One only knows one. Two is balanced therefore stagnant. III both active and reactive. Charles Moothart, Ty Segall and Chad Ubovich are FUZZ. FUZZ is three. And III has returned. Songs for all, and music for one.
III was recorded and mixed at United Recording under the sonic lordship of Steve Albini. Keeping the focus on the live sounds of the band, the use of overdubs and studio tricks were kept to a minimum. Albini’s mastery in capturing sound gave FUZZ the ability to focus entirely on the playing while knowing the natural sounds would land. It takes the essential ingredients of “guitar based music” and “rock and roll power trio” and puts them right out on the chopping block. It was a much more honest approach for FUZZ — three humans getting primitive, staying primitive. The goal was never to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s just about seeing how long you can hold on before you’re thrown off.
Album opener “Returning” serves as a sort of mission statement for the album. It’s an auditory meditation on the power of one and the different perspectives of one, whether it is the singular person looking inward, or a group of people coming together as a single unit. Not only is it an echo of the return of FUZZ, but also a broader return to form – raw and empowered through vulnerability.
“Nothing People” and “Spit” served as a launching point into the new sphere that would become III. They were written around the same time, and felt like they opened two different doorways — familiar in some ways and new in others. “Time Collapse,” a rogue cut from the days of FUZZ’s II, landed soundly on the scorched surface of side A to round things out.
“Mirror” opens up the B side and the collective consciousness. Mirroring the call to arms of “Returning,” the song asks the listener to link arms with the band, march to the same drum of love, and create a space of equality among the freaks. The pummeling rhythm demands the request to crush the mirror that feeds you lies. In the end, it’s a ballad for the unique, twisted, and natural self that should be exalted before any falsehood.
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.