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Wind’s Poem

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Album Review

A title like Wind's Poem suggests fleeting delicacy, but there's far more to these songs than that. If this double-album sprawl really was a poem, it would be more epic than haiku, combining Phil Elverum's musings on erosion and mortality with sounds that touch on ambient black metal, field recordings, and David Lynch soundtracks. Elverum has been fascinated with these motifs for some time — "I Want Wind to Blow" and "You'll Be in the Air" are two of the finest songs on the Microphones' The Glow, Pt. 2, Mount Eerie was a meditation on death and spirituality, and Black Wooden Ceiling Opening documented his first flirtations with metal — but Wind's Poem is still some of the most impressive music Elverum has recorded under any of his aliases. The album captures the, well, eerie sounds of wind powering through the air like an emotion, spanning wistful breezes and raging three-day blows. The opening track, "Wind's Dark Poem," is definitely the latter, rushing at listeners with gale-force distortion far bigger and heavier than anything on previous Elverum albums. The tornado whipping around him feels more akin to Jesu, Sunn 0))), or even ambient noise artists like Xela, yet it's just as beautiful in its own intense way as his gentler songs are. It's an extreme way to begin Wind's Poem, especially because Mount Eerie's two prior albums, Lost Wisdom and Dawn, were almost painfully quiet. Not all of Wind's Poem is this furious, although many of its noisiest tracks are among its highlights. "The Hidden Stone" actually uses its sound and fury as a buffer, making it just as intimate as any of Elverum's whispery tracks; likewise, "Lost Wisdom, Pt. 2"'s hypnotic drones pull listeners into the eye of the song's storm. He balances these outbursts with moments that are equally gentle, most strikingly on "Through the Trees," an 11-minute outsider's lullaby so slow it would be maddening if its warmth and subtle textural shifts weren't so hypnotic. Elverum's production touches complete the unique atmosphere, ranging from the finely chopped cymbals that top "Summons"' guitar rumble to the layered depth that adds to "My Heart Is Not at Peace"'s funereal desolation. Wind's Poem's second half boasts some of its most exciting experiments. Aided by No Kids' Nick Krgovich, Elverum dives deeper into unusual pop than he has in some time, particularly on "Between Two Mysteries," which recasts the minor-key whoosh of "Laura Palmer's Theme" from Angelo Badalamenti's Twin Peaks soundtrack as the backdrop to gamelan-tinged percussion and sprightly guitars, and "Ancient Questions," the sparkling keyboards and guitars of which are like the clouds parting compared to some of the more blustery moments here. Wind's Poem strikes a balance between accessibility and ambition that offers something for every kind of Elverum fan, but never sacrifices its purpose in the process.

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Anacortes, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After the release of the Microphones' 2003 album, Mount Eerie, Washington state songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Phil Elverum took that title as the name of his subsequent project, which expanded on the searching feel of the Microphones' music. He founded the label P.W. Elverum and Sun Ltd., releasing a pair of CD-Rs, Seven New Songs of Mt. Eerie and Mt. Eerie Dances with Wolves/Wolf Mountain Howls in the World in 2004 before Mount Eerie's debut album, No Flashlight, became the label's first...
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Wind’s Poem, Mount Eerie
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