with Marisa Anderson
Godspeed You! Black Emperor began with Efrim Menuck, Mauro Pezzente and Mike Moya in Montréal in the early 90s, playing a handful of shows and recording a self-released cassette as a trio before beginning to transform the group into a large band. Recruiting numerous Montreal musicians through 1995-1996, GYBE mounted sense-rattling wall-of-sound performances, featuring as many as 14 musicians and several 16mm film projectors, eventually self-recording their debut vinyl-only version of F#A#∞, released on Constellation in late summer 1997. The band’s Hotel2Tango warehouse space in Montréal’s Mile-End district was a central hive of DIY activity, with band rehearsal rooms, silkscreen and wood shops, and weekend shows that took place under the radar.
The group settled into a permanent nine-member line-up by late 1998, with Aidan Girt and Bruce Cawdron on drums, Thierry Amar and Mauro on basses, Efrim, Dave Bryant and Roger Tellier-Craig on guitars, and Norsola Johnson and Sophie Trudeau on cello and violin respectively. The band toured and recorded continuously from 1998-2002 and gained a reputation for mesmerising live shows marked by orchestral dynamics, epic rock power and clunky, beautiful film loops. Following hundreds of concerts and the release of four records – F#A#∞ (1997), Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP (1999), and the double albums Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000) and Yanqui U.X.O. (2002), GYBE went on hiatus in 2003.
Various GYBE offshoots continued with their own momentum through the 2000s, most notably The Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band (including Efrim, Sophie and Thierry), Hrsta (led by Moya), Fly Pan Am (featuring Roger), Esmerine (co-founded by Bruce), 1-Speed Bike (Aidan’s solo punk-techno project) and Set Fire To Flames (led by Dave, and including Bruce, Moya, Roger and Sophie).
Godspeed returned to live performance in December 2010, when the band was invited to curate and perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties in the UK. This was followed by renewed and extensive international touring. October 2012 saw the release of ‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND!, their first recorded work in a decade, to near-unanimous critical acclaim, including a 9.3 rating and Best New Music at Pitchfork and the appearance on countless year-end lists. The similarly praised ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ followed in March 2015; this album marked the group’s first personnel change in many years, with Tim Herzog replacing Bruce on drums. Throughout Godspeed’s ‘post-hiatus’ period, experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux has been the band’s primary creator (and projectionist) of 16mm film footage and loops; an array of analog film projectors remains central to GYBE’s live performances.
Godspeed collaborated with Holy Body Tattoo on monumental in 2016-2017, performing live to the acclaimed modern dance piece in various cities around the world. The band also premiered new work commissioned to memorialize the 100th anniversary of the WWI Battle of Messines at a live concert event on the site of the massacre at Heuvelland, Belgium in June 2017.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor announced their third post-reunion album (and seventh record overall) Luciferian Towers in early August, with a 22 September 2017 release date.
Marisa Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. Her deeply original work applies elements of minimalism, electronic music, drone and 20th century classical music to compositions based on blues, jazz and gospel and country music, re-imagining the landscape of American music. Onstage, she is a master storyteller, bringing warmth, wit and insight to her virtuosic compositions and arrangements.
In 2017 Mississippi Records is re-issuing Anderson’s 2013 record, ‘Traditional and Public Domain Songs’. Anderson spent a year researching hymns, blues, murder ballads and American patriotic songs. The resulting record is an exploration of the relationship between evangelical Christianity and state sanctioned violence.
Originally from Northern California, Anderson dropped out of college at age nineteen to walk across the US and eventually landed in Portland, Oregon, where she currently lives. Classically trained, she honed her skills playing in country, jazz and circus bands. In 2011 she released her first solo guitar record, ‘The Golden Hour’ followed by ‘Mercury’ (2013) and ‘Into The Light’ (2016). She is in demand as a collaborator and composer, contributing to recent recordings by Beth Ditto, Sharon Van Etten and Circuit Des Yeux among others, as well as creating music for short films and soundtracks.
Anderson tours extensively throughout Europe and North America. Her work has been featured in Billboard, Rolling Stone, NPR, SPIN, Pitchfork and The Wire. Billboard magazine named ‘Into the Light’ one of the best records of 2016 and Pitchfork named Anderson’s 2015 split LP with Tashi Dorji one of the top experimental records of the year. Recent festival appearances include Le Guess Who, Moog Fest, Copenhagen Jazz Festival and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.