Tanner Babcock

  1. Opinions
  2. Music Reviews

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Return to Music ReviewsAbout These ReviewsRandom Music Page

Year Title Rating
1994 All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling 7/10
1997 F# A# ∞ 8/10
1999 Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada 7/10
2000 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven 8.5/10
2000 A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms 6.5/10
2001 A Silver Mt. Zion - Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward 6/10
2001 Set Fire to Flames - Sings Reign Rebuilder 7/10
2003 Yanqui U.X.O. 7/10
2003 Set Fire to Flames - Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static 7/10
2005 A Silver Mt. Zion - Horses in the Sky .../...
2008 A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons .../...
2010 A Silver Mt. Zion - Kollaps Tradixionales 5.5/10
2011Efrim Menuck - High Gospel.../...
2012 Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! 7.5/10
2014 A Silver Mt. Zion - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything 6.5/10
2015 Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress 6.5/10
2017Jessica Moss - Pools of Light.../...
2017 Luciferian Towers 7/10
2018Efrim Menuck - Pissing Stars.../...
2021G_d's Pee at State's End6.5/10

Review last updated: March 30, 2022


All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling

The first time I had ever heard the saying "All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling" was shortly after I discovered Godspeed You! Black Emperor as a teenager, around 15 or 16 (which was around 2012). They were possibly the most sophisticated rock artist I had discovered at that point. I was blown away by the huge soundscapes of F Sharp A Sharp and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, deciding then and there, that almost all music I had ever heard prior, was garbage. The only real "patrician" stuff I had heard at that point would have been Neutral Milk Hotel, Slint, and King Crimson. Godspeed represented, and still represents, a new world, not just one of great music and art, but a more humane world, a more thoughtful world. When you listen to this band, you are gently moved with rich instrumental music, loaded with strings, horns, intense guitars, and iconic samples and noise. It would be blasphemous to suggest that any other contemporary rock artist puts even half as much effort into their releases as Godspeed does theirs. They have cemented their place in music history with their wonderfully euphoric epics, their impressive arrangements, and their visual style and stage presence. Tanner's basement album? You betcha.

This release was always talked about in hushed and superstitious tones around the internet, as if it were a Holy Grail that might not even really exist. But one day in 2013 or so Reddit and 4chan get a post from someone claiming they have a copy, one of the 33 copies that exist from 1993, and they posted pictures of the cassette. As per usual on the internet, many were skeptical and claiming it was a hoax, asking this person to rip the album for the world to hear. This person was in a bit of a moral dilemma, they were slowly realizing the value and scarcity of this rare work of art, and they didn't want to be burdened with the huge pressure. I believe at that time, Efrim Menuck or someone else in the band said that All Lights Fucked was not worth looking into or reissuing, and there wasn't much else that was said about it. This release was so rare and so widely believed to be long lost, that it was against the rules of What.CD to upload anything claiming to be All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling, to fulfill the request for it on What.CD, which had accumulated an insane amount of terabytes for the reward. Even on my website, it just sat at the top of the ratings table for this page with a ".../..." next to it for as long as I've had this website. So this person (possibly a Canadian who doesn't even like Godspeed or music, probably cleaning his dead mom's attic or something) agreed to only rip two songs from the tape to prove it was indeed real, or at least to give others the chance to decide for themselves. Those songs were "Random Luvly Moncton Blues" and "Dadmomdaddy", the closers to the first side. Because the pictures looked very real, the case had the "number _ of 33" on it and everything. And then, if my memory serves me correctly, this person ended up selling this tape to someone for a crazy amount of money, thousands of dollars, to relieve themselves of this burden of pressure, internet hostility, and drama. So for years I kept this single file in my music library, somehow believing it was real, since it didn't sound like all the other fakes floating around. "Momma is my daddy" "Daddy's not very nice" "Momma raised me stupid" "Daddy growed me scared" This melody banged around in my head from time to time for years.

Somehow it gets leaked. Late last year or early this year, the whole cassette was leaked to the internet, and it was shortly confirmed to be real, as it included the previously unearthed songs from around 7 years ago, and it also includes material that was sampled by Set Fire to Flames, undeniably associating it with the band. Many long-time post-rock listeners like myself are floored with shock and disbelief. So what if you actually listen to this? What has the world been waiting all of this time for? Charming lo-fi atmospheric ballads, simple rock songs made by riffs, sound and noise experiments, monologues, samples. Some of the things I would expect to appear on the early, childish works that every artist has, but for Godspeed. I've heard stuff like this before for other artists - Daniel Johnston, Neutral Milk with their Beauty and Invent Yourself a Shortcake, My Bloody Valentine, Sun City Girls has a lot of homemade releases, Earth, Kendrick Lamar - but it's difficult to picture the great Godspeed You! Black Emperor in their humble beginnings, as they've always been a monumental force in independent music. Hearing such a respected and professional figure when they were juvenile, silly, and immature can be surreal. But this is really a treasure. It really makes the whole picture complete, and it was worth the wait. It warms my cold heart and makes me feel things about art, and humanity, and time, and history, and the silly sound experiments are unexpectedly compelling. It makes me feel like my own tapes may be worth serious money some day - the charming smoked-out rock 'n' roll banter reminded me of myself and my friends, and their early music. Maybe we all have our place in music history like Godspeed does.

The version of the original leak has 30 tracks for the 32 or 33 short songs. The official version on Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Bandcamp is only four long tracks. It seems they've always had a thing for "3 or 4 super long tracks that each have like 10 parts to them". The highlights here are "Three Three Three", "$13.13", "333 Frames per Second", the conversation track "Buried Ton", "Hoarding", and "All Angels Gone". It is a privilege that anyone is able to listen to this. We should all feel privileged we have the internet to find things like this.