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Mount Eerie - Clear Moon (PW Elverum & Sun)

8 August 2012

Phil Elverum has been making interesting, unique music for nearly twenty years, but in recent years, he’s refined the prolific nature of his early years—used to be a ton of Microphones releases, it seems—in favor of nuanced, polished records that are most definitely not deserving of the “lo-fi” tag often associated with his earlier work. Clear Moon, his most recent Mount Eerie record is the first of two Mount Eerie releases to come out in 2012, and is a dark, detailed record that earns the adjective “epic.” It also deserves the adjective “unclassifiable,” because what Elverum has done is make a record that flows as a sound, as opposed to song. Opening number “Through the Trees pt 2” is a jazz-folk song, though his vocals are so hazy it almost feels as if they’re secondary to the whole feel. Indeed, that seems to be the case, as the vocals disappear over loud guitars, gentle pianos, and quiet drones. Still, it is the overall ambiguity—both in lyrical content and in definitive genres—that makes Clear Moon such a rewarding listen, in spite of its numerous contradictions: It’s dark…but it’s not. It’s gentle…but it’s not. It’s heavy…but it’s not. It’s disturbing…but it’s not. What it is, on the whole, is a beautiful experience that defies expectations and simply asks you to let it envelop you as it whets your appetite for the second volume, Ocean Roar, due this fall.