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mount eerie - Wind's Poem
This latest album from Phil Elverum is of epic proportions, clocking in at over an hour (with three bonus tracks exclusive to this Tomlab edition) and taking on a fragmented array of stylistic approaches that covers the Microphones man's dabblings with introspective post-folk, searing black metal and drone-based sound-sculpting. Actually, I'd like to withdraw the word 'dabblings', because that suggests Elverum is neither one thing nor another, and in truth he's in complete command of the various arrangement strategies at his disposal, and the result is an intensively atmospheric voyage inwards. On the speaker-shaking overture of 'Wind's Dark Poem' Elverum channels the monolithic guitar sound of SunnO))), burying his vocals deep beneath the sonic rubble before emerging into a more serene environs for 'Through The Trees' - a drifting landscape of droning chords, with a beautifully hushed vocal at its heart. These first two tracks make for a bold and memorable opening quarter-hour, but the record continues to expand into ever more impressive regions with 'My Heart Is Not At Peace', an exposed and pensive piece of rustic doom that underlines the quality of Elverum's songwriting when it's at its most skeletal and sombre. Similarly, there's a bit of an I See A Darkness quality to 'Stone's Ode' towards the end of the album, reaffirming that when his voice emerges from the more feverish arrangements of elsewhere, Elverum's capable of producing haunting work with the quietest and most subtle of tools. Another talking point, 'Between Two Mysteries' comes nestled in the centre of the record, directly referencing Twin Peaks, both in the lyrics and in its invocation of Badalamenti's synth theme towards the end of the piece. It's another inspired arrangement all round, combining a deft marimba boogie with shadowy vocal harmonies. It's the scope of the man's ideas that really sets him apart from his peers, and perhaps more than on any other album in his catalogue, Wind's Poem presents Elverum as a musical auteur; this record is a vast undertaking in terms of production and arrangement, yet throughout it still feels like he's right next to you, whispering in your ear.