I was introduced to Godspeedyoublackemperor far too late, of course, in 2000. Y2K was anticlimactically over and done with but street politics were still charged with post-WTO energy. It was also an appropriate dark time in my life. Not just dark emotionally and mentally but also literally as I was working overnights shifts. 830pm until 9am. The only people I had much interaction with were other damaged souls working the night shift. I did not realize until a while afterwards how harmful the night shift can be on one's already fragile mental health.
I worked in a homeless shelter for young people and needless to say I was vicariously traumatized with their trauma and by being on the front-line of Portland's street culture, which was a very different beast to what it is today. Late one night one of my co-workers and I decided to start trading CDs. I soon realized our individual versions of 'punk' were very different but I always gave Dave's music a solid listen anyway. One night, he gave two Godspeedyoublackemperor discs. "Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada" and "F#A#∞."
And it was one of those moments where you find the perfect soundtrack for the time and for what you are going through. I can only say that about a handful of bands. Dave Od'd and died shortly after I returned his CDs to him. He had mentioned that he liked to see where the line was and how close he could get to crossing it. I did not really know how to respond to such a statement at the time. I don't really associate GSYBE with Dave or his death but undoubtedly they share a theme of dramatic attempts at personal liberation. Extreme highs and lows in the desire to navigate one's own way on one's own terms through this spectacle of everyday life, instead of playing the assigned roles. Beauty from the filth. A soundscape for late-capitalism malaise. Cracks in the facade. Knowing looks between us.
I had planned on writing a mini-treatise on GSYBE and the combination of personal and political in their music but fuck it, give their new album a listen. Let the world end again and again, until the day we don't need this band anymore...
'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress'