Sunday, May 29, 2016

Set Fire To Flames

For a Godspeed You! Black Emperor fan, finding out there's a second spin-off band in addition to Silver Mt. Zion is a little like a child finding out there's not one or two, but actually three Santa Clauses, or like realizing that you've bought three separate winning tickets to the Powerball lottery.

Set Fire to Flames is a Canadian post-rock collective started by Godspeed's David Bryant that also features Godspeed regulars Mike Moya and Sophie Trudeau, among others, although no Efrim Menuck, the principal behind the Silver Mt. Zion spin-off.  

SFTF apparently released two albums. Both albums were reportedly recorded "in states of little or no sleep, in varying levels of intoxication, and in physical confinement," resulting in some of the most eerie and brooding music to come from these musicians.  Many of their tracks are very minimalist in nature and are filled with ambient noise and various other non-musical sound effects juxtaposed or combined with instrumental music.

Sings Reign Rebuilder (2001) came out in between Godspeed's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000) and Yanqui U.X.O.(2002).  The material for the album was created over five days in a dilapidated old apartment in Montreal and is a mixture of improvisation, composition, and environment noises.

The two-disc Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static (2004) was released while Godspeeed was on hiatus, but in between Silver Mt. Zion's 'This Is Our Punk-Rock,' Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing (2003) and Horses in the Sky (2005).  This album, recorded in a barn in rural Ontario, contains, among other things, the sounds of creaking doors and other background noise in the songs.

A third album was reportedly recorded in collaboration with the band Jackie-O Motherfucker but never released.

Fans of the long and enigmatic titles of Godspeed and Silver Mt. Zion songs will not be disappointed by Set Fire to Flames, who have songs with names like Steal Compass/Drive North/Disappear, and Something About Eva Mattes in the Halo of Exploding Street Lamps..., and Fukt Perkusiv/Something About Bad Drugs, Schizophrenics and Grain Silos..., and Wild Dogs of the Thunderbolt/'They Cannot Lock Me Up... I Am Eternally Free...' (From Lips of Lying Dying Wonder Body #2).  For those of you keeping score at home, the latter is from Sings Reign Rebuilder, which does include Lips of Lying Dying Wonder Body parts #1 and #3.

It's going to take me a while to assimilate these new (to me) recordings and understand the music in context of the other LPs, but I can already tell I'm going to thoroughly enjoy the process.

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