As Mount Eerie, Washington state songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Phil Elverum expands on the searching, deeply personal feel of his work with the Microphones. His confessional lyrics and free-flowing storytelling are the main constant of his work, which incorporates touches of ambient, folk and black metal in impressionistic ways that heighten the feeling of wonder in his music. On early albums such as 2005's No Flashlight, the difference between Elverum's work as Mount Eerie and the Microphones was subtle, but later releases showed how much his range had grown. The metal-influenced majesty of 2009's Wind's Poem, the serene electro-acoustic meditations of Clear Moon, and the dense soundscapes of Ocean's Roar (both from 2012) all reflected different sides of his musings on life and death. Elverum documented the aftermath of his wife Geneviève Castrée's death from pancreatic cancer on 2017's A Crow Looked at Me and the following year's Now Only, both of which were widely acclaimed for their eloquent, unflinching expressions of grief.
When Elverum ended the Microphones with the release of the 2003 album Mount Eerie, he adopted its title as the name of his next project. He founded the label P.W. Elverum & Sun Ltd., releasing a pair of CD-Rs, Seven New Songs of Mt. Eerie and Mt. Eerie Dances with Wolves/Wolf Mountain Howls in the World in 2004 before Mount Eerie's debut album, No Flashlight, became the first official Mount Eerie release in 2005. A CD/LP set with a poster that holds the record for the world's largest album cover, No Flashlight set the tone for Mount Eerie's prolific and intricately packaged releases. They included The Drums from No Flashlight, Singers (which featured different vocalists singing Elverum's songs), and the electronic-tinged 11 Old Songs of Mount Eerie, all of which also arrived in 2005.
Mount Eerie, Pts. 6-7, a picture disc and book of photographs, and the Latitudes Series Black Wooden EP were issued in 2007. The following year, the Black Wooden Ceiling Opening EP introduced Elverum's concept of playing "black metal with natural materials." Later in 2008, Elverum collaborated with Eric's Trip and Broken Girl singer Julie Doiron and guitarist Fred Squire on Lost Wisdom. Dawn, a journal/CD set written during Elverum's stay in Norway in late 2002/early 2003, arrived in spring 2009, while a full-length of new material, the ambient and black metal-inspired Wind's Poem, was released that summer.
Elverum maintained the flurry of activity with White Stag, a CD-R recorded in Portland, Oregon, and 2010's singles compilation Song Islands, Vol. 2. Mount Eerie resurfaced in 2012 with a two-album concept project: Clear Moon, which was recorded in a de-sanctified church, arrived in May, while Ocean Roar followed that September. Live in Bloomington, September 30th, 2011, which featured radically reworked versions of Wind's Poem and Clear Moon songs, arrived in mid-2013. Elverum released another set of versions of these songs with Pre-Human Ideas in November of that year. In 2014, he debuted new material on tour that became 2015's Sauna, a largely contemplative album about "Vikings and Zen and real life."
That year, Elverum and his wife, musician/illustrator Geneviève Castrée of Woelv and Ô Paon, discovered that Castrée had stage-four pancreatic cancer after giving birth to their daughter. Castrée died in July 2016, and two months later, Elverum began writing and recording songs in her work space with her instruments. The results were 2017's A Crow Looked at Me, a sparse, cathartic set inspired by his time with Castrée as well as her death. Elverum followed it with 2018's Now Only, which also reflected the impact of her passing on his life and his daughter's. The live album (After), which captured Elverum's 2017 performance of A Crow Looked at Me and Now Only songs for the Dutch experimental music festival Le Guess Who? at a 13th century Gothic church, appeared in September 2018. The following July, Elverum played a show with a reunited Microphones before releasing Mount Eerie's next album, Lost Wisdom 2. Once again featuring Doiron, the album appeared that November. ~ Heather Phares