Phil Elverum (sometimes spelled Elvrum) is an artist in a variety of mediums, though he is probably best known for his music recorded under the names Mount Eerie and the Microphones. Born in 1978 and raised in the forests outside Anacortes, Washington, Elverum came of age artistically during the supposed “grunge era.” The gradual realization that there was good art and music happening locally was an opening door to a new world. With a driver’s license and a job at the local book/record store Elverum began staying after hours recording in the back room late into the night, releasing a series of cassettes throughout his high school years. Eventually he moved to Olympia to attend college but soon quit because he was already totally immersed in the thriving underground music world surrounding K. He had been given access to their Dub Narcotic Studio and continued the late night/early morning solo recording experiments in Olympia, eventually releasing his first album with K, the Microphones’ Don’t Wake Me Up, in 1999. He became renowned as an innovative producer and recorded popular albums for friends, often collaborating heavily on many of the songs. Also during this time he began doing music tours for about 4 months a year, generating a reputation as an unpredictable and talented live performer. A second Microphones album, It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water, was released in 2000 as well as a series of self published song books. 2001′s The Glow pt. 2 is probably his best known release. The culmination of this era of work is the album titled Mount Eerie, which came out in 2003 . It is supposedly “death-themed” and after its release Elverum began performing under the name Mount Eerie as an attempt to more fully inhabit that theme and speak/sing from it.
It was during this time that Elverum spent a winter alone in far northern Norway, providing fuel for the already prevalent mythology surrounding him as an enigmatic public figure and producer of collectors’ items. Upon returning from this trip he moved back to Anacortes and began releasing his own records and booklets via the new small record label, P.W. Elverum & Sun, ltd., a simple address and website intended to be a portal for the variety of Elverum’s creative releases. The first official album from Mount Eerie was No Flashlight in 2005. It was packaged with a gargantuan poster and a white vinyl LP and a CD; this extravagant packaging was intended to create a more precious object in an era of MP3s. This was followed by the release SINGERS and 11 Old Songs of Mount Eerie (both in 2005), as well as No Mystery by D+, a local Anacortes band that Elverum has played in since high school with friends Karl Blau and Bret Lunsford (Beat Happening). In 2007 he released his most extravagant souvenir yet: a hardcover photo book packaged with a picture disc 10″ record. This was a collection of photos from all over the world that had been aesthetic inspirations for much of his musical work of the previous decade. The record was titled Mount Eerie pts. 6 & 7 and was intended as a sequel/conclusion to the Microphones album Mount Eerie (ed note: Mount Erie is the name of a real mountain near Anacortes. It looms over the forest where Elverum grew up.) P.W. Elverum & Sun, ltd. continues to release products by Mount Eerie and other friends, with the way the label is run becoming increasingly a creative expression in itself. Orders from the label are shipped (usually by Elverum himself) in fancy packaging. In early 2008 Elverum announced the release of custom designed packing tape, offering a few rolls for sale as a “limited edition art piece”. In 2008 another book was being published: a collection of journal writing, photos, and drawings from the winter spent in Norway in 2002/2003, as well as a CD of the 19 songs written there. 2009 saw the biggest slew of Mount Eerie releases yet: Wind’s Poem, Elverum’s deepest foray yet into metal and drone; the experimentally-sloppy White Stag CD-R album; and the Black Wooden EP. The Song Islands vol. 2 double LP was released in 2010. K released the “Distorted Cymbals” Dub Narcotic Disco Plate in February 2012.
- The Microphones - White Chair Shirt (2014)
- The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 Reissue [KLP190] (2008)
- The Microphones - Live In Japan [KLP158] (2003)
- The Microphones - Mt. Eerie [KLP140] (2003)
- The Microphones- Song Islands [KLP125] (2002)
- The Microphones - “Lanterns” [IPU101] (2002)
- The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 [KLP133] (2001)
- The Microphones - Don’t Wake Me Up [KLP099] (1999)
- Mount Eerie - Distorted Cymbals [DBN122] (2012)
Also appears on:
- Mirah - (a)spera [KLP195] (2009)
- Mirah and Spectratone International - Share This Place: Stories And Observations [KLP181] (2007)
- Jason Anderson - New England [KLP148] (2004)
- Various - Invisible Shield Compilation [KLP151] (2003)
- The Blow - Bonus Album [KLP143] (2002)
- Little Wings - Light Green Leaves [KLP139] (2002)
- Mirah - Advisory Committee [KLP135] (2002)
- Little Wings - Wonderue [KLP134] (2002)
- Mirah - Cold Cold Water [IPU100] (2002)
- Wolf Colonel/Jason Anderson - Something/Everything [KLP132] (2002)
- Jason Traeger - My Religion Is Love [KLP098] (1999)
- Old Time Relijun - Uterus And Fire [KLP097] (1999)
- D+ - Dandelion Seeds [KLP084] (1998)
- D+ - s/t [KLP072] (1997)
Phil Elvrum standing on a cliff before the ocean and clouds is not the source of an introspective lo-fi moment, it’s a magnificent view that sidesteps civilization for an interactive observational perspective on the cycles and beauty of the natural world.
From the new Mount Eerie Dub Narcotic Disco Plate Distorted Cymbals [DBN122]…
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