Review Summary: I recalled my fire and my lack of dawn. My one sided warmth. I just wanted more, but I'm small. I'm not a planet at all. I'm small, I'm small, we are all.
Phil Elverum is a man who needs no introduction. Before his current project Mount Eerie, he went under the moniker The Microphones. Under The Microphones Elverum released a lot of albums –though, despite his plethora of releases, it was 2001′s The Glow Pt. 2
that managed to become Elverum’s finest achievement. The release is a sixty-six minute lo-fi indie-rock/folk epic that has been praised highly, talked about frequently for many years and has made countless Best of 2000′s
lists. The album per se
is truly an immersive experience, while at the same time a hard pill to swallow. Taking it all in during the first listen has proven a challenging, but is a rewarding experience for listeners. I personally had a ‘difficult’ time digesting The Glow Pt. 2
, but in the end it was worth it.
I remember putting off listening The Glow Pt. 2
for what seemed like a lifetime. At the time, I was obsessed with Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
,' and I couldn’t get over it. I was in love with the album. The Glow Pt. 2
was recommended to me a couple of more times until I finally caved and listened to it. On my first listen through the whole album, I didn’t understand it. It didn’t click instantly with me the way I thought that it would. I later developed the opinion that it was good, and left it at that. It wasn’t until I took a camping trip in October of 2012 that I truly found out what a masterpiece it was. On my way toward the mountains, all I did was listen to my iPod. The whole way there I listened to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s F#A#∞
on repeat. The sight of civilization miles away made me feel isolated, and the whole time I found myself listening to albums with tons of atmosphere that made me feel like I was all alone.
That night at the campfire, we heated up our canned food and had ourselves a good time. We talked, drank and listened to music. Once our fire went out, we all decided it was time to go to sleep. In the semi-drunken state I was in, I managed to go to sleep on the cold floor for a good three hours. I woke up in the middle of the night, greeted by the freezing cold. Unable to go to sleep, I reached for my iPod. I scrolled through until I came across The Microphones. I glanced at the name for a second and thought to myself, ‘why not"’ It was then that the album finally revealed itself to me. I Want the Wind to Blow
started playing and its subtlety welcomed me with open arms. I gazed at the stars through the small window in the tent. I took it all in for a moment and thought, ‘damn this is good.’ Then like a bombshell, the title track The Glow Pt.2
started playing. Starting off with a beautifully distorted, fuzzy mess, the track drew me in further. Elverum’s poetic lyrics grabbed me instantaneously and track after track I found myself loving the album more and more. It was definitely a grower, and an hour later I started it from the beginning, before deciding to take a nap.
When I woke up, the alienating dissonance of My Warm Blood
was playing. I looked to the stars again and let the rest of the song take me. I went through it once more before my day started again. The next day was tiring as hell. There was a lot of hiking involved. We saw beautiful landscapes and some deer along the way. The only part of the experience that I dreaded about the night was the cold. That aside, I went through the same procedure that night. I listened to the album again and I loved it even more. Elverum’s vocals, the fuzzy instruments, the distortion, the acoustic guitars, the organs, the pianos, all of it. They drew me in. The worst part of the trip was my iPod dying on me. I believe that it was from listening to too much music. I find it funny that The Glow Pt. 2
came to me at the time that it did, while I was camping. Elverum himself stated that The Glow Pt. 2
is an album that was meant for this type of situation. ”On this album I was trying to go for a theme of fire. Like big fires, campfires, camping, the focal point that fire can be. Yeah, it’s a fire themed album…”
By the time that I left the mountain after that weekend, my connection with The Glow Pt. 2
had gotten ten times stronger. I understood the album, its beautifully arranged instruments, and its poetic lyrics. They all resonated with me on a completely different level. I had fallen in love with the record. To this day, The Glow Pt. 2
still plays through my ear-buds and brings back memories of that great weekend. The trip was an experience, and so was listening to The Glow Pt. 2
that weekend, in its own special way. The lyrics on the album are a masterpiece. The album flows well together and as a whole is perfect. Though the album can be ‘weird’ at times, it never falls off track or loses any of its lure. The Microphones’ definitive album isn’t one to be ignored. It demands to be heard because to this day it is still regarded as one of lo-fi indie-rock’s crowing achievement’s.
“Oh, it’s dark, the sun went down, the power’s still out. Oh, it’s cold, my blood barely flows. Oh, I’m alone, except for the sound of insects flying. Around they know my red blood is warm still…”