The Microphones - It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water

Lo-fi, experimental, and unpredictable.

These are all words that would adequately describe the music of Phil Elverum. Whether he’s playing only with his nylon-string guitar, droning away on some organs, or even experimenting with black metal, you never know what you’re going to get when you listen to one of his albums for the first time, either under the Microphones moniker, or more recently, Mount Eerie.

Seasoned fans, however, will know exactly what they are getting into with It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water because it is being reissued. According to the P.W. Elverum & Sun website, the album was “First released in the year 2000 by K, … is the 2nd Microphones album and has been out of print on vinyl for many years. Now it is back and fancy.”

Right from the beginning of “The Pull,” one gets the impression that this isn’t going to be a typical lo-fi album. This is, of course, due to the back and forth panning that continues for over a minute and (when listened to through headphones) can make your head spin. After some really lush harmonies and layered vocals, the song comes to a climax of pounding drums and overdriven guitars.

The 11-minute opus, “The Glow,” has more different sounding sections than an Incredible String Band song and is a good preview of what would become The Microphones’ next album, The Glow Pt. 2. The song is at times a little sporadic, but not in a bad way; it is clear that Elverum has meticulously planned out every part of what he’s doing.

The individual sounds featured on the album may all be familiar, but it is the way in which they are used that makes it so experimental. The almost nonlinear arrangements of the songs make it impossible to guess where Elverum is going the first time around, and it is this kind of experimentation that he has retained throughout his incredibly prolific career.

When it comes to lo-fi production, there is nobody who does more with sound than Phil Elverum. He takes a lot of risks with his music and It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water is an album (like many of his albums) that much of the world will not be ready for, even 13 years later.

The reissue will be out on May 28, and it is the third release in the Microphones reissue series.


The Microphones — The Glow


blue moon
waded out past the waves swells
where we all floated helpless
and he told us to stop treading water
he sang about the sand
where we could all touch our feet down
he held out his hand
with his tipped back he sang loud
but we didn’t listen, he swam off alone
long live his words, all caught up on his own
he said “someday the moon will reach out to the sun
but for now it must drift along, but for now he drifts along”


The Microphones | Sand (Eric’s Trip)