What I said back then:
I’m not even sure that people like me are allowed to like this kind of thing: anarchist free-form ‘noise terror’ groups from Canada really shouldn’t be my cup of tea at all – but here it is, and while it may provoke a rather mundane memory, it might equally provoke someone to go and check it out…
Oh, and it’s not ‘noise terror’ at all – like a lot of ‘modern’ classical music, it just takes a lot of listening to – you need to concentrate and think about what you’re hearing. Eventually, it all falls into place. Well, it did for me – one night, driving to Leeds in dreadful weather, I had ‘Raise yr skinny fists like antennas to heaven’ on to keep me awake and alert – I slowly recognised that I was being taken over by a strange and surreal soundscape. I felt almost as if I was inhabiting the music, rather than listening to it. I listened to the whole, sprawling, thing twice through, and nearly forgot to stop for petrol, so possessed was I. The nights are drawing in again, it may be time to break this out again.
What I think now:
I suspect I did break it out again, because from there to here, I have accumulated pretty much everything recorded under the Godspeed banner. There are any number of interesting and strange offshoots, but for some reason, the Godspeed music works best for me. I have used it to help me focus on things like rewrites and structural changes; there’s something about the almost-instrumental format and the slow, inevitable minimalism of the development which touches off the creative spark in me.
I’m certain it wouldn’t work for everyone, and I’m perfectly prepared to be told it’s just noise, but it’s not; it’s really not.
I bought everything I could lay my hands on (I suspect there may some early stuff only available on reel-to-reel or something, but I’m not as much of a completist as you might think). In researching this, I discover that there’s a new album out this week. For that alone, I’m grateful I did all this.
For some reason, ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’ works particularly well over aircraft noise; it has soothed me through more than one lengthy flight, even though in places, it is anything but soothing. I think that its paradoxical nature is what appeals.
Oh, and I laughed out loud to hear Danny Baker play the intro to ‘Dead Flag Blues’ as if it were a live recording of a Spurs AGM. I miss those podcasts, but that’s another whole story.