Mount Eerie – No Flashlight
P.W. Elverum & Sun, LTD., 2005
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2005
Price: $20 (w/ CD)
I remember the massive cover art being a selling point for this one. And really, why shouldn't it be? It's creating an art object out of a record, and thus I want to own it. Makes enough sense, I think. Each song has a little explanation to it, which helps with decoding the record. It got panned a little in the press, which I'm not sure about because I think this record is excellent. Thematically, there is a lot of shit going on, which may make this seem a bit hoity toity. That and all the explanations and poems and the cover art might have been considered overblown. But like all of Phil Eleverum's records, they're designed for you to discover them. They're not records that you get on first listen, not something you can passively listen to and expect to fully appreciate right off the bat. There's nothing disposable about them, and there is nothing disposable about No Flashlight. If anything, it's the Eleverum record that requires the most patience, even though everything is laid out for you in the notes...which require you to physically lay them out on the floor or pin them to the wall they're so huge. It creates a physical counterpart to the record (which is on gorgeous white vinyl). Perhaps it's intending to capture Anacortes, Washington, where Elverum is from. The natural world is a huge part of this record. Mountains, lakes, forests, trees, the night, the air, and the things we can't understand but can only admire (the moon, the universe). The concepts are grand but never grandiose. Though I thought this record might end up being pretentious, there really isn't anything about Phil Eleverum. A little weird, sometimes hard to follow maybe, but his mind works unlike anyone else's, and the sound he managed to create and craft at Dub Nartotic studios (Calvin Johnson apparently gave him the keys and let him fuck around in the late 90s) is timeless and one that is wholly his own.