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HE HAS LEFT US ALONE BUT SHAFTS OF LIGHT SOMETIMES GRACE THE CORNER OF OUR ROOMS

A Silver Mt. Zion

Post Rock/Math rock


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A Silver Mt. Zion He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms album cover
3.90 | 79 ratings | 14 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Broken Chord Can Sing A Little (8:39)
2. Sit In The Middle Of Three Galloping Dogs (5:08)
3. Stumble Then Rise On Some Awkward Morning (6:04)
4. Movie (Never Made) (3:23)
5. 13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round The Side Of Your Bed (4:00)
6. Long March Rocket Or Doomed Airliner (4:00)
7. Blown-Out Joy From Heaven's Mercied Hole (11:00)
8. For Wanda (3:00)

Total Time: 47:09

Lyrics

Search A SILVER MT. ZION He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Efrim Menuck / guitar, vocals
- Thierry Amar / bass
- Sophie Trudeau / violin

Releases information

CD Constellation #9 (2000)
LP Constellation #9 (2000)

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
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A SILVER MT. ZION He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms ratings distribution


3.90
(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
29%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (23%)
23%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

A SILVER MT. ZION He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progmonster
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The first A Silver Mt.Zion did appear at the peak of the Constellation hype when Godspeed You Black Emperor! and the likes ruled the world. And it is indeed a post rock production with its cinematic atmosphere, minimal renditions and so on. The main difference between A Silver Mt.Zion and its mother band resides in their neo classical approach, chamber like music that in fact will make them closer to a band like Rachel's. "He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms" has a very melancholic atmosphere and stands as the most personal and the most convincing A Silver Mt.Zion album. "13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round the Side of Your Bed" and its almost funeral march alike profile makes alone listening to this album a worthy experience.

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Send comments to progmonster (BETA) | Report this review (#42603) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars One of my first discoveries in the post-rock realm (outside Tortoise that is) was GYBE! And two days later I was discovering ASMZ's debut, which at the time, I was unaware that this second group is an offshoot of the first. But the musical connections are evident, except that the sound is stripped almost bare (compared to the full 9 musos band in GYBE!) and that most of the tracks are sung (in a plaintive and slightly irksome vocals), but the mysterious nature of the music remains and the tensions and lenghty ambiances are more intimate and maybe less spine shivering.

Those of you picking up the Cd should know that it is made up of two lenghty suites made of 4 sections each for a total of eight tracks (this was released as a vinyl first and they did not correct the tracks numbering for the Cd edition). Again as with GYBE! and other Constellation records releases, very few infos are given out and whatever few are , they are not easily readable or understood. This is, of course, fully intentional as GYBE! always claimed that they were not ready to explain their work but rather let their work explain THEM. Of course this attitude is very aesthetically pure, but one can wonder if there is a really deep feeling behind these obscure, sombre and melancholic but generally directionless tracks except for the beautiful atmospheres and calm ambiances. Another difference with the main project is that the music on this record never reaches enormous climaxes such as on the first two GYBE! albums. But one can just choose to enjoy the album without searching the deeper meanings (provided that there are some, but if there none then those intriguing titles would be just a marketing ploy) buried in such bizarre records as those. Not sure that these Constellations records will stand the test of time, but they will remain cult classics for sure!!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#55623) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars A Silver Mt. Zion is one of several side projects of members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. While the group has since expanded to include six members, this debut consists of the Constellation collective’s generally-acknowledged guru Efrim Menuck, along with violinist Sophie Trudeau and bassist Thierry Amar. Amar reportedly plays upright contrabass for the first time on a Constellation record.

The band’s name and album’s title suggest some sort of religious theme, but in fact Menuck has said in interviews the band name was inspired by some misheard song lyrics, and the title of the album reportedly refers to Menuck’s dog Wanda, who died of cancer around the time of its recording. There is no apparent explanation for why Wanda is referred to as ‘He’, so there may be either more to the story, or nothing at all behind it.

The band’s music is both similar to, and markedly different from that of Godspeed. Trudeau and Amar play the same type of long, mournful, extremely patient string scores, and there are numerous tape tracks featuring real-life spoken words and various sounds throughout. But the songs do not fit the Godspeed paradigm of build- build-build-crescendo-meander; instead, these tracks just seem to set a mood and pretty much stick with it for the duration of the composition. The songs are much shorter as well. Menuck also sings on most of the tracks, something almost unheard of on a Godspeed record.

And probably just as well, since the guy is no Frank Sinatra when it comes to carrying a tune. In some ways he reminds me more of a subdued Jello Biafra, although quite a bit more abstract in his lyrics.

The original vinyl apparently grouped all the tracks into just two compositions, but the CD version breaks these down further into eight songs, although most of them overlap each other and you can’t really follow along based on the liner notes, which like many Constellation records are not very accurate when it comes to titles and song lengths.

No matter, as there isn’t really a lot of variation here anyway. This album really seems more like mood music to me, as opposed to Godspeed records that pretty much demand undivided attention from the listener. The first track “Broken Chord Can Sing a Little” is probably the strongest with its stark piano, Trudeau’s lone violin, and a truly depressing bass. The garbled voice in the background slowly takes shape over the length of the song, emerging finally as the somber ranting of a radio preacher warning of the coming destruction, and warning vigilance on the part of believers. The same voice transitions into “Sit In The Middle of Three Galloping Dogs”, which except for the noticeable addition of Menuck’s guitar is quite similar to the first track. This is really depressing music, but as usual Trudeau’s violin is intoxicating. I suspect that is one morbid woman, either that or she has made a habit of studying horror movie soundtracks for inspiration. This one has something of a climax just before the ending, but nothing as striking as most Godspeed works.

The same violin riff carries into “Stumble Then Rise on Some Awkward Morning”. This track manages to sound quite beautiful despite the somber violin, with the bass, piano and guitar all harmonizing well through the finale.

“Movie (Never Made)” starts off with a bit of percussion and Menuck’s vocals, which can best be described as creepy. I’m not exactly sure what he’s rambling about, but there are references to tear-gas, fear, sh!t, and dismay, so it can’t be good. In a way this reminds me of the mellow passages from “Your Possible Pasts” from Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut, only slightly off-key.

“13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round The Side of Your Bed” is pure mellow throughout, and sounds like some of the lighter new-age music of the early 90s. This one just kind of peters out for no real apparent reason.

The second half of the record is much weaker, with the only notable track being the last – the dog requiem “For Wanda”. And this sounds like a requiem, with bell-like organ and piano, and a variation on the violin composition that flows through the whole album. At some point toward the end the band’s music pretty much fades out, and we’re left listening to what sounds like a very old music-box tune. An appropriately somber send-off for a dog if I’ve ever heard one.

This is a pretty good album. The strings are quite beautiful, even if they are almost uniformly depressing. Menuck could have spared us the vocals, but all-in-all the sound comes off as sincere and as something the band took quite seriously. The problem here is that there isn’t enough variety to carry the entire forty-plus minutes, and the scores that are here aren’t inspiring enough to stand without some additional help.

I think this is a good record, but it’s not great, and probably will be forgotten rather soon when people look back on what were the better albums of the year that started this new century. Three stars feel right – good, but I wouldn’t go out of your way unless you are a real fan of post-rock music.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#88972) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 04, 2006

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Don't listen to that one if you're thinkong of suicide - you'll probably commit one!

Even more darker and gloomier than everything GYBE ever did, ASMZ's album is awesome. Yes, it lacks focus and intensity, but they're not the main features Post-Rock is proud of. Long subtle pieces filled with piano and string sounds carry you further than UNIVERS ZERO's "Heresie" can! Atmospheric and melancholic, "He has left us alone..." has everything I searched for in Post-Rock.It's one of my favouritest albums despite the fact that I listen to it rather rarely (guess why). Recommended

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#114293) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 05, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album rarely gets out of first gear as it slowly plods along with violin leading the way. This is a sad record for the most part although there are shafts of light that shine through once in a while mostly on "13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round The Side Of Your Bed". This particular song reminded me of SIGUR ROS and has an uplifting section.

The opening track "Broken Chord Can Sing A Little" slowly moves along with piano as we get a sample of a man preaching. Violin comes in as we then get another sample of a different man preaching. It's cool the way the two men are both speaking their message at the same time. The way the band made these messages sort of mesh together is brilliant. My favourite track is "Sit In The Middle Of Three Galloping Dogs" as we get more of a melody of drums and violin. 3 minutes in the drums get heavier and the violin gets more aggressive. Nice.

"Stumble Then Rise On Some Awkward Morning" features mournful violin melodies and slowly played piano in the background. Upright bass is added as the tempo picks up a little. "Movie (Never Made)" is a song with vocals and they really remind me of Neil Young. Piano and violin after 3 minutes. "Blown-Out Joy From Heaven's Mercied Hole" opens with vocals that are almost whispered. Violin then leads the way in this slow paced song as piano comes in late. "For Wanda" is such a sad song with piano and violin. The organ is a nice touch as well.

Those who are into latter day TALK TALK or NO-MAN should enjoy this recording especially if they like Post-Rock music. This record did take on greater meaning for me when I read what ClemofNazareth wrote concerning the album's title and the song "For Wanda". One of the band members' dog named Wanda passed away when this was being recorded. As an animal lover and also one who lost a dog many years ago this makes this record even more emotional than it already was. There is a picture of Wanda in the liner notes.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#129548) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 2000 starts, solidly, the A Silver Mt. Zion experience, an ensemble that varies as musicians and even as name, still insists of a lonely great, deep, penetrating and sometimes over the top style of music. This project definitely roasted a few years before, since it's the msot visible and most underline side-project born from the series of post-rock, dark rock and art rock from the inspiration wave that is Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The fact the Godspeeds themselves create their most amazing and powerful album in 2000, after which they create few more long experiments then fall in silence, tells a lot about the relation with Silver Mt. Zion, which is justifiably a band continuing the great style; sometimes, it is even blacker at spirit, more darker and pessimistic or more tumultuous and (theatrically) nerving.

Their first album, He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms (there couldn't be a more proper, hard-experimental and far from simple title; from here on to the musical material there's only a small step...), is not a "debut", it is a full and saturated album - and it among the shining ones, even if it's interesting how the band evolves later on. The shine of this album regards, beyond everything else, the toughness, exhibitionism-touched excitement of art music, covering you, overwhelming you (in smaller ways that imagined, true), itching you or making you flake out. He Has Left Us Alone... is maybe an album that doesn't deserve its entire flame of four stars, yet it has a beauty of grunting force, it is of a heavy and successful art, it oscillates between the perturbing and the passive, between the shouting and the sensible, it impresses long enough, not being at all typical, nor too mellow in its abstract dooming.

He Has Left Us Alone... gathers all of Silver Mt. Zion's main elements - some of them being very good, very touching. Such elements are the core of the music, realizing full contrasts of temperament or drama, dark poetry or heavy operatic language, rock dynamic or sound lusciousness. Music itself is between theatrical, emotional and cynical. Silver Mt. Zion is genuinely the smaller ensemble of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, using the same kind of post-rock build exhausting gauge, dark/raw imagination and protesting/apostrophizing outbreak - the style is close pigmented to F#a# Infinity, by its sadness and its colorless tensions; some moments are even similar to some minimal themes from the distinct 1997 masterpiece. On the other hand, this fusion itself goes rather abstract, more inordinate. Individually, the "actors" are themselves the same neurotic players, within a difficult game of musical styles and illusions: Trudeau having the same flawless charisma, Efrim being an "interesting" singer.

As every time (keeping in mind both Godspeed and Silver Mt. Zion's further consacred moments), music is a combination of messages, lyrical or abstract influences and artistic dense thoughts. The messages, themselves, can be and can be not understood, still they are a pillar of expression and releasing, heaving the scandal or the weep, the poetry or the raw narration. The music, torn between rock, alternative, expression experimental and dark sound, it fertilized in improvised or mischievous colors, in pessimism or hurtful feelings, in empathies or apathies. The music of Silver Mt. Zion, for any fan, is full of mystery, nightmare and illusion, forming, at least, a dark, experimental, ironic or intense composition. Finally, the art of this moment is the art of a freely pointed expression and the art of intrinsic, unusual, animus rock, sounding so imposing and "harmonious". He Has Left Us Alone... has you going through feelings, shivers, dizzinesses and negative passion - and with all this, the album is "just" terrifically composed, having the pure potency of the revolted artists from Silver Mt. Zion.

Four stars. Silver Mt. Zion is a special and difficult, profound and perfidious band.

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Send comments to Ricochet (BETA) | Report this review (#142145) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars I understand that it's artist's decision to choose proper name to album. Sometimes connected with something in lyrics (Dark Side of the Moon), or have name as one of tracks (Selling England By the Pound), or has nothing to do with lyrics at all (Abbey Road). But I don't like this name. Maybe someone can see it as an expression, as some kind of self- presentation and thing that simply belongs to post-rock. Well, therefore why to do expected thing, naming album with long names, when it's usual ?

But this doesn't matter much (at least as far as concerning the final rating), I just don't like it. Well, first tracks (I don't wanna repeat these names, they're too long for me) is intro I suppose. This, I can appreciate. Long, melancholic, with sad piano track. What one of you said, suicide tendencies will be amplified by this ? Definitely, this isn't joy bringer, this is album appropriate for thinking about life (but not about if your life is worthy living), thinking about things you've done (but not blaming yourself for your mistakes and bad deeds). One thing I like here, but especially here. More prominent use of strings (more than GYBE). And second one is that there's not typical pattern of calm start, graduating, growing, getting stronger and then burst of sounds, which surely wakes up your neighbors. This is more like my ideal of post-rock. Not that this don't have faster moments, but does them in its own way, not in a many times walked way style. But truth is that album is mostly calm.

4(-) for great atmosphere and different point of view on post-rock, which can be unfortunately boring at times.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#239737) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars 01. Broken Chord Can Sing A Little

The band has echoes of PINK FLOYD, has a strong melody and is totally hypnotic. The piano is strong and has an interesting sound. At 4th minute a lot of sounds and words, like a conversation of pilots in airplanes. That's when Sophie's violin comes into play. The discourse around the scene is followed by the end of the track.

02. Sit In The Middle Of Three Galloping Dogs

Soon we see the monologue again. And enter the drums in the pace (but I do not know who plays it, since they are not credidatas, can't say if it's a programming drum). The violins lined up almost form a small hypnotic orchestra. A great tune!

03. Stumble Then Rise On Some Awkward Morning

The songs stand out as all in one, considering the great melodies of the violin. Totally classic in their sound, almost a small orchestra.

04. Movie (Never Made)

For the first time Efrim's vocals appear, and they are suffered, very suffered, full of emotion. And the acoustic bass from Thierry is very cool, gives a raw sound to the track.

05. 13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round The Side Of Your Bed

The 13 angels of the title are demonstrated by several voices, the band's sound is amazing, a calm, a beautiful sound, really beautiful. They actually managed to made the name of the track sings it The 7 minutes of the song compose a calm and pretty song.

06. Long March Rocket Or Doomed Airliner

What Should it be? (laughs)

07. Blown-Out Joy From Heaven's Mercied Hole

A striking bass riff and rhythmic cadence, fixed and hypnotic. The band built a song totally 'space', an escape to the senses. Or almost. Long and very quiet, the band is brilliant in its construction.

08. For Wanda This so-called Post Rock they play must be digested slowly, it is a peaceful sound of forms and layers of peace and beauty.

In fact, it's a 4.5

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#258337) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review by zravkapt
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.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#429959) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This Godspeed You Black Emperor side-project was meant to be a one-off - Efraim wanted to make a piece of music in memory of his beloved dog Wanda, who had died whilst he was away on tour with Godspeed, it developed into this album. As it was, the Silver Mt. Zion project would turn out in the coming years to greatly outstrip its parent band in terms of productivity.

Perhaps it's no surprise - the debut Silver Mt. Zion album is a post-rock classic which ranks above all but the very best Godspeed releases. Taking the same fragile found audio aesthetic at Godspeed and adding another layer of emotional rawness and tenderness - plus some very effective and haunting vocal performances - the band produce an album which sounds like it was recovered from the wreckage of a dead and burned-out planet. A haunting, stripped-down emotional trip, and a post-rock classic.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#637462) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Definitely, one of my top favorite post rock albums. A Silver Mt. Zion, formed by members of Godspeed You Black Emperor, started with the right foot with 'He Has Left Us Alone..." which to me sounds like rendering music to movies, but those kind of underground movies with a dramatic and melanc ... (read more)

Report this review (#1034536) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Saturday, September 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars what to say about this album? or this band for that matter. shares members current or ex with gs!be and a label and makes music partialy similar. this album itself thought by many to be their best, very well is. Although i personally prefer gs!be i have to give this album 5 stars because of its ... (read more)

Report this review (#161917) | Posted by shentile | Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A LEARNING TO FLY SESSION This is maybe one of the most underrated albums in the history of Progressive Music: almost unknown in the Prog scene, A Silver Mt. Zion has this awesome debut album when all those lineal Post-Rock bands were in sight by everyone. Contrasting to some bands of the g ... (read more)

Report this review (#120765) | Posted by MadcapLaughs84 | Friday, May 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A Constellation label artist from Montrael, A Silver Mt. Zion started with this hypnotic album mourning the loss of Efrim's dog. A rather melancholic album, this reaches nearly a complete consistent tone of sadness. The entire album has a soft touch, especially in comparison to Godspeed You Bla ... (read more)

Report this review (#44163) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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