Indie fans everywhere rejoiced on Thursday when it was announced that shadowy Canadian instrumental rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor will be ending their nearly seven-year self-imposed hiatus to curate and play at All Tomorrow's Parties' Nightmare Before Christmas event in England on December 3-5.
In their typically cryptic fashion, the multimember collective known for their inscrutable combination of classic and avant-garde rock announced the return in an oddly worded online statement.
"After a decade's retreat, god's pee has decided to roll again," the statement reads. "We are, as always, stoked, stubborn and petrified. It's been a while, and left in the rain the brakes have rusted and seized — we'll have to go it with a hammer probably, with elbow grease and with fury, just like the old days all over again. We look forward to it."
The group, which formed in Montreal in 1994, is best known for its ever-expanding membership and lengthy songs that often ping-pong from hushed silences to deafening noise punctuated by sampled vocals and recordings the group gathered on their tours. Though formed by the core trio of guitarists Efrim Menuck and Mike Moya and bassist Mauro Pezzente, at various points Godspeed featured up to 20 musicians, who added everything from violin and cello to percussion, horns, keyboards and tape manipulation.
Because Godspeed refused to do most interviews, expressed their distaste for the music industry and often played in the shadowy corners during shows, the band developed a cult-like following.
In the time since their hiatus began in 2003, various members have formed or participated in a number of side projects, including Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra, 1-speed Bike, Fly Pan Am and Set Fire to Flames. In a nod to their productivity since the break, the band noted in the announcement that the time off has spawned "a handful of other bands, and solitary road trips and wanderings, a couple of recording studios built, and a new restaurant and three live venues also. A film soundtrack and four new kids and three new dogs. Dead-end jobs. Some farming and vegetable gardens. A small record label. Acupuncture as a livelihood. And three of us just stayed on the road."
In addition to playing on all three nights of the Nightmare Before Christmas gig — which will also feature Bardo Pond, the Ex, Deerhoof, Mike Watt and Scout Niblett — the band plans to play a handful of British and European shows and then nine yet-unspecified North American dates. And of course, they added, "until further introspection, we will not be fielding any other offers. Nor will we be doing any interviews. Inquiries directed to band, record label or bookers will not be guaranteed a reply. Alls we really want to do is the thing we do, heads down and leaned into the squall."
Though no specific plans were announced for new recordings, the note also promises that "between now and the live dates there'll be rivers of noise and distraction." The band's most well-known release is 2000's double-disc symphonic thunderclap, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven. Their last disc before the hiatus was 2002's Yanqui U.X.O., which was recorded by noted Chicago noisemaker Steve Albini.