Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie has two key foci, which he returns to repeatedly with remarkable success. The first is noise (any casual fan can confirm that he’s a maestro), and the other is landscape. Geography. Elverum makes no secret of his interest in space and shape, as many of his songs — not to mention his albums — are titled after features of the land and sea. Even the method he uses to move through his oeuvre is thus organized: from album to album or song to song, he’ll frequently revisit those spots or features he’s shown to us before, as if they were favorite perches or old haunts. See song “The Glow,” which lent its name to the brilliant and storied album The Glow Pt. 2; see The Microphones’ album Mount Eerie, which evolved into the band Mount Eerie; see “Through the Trees” on Mount Eerie’s 2009 album Wind’s Poem, which was reprised as “Through the Trees Pt. 2” on Clear Moon (TMT Review) earlier this year. Just as the world is full of terrain that we revisit under different weathers and different moods, under different skies and different stars, the places on Elverum’s musical map are to be passed through again and again, to varying effects.
This said, Elverum’s music has done much to empower the concept of The Album, as his own albums are journeys, nearly as spatial as they are sonic. Each leg seems unreachable without the trek that came immediately prior. So in listening to this, the title track of upcoming album Ocean Roar, note that this is the album’s second track. Trust me when I tell you that the real ROAR cited in this title appears in the song preceding. It’s an incredibly inventive maneuver: the song you’re hearing now isn’t the ocean roar itself, but the wake of it, the memorialization of it. You can hear proof in the remnants of that previous song as this one begins: that descending, drowning, winding-down of pitches.
Alas, you may have to wait until the album’s drop in September to hear/see the two track suite in full panorama. For now, you’re looking at the shore while the ocean’s still hidden behind a veil of fog. It’s soothing, yes, but believe me: it’s nothing like the full effect of the plunge.
Ocean’s Roar will be out from P.W. Elverum and Sun in September (but you can order the vinyl now!).
• P.W. Elverum and Sun: www.pwelverumandsun.com
a i r s p o r t s
a i r s p o r t s [album stream]
Although it might be a bit late to start working on that beach bod, AMDISCS contends that it’s not too late to hit the gym to start working off that Slurpee belly by releasing an energetic and fresh record from a i r s p o r t s. Formerly known as dreamsvrfer, Oregon-based a i r s p o r t s’ self-titled album is described as “balanced bright beats and acid absorbed reflection of your future exercise apparel” and truly can be quite a workout if you let it really make you dance. Stream it right here, and download over there.
Transcendation Activation: The Love Amplification Channel [album stream]
By far, the weirdest shit for which I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession this year is music by a dude named Jesse Rakusin, who lives in L.A. and records and performs under the moniker “Awaken!” (exclamation point absolutely included). I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to me that this stuff exists, but then again, maybe the blues are making some kind of a big comeback… in the form of oddly out-of-tune strumming, off-tempo drum accompaniments, over-the-top Morrison-esque baritone, and some hilariously radical guitar soloing. In all seriousness, though, Awaken! really can stray into cheek-biting territory, so prepare yourself, yeah, but hang in there. For the passion, the honesty, and the sincerity — that’d be enough to keep you coming back even without the sweet cosmic collage art that accompanies the CDs.
• Awaken!: http://awakeninadream.com
“Blue and Amber Light”
Last week, we premiered a track from Forgotten Light, a.k.a. Leonce Nelson, co-founder of new tape label Hexagon. Today, we’re premiering another Hexagon track, this time from Datavis, a.k.a. Will Burnett of INTERNET CLUB and the label’s other founder. Both tracks are certainly serene, but Datavis’ “Blue and Amber Light” has a linear, forward momentum to it, with Burnett foregoing the samples that informed his earlier work (and his work as INTERNET CLUB) and now adopting a synth/tape-deck combo. It’s 22 minutes of foggy drone, suffocated ambience, and blanketed tones evincing a slow-motion, quiet descent to nowhere in particular. Which is how it should be. Check it out here:
“Blue and Amber Light” is off Distant Space, available now on cassette through Hexagon. Be sure to also listen to Datavis’ split with Forgotten Light, also on Hexagon, and stay tuned for more music from the label, including a release by Tanning Salon (Vektroid, Macintosh Plus, 情報デスクVIRTUAL) and a split between Forgotten Light and yet another Burnett project, ECCO UNLIMITED (who already released a fantastic album this year). Exciting!
“From Fallen Eyes”
Production quality is a weird thing. Some bands use it to draw links between the music they want to make and their decades-old influences. Some bands, financially speaking, have no choice but to record at a lower fidelity. And some bands use production quality as an effect, a conscious dynamic, an instrument in itself.
The production quality in “From Fallen Eyes,” the new track from London duo Youthfall, is like the Flatten Image option in Photoshop; it flattens all of the various layers into one, unified piece — in this case, wrapping all the layers of instrumentation in the same haze and pressing it down into one cloud-covered wall of sound. That overused term “dream pop” has never sounded so fitting.
Check it out below. It’s really quite pretty.
• Youthfall: http://soundcloud.com/youthfall
“Outer blues,” huh? Down. Nashville’s Ttotals (best band name ever?) is a duo that has been killing this scene of outer bluesmen for some time now (at least since 2009, when their Myspace was created… sigh, 2009…), not that I know exactly what that means or that many have known a damn thing about it. I guess it has something to do with a live tape on No Kings and a 3-inch on Kim Dawn, probably. (Oh, and there was a self-released LP on yellow vinyl, too.) Anyway, hopefully the release of a solid 10-inch record will change things. Check out this heavy sample from the forthcoming slab of wax, Silver on Black, with its super drowsy, brooding blues, some helicopter blade guitar delay, mile-deep drum tones, and some vintage Spaceman 3 spaciousness.
• Ttotals: http://ttotals.blogspot.com