Plumbiferous Media

Wind’s Poem – Mount Eerie

Aug 23rd 2009
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Wind's Poem - Mount EerieMount Eerie
Wind's Poem
Score: 100

Mount Eerie is led by Phil Elverum and follows directly from his previous group, The Microphones. By combining indie and folk with lo-fi aesthetics, as well as substantial influence from metal and noise music, Elverum has created a wholly new sort of musical experience. It is this experience that has defined his work with Mount Eerie, including the group’s newest album, Wind’s Poem – an absolutely amazing example of all of the sorts of music it represents, and a fundamentally excellent album.

The genius of Wind’s Poem‘s design is Mount Eerie’s use of instruments to create a true shape and mood throughout the album. “Wind’s Dark Poem” begins the album with an amorphous mass of sound, but through subtle changes, the sound is forced into an incredible shape that occasionally lets strains of melody show through. Track three, “My Heart Is Not at Peace” is the first to allow melodies to fully appear, creating a beautiful track and an excellent contrast to the previous two. The next track then changes the sound altogether, returning to one more closely resembling the opening track, while still remaining connected to the melodic development of the album by using similar strains of melodies as with “My Heart Is Not at Peace.” Through all of Wind’s Poem, Elverum uses any and every unconventional technique from complete absence of macro-rhythm to harmonic imprecision seamlessly within the sound he creates, adding perfectly to the music that never requires it, but always benefits from it.

And even when the album turns towards convention (and increased activity) in “Between Two Mysteries” and “Ancient Questions,” the tracks lose no amount of quality – only, on some level, a certain amount of ingenuity that kept the album engaging through the earlier, more lethargic tracks. Finally, Wind’s Poem concludes with “Stone’s Ode,” which manages to synthesize the entire album into a single track while still remaining perfectly unique. From start to finish, Wind’s Poem is musically beautiful, as powerful as the track’s subjects, and immensely creative.

Phil Elverum’s voice enters Wind’s Poem at an almost unfathomable depth, crushed under the weight of a sheet of sound but still somehow possessing an incredible presence – a beautifully melded tone beneath the music. Elverum’s simple vocals slowly melt into and through the thick static of “Wind’s Dark Poem,” creating an experience that is wholly different than any of the elements creating it. As the listener focuses on Elverum’s muted, ghostly tones, the level of detail present in every part of Wind’s Poem becomes incredibly clear. Wind’s Poem is not a single-layered album, nor is it a double- or triple- layered one: it is composed of a vast number of constantly shifting layers through which Elverum’s voice slips, alternately combining with and separating from the resonance of the music.

As is immediately clear from the track titles of Wind’s Poem, the album is built upon a great deal of symbolism as well as a certain connection to nature, which manifests itself not only in the manner in which much of the sound of Wind’s Poem has an obvious natural influence, but in the tales Elverum tells throughout the album. Tracks such as “The Mouth of Sky” and “Wind Speaks” display this directly, as Elverum’s words combine with the soaring music to create a feeling quite strongly related to the band’s titular Mount Eerie. On other tracks, Elverum draws these connections more directly through his lyrics, as on “Between Two Mysteries,” where he sings “The town rests in the valley between twin peaks / Buried in space / What goes on up there at night? / In that dark blurry place,” creating a dark but colorful image of towering mountain peaks. Whatever the method, Elverum never fails to create intensely engaging imagery, expertly placing the listener among his intricate images.

On Wind’s Poem, Phil Elverum not only creates twelve musical, lyrically enchanting tracks, but merges the lyrics perfectly into the music, reflecting in the instrumentals as well as the vocals the elements he describes. And not only has Elverum recorded twelve excellent tracks, but he has recorded an album. Each track links, whether subtly, or through complete opposition, to the next – melodically, harmonically, and thematically. Wind’s Poem is nothing short of perfect.

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