Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Monheim is compiled from two separate performances, both recorded within a month of each other, at the end of 1998.
"Hung Over as the Queen in Maida Vale"
BBC Studios, London, UK
John Peel session
Recorded: 22 November 1998
Broadcast: 1 January 1999
01. Monheim > Improvisation (includes Chart #3 & Steve Reich) (18:17)
Consists of the movements "Monheim" (which later appeared on 2002's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven), "Chart #3" (also on Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven), and "Steve Reich" (unfortunately unreleased).
As a suite not unlike how the band present their albums (specifically their first two full lengths), this set works very well. "Monheim" is a fantastic opening piece, building up from a bittersweet guitar strum into a churning mess of estranged harmony and intense release. A momentary pause allows us to catch our breath before "Chart #3" begins, a relatively simple piece which revolves around a sample of a man speaking very passionately about spiritual discovery. The simplistic and distant guitar chords immediately segue into the final section, "Steve Reich," and if you were looking for a payoff, you'll never find one sweeter than this. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the fact that this and the VPRO radio sessions as the only way of hearing this incredible piece of music is the most criminal case of withholding brilliance that I've ever encountered! This is simply breathtaking from start to finish. Mimicking the eponymous composer's early experiments in form, the three guitar players present compounding riffs one atop the other, all within a relatively closed harmonic space, and all of which are both beautiful and melancholic. These three riffs are the centre of the piece, as they wail and churn within it for its entire duration, the percussion and violin/cello adding emphasis and accentuation in simplistic and perfect ways. If this piece really has been transformed into an A Silver Mount Zion, it's too bad - in this original form, its incredible, and should definitely have been recorded by the band before its indefinite hiatus.
Unfortunately, though, this is the best place to find it. While it is isolated from "Monheim" in the VPRO sessions, those recordings have quite a bit more hiss, and the performance is of a slightly lesser quality (a few inherent imperfections which bring it down a notch). This is recommended to all GY!BE fans, and if you're a patient listener, it would be a fantastic introduction to the band as well. (review by seasonsinthesky)
Sojus 7, Monheim, Germany
17 December 1998
02. Intro (3:10)
03. The Dead Flag Blues (9:40)
04. Moya (14:28)
05. World Police And Friendly Fire (13:55)
06. She Dream’t She Was A Bulldozer, She Dream’t She Was Alone In An Empty Field > J.L.H. Outro (18:36)