Monday, 18 February 2008

Review - Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons

How do you review an album that is so unusual it sounds like nothing you have heard or experienced in your life? I have to admit at this point that whilst I have already mentioned that I have listened to Godspeed You! Black Emperor plus loads of thier contemporaries, I have not yet delved into the rather wild and intricate list of bands that were born out of the disappearance of Godspeed from the overall landscape. Their impact has been impressive, at least on me, but in the genre all round. So here, I picked up the lead over an album that when I looked online was not out yet - so sourcing a copy of it might have been a little dodgy.

So, this "band" are made up of Efrim Menuck plus six others (including Thierry Amar, Sophie Trudeau and Jessica Moss, the former two being members of Gospeed), is my first taste of Post-Godspeed music from them. This album starts out obtuse from the first play. It is almost like a shout out, a protest, at the MP3 generation, the album starts with a longish intro, but each part of the intro is split over 12 tracks, each 7 seconds long. It gives a mysticl and worrying start to a record that I was still feeling apprehensive towards - would it ruin my enthusiasm for a genre that literaly is about doing things differently?

Cataclysm-avoiding, this record is unusual, amazing, and at times absolutley startling. It takes your breath away at points, but it is one of the those records that is so different from anything else I listen to it might be hard for me to decribe it further without being pretentious and sounding like I have lost the vocabulary to write pieces about music.

The obtuse intro removes us from the comfort zone of a record we expect, and the album slowly places back into that comfort induced zone, but while laying us, tucking us back into bed, it whispers in our ear "Things will never be the same again" and you fall asleep, listening to same music, the chords, the structures, and the lyrics that mean nothing, but your dreams will be filled with bleak dark ladscapes and worrysome men, talking about the problems and the world ending. But in this nightmare that you will have there is hope. Hope that one day the world will leave this dark place, and in this hope, this album lies.

Morbid but uplifting, 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons is a triumph, though what kind of triumph, I might still be working out.


UPDATE: This, one of three pieces from the album starts slowly, before building to the climax that you can expect from an Arcade Fire track - it feels what Araced Fire would feel like if the world ended.
1'000'000 Died to Make This Sound


Colin Brown said...

Sounds interesting, have you got any songs to sample?

Mark Shields said...

Good idea - I'll upload the first song from the album, but the 13th track, 100000 People Had to Die to Make This Sound. I'll edit the post once it is ready.