Phil Elverum, known as The Microphones and more recently as Mount Eerie, brought a subdued solo performance to The Chapel last Thursday night that I didn’t quite expect. While his albums as Eerie evoke the hugeness of nature with their sprawling instrumentation, Elverum’s live performance featured only his acoustic guitar, his voice, and a few musical gadgets lying around. Only after did I realize–to understand Elverum is to expect the unexpected.
In 2012, Elverum released his fifth album as Mount Eerie, Clear Moon. On Moon and other Eerie albums, Elverum creates intricate soundscapes: soft layers of dusty analog keyboards, sparse drumming that is more textural than rhythmic, and heaps of toneless guitar feedback that sound like being dragged underwater at 100 miles per hour. Jayson Greene, in his review for Pitchfork, wrote: “[it] has the misty-but-tactile feeling of a sense memory…like anxious, living beings that are trying to whisper something to you that you don’t want to know.”