Microphones


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Microphones: Don't Wake Me Up (K, 1999), 6/10
Microphones: It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water (K, 2000), 6/10
Microphones: The Glow Pt 2 (K, 2001), 6.5/10
Microphones: Mount Eerie (K, 2003), 7.5/10
Mount Eerie: No Flashlight (2005), 5/10
Mount Eerie: Singers (2005), 4/10
Mount Eerie: Eleven Old Songs (2006), 4/10
Mount Eerie: Black Wooden Ceiling Opening (2008), 4/10
Mount Eerie: Lost Wisdom (2008), 5/10
Mount Eeries: Wind's Poem (2009), 5/10
Mount Eeries: Clear Moon (2012), 5/10
Mount Eeries: Ocean Roar (2012), 6.5/10
Links:

The Microphones are the project of Phil Elvrum, hailing from the state of Washington, who originally played drums in the trio D+ (Dandelion Seeds of 1998) and (from 1999) in Old Time Relijun. Elvrum debuted solo with the cassette Tests (Knw-Yr-Own, 1999 - Elsinor, 1999), but adopted the moniker Microphones for the single Bass Drum Dream (Up, 1999) and the album Don't Wake Me Up (K, 1999), a concept dedicated to Air (the element). This album, the EP Window taken from the same sessions, and the single Moon Moon, employing more instruments and tape loops, marked a change of direction, from an estranged lo-fi pop a` la Tall Dwarfs or Clean towards a more substantial dream-pop form. The drawback of these recordings was that their ideas were fragmented into miniature pieces of scant weight. It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water (K, 2000), dedicated to water, unveiled ambitions of baroque psychedelic-pop, but with an insanely chaotic approach (The Pull, the eleven-minute The Glow).

The sprawling 20-song The Glow Pt 2 (K, 2001), dedicated to fire, is virtually a solo album by Elverum, and, following the intuition of It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water, is an exercise in sophisticated orchestration a` la Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control, but fatally tinged with calm Syd Barrett-ian madness. The simplest tunes only provide faint glimpses into his insanely lucid musical mind: I Want the Wind to Blow for voice, guitar and hand percussion; Headless Horseman for voice and guitar; The Mansion for voice, guitar and ghosts; etc.
When he expands the instrumental palette, Elverum crafts some of the most original lieder of his generation: The Glow Pt. 2 with magniloquent piano, droning organ and John Fahey-ian finger-picking; The Moon, casually whispered over rapid-fire drums, droning organ and horn fanfare; Map, wrapped in distorted sounds, distracted by a martial piano fugue, and hijacked by a melancholy instrumental coda.
Too many fragments (some of which are only brief surges of noise) hamper, as usual, his quest for the ultimate heart-wrenching and mind-bending songs, although all those half-baked ideas compose a lyrical cubist patchwork.

The Microphones' fourth album Mount Eerie (K, 2003) is another concept containing five lengthy tracks, audio fantasies that absorb and metabolize apparently disconnected sounds to produce perfectly rational organisms. The 17-minute The Sun lays down a carpet of cryptic subliminal drones and glitches that slowly picks up form. Within minutes the piece has transformed into a maelstrom of percussive sounds. After ten minutes Elverum intones an a-cappella hymn that slowly involves more and more instruments until it explodes again as a chaotic bacchanal. Percussive sounds also set the stage for Universe before a gargantuan bass line emerges to introduce the vocals. The tune itself is little more than a clownesque folk elegy but totally deranged. Its ghostly ending (a braid of sustained "om"s that segues into the closing track) lends the album a metaphysical meaning that summarizes the progression from air to water to fire to the universe. The nine-minute Mt Eerie is a song in the process of being assembled, a song that continuously changes identity, from singalong to doo-wop, until it disappears into a vortex of hisses. The music seems to flow in a higher dimension, but then collapses continuously as if physics ceased to exist and then resumed again in an endless loop of disjointed transcendence.

Song Islands (K, 2002) collects the singles.

Live In Japan (K, 2004) contains all new songs in a live and solo (no orchestration) setting. The mini-album Seven New Songs (2004) contains the lengthy November 22nd 2003.

Then Mount Eerie became a full-fledge (home-based) project, but, alas, one of those hyper-prolific projects of very low-quality music: No Flashlight (2005), Singers (2005), collecting material from 2000 and 2003, Eleven Old Songs (2006), recorded between 2002 and 2003, the EP Pts 6 and 7 (2007) and Black Wooden Ceiling Opening (2008), that includes revisions of old songs.

D+, formed with guitarist Brett Lunsford of Beat Happening and vocalist Karl Blau, released D+ and Dandelion Seeds (1998).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Paolo Latini)

I Microphones sono il progetto di Phil Elvrum, dallo stato di Washington, già all'opera anche con Old Time Relijun and D+. Elvrum ha debuttato a proprio nome con la cassetta Tests (Knw-Yr-Own, 1999 - Elsinor, 1999) e il singolo Bass Drum Dream (Up, 1999), e adotta il moniker Microphones per Don't Wake Me Up (K, 1999), un concept album dedicato all'Aria. Questo album e il singolo Moon Monn, presentano un uso di un maggior numero di strumenti e tape loops, segnando un cambio di direzione verso il dream-pop. It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water (K, 2000), dedicato all'Acqua, svela ambizioni verso un pop psichedelico barocco, ma anche un approccio insanamente caotico (The Pull, 11 minuti, The Glow).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Tobia D’Onofrio)

Le venti disordinate canzoni di The Glow Pt 2 (K, 2001), dedicato al fuoco, compongono virtualmente un album solista di Elverum e, seguendo l’intuizione di It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water, costituiscono un esercizio in sofisticate orchestrazioni alla Neutral Milk Hotel e Olivia Tremor Control, ma inevitabilmente tinte di calma follia Syd Barrett-iana. I motivi più semplici forniscono solo deboli barlumi della sua mente musicale follemente lucida: I Want the Wind to Blow per voce, chitarra e percussioni suonate con le mani; Headless Horseman per voce e chitarra; The Mansion per voce, chitarra e fantasmi; ecc.

Quando allarga la paletta strumentale, Elverum è in grado di confezionare la lieder più originale della sua generazione: The Glow Pt. 2 con piano magniloquente, droni di organo e finger-picking alla John Fahey; The Moon, sussurrata con aria indifferente su percussioni a fuoco rapido, droni di organo e fanfara per tromba; Map, avvolta in suoni distorti, distratta da una marziale fuga di piano e dirottata da una malinconica coda strumentale. Come al solito, troppi frammenti (alcuni dei quali sono solo brevi impeti di rumore) intralciano la sua ricerca verso canzoni decisive che strappino il cuore e pieghino la mente, anche se tutte quelle idee cotte a metà compongono un lirico mosaico cubista.

Il quarto album dei Microphones, Mount Eerie (K, 2003) è un altro concept album che contiene cinque pezzi più lunghi, fantasie audio che assorbono e metabolizzano suoni apparentemente disconnessi per produrre organismi perfettamente razionali. I diciassette minuti di The Sun stendono un tappeto di droni e glitch subliminali che lentamente prendono forma. In pochi minuti il pezzo si è trasformato in un maelstrom di suoni percussivi. Dopo dieci minuti Elverum intona un inno a-cappella che lentamente ingloba un numero sempre maggiore di strumenti finchè non esplode di nuovo come un caotico baccanale. Suoni percussivi scandiscono il passo anche su Universe prima che una gigantesca linea di basso emerga per introdurre il cantato. La melodia in sé è poco più di una clown-esca elegia folk, ma completamente sconvolta. Il suo finale spettrale (una treccia di prolungati "om" che prosegue nel pezzo conclusivo) dona un significato metafisico all’album, riassumendo la progressione dall’aria all’acqua fino al fuoco e all’universo. I nove minuti di Mt Eerie sono una canzone colta nel processo in cui viene assemblata, una canzone che cambia identità continuamente, da coro a doo-wop, fino a sparire in un vortice di sibili. La musica sembra fluire in una dimensione superiore, ma poi collassa costantemente come se la fisica cessasse di esistere e riprende nuovamente in un loop infinito di trascendenza sconnessa.

Song Islands (K, 2002) raccoglie i singoli.

Live In Japan (K, 2004) contiene tutti pezzi inediti eseguiti dal vivo e come solista (senza orchestrazione). Il mini-album Seven New Songs (2004) contiene la lunga November 22nd 2003.

Successivamente Mount Eerie diventa un nuovo progetto (casalingo), ma, ahimè, uno di quei progetti iperprolifici con musica di bassa qualità: No Flashlight (2005), Singers (2005), che raccoglie materiale del 2000 e del 2003, Eleven Old Songs (2006), registrato tra il 2002 ed il 2003, l’EP Pts 6 and 7 (2007) e Black Wooden Ceiling Opening (2008).

D+, formato con il chitarrista Brett Lunsford dei Beat Happening ed il cantante Karl Blau, pubblica D+ e Dandelion Seeds (1998).

The mini-album Lost Wisdom (2008) was a collaboration between Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron of Eric's Trip (and guitarist Fred Squire). The spartan production (mostly just guitar and vocal harmonies) is a message in itself. The tone of the collection is set not so much by the stately and plaintive Lost Wisdom but by the dreamy existential Who?. The spaced-out Voice In Headphones strikes an odd balance between hippie hymns and church hymns. Some of the songs could be gems if they only lasted a bit longer (for example, the intimately surreal If We Knew).

Mount Eerie's Wind's Poem (Elverum, 2009), a work heavily influenced by Scandinavian metal and folk, is a schizophrenic and inconclusive work that on one hand indulges in the Neil Young-ian orgies of distorted guitars that fuel Wind's Dark Poem, (ostensibly Elvrum's take on black metal replete with blastbeats) and The Mouth Of Sky; while on the other hand it plunges into an underworld of barely audible sounds: the dejected dirge My Heart Is Not At Peace, that adopts the pace of a renaissance madrigal; the feeble and blurred Summons; the languid Pink Floyd-ian litany of Stone's Ode. Elvrum often sounds like the typical middle-aged musician who tries to update/upgrade their music to the emerging genres but with limited competence, little imagination and no passion. The only intriguing idea comes when Elvrum fuses slocore and droning music in the eleven-minute Through The Trees that juxtaposes an anemic slowly-waltzing lullaby with a gentle organ drone and ends with a bleak electronic rumble.

Mount Eerie's intimate and subdued Clear Moon (2012), containing hypnotic songs like Over Dark Water and The Place I Live but nothing of revolutionary value, was merely the appetizer for the bleak, oppressive Ocean Roar (Elverum & Sun, 2012). The latter's mood ranges from the shoegazing black-metal evil of Waves to the solemn Robert Wyatt-ian meditation I Walked Home Beholding, from the quasi-mystical seven-minute instrumental Instrumental to the devastating cover of Popol Vuh's Engel Der Luft. The highlight (and an highlight of Elverum's career) is the gloomy torrential ten-minute Pale Lights, mostly an instrumental jam of metaphysical intensity wrapped around a church-like organ-washed hymn.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami

What is unique about this music database