Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum has remained an ever-engaging artist. As The Microphones he sculpted The Glow pt.2; as Mount Eerie (anything after 2004) I still reach for 2008′s Lost Wisdom.
Clear Moon is the first of two records Elverum will be releasing this year. It houses a set of tracks that breathe a deep ambience and hone a singular message, albeit delivered in various forms. The setting here is an old cathedral come new studio. The acoustics reverberate, as does the atmosphere.
Elverum utilises his analogue equipment to give body to this record. The fifteen months in the cathedral studio can be heard in the echoes, the creaks and the album’s own personal journey. There are the crystal-folk narratives, like opener Through The Trees pt. 2; there are the zoning out rhythms heard within House Shape; then there is everything in-between.
The Place I Live is a small song lost in a universe of sound. It also happens to be an unbelievably affecting track, with its hummed whisper and drone-like surroundings.
The title track, and Over Dark Water too, has a hymnal quality, yet is as black and dramatic as anything on Wind’s Poem (2009). I prefer the clearer view from Elverum’s consciousness, but this feels like a cathartic necessity, as much as it is a track influenced by its place of origin.
The threat of collapse or over-bearing noise is often the place Elverum feels most comfortable, though it can make me a little restless. I struggle with Lone Bell’s over-crowded arrangement for instance. But my, or anyone else’s, frustrations won’t change the way this original musician works, and this is exactly why he is so original.