. issue XVII : viii .

by barathron

. artist : godspeed you! black emperor .
. album : allelujah! don’t bend! ascend! .
. year : 2012 .
. label : constellation .
. grade : a minus .


Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s first studio album in ten years. Its pieces were honed as live repertoire, and indeed the real-time explorative sense — of lulling, consummate transportation and transcendence — endures in these sublime recordings. With warm, poundingly resolute semantics (strings plucked and bowed, glorious waves of feedback, agitated percussion) its emotional presentation is rich, intimate, tender and nostalgic. Although Allelujah’s tone can veer to vigilance, disquietude and urgency, Allelujah is indeed a work of uplifting ascension. Most notably, it perfectly captures, if a studio recording can, the vital core of Godspeed’s work: their A/V approach to the synchresis of peak experience, of nostalgia, of compassion, of unrest. Case in point: the forthright finesse of Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! in submerging and occupying the listener internally, then overflowing like a mandorla of the human condition, widening the mind for 20 minutes at a time. Godspeed You! through this fresh and elemental construction of strength and humility.

by Brittany Tracy