Release Date: Sep 4, 2012
Record label: P.W. Elverum & Sun Ltd.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop, Experimental Rock
It’s difficult to approach Mount Eerie’s new album Ocean Roar without immediately placing it in the inevitable context as companion album to Clear Moon, the Mount Eerie record that preceded it earlier this year. By Mount Eerie architect Phil Elverum’s own admission, the two records are inextricably linked, with Ocean Roar being the more chaotic, densely expressive album to Clear Moon’s more emotional internalizing tendencies. There has been quite a lot of discussion concerning the appropriate way to approach these records.
Mount EerieOcean Roar[P.W. Elverum & Sun; 2012]By Andrew Halverson; September 7, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetAs a collective, our world is obsessed with prophecy, but we don't really know what to make of "prophecy" until the event we have been awaiting actually happens in its full force and nature. In a car accident, for instance, you're driving as if it's a regular day down your regular street and suddenly your vehicle makes contact with the other.
The second album released this year by Mount Eerie, Ocean Roar begins with the kind of expansive, aggressive guitar riffs only hinted at on Clear Moon (Phil Elverum’s first record of 2012). Rather than becoming just an exercise in exploring Elverum’s oft-referenced interest in black metal, Ocean Roar switches tones with the title track, and continues to do so for the remainder of the album. There are moments of quiet contrasted with loud ones (when Phil does loud, it’s loud), as well as surprises, such as ambient background noise or the sound of children playing...
Ocean Roar is the second of a pair of albums Phil Elverum recorded recently on extended break from tour. Holed up in a de-sanctified church in the town of Anacortes, Wash., he began making music of heightened attention-- to surroundings, to his consciousness, to nature. The albums are full of the kind of observations you find time to make only when you haven't talked to anyone for a few weeks.
If you listened to the new album from the Washington state mastermind of Mount Eerie, Phil Elverum, and felt as though you were walking into the middle of something, you wouldn’t be wrong. Ocean Roar is the sequel of sorts to this year’s earlier release Clear Moon, and picks up pretty much exactly where that record left off with a peal of synthesized noise. However, it isn’t a total continuation of the sound of Clear Moon.
Review Summary: "Ocean Roar" encompasses all things Mount Eerie, and stands tall as one of Phil Elverum's finest achievements.Trying to pen one’s thoughts on any Mount Eerie endeavor is a labor that is of equal parts love and pain. You see, Phil Elverum, has been making obfuscating music under the moniker for years, with each release being vastly different from its predecessor. Whether he’s dabbling in folk or black metal, Elverum is impossible to pin down, especially into a mere collection of words.
There are forces, forces that we prefer to describe as “out there”: darkening and obscure to our touch, our everyday sentiments. Churning and rending, oblivious to our immediate concerns, operating under a sempiternal indifference. Phil Elverum might add that this purposeful act of externalization blinds us to the teeming ecosystems of our bodies, the fraying and reassembly of even our most precious memories and understandings, the continual decay offset only through steady application (say, diet) and industry (say, infrastructure).
Ocean Roar is the second in a two-part release from Phil Elverum this year, the companion to Clear Moon. As the titles imply, that installment was a bit more delicate. It offered a cozy warmth around the hearth, away from the northwesterly natural onslaught Elverum always paints so perfectly. But there were glimpses, cold winds blowing open the door-something burrowed beneath, waiting to explode.
Phil Elverum has always been relatively nomadic in terms of his aesthetic scope, fluently shifting from soft-spoken acoustic strummer to gut-wrenching feedback maestro. Over the course of 13 years, he’s done so without hesitation; as if inhabiting a universe where, in lieu of any truly rational rationale, that sort of lack of direction makes perfect sense. Why simply parcel out the finer, more agreeable sounds, when one might otherwise be capable of authentically capturing their position along a vaster spectrum? With album-centric cohesion and determination, Phil Elverum perpetually mimics the disorder and order that surrounds him, exhaling his individual tranquility whenever there’s adequate space to do so.
The companion to May's Clear Moon, Ocean Roar is an album filled with minimalism that's anything but, drone that rarely does and folk that might not be. The metallic sensibilities explored fully on Wind's Poem continue to linger, with walls of guitars and distant production lending to the unsettling sense that something unnerving is hiding behind even the most beautiful of melodies. Much like how the first of two instrumentals weaves sharp guitar strikes through almost funereal chords on the piano, "I Walked Home Beholding" rides its synths amidst cymbals crashing through the calm like waves on a fading sunset.