Reading Elverum’s Music

Some fine writing emerged from reviews of Elverum’s albums. Love this run of thought-

‘That chasm one of sentiments that’s hardest to hear in Elverum’s music. Listening I want to empathize, but the more he explores the depths of his confusion and sadness, the less I believe that empathy in the way we most commonly understand it is even possible: that you can never feel exactly what another person is feeling. The suggestion, in these labyrinthine pathways of thought that unspool on these records, is that in grief and in happiness we are ultimately alone. It’s a thought that’s easy to get stuck in, he has a song called “Emptiness Pt. 2”—ostensibly a sequel to another song whose refrain went “‘More emptiness,’ I said. ‘And more, and more’”—where he suggests that this whole line of thinking is ultimately self-serving. Even in embracing abjection, distance, and loneliness, there is no respite, there is only the uncompromising fact, as he sings repeatedly on Crow, “Death is real.” ’

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