Mount Eerie: Clear Moon (P.W. Elverum & Sun) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Mount Eerie

Clear Moon

P.W. Elverum & Sun

May 22, 2012 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Here’s more plodding, plaintive, Pacific Northwest pabulum from Phil Elverum. This is the first of two full-lengths lined up to be released this year, both recorded in his new studio, a repurposed church in Anacortes, WA. Elverum specifically cites ambient Kraut soundtrack masters Popol Vuh and contemporary just-barely-black-metal auteur Nadja as influences, but it’s clear from the beginning that a favorite influence looms large: place.

Early on, “Through the Trees pt. 2” conflates Elverum’s northwestern landscape with his own mortality, and ponders our rather slight place in this behemoth natural world: “There’s no part of the world more meaningful/And raw impermanence echoes in the sky.”

That ominous feel determines much of the atmosphere here, as on “Lone Bell,” a quite wonderful, persistent two-chord drone dotted with saxophone accents and fluttering snare drums. “House Shape” reaches for the brainy obfuscation of This Heat’s Repeat, a motor-flavored beat pumping through different production treatments, eventually drifting into lilting shoegaze. “Over Dark Water” could not be more aptly named, a doom-metal drone featuring a gothic, dramatic siren from Geneviève Castrée (of Ô Paonone of two guest vocalists on the album, along with Allyson Foster of Hungry Cloud Darkening), before a crash of noise brings the song to an end upon the rocks.

Elverum’s explorations usually fall somewhere in between the folksy camping-trip harmonies and the heavier, distortion-soaked misanthropy of his northwest contemporaries, and they definitely lean toward the latter on this outing. Nature is a force to be reckoned with, not a campfireit’s a crashing wave, a strong wind blowing your door open, an omnipresent reality that courses through the music as much as Elverum’s own experimental streak. (

Author rating: 7/10

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