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Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s rare track “Steve Reich” gets a proper live treatment from A Tamed Bliss Ensemble!

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s rare piece known as “Steve Reich” was recorded twice during live performances on John Peel Sessions in London and VPRO Sessions in Amsterdam, both in November 1998. As far as we know, there hasn’t been any trace of “Steve Reich” since then, neither on GY!BE live setlists nor their official releases. Moscow based post rock act A Tamed Bliss Ensemble (members of legendary Moscow based hardcore bands Marschak, Ricochet, Unconform and post-black metallers Toluca) set out to resurrect the undeservingly forsaken beauty and took a liberty of improvising a short intro. Watch above and see the official word from the band below:

This goes out to everyone who loves Godspeed, hates them or never heard of them – with everlasting respect and love towards these amazing musicians from Montréal, QC.

We wanted to let more people know about this magnificent but undeservingly forgotten music and made the cover. We also imrpovised a short intro and changed the title (a reference to original name GY!BE used for the whole session they played on John Peel radio show – “Hung Over As The Queen In Maida Vale).

See the full story below…

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Since late 2012 when I first heard “Steve Reich” on Youtube I started thinking about playing this gorgeous movement myself. In addition there was this regret that such an outstanding composition (I absolutely agree with people who claim that this is one of Godspeed’s most impressive musical efforts) was never properly recorded and put on any official release. The paradox of “Steve Reich” – as I see it – is how its ultimate meekness tuns into ablsolutely cathartic power. If there’s one word to describe this work, that is “purity”. I feel like this particular track highlights GY!BE’s genius – separate parts are rather primitive yet altogether the band produces astonishing effect. This is basically the quality often attributed to minimal music – no suprise the piece is named after legendary minimalist composer Steve Reich, and by some statements is even loosely based on Reich’s “Violin Phase”.

So my idea for many years has been to play and record this track to let more people know about it. I tried to pull it off with my other bands but that didn’t really work as people weren’t that much into it. Finally I figured that it would require gathering a specific group that would be focused only on that cover. And here we are. No idea if A Tamed Bliss Ensemble will continue or forever remain a memorial act dedicated solely to resurrection of Godspeed’s forsaken classic. Who knows – maybe at some point we decide to bring something else to life!

Some of us in A Tamed Bliss Ensemble are long time fans of GY!BE or simply always recognized their phenomenon. Others not. But regardless, at some point during our rehersals everyone felt a touch of true beauty. As for me, it’s real hard to communicate how much in fact Godspeed You! Black Emperor influenced my personal understanding of melody and harmony and thus my emotional disposition in life. I’ll just quote some random dude’s comment I saw the other day: “In time, it just may be said that this is perhaps the only band that truly ever mattered”.

It goes out to everyone who loves Godspeed, hates them or never heard of them – with everlasting respect and love towards these amazing musicians from Montréal, QC.

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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