE.



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