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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