Mount Eerie, Wind's Poem

Anthony Mark Happel

Mount Eerie, Wind's Poem [P.W. Elverum & Sun]

Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum is unpredictable, if he’s anything, as evidenced by the first two Mount Eerie records, and his approach with this one. For this project Phil “spent almost two years out behind the house, at the edge of the woods, listening to the night…” He explores the small universe contained in the sorta sludgy, pea soup thick mélange of midrange synth noises that carry much of this album, and therein lies the hidden subtext of the album.

He pays tribute to the bizarre brilliance of David Lynch, and the music of Twin Peaks, as well as the heavier side of ambient-noise, but, along the way, he also apparently exorcizes some inner songwriting demons, and he emerges as a genuine contender on the other end. The musical mood is consistently morose, but that’s only on a prima facie level. In fact, other than “Through TheTrees,” the eleven and a half minute-long epic tone poem, with its extended waves of dark keyboard sounds, the songs on Wind’s Poem possess a refined, almost hopeful resolve to keep moving, through the air, through the trees, through the night.

“My Heart Is Not At Peace” sounds far away, with muted vocals, like a long, lost Will Oldham track. “the Hidden Stone” (sic) is amped-up, but sensitive, noise with cymbal crashes landing on top of sustained bass lines and wriggly guitar. “Between Two Mysteries” finds itself trapped in a loping rhythm that then produces a quasi-tuneful performance that shares atoms with Bon Iver and a grumpy Sufjan Stevens, and it’s the closes he comes to embracing the adult-alternative crowd.

“Lost Wisdom pt. 2” gets more atonal and abstract, and pulls back from the abyss of accessibility. It’s like a Robert Poss/Glenn Branca guitar exercise, and it actually does seem to connect with Poss’s Band Of Susans in its own eerie way. The last song, “Stone’s Ode” is probably the most straightforward of all, with an early 70s melodic structure that stands out among the din.

On first encounter, this recording does present a discomfiting problem. After a few spins it starts to reveal itself as a squirmy and challenging mini-masterwork of sorts. This is a record one can go back to again and again, no matter what the prevailing mood, and it will continue to suck you in. Note: The LP version is a two-record clear vinyl set in a gatefold cover, with bronze foil stamping and lyric sheet. Mount Eerie will be touring as a full band all over the U.S. during autumn 2009, appropriately enough.

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