A Silver Mt. Zion

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The cover of "He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms..."
A Silver Mt. Zion is a post-rock band formed in 1999 by Godspeed You! Black Emperor musicians Efrim Menuck, Sophie Troudeau and Thierry Amar. According to an interview with VPRO Radio in The Netherlands, originally the project was for Efrim to learn how to score music, but the idea was soon abandoned as Efrim decided that he preferred music not to be defined by rules, prefering simply what sounds best. Despite this, he continued the project out of a desire to experiment with ideas that would not work within the context of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The decision to record an album was partly inspired by the death of his dog Wanda, who had died while Godspeed You! Black Emperor was on tour. He wanted to record an album in her memory, but did not feel that he could effectively do this through Godspeed's collective, consensus format.

Unlike Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion often features vocals (mostly sung by Efrim, but also by his younger brother Mischa and sister Sara). The last few albums they have released contain no purely instrumental tracks. Efrim confessed that he was uncomfortable with this at first, feeling "foolish" and uncomfortable with the role of the singer in music generally. That is, he did not want to be the focus of the band's music but rather wished to use vocals as a stylistic tool. Some fans were initially ambivalent about the use of vocals, but Efrim's poetic lyrical style is well respected among fans. Furthermore, A Silver Mt. Zion's fanbase has expanded and are no longer seen merely as an offshoot of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

After the release of their first album, He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corners Of Our Rooms..., the group expanded to six members and was renamed The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band and released the album Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward. For the band's third album, which made use of an amateur choir, its name was again changed, this time to The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-la-la Band with Choir. For the release of the Pretty Little Lightning Paw EP, the bands name changed once again to Thee Silver Mountain Reveries. For their latest release, the band has changed their name back to Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band. For simplicity, they are often called by the original name of A Silver Mt. Zion.

There are strong political motifs in the band's music. The instrumental "13 angels standing guard 'round the side of your bed." is apparently directed towards black bloc anarchists. The song "Triumph of Our Tired Eyes" laments the present state of the world while holding onto strong hope for the future. It also references the old anarchist song, To the Barricades. The new album, Horses in the Sky, contains several overtly political songs, including God Bless Our Dead Marines and Ring Them Bells (Freedom Has Come and Gone). Generally, A Silver Mt. Zion's politics are anarchist and individualistic, with continuing motifs of "hope and joy" - reflecting a tendency toward post-left anarchy.

The name A Silver Mt. Zion apparently refers to Temple Mount, the highest point in Jerusalem. Efrim himself is Jewish, and motifs relating to Judaism are occasionally present in the band's music (he described the band's recording of their first album as a "Jewish experience"). For clarity's sake, it should be noted that he distances himself from Zionism and criticizes the policies of the Israeli government; yet, he claims a special affinity for certain groups within the Jewish community.

The band toured through Europe and played in several venues in December 2004, following their performance at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. A new album entitled Horses in the Sky was released in March of 2005. The album is 6 tracks long, making about an hour of music.[1] (http://www.cstrecords.com/html/cst033main.html)


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