Step Right Up: Mount Eerie
Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry
Mount Eerie is the moniker for Phil Elverum whose poignant lo-fi songcraft and immersive sonic landscapes transports you to a distant, unknowable shore. Phil Elverum used to record as The Microphones and already has several albums under his belt in the guise of Mount Eerie.
This year sees Elverum’s Mount Eerie project release two albums, ‘Clear Moon’ and (soon to be released) ‘Ocean Roar’. The essence of ‘Clear Moon’ can be distilled in the lyrics of the album opener ‘Through The Trees Pt. 2’. ‘I meant all my songs/not as a picture of the woods/but just to remind myself/that I briefly live.’ Elverum’s music deals with the special sense of place, belonging, nature, home and the undeniable beauty therein. Elverum’s attention to detail of all life’s beauty and wonder is utterly transfixing; the “natural world”, breathing sky, trees on the ridge, the moon in the sky at noon, branches in the wind, the fog on the hill. The ambient soundscapes, meditative folk and hushed tones and textures create the perfect soundtrack to Elverum’s nostalgic memories drifting through nature. The experimental folk songs on ‘Clear Moon’ are haunting and beautiful in equal measure. ‘Through The Trees Pt. 2’ acts as the album’s prologue where Elverum sings ‘Misunderstood and disillusioned/I go on describing the place/and the way it feels to live and die.’
‘Clear Moon’ breathes life’s ebb and flow amidst delicate, beautiful soundscapes. Elverum lives in a small town of Anacortes in Washington where his music is inspired by the ‘slowed-down attention’ to the particular place. It is this precise ‘slowed-down attention’ that is evident across the entire album, creating a deeply evocative and endearing journey. ‘The Place I Live’ is a breathtaking hymn-like ode to Anacortes and the place where he lives. Brooding synthesizers and guiding drum beats drifts by before gorgeous backing female vocals appear on the horizon. ‘If I look or if I don’t look/clouds are always passing over the place I live’ are the track’s first words, whispered by Elverum over a spellbinding ambient soundscape. ‘Clear Moon’ is a collection of Elverum’s thoughts drifted in memories, ‘cold and clear’.
‘Clear Moon’ is out now on P.W. Elverum & Sun. ‘Ocean Roar’ available September.