Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Review: Mount Eerie + Mountains

Okay, so I was looking forward to seeing Mount Eerie since this date was announced some while ago. I had actually never seen them/him live and I have to say it was about time.

Mountains started to play to a sparsely filled Festsaal Kreuzberg but during their set, more and more people showed up. I didn't know them before this show and when I saw their set up, which consisted of two analog synthesizer rack piles and two guitars, I was becoming curious. They played a quite versatile set that changed from an ambient drone beginning with looped layers of synth sounds and drifted to a more guitar oriented part that sounded very post-rock influenced, just to break that up again into cut up beats of sounds and melody pieces. I really enjoyed their set and I was of the impression that a large part of the audience did as well. Also mood wise, they prepared quite nicely for the upcoming second mountain band which everyone was eagerly awaiting.

So although I had never seen Mount Eerie live before, I knew that their live shows are nearly always totally different experiences. Phil Elverum, the main and also only constant member of Mount Eerie started the band in 2004 when he wanted to make a conceptual change from his former band the Microphones, whose last record was actually called Mount Eerie. Since then, he collaborated with quite a few musicians - for the current live set up he invited Genevieve Castrée of O Paon, Julia Chirka who also plays in No Kids and Ashley Eriksson of the band LAKE to join him. They had a rather minimalistic set up of two basses, one 12-string guitar and a drum pad and cymbal and were announced to be "touring as a singing band", which sort of describes quite nicely what they did.

Basically they played Mount Eerie songs supported by distorted bass and minimalistic electronic drums with a female choir of three. And for me their live show worked very well. What I love about Mount Eerie is that behind their frequent noisy outbursts, there's always that fragile and melancholic song hidden (if it is hidden at all). The loud and distorted parts of their set merged beautifully with Phil Elverum's soft and distinctive voice and the support of the harmonics of a three voice choir also worked really well. They all seemed a bit nervous or shy on stage and I have to say that this fact only added up to me finding them even more likeable. They did not present a perfectly polished set of bland music but a characterful rendition of beautiful songs. Also their awkwardly funny announcements and talks between songs were totally loveable.

After their set, Phil came back to play an encore just by himself and after this version of Through The Trees pt. 2 from the Clear Moon recordI was finally convinced that this evening will most likely show up on my top of the year list later on for obvious reasons... "and it's hard to describe / without seeming absurd"...

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