Tuesday, September 02, 2003

So... Microphones - "Mt Eerie"... where to begin?

I always thought of the Microphones as being as uninteresting and generic as indie rock got. Of course, I'd never heard them - actually HIM, one Phil Elvrum - but I knew he put out records on K and alledgedly based his "career" on trying to sound like alt. Can Con legends Eric's Trip (themselves a deeply unoriginal band). So, I don't know what it was that possesed me to put "Mt Eerie" on at work, soon after it came out.

It begins with a hiss and a rumble. That goes on for a couple of minutes before it starts to alternate between a heraldic chord of unknown provenance and a battery of ethnic percussion. After a while, the persussion really builds up a head of steam and grinds abruptly to a halt, giving way to a lament about a natural disaster, back by a choir of (I think) live and sampled voices. At about the twenty minute mark, an indie rock band starts to play behind the lament, gathering pace until they blend into a huge torrent of distorted noise. And that's how the first song ends.

"Mt Eerie" is the most ambitious record I've heard all year. It's also perfectly realized. And yet, it's so hard to say exactly what makes it so great. The grand concept behind is nebulous at best, it's hard to tell what instruments or objects are producing most of the sounds and difficult to tell exactly which circumstances such a work of grandiose folly should be endured. It slides between aesthetically oppossed genres while retaining absoloute sonic consistency. It's a baffling, exhausting record. It's the best record of the year and you *must* experience it.

I guess it was calloing out to me from somewhere.

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