US - Washington - Full Moon 228 - 04/04/15
P.W. Elverum & Sun
Hard-working, creative mind Phil Elvrum/Elverum is back. Two years after his 'twin' releases of Clear Moon and Ocean
Roar, he serves the public another album - a double vinyl one - entitled Sauna. It is probably a hot sauna. It for sure is a dark one.
From his Anacortes, Washington base he is for sure an extremely creative, skilled and productive artist. His Mount Eerie catalogue has almost reached, well I guess it has outnumbered
the number of Microphones releases by far, and Elverum keeps pounding out songs. On Sauna he 'kicks off', or rather rolls on with the ten minutes long title tracks. A sacral drone by
some fireplace down by the creek at night, with his whispering, light voice, backed with vocals from elves and fairies. Majestic and spooky, beautiful and creepy at the same time. Another
taster from the album, the much shorter "This" presents more of this spellbinding, enchanting and mesmerising music. Elverum is backed by singers Geneviève Castrée, Ashley Eriksson
(from the band Lake, or LAKE), Allyson Foster and Paul Benson (both of the band Hungry Cloud Darkening), plus flutist Evin Opp. But it's mainly Phil Elverum - his voice, his guitars, his
noise and his quietness. Sauna's content is both dramatic and careful, being introvert and extrovert at once. One song being light and tiptoe, while the next is gloomy-doomy, yes,
naked and raw. According to the P.W. Elverum & Sun label (which means Phil himself), 'The sauna that this album was inspired by is not a sauna that
actually exists anywhere. It is about the idea of a small man-made wooden room crushed beneath a universe's worth of bad weather; a concentration of extreme heat within a vast tough world.
Inside this deliberate space a transformation occurs. The exaggerated atmosphere of flames, steam, smoke and dim light obliterate the usual sensations and new kinds of perception are exposed.
Then the shocking plunge under cold water and the razor sword through sky.' Right. Expect no regular Finnish sauna. Or, maybe... it's exactly what you should expect...
The songs are efficient and mostly razor-sharp: "Books"; "Turmoil"; "Spring"; "Dragon"; "Emptiness"; "Boat"; "(something)"; "Planets"; "This"; "Pumpkin"; "Youth". Like Elverum said in
the press release: 'All of the song titles are single words and some of the songs are very long'. He's for sure one fascinating artistic
and eccentric free soul. Mount Eerie is a place I like to go 'mountain hiking'. I cannot get enough of the musical escapades of Phil Elverum's Mount Eerie
(as well as his old Microphones catalogue). Sauna is another amazing record from Phil Elverum. Probably one of his best.
'This is music meant to weigh heavy on you like a lot of cold water at night, and also the sword glimmering at the bottom of the lake at night.'
This is eerie, experimental rock. This is music that only minds like Phil Elverum can create. Imagine a mixture of Robert Wyatt, Jeff Mangum, Sufjan Stevens,
Peter Jefferies, and (maybe even) Stephen O'Malley. Shake a lot. Stir. Pour. Have a taste. Get thrilled. Enjoy.
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