Monday, December 13, 2010

"Headwaters: An Attempted Explanation Of 'Mount Eerie' By The Microphones" Book+CDR (No Label)

(Headwaters book cover, all the pages, the CD envelope stuck in the middle, fold out, CD top, CD play-side info)

"Headwaters: An Attempted Explanation Of 'Mount Eerie' By The Microphones" Book + CDR

-I clearly have no release info or ANYTHING about this. Info is in extremely short order here. It was obviously distributed/"put out" sometime after the "Mt. Eerie" album. There is no label and I have no insight about how many were made or what type of distribution they had. Considering that it is, in some part, a hand-made affair I would guess a smaller number, less than a thousand. Maybe 500.

-Obviously the mix was collated by Phil and the booklet was drawn and lettered by him.

-I'm also going to assume that he burned these CDs and wrote the labeling on them.

-The "Mount Eerie" album came out in early 2003 so I am guessing this appeared sometime in mid-2003. (The date that he is "writing this" from on the inner cover liner notes says that it is July 15th, 2003, so I would assume it came out not too long after that.)

-The CD is just a regular old burned CDR so the play-side info (shown in the pics above) is pretty generic.

-Other details of note:

The front cover is painted in watercolor, red on the sail of the ship. I've seen several copies of this floating around and they all have red watercolor on the sail so I am going to assume they were all made that way.

The booklet records, in painfully copious detail, the lyrics and moment by moment song structure of every song, along with a ton of other very interesting stuff.

There are numerous self-referential explanations about the songs and Phil's past in the "FOOTNOTES" section which I will not catalog here since they are all readily viewable in the pictures I have provided. Maybe that's lazy of me, but really it just seems redundant to reiterate what Phil already expresses so eloquently (and to this end I've provided a readable picture of every sing page, well, except maybe for the fold out, which is innately hard to read in pics since it spans a very long piece of paper). The one thing I will go to pains to point out is that the "foghorn" sound which closes "The Glow Pt. 2" album is the same as the one that opens the "Mt. Eerie" album, intentionally. Meant to bridge the two albums, if listened back to back, as one continuous sound. This, as Phil mentions, is inspired by Twin Peaks, and, to that end, I watched "Blue Velvet" just tonight and noted, along with a million other David Lynch self-references and themes, that the foghorn sound is quite prevalent in that movie as well and "Twin Peaks" and if I recall correctly "Eraserhead" was also populated by similar far-away sounds (but, as this is not a David Lynch blog I will neglect to go further into this line of research. Just thought is was an interesting correlation of the same motif being used by both artists spanning several projects.)

The "Headwaters Of Mount Eerie" CD and liner notes likewise contain all manner of involved explanation of the song structure and reference which I will, again, neglect to type out here as both are available for first-hand perusing via the pics I am posting and the download of the CD I am linking as well.


This release was something I stumbled across on Soulseek, back in the day (and little says "back-in-the-day" like Soulseek, maybe JNCO Jeans? AIM?) Something I downloaded and then later happened upon someone's scans of the booklet. It was what it is, an inundation of music and insight into an already many-layered undertaking. I remembered being excited when I found it but not really processing all of the information until later.

If nothing else, this release serves to show, even the casual listener, that Phil is a man with large, far-reaching ideas. His music is shambling and unrefined in some ways, certainly, but is, in no way, tossed-off or reckless. This booklet and CD portray a man that is particular and exact in his methods and influences. A songwriter who is meticulous and thoughtful. Someone really, really, thinking through exactly what they're saying and how it is being said. This is the product of a mapmaker, not a hack-and-slasher.

If you thought these ideas were being loosely improvised, as Phil's work sometimes seems to gesture towards, here is the evidence that these excursions are well-planned and graphed before the hike begins. These are not just throw-away ideas, these and planned out journeys.

--242 (The Antonio Carolos Jobim track is featured but not used/eligible as the namesake song)

Tracklist (CD)

Peter And Josie Dialog-Twin Peaks
Generique/A Felicidade/Frevo/O Nosso Amor (From The Soundtrack To "Black Orpheus")-Antonio Carlos Jobim
Sade-Slave Song
Neil Young-Powderfinger (Live)
Bjork-Hidden Place (A capella)
Julie Doiron-Don't Ask
Little Wings-Fall Flood
Dinosaur Jr.-Out There
Bubba Sparxxx (Ft. Missy Elliott & Timbaland)-Ugly (Portion)
Dialog, John Goodman As "Walter"-The Big Lebowski
Karl Blau-Vultures
Elevator Through-Sleep Experiment No.3
Popol Vuh-Wehe Khorazin
Open Wide (Ft. Sebastian)-Bubba Sparxxx


Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Microphones "The Singing From Mount Eerie" CD/10" (K Records, 2003)

(CD spine, front cover, back of case, CD itself, play-side info, cover fold-out, 10" front/back, opening, vinyl A/B side)

The Singing From Mount Eerie CD/10"


-Recorded by "Phil Elvrum, Jenn Kliese, Kyle Field, Mikhaela Marickh, Anna Oxygen, Mirah Y.T. Zeitlyn, Calvin Johnson, Adam Forkner, Bethany Hays Parke, Shawn Parke, Hollis Parke, Phan Nguyen, Dennis Driscoll, Zach Alarcon, Amber Bell, & with an in-audible presence of Karl Blau & The Mountain."

-The CD and 10" both have unique cover art. It appears to be a painting or a line drawing, but with no credit for who executed it. The 10" art, front and back, is a block print, but, again, no credit for who did it. Same story with the art on the CD itself and the vinyl inner labels. Though the vinyl labels look like the usual Phil handwriting to me.*

*I am unaware but wondering if an alternate color version of the 10" cover exists for this. The "Drums" 10" was also produced with a gold printed cover apparently (and the back cover of that is printed in gold so it naturally follows). The back cover of m
y "Singing" 10" is printed in red so I am wondering if there is a corresponding red version of this cover or if there is also a gold version. I'll update as info comes in.

-Released in 2003* (sometime after the "Mount Eerie" LP) on K Records ( (KLP141)

*It is worth noting that on the vinyl inner labels, under the K Records logo and number it says "2001/2002", not sure what to make of that. On the test pressing the date 8/28/02 is listed. I am assuming this is a recording date. On the one-sheet that accompanies this test press it lists the release date as January 23rd, 2002. It looks like there's a lot of other interesting info on the one sheet but the pic that's up on eBay isn't that great and it's hard to read.

-IFPI number: 6000 (stamped in the plastic of the CD)

-The CDs were "Made in Canada" as it proclaims, stamped in the plastic however, unlike the "Drums" CD it is not printed on the silver play-side info.

-No barcode info on the CD or vinyl. (There may have been a barcode sticker on the plastic for the CD, have to try to find out about that. But the vinyl I have for this is in the plastic, and no barcode.) (Also, the play-side of the CD has a barcode printed on it.)

-The vinyl plays at 33 1/3 rpms, both sides.

-There is no insert with the vinyl, all info is given either on the cover or the inner labels.

-The vinyl inner groove info is the standard label stuff (KLP 141 A/B) and then some numbers that I don't know the meaning of (side A: 8106.1 [z], side B: 8106.2 [z]).

-Other details of note:

No track list is given on either the CD or the vinyl. The only track info available for this release is gathered by putting the CD into a computer. It reads and gives the track list which I have included below.

As usual there is a lot of info/numbering on the silver play-side CD info, most of which I have no idea about.

The vinyl inner label refers to the tracks as "a cappella" and "singing-only".

It goes on to state that they are taken from a "5 part sequence of songs and sound effects" and then lists the tracks from the "Mount Eerie" album and appends "and here we add a sixth part 'Universe Conclusion'". As mentioned in the "Drums" post "Universe Conclusion", as explained in "The Headwaters Of Mount Eerie" book, was the original alternate ending of that album which Phil decided to leave off. It is included here, though, as previously mentioned, no track list is given with any version of this release. When the CD is placed in a computer it reads the "Universe Conclusion" track as "Black Night". This same version appears again on the "Mount Eerie" Japanese import CD under its intended title. It is also performed, in a much more protracted version, on the "Live In Japan" album.

The vinyl sleeve opens on top, rather than on the side.

The CDs are in plastic "slim cases", not the normal sized jewel case.

There have been floating around, for quite some time now, on eBay, test pressings of the vinyl for both this release and the "Drums" 10", apparently being auctioned by K Records themselves for charity. Which is awesome, though the price tag is a little hefty for all of us mere mortals.


Not totally sure what the intention is with the release of this. I can sort of see where he was coming from with the "Drums" album. But the vocal-only thing is lost a little on me. I mean, I guess I can see the argument that these songs can stand up as just vocal tracks, or snippets. And some do, to an extent. It's interesting, in that vocals and huge sing alongs are so integral to Phil's aesthetic much of the time, that this album is a little harder to get through. Now don't get me wrong, it is all still very beautiful and unearthly. It's just so damn jarring and fragmented feeling divorced from the music.

I am, sadly, unsure what else to say about this EP. I recall both of these coming out close on the heels of the proper "Mount Eerie" album, as well as "Song Islands". Living in Boston at the time and paying exorbitant rent (as one often does in Boston), I was looking at this embarrassment of riches and thinking, ok, well some of this is going to have to wait. And, at that time, it was the two EPs. Listening to them all this time later, yes I made the right call, but I hate to take away from any of Phil's efforts. These are both solid releases. It is a situation where the idea of them is somewhat more engaging than the product. It was very interesting to me, especially at the time, to see Phil sort of intentionally polarize his music, in that it was already so naturally polarized. To me, as a fan, it was sort of validating. It was like Phil saying "ok yes, I am obsessed with percussion and vocal choruses, and so here is a version of my new album that highlights one or the other."


Tracklist (CD)

The Sun
Solar System
Do You Really Think There's Anybody Out There?
What Do You Want?
Universe/Mt. Eerie
I Watched You From Above
Big Black Cloud
Big Black Death
Black Night (Universe Conclusion)

*(There is no tracklist listed on the vinyl, but by counting the grooves it appears that is should be as follows:)

Tracklist (Vinyl)*

Side A

The Sun
Solar System
Do You Really Think There's Anybody Out There?
What Do You Want?
Universe/Mt. Eerie

Side B

I Watched You From Above
Big Black Cloud
Big Black Death
Black Night (Universe Conclusion)