A Silver Mt. Zion – *

9 Oct

So last weekend on Friday I was in the city (NYC). After eating lunch I decided to go and check out the protests on Wall Street. As I neared, the first thing I noticed was an extremely congested block of people being rallied by the police. I sort skirted in and around, dodging police and staying clear of most of the protesters. A parade of them marched along the outline of liberty square, chanting something along the lines of “Down with the Wall”. In the middle of the square, tarp and make-shift mattresses made the place into a sort of campsite for those “occupying” Wall Street. The “campers” were kids just hanging out trying to be rebellious, while the protesters marching around and yelling were just strange characters trying to be noticed. I didn’t go to the event trying to be inspired or anything, but honestly I was a lot more disappointed than I thought I was going to be. This protest was way unorganized. The towers surrounding it weren’t going anywhere and were full of laughing brokers.

This protest is still growing impressively all over the country and it has even entered foreign countries as well. Even if it is unorganized, they are at least showing others that there are those who are standing up. Honestly, a protest on Washington would make a lot more sense, but regardless something is brooding on the horizon.

There was a group of people playing drums on the street in a very tribal fashion. This will never start a revolution. Tribal drum music is exactly opposite of what will garner the attention of the American populace and it is quite honestly counter-productive. What is needed is some real revolutionary music, like the kind that made the American Revolution successful. We need some post-rock.

A Silver Mt. Zion is a Canadian band (slightly ironic) goes by multiple names and originated as a solo-project by a guitarist from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The band plays a brand of post-rock deeply rooted in strong political motifs. Their debut album, *He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…, aside from being quite lengthy in title, is almost purely instrumental. It engenders the sort of feelings in people which would make those smug towers shake in fear.

“Sit in the middle of three galloping dogs” opens with scratchy radio transmissions. The message is that a revolution is imminent. “Let us not sleep as do others, underline it, but let us watch. We are to be watchmen of this empire. And to be sober, be serious…” The transmission fades and a drum beat takes over, beckoning the violins to begin their epic wails. Their sound melts over itself as the beat coolly keeps it under control.
At about three minutes the drummer goes all out, picking up the tempo and the ante. The violins respond with a beautifully reverberating stutter and a guitar in the background shreds away furiously. This song is immensely powerful yet beautiful.

“Blown-out joy from Heaven’s Mercied hole” is like the actual sound of a revolution happening. A stand-up bass accompanied by lyrics sets the mood amazingly. “Don’t tell me that I am free, cause I have not been well…. lately”. The instrumentation is almost jazz-like in sound, yet a very sad form of bluesy-jazz. The 9 minute piece winds to and fro, but never really builds, just maintains a steady atmosphere of depression. The vocals at the very end create a perfect cap on the piece, making it whole in every regard.

“13 Angels Standing Guard ‘Round the Side of your Bed” is probably one of the most beautiful pieces you will ever hear. Less revolutionary and more just downright eye-openingly sad, this seven minute piece starts with the gentle meows of angels. A harp like instrument strums humble notes and again the violins sneak their way in playing a melancholy tune. Towards the end of the song even more angels call out, now with shriller yet ominously more powerful voices. This song is actually supposed to be about black bloc protests, where everyone wears black, covering their faces and appearing as one big ‘black bloc’.

If someone took a large pair of speakers to the protest and played this album from start to finish, glorious things would happen. First and foremost I predict that a silence would sweep over anyone who heard it. That silence would spread to anyone listening and the impression made would only be more silence. From silence emerge words. And hopefully those words can be those of reason.


P.S. Revolution is coming. Be prepared.


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