Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes goes way real on Aureate Gloom. Telling secrets. Talking some hard talk in Bassem Sabry about “a master’s voice,” and how he’s never followed it. There’s chatter about how this record is a true record of some tough times in Barnes’s life–and no doubt, you can hear it–but he’s not navel-gazing here, or at least he doesn’t indulge that impulse entirely. Barnes seems like he’s mourning not only his own personal relationship-failures and nadirs and bummers and fuck-ups, but also ours, all of ours, our horrible bullshit tendencies to destroy and consume and hate and burn and kill everything, why not. Thinking hard about the inherent shittiness of human beings is bound to produce some downer tunes, though Barnes does well to keep things steady, hummable, and wild.
God sent St. Anthony a robot, express, to help him pass the time in the desert. The robot arrived on a Tuesday morning, outside Anthony’s mountainside tomb-home which lately had been disturbed by turbulent sandstorms. God had not told Anthony that he was sending the robot, for He wanted it to be a surprise. He wanted to see the hermit’s face when he stepped out of his tomb for his morning micturation and saw the automaton standing there, attentive and personable, ready for fellowship and conversation. Anthony’s expression when shocked–his bearded rictus of surprise–was known throughout Egypt for effecting joy and delight in all who perceived it, so genuine was the emotion displayed on his face that those who saw it could not help but partake in the experience remotely. “Like the surprise of Abba Antonius,” was a common saying in Alexandria at the time, a figure of speech used to denote something that was without guile or disguise.
Sauna is the easily the most accessible album that Phil Elverum has released in a while, or at least it’s one of the easiest to listen to. So pretty, all the way through. I like the way that he characterizes this album as almost an assemblage of things he’s been thinking about, or was thinking about when he recorded it last summer. His records occasionally feel a little like books–and this one does especially, with a mix of influences fed through a unique sensibility to produce something aesthetically remarkable. There’s a bit of the darkness of the last three records, but also some of the insane melodic invention of It Was Hot…, Glow pt. 2, Mt. Eerie, Dawn. I can see why he referred to it as the “ultimate” Mount Eerie record, since it definitely feels like a summation of everything he’d explored previously. Perfect winter record.
Walking walking walking walking, tree root, stone, walking walking walking walking. Ridge, draw. Valley. Frozen stream. The fabric-fall poof of pine boughs shedding clouds of snow. White, gray, filtered white, harder white, dirt. Wandering, walking walking walking walking.