US - Washington - Full Moon 197 - 09/30/12
P.W. Elverum & Sun.
Ocean Roar is Phil Elverum's second go this year, following as a 'sister album' to Clear Moon, which I liked a lot. There's nothing like a
clear, full moon.
The 10 minute opener "Pale Lights" is a staggering piece of music which blends, say, Stereolab with My Bloody Valentine. Pop-kraut meets shoegaze. Amazing. The title track, "Ocean Roar?" is Elverum from his gentler side, with angel-like, female backing vocals. Both "Ancient Times" and the lengthier instrumental called, uh, "Instrumental" are indeed more brittle stuff. Ancient folk-pop, sort of. The latter is a spiralling, hypnotic composition, who almost grows into a monster. Almost. "Waves" is another smasher, and another key piece. The first half of the song is the intro, being sort of a 'riff tsunami' (or, at least a truly giant wave) washing over you. This is for sure the roar of the ocean.
Then comes "Engel Der Luft", which is a cover of a song by German electronic/experimental/avant-garde band Popol Vuh [a song taken from their 1979 album Die Nacht der Seele, but it was also part of the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's film Fitzcarraldo -- in fact, Popol Vuh contributed to a number of Herzog movies]. Mount Eerie manages to turn this quiet moog/synth piece into a monumental, sonic brute. Wild and magnificent. Done 'Explosions In The Sky/Godspeed You Black Emperor style'. After some super-cool noise follows sheer beauty, namely "I Walked Home Beholding". This is the stuff that makes this album so good; volume and contrast, coming out as brilliance. Another lengthy instrumental (also entitled "Instrumental"...) ends the album with a little more drone-noise, and makes everything glitter, glow and shine. Once more.
If Clear Moon was the sound of a full moon, this must me the soundtrack to Mare Smythii. Very, very good.
Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen