A Crow Looked At Me (2017)


Not really a Phil Elverum fan. This won’t leave me alone though.

Why does this stand out amongst the weird glut of (great) male musical perspectives on close death? (see Sufjan, Mr. Mark Kozelek, Bowie himself)

Levi speaks of the shame of becoming a writer, and Barthes writes about “the fear of making literature out of it.” (Mourning Diary, which I flipped through broodingly, unwittingly under the influence of this album) For Elverum death is “not for singing about / It’s not for making into art”; its “real”.

“real”: the Details is Benji-esque; it can’t be interpreted. Knausgaard connection (s/o TMT) but KOK is writing to write while PE writes in spite of writing it seems. These songs are equally about himself. Definitely a tugging question as to why (my enjoyment seems incidental).

I think Phil’s words are often as incisive as Mark’s, too: “I don’t want to learn anything from this.” Almost defiance in ‘Ravens’, first to memory (internal) then to the threatening world (external): “I will move with our daughter / We will ride over water”

Plus there are moments when he sounds like he’s about to collapse right onto the mike (“death is real” at the end of ‘My Chasm’ – have we been listening? [repetition is important here, dwelling and going back either compulsively or as a remedy – Améry’s ‘ethics of resentment’ justifies “disagreement with every natural occurrence, including the biographical healing that time brings about”; see ‘Forest Fire’: “You do belong here / I reject nature, I disagree”])

Shuffle of a sleeve off the guitar at the end gets me. Of course – his experience continues after the album. Is that ‘moving on’? I don’t know but what ‘I know’ or at least think is more than before I had first heard ACLAM.



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