Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Music and Ethics (or just an over reaction?)


Music and Ethics (or just a music elitist over reaction?)

Just as I was contemplating what I could write about next, I came across a headline on one of my frequented forums that read:

Silver Mt. Zion used for "Lost" commercial on ABC

In order for this to provoke any interest, it is necessary for one to be familiar with A Silver Mt.Zion (or officially: Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band ),or the band from which Mt. Zion was borne, the band Godspeed you! black emperor. The music in regard here can be classified as, that is if attempting at all, as an experimental post rock band with eerie employment of instruments, written though as if for an orchestra featuring distinguished vocals. Despite what the band sounds like, their ethics and political views seem to also be a dominant part of what they do. Both of the latter bands have expressed their adversity towards capitalism and commercialism by refusing to do interviews (even though one official interview was given), and not issueing any official band merch. Apart from not endorsing self promotion, Silver Mt. Zion also express their negative views on politics and hence the current crucial state of freedom in general. I guess it is valid to say that song titles such as “Take These Hands And Throw Them In The River” also elaborate these outspoken views…

So why does the act of the band allowing their song “Tho You Are Gone I Still Often Walk With You” off the album “Sparks Fly Upward” cause a slight uproar and sense of questioning amongst some of those who have followed Efrim Menucks releases from the start. If one has thrown a glance at the record sleeves of Godspeed and Silver Mt. Zion with their anti capitalist drawings and diagrams, their stance and views become evident. Yet, is allowing ABC to use a 20sec extract from one of their songs in order to promote a series which most of us watch religiously justifiably regarded as “selling out”, when a dozen of bands such as Coco Rosie, Muse, Of Montreal and even Minor Threat (yes, Ian Mackeye) gave companies an “okay”, when faced with the same opportunity?

No,I guess not.

Even though this caused me to slightly question the whole Godspeed and Mt.Zion discography (drama intended!), I suppose it is necessary to keep in mind that without any form of promotion, there will be no art to begin with. So yeah, let’s hope they have an extensive tour, and perhaps even manage to pay off some of the debt that must’ve been incurred when recording 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons which is to be released March, the 25th.So at least Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band did not sacrifice their actual music in any sense and got some kind of recognition, may it be in a series ad.

Okay…as this is only my blog and not a formal assignment or publication or whatever I am not going to list references etc.

Please go check out this link if you’re interested in seeing the ad:

Here is an article based on the topic, that was posted on

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