The diverse musical arc of Phil Elverum takes another slight detour on his latest 7″, yet at the heart of it he still holds true to the sound we have become so familiar with.
2012 is promising to be the year of Phil Elverum and his Mount Eerie project. This his second 7″ and another on the way as well as two full lengths (Clear Moon, Ocean Roar) due out soon, one of the most prolific indie musicians is back at it. His first 7″ of the year Distorted Cymbals didn’t strike me at first because of the jarring nature of the A side track but this 7″ showed promise of a return to shape.
To The Ground is very Mount Eerie/Microphones sounding, recorded at the beginning of his Clear Moon/Ocean Roar recording sessions Phil claims it to be nothing like the rest of the tracks he recorded. While we have seen several different sonic shifts from this project this is the first time (besides Distorted Cymbals which is in a league of its own) that Phil has used an array of electronic backdrops and put it together without the use of his trusty acoustic guitar and it pays off.
The title track A-side begins with synthesised bongo drums in an odd pattern and as Phil sings “It was all a dream” a wash of drum machines and a playful synth line fill the sound. Bouncing around until around the 1:20 mark when Phil finally sings again and the song starts to form a mold and it is distinctly Mount Eerie even though it sounds nothing like he has ever done. The turn in tones are sad yet his vocal line remains a vivid landscape unaffected by sonic change.
The B-side track “The Mouth of Sky” mimics a lot of the melody from To The Ground, with the use of midi string arrangements. It plays more as a compliment to the A-side, or a natural continuation of thought. Heavily processed vocals echoing the earthy words Phil has been known for, this piece is a great return to land so that you flip the record over and listen all over again.
This is a new fuller sounding Mount Eerie who is once again growing and morphing. A great sign of things to come with the year of Phil Elverum in full swing.
Score – 9.0/10