Mount Eerie - 'Clear Moon'By Arnie Carbon
- Through The Treet Pt. II
- the Place Lives
- the Place I Live
- Lone Bell
- House Shape
- Over Dark Water
- Clear Moon
- Yawning Sky
Nature is so fucked up, you guys. Nature is cruel and merciless, and will kill you and all your friends and then laugh about it, using your corpse as fertilizer to grow wildflowers. As human beings, we trick ourselves into taking nature for granted, taming it by building cities and shooting rockets into clouds to keep them from raining, digging minerals out of the earth. It’s sort of the penultimate subject. You can always find something to say about Nature, and whether it’s new or not, it’s always right. Anything you can say about nature is true, so why bother even trying?
Mount Eerie a.k.a. The Microphones a.k.a. Phil Elvrum/Elverum has always found new ways to make loud, epic music about the minutiae of physical life on Earth. He never sings above a modified whisper, but his guitars ring forcefully. The image is one of a tiny lost little boy fighting against the fury of the elements. His new album, Clear Moon, is, at least thematically, a retread: it’s about the Moon, the forest, cycles of life and death. I don’t mean to say that it’s not compelling or worth listening to—it is. Elvrum has found his milieu at the foot of a mountain, with guitar in hand. He is in his element when he is charting and braving the elements.
What is new on this record is the use of sheer white noise. It sounds like a storm, or what the sounds of the stratosphere must sound like. It moves almost into the overwhelming, skull-crushing drone territory of the last couple SWANS records. It’s huge-sounding. It bears remembering that Elvrum’s first instrument was the drums. He knows about rhythm and about scale. The whole trip is about contrast; big and small, quiet and loud. It’s sweet and sad and resigned. Elvrum charts the constellations one moment, in a sweet soft voice, and in the next moment knocks you to the ground by reminding you of the crushing force of gravity. He’s sort of a hippie, but without the political or urban social aspects. You can imagine a future generation of musicians seeing Elvrum as a kind of spirit guide. Elvrum is turned on and tuned in, but he will not drop out.
“House Shape,” the banger of the bunch, sounds like Stereolab robo-tripping through the woods. A slow, lurching, heavy nighttime rocker. It’s here that he reminds you what you like about Mount Eerie, what you loved about The Microphones. It’s not about always finding a new sound, a new drug, a new chemical. We might already have the answers we need all around us. It reminds you of what it’s like to run around in the woods: you have to know where you’re going. It’s a mistake to think you’re in familiar territory. You could get lost and eaten by a bear. The new Mount Eerie record forces you to pay attention.
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