Aidan Baker and Jessica Moss are two present or former members of the Le Post Rock Coup known as GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR. I remember when I first heard of this Coup Musique D’Etat. It was from reading a SPIN magazine article on new musicians from the underground music scene. This article was written around the late 90’s to early 2000’s.
I read through the article. They mentioned bands I’ve either seen live, listen to on CD, Vinyl or Both! In band names mentioned were Soilent Green, Brutal Truth, Endon, Trivium, and Mogwai, etc.; just to name a few. But, the one that stood out was the 11 piece group known as GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! They were described as an 11 piece band that performs instrumentals live with a large screen playing films in the background. I thought to myself instrumental noise rock like Mogwai! Sick! Little did I know after listen to their first CD (Slow Riot for New Kanada) that my life changed for the next millenium.
I didn’t realize the true essence of their power until I saw them live for the first time in Fort Worth, Texas at the Granada Theater during their “Lift Your Skinny Fst To the Heavens like Antennas…” tour. I was drunk, happy and in a spazzatic gaze as usual watching a band’s performance. Around this time, I was still going to underground punk, hardcore and metal shows in Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, this band had a message in their sound with presentation of a movie playing during the whole set. It was viewing a live soundtrack performed to a movie.
After a few more years, I start hearing of all these different side projects online through MySpace and reading various zines/ magazines that morphed from this massive ovum of this Coup Musique D’Etat. To name a few of these projects were: Set Fire To Flames, Fly Pan-Am, Silver Mount Zion Ensemble, Tra la la la Band to name a few. But the ones who stood out at that time were: Aidan Baker & Nadja. Most recently, my intoxicating love for the violin had caught my eyes recently when discovered Jessica Moss as another member of GYBE with an experimental music project. I believe both or one of them were on stage during the “Lift the Skinny Fist to the Heavens like Antennas” tour, as well.
The reason I brought these two musicians up is due to the fact they have been cracking fire in the underground experimental music culture along with other member of this Coup Musique D’Etat. Aidan Baker notably with his solo projects, collaborations and his band Nadja with his partner/wife Leah Buckareff. I have known and listened to Aidan Baker and Nadja for some time. Jessica Moss, I just found out about recently who is married to Efrim Manuel Menuck (One of the main cohorts of Godspeed You Black Emperor). With the easy accessiblity of digital formats like Bandcamp, I have been able to finally listen to some of these bands and catch live performances recorded and uploaded on YouTube or Vimeo. But, Nadja has been one of those zygote-projects to catch my attention. There ‘s a Double CD I bought from their bancamp recently called “Excursion.”
This Double CD is a translation to some of the best experimental music I have ever heard constructed. 8 songs that are a mixture of Drone-Doom-Ambient orchestrated by Nadja. From what I read they define there sound as “Doomgaze” or “Ambient Metal.” Already, I have defined one of my projects as “Ambient Metal” myself for I have been a fan of many experimental noise music, doom/sludge metal; as well black/death metal, hardcore, noisecore, powerviolence, punk and industrial music for decades.
Nadja has already created a genre bender within the genres of experimental and metal music. They sow the technique of Drone, elements of ambient and the gloomy emotion of Doom into songs composed on a level unearthed by their psychical creative ennui. To me, it’s pure genius and inspiration as I, myself, is still a pure elementary experimental music artist.
Hence, Coup Musique D’Etat has created a hierarchy in the underground music cultures for us all to adhere, study and perpetuate. An ovum, consortium who are one unit collectively to dissipate into zygotes, side-projects, creating more sounds, birthing more artist and strengthen the art-music communities. Collectively, they have networked into a musical bastille that could shift into other outlets. Furthermore, us D.I.Y. musicians and artist have got to work together by tightening our network and resources. We have to be collective. The times have changed drastically. This Coup Musique D’Etat has foreseen this coming and were well prepared for it.
The importance of this article is that this blog is reflexive of what this Coup Musique D’Etat has created right around the new millenium. I knew there was something special from my natural fascination of their musical structure, style and the message delievered in every song and performance they created. Especially, after listenned to “Riot for a New Kanada.” I felt in my soul that night while I was in a drunken spazzatic haze head banging to every note, eyes closed, lost to the sonic compositions of all 11 members into a shamanic trance as I peered into the eyes of the bass player for 5-10 minutes during a hynoptic translation of this perilous future we have before us that this world is about to shit itself: hence, COVID-19.
GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR, thank you for the special night. I learned something about this world we live from every song and album you’ve created. What did I learn: a mothafucka like me needs to “WAKE UP,” we as subverts, peasants, activist, artist, musicians, writers, wanderers and proletariats needs to share, connect and combine our resources and abilities for the betterment of the non-status quo community, and the culture of the underground arts-music community must united to fight the good fight!
There are other groups who are taking on this format of collectivism, but GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR has laid down the foundation and has been teaching us more about music, politics, and the world as professors at a university of hard knocks whose lectures decipher the chapters of this perilous world about issue pertaining to our societies, politics and injustices; as well, in listening to these performances, maybe, some how we could recognize our own faults and shortcomings from these lessons. Also…… they are exemplifying how to be continual communal collectives.
Aidan Baker and Jessica Moss are a few of the notable acts who are branching off into the underground music culture to carry on this spirit of Coup Musique D’Etat. However, they are not getting lost in the moment. For, there are other situations that derive from the moment that must ascertain our attention: survival, work, shelter, and health just to name a few. Yes, they like all of us are struggling to survive and live to work as we do.
I love Canadians. They are so cut and dry. But, what I love about these Canadians are they guiding us in a loving devotion of sound toward a way many of us have not yet understood that exist already within ourselves. Like Miyamoto Musashi once quoted, “there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
Be bold people, be original, be strong, be humble, be strict, be present and be pure…..be the sound within…..Lift Your Skinny Fist To the Heavens like Antennas and let the winds, the earth, the sea, the desert, the city, the streets, and/or the world hear you voice! It’s your sound…..your voice. GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR sure enough has been expressing this for over 20 years of the three times I have seen them. I will see them again in the near future.