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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & T website  A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & T - Born Into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward [Constellation - 2001]

Buy this CD now!
A Silver Mt. Zion is looking (I said "looking", not "sounding") more like Godspeed You Black Emperor with every release. They went from 3 members to 6 now with an expanded name that makes even acronyms useless (ie. ASMTMO&T-L-LB).

This bands seems to be, if I can believe the various biographies, a vehicle for Efrim's musical ideas that wouldn't fit into GYBE or would simply be lost somewhere in the "democracy" among the 9 members of that band. I don't think it means that he writes everything, but I do believe that he comes up with most of the song ideas.

The main difference between A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band (I'm not writing the full name again in that review so take notes now) and Godspeed You Black Emperor is mostly on the compositional level. Both bands have similar instrumentation - violin, cello, piano, contrabass, guitar, various field recordings and tape manipulation - but they make a different use of those elements.

Where Godspeed is more about building up instrumental crescendos through sheer patience, volume and kinetic energy (imagine how much force you need to make one of those trans-oceanic boats move, now imagine what you need to stop it once it started!), about simple melodic motifs, some drone-y ambient parts and a post-rock aesthetic, A Silver Mt. leans more towards the neo-classical end of the spectrum with more developed melodies and arrangements that put individual instruments closer to the spotlight even though the more ambient tendencies surface often. They don't go for the big climactic crescendos as often as Godspeed and when they do they aren't as satisfying anyway - probably because I am spoiled by the power of GYBE and feel that it lacks some musicians to be pulled off in the same magnitude here. It also adds some more conventional songs to the repertoire like "Take these Hands and Throw them in the River" which has vocals that sound like Neil Young on a bad acid trip with lots of reverb.

The ambience is still dark & bleak; hope & light are still nowhere to be found... Someone once said, while talking about Godspeed's music, that it was the perfect thing to listen to while watching a city burn. This also applies to A Silver Mt. Zion's material and I suppose that this comment is even more relevant in the wake of what happened on sept. 11th.

It's even better than the first A Silver Mt. Zion album, it offers something similar yet new to fans of GYBE, it's great for late night listening and the artwork is (as always with Constellation bands) stunning.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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