Dust By Phil Elverum
Published Jun 17, 2014Throughout the course of Phil Elverum's career, the mind behind Mount Eerie and the Microphones has gone from putting out records to delivering releases that are more akin to gallery-worthy art objects. Lavishly designed and gorgeously executed, his releases have stretched far beyond the simple album medium, packaged as everything from complex, multi-paneled posters to one-of-a-kind silkscreened picture discs to journals bound in synthetic birch wood. It's all proven that the prolific Pacific Northwest musician is as much about visual presentation as he is aural artistry, a point that his second photo collection, Dust, drives home.
Following the impressive 2007 tome Mount Eerie pts. 6 and 7, Elverum's latest release ditches the music altogether, instead offering up 180 full-colour photographs inside a beautifully bound hardcover wrapped in grey linen. Much like Elverum's music as Mount Eerie, the images highlight the nature all around us, capturing glimpses of serene, moss-encased forests, majestic mountains, endless oceans and sun-cracked skies. Every now and again, there is a human interruption, but for the most part, Dust is an exploration in nature photography, an art Elverum has a clear gift for.
The images are arranged in pairs, allowing what press materials call "a wordless conversation between the two images and the viewer." Among these are crisp, sunny ocean views alongside eerie, pined night scenes; crashing waterfalls beside cracked and splintered tree stumps; darkened Japanese bedrooms next to barely there grasses; sunset factories bordering flared highways; and fog-hidden islands adjacent to cloud-shielded peaks. It all comes with attention-keeping variety, which makes sense considering the photos were taken in locations that stretch from New Zealand, Finland and Scotland to Japan, Washington State and "the moon in your mind." Conveniently enough, the book even ends with a handy key that informs you where the shots were captured.
Like Mount Eerie, there's a certain otherworldly quality to Dust that's easy to get lost in, with each page flip bringing you deeper into Elverum's faraway and often ghostly world. No, there's no actual record hidden within the pages, but there doesn't need to be; Dust is a beautiful statement in its own right. (P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)