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Dawn (W/Book)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8d75da50) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d9f915c) out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE. Packaging. Content. Writing. Music. Just Amazing. 13 Jan. 2011
By Gregory William Locke - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I always just sort of figured that Quentin Tarantino was on drugs. Hard drugs. Not heroin, but definitely coke and maybe speed. Absolutely marijuana. Then I read that the famously fast-talking, hard-working auteur supposedly hates drugs. Hates them. Likewise, I always thought that Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum was the most gentle, kind, simple and honest man to ever swim the streams of indie rock. Then I read his book, which is either titled Dawn or Winter Journal or Dawn (Winter Journal Edition). He might be kind and he's definitely honest, but gentle and simple? No. Absolutely not. In fact, he's quite the opposite. Brutal. Complex. Almost scary in some ways.

Dawn, a set of voice-and-guitar songs Elverum wrote while living alone in a remote area of Norway through the winter of 2002-03, was actually released in 2008. It was released only on vinyl, and quickly became almost impossible to find. Soon after it's release came news that the record was in the planning stages of a second release, this time in the form of a CD/book combo that would include the journal/novel Elverum wrote while staying in Norway. Also included would be an explanation as to why Elverum retreated to Norway at the height of his fame (this right after his signature work, The Glow, Pt. 2 was hitting every best-of list on the planet), a handmade map, some photos of his time in Norway, a few drawings and some very stellar packaging. Now, finally, with 2010 around the corner, this passion project is on shelves. It's still not the easiest thing to find - and it's not exactly cheap - but, damn, it's pretty amazing.

For starters, Elverum, who wrote this journal/novel/whatever at age 24, is a strong writer who isn't afraid to dig deep and spill his findings for anyone interested. He writes about the reasons he left, how he ended up in Norway, how he spent his time and much more. Explains Elverum: "I only had two real tasks [while in Norway]: gathering dead trees to burn from the surrounding small forest and getting water from a hole in a frozen stream. The rest of the time I wandered around, obsessed over my life dramas, stared into space, read books, wrote letters, made up songs, went crazy and eventually snapped out of my misery and noticed the dawn." You just got served, Bon Iver.

But I'm no book critic. I'm here to talk about the record. The first thing you should know is that many of these songs (which, mind you, were written years and years ago) have appeared on various Elverum projects, usually as fleshed-out band cuts. Here we get what I'm calling the "Norway Versions." Nineteen songs that Elverum describes as "songs about my own metaphorical adventures and wrestling matches with big questions." We hear a guitar and we hear a voice. We hear holes here and there - ghosts, almost. The work is sparse and often cryptic, but it's also very strong and personal stuff. The insides of a man going through something. It's obvious that Elverum is a fan of Neil Young, even if he sounds nothing like him in voice. He sounds a bit like Little Wings and Mirah, but, mostly, he sounds like the Phil Elverum we know from last year's much acclaimed Lost Wisdom record. We learn that Elverum was a great songwriter even back in 2002 - back when most people thought of him as a really interesting producer with a lot of wild ideas and an endless number of talented friends who were willing to do anything for him. The writing is bare and confessional, abstract and telling. It'll haunt you.

And if you listen to the record while reading the book, Elverum will change you. No longer will you expect so little from artists and albums and projects. You'll forever be searching for the insides of the strange people who write the strange songs you hum in the shower. Don't expect to find much. For this reason, Dawn (Winter Journal Edition) is a special record. It's the rare handful of music that you'll never forget getting to know. It's about to get cold out, better find this record before it disappears again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d9db504) out of 5 stars Masterpiece of awkward introspection and soft hate for lost loves 17 July 2012
By Justin Pruitt - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The first thing you noticed is the hard cover, textured to resemble wood. There are around 20 great photographs in an inner sleeve, plus a 19-song disc of some of Phil's softer and simpler, and beautiful music. Phil displays incredible writing abilities in the 144-page book. I'm sure at some point he was hesitant to release this incredibly intimate report of his time in the Norwegian mountains, where he states all the confusion derived from his girlfriend's recent dumping him for his best friend. Let me tell you again, this is not some loose and disjointed ramblings compiled and printed. This really works as a cohesive story-like book. All the myth that surrounded Bon Iver's debut has happened in a much more overlooked event that rendered a beautiful work of art called Dawn. I'm so happy I put my money in this. It's worth a lot more!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d6d24f8) out of 5 stars Speechless... 16 Jan. 2013
By Tyco - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know what can be said of this journal. Rarely do we ever get a glimpse into a mind of an artistic genius (yes I used Genius, and by no means is it a hyperbole). Phil paints a superbly candid picture, allowing us deep into the recesses of his isolation.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e1b14f8) out of 5 stars Honestly, I think Phil is a bit of a ... 17 Jun. 2015
By Nick Driscoll - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Honestly, I think Phil is a bit of a pretentious twat. Okay album and okay book, but I'm not quite sure either are worth your time.
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