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A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms CD (album) cover


A Silver Mt. Zion


Post Rock/Math rock

3.96 | 97 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The first album from this GYBE offshoot but not the first offshoot from GYBE, that would be Fly Pan Am. Other offshoots include HRSTA, Set Fire To Flames and Esmerine. Most, if not all of these groups are on Montreal-based Constellation Records. ASMZ change their name slightly with each album; only the "silver mt zion" part remaining. This was a vehicle for Efrim Menuck to explore some of his ideas. What results is something similar to GYBE but more stripped-down and acoustic oriented. Future albums will have more focus on vocals, guitars and drums.

They like to use piano notes sparingly. The first and last song have a time delay effect on 'field recordings.' You can hear something and then about a second later you hear a slowed down version of the same thing...or vice versa. After 3 minutes of almost random piano notes and chords, "Broken Chords Can Sing A Little" changes to more steady piano notes and a recording from the radio of a preacher giving a sermon. Starts off with the voice slowed down, then later the voice is normal speed with the slowed down voice repeated against it. Mournfoul violin shows up later on. The sermon continues into "Sit In The Middle Of Three Galloping Dogs." Drumming and repeated violin lines along with some guitar effects for the majority of the song. Changes later to almost a riff and the drumming gets more varied.

"Movie (Never Made)" has singing with almost melodic but minimalistic single piano notes and chords. Jazzy upright bass joins in. The music stops halfway and then some violin joins the voice and piano. "13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round The Side Of Your Bed" has some cool sounding child-like voices repeating sounds in a melodic way. Very ethereal and ambient. Some bass and violin join. The voices get drowned out by overdubbed violins. Weird effect can heard which is repeated and melodic in itself. Voices become more upfront in the mix again. "Long March Rocket Or Doomed Airliner" has a great title but is basically 5 seconds of nothing. ASMZ sure like their long, oddball titles.

"Blown-Out Joy From Heaven's Mercied Hole" is the only other song with lyrics. An upright bass plays a repeated line and other instruments kind of float around it. Some mournful violin later. Bass playing gets more varied. Piano gets more dominant and is almost classical sounding at times. "For Wanda" is dedicated to a dog. The sound of fireworks going off and someone laughing gets looped; like the first song a slowed down version plays at the same time as the normal speed. Some almost random piano notes before an almost melody is played on the piano, one note at a time. Some dramatic violin plays over top. Some cool ethereal organ for the last minute or two.

This album and group will probably be of interest to most fans of GYBE, although the two don't always sound the same. I like ASMZ when they were like they are on this album; the last two or three albums have them more 'rock' focused. Not the best Post-Rock album in the world but nowhere near the worst either. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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