How an Old Silver Mt. Zion Song Tricked TikTok into Believing They Had Found Real Recordings of "Angel Sounds"
Published Jan 27, 2021TikTok has undoubtedly changed the way a new generation experiences music, and its rapid merging of high and low culture is creating some strange ripple effects. Take, for example, a moment last year where a decades-old post-rock song went viral as a recording of real "angel sounds."
When he's not performing in Godspeed You! Black Emperor or as a solo artist, Efrim Manuel Menuck's many side-projects include the orchestral rock outfit A Silver Mt. Zion (a.k.a. Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Thee Silver Mr. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band).
In the year 2000, the band released their stunning debut He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms… via Constellation Records. Arguably a highlight of the album was "13 Angels Standing Guard 'round the Side of Your Bed," which is built on a strange, ethereal vocal edit that builds with haunting violins.
The track was licensed for Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely, as well as an episode of Top Boy, but it's had an even stranger journey on TikTok. Last year, a snippet of the music was, for whatever reason, believed to be not an indie orchestral rock song recorded at Montreal's Hotel2Tango but instead a real recording of angels singing.
For a few weeks late last year, the song sountracked tens of thousands of TikTok videos as users shared creepy stories and offered up historical images of what artists believe angels look like. The admittedly creepy sounding sample, when isolated, caused Reddit users to question its validity on occult Reddit pages.
Even as TikTok users attempted to debunk the recording as a hoax, they didn't bother clicking through to the song and learning about Canada's rich avant-garde history via Constellation Records. Instead, many users claimed that it was a recording of a cat that had been slowed down to trick others into believing it was real angels. Naturally, someone also turned it into a trap song.
Dig into a compilation from the best of Silver Mt. Zion "angel sounds" TikTok below.