(P.W. Elverum and Son)
A gorgeous hush in the midst of monumental turmoil,
tranquility in a hurricane, Phil Elverum’s Mount Eerie has always had a knack
for evoking nature’s harshest and most beautiful elements, often at the same
time. Clear Moon, one of two Mount Eerie
albums set for release this year, is said to be clearer, cleaner, less
tumultuous than its sibling Oceans Roar (coming in September). Yet there’s
plenty of heft in these nocturnal musings.
heaves and crests like night-time surf roar, sheets of tremulous organ tone
raining down over rumbling, muttering layers of guitar and bass. The quiet
element, here as always, even in the 2009 black metal experiment, Wind’s Poem, is the voice. Elverum is
fragile, restrained, luminous even in the midst of pulsing, quavering, masses
of sound. He sounds, on “Water’s Edge”, like he’s praying (or perhaps drowning),
modal Gregorian chants floating over the frayed blare of feedback. Later,
against the quieter, organ-and-horns drone of “Yawning Sky”, he has the stolid
certainty of a man crawling from a shipwreck onto a sunny shore. There’s an
interplay between concrete, natural detail and overloaded spiritual craving, in
songs that start in matter-of-fact observation and end in clashing, climaxing
Moon is altogether wonderful, its subdued moments echoing the purity of Elverum’s Lost Wisdom, its wilder ones raising the
fuzz-bound spectres of Wind’s Poem.
This is a rain-soaked, wind-buffeted pagan orgy of sound with intervals of
serenity, and one of Elverum’s best ever.
Sky,” “Lone Bell”
“Clear Moon” JENNIFER KELLY