Microphones in 2020 - silent version


sortie fin décembre 2020


761 page hardcover book
7” x 7” x 2”
3 1/2 pounds
My teenage job was working in the darkroom at The Business, a weird little camera/book/record shop in
Anacortes. I sat in the dark and listened to my Eric’s Trip and This Mortal Coil tapes and made black and white
enlargements of peoples’ torn ancestor portraits, hunched over in the fumes and squinting through a loupe at grains of
grey. I took h0me expired film and weird old cameras and always kept them with me from then on, even now. As life
evolved into always traveling, touring, diving into the days, I took hundreds of pictures. Thousands? The 4x6” prints
were taped to the bedroom walls, the door, the car, the guitar, everywhere.
As I made songs and albums these photographs stood in for the unmade movie that I was always soundtracking.
Each photo, for me, contained an expanse of music and ideas, mostly unexpressed but always waiting, ripe. In my
mind at least, some images are directly married to a specific song or musical moment but most just float as part of
the vast wash of atmosphere in which all of these recordings have grown, hundreds of 4x6” windows into a world of
multicolored grain, cloud and wave wall, phantoms in twilight, a real world exaggerated through long exposures and
low light into a revelation of an unknown one.
In the summer of 2020 I organized 761 of the old photos into a careful sequence synced up with the long new
Microphones song and this became the video. A few seconds for each image flopped down, a fragement of the
autobiographical lyrics subtitled down below. This flood of images felt too unrelenting so I decided to make a book
to allow people to turn the pages at their own pace, and to hear the song silently. It can work in conjunction with the
album, a libretto, and it can also work as just a book of images with no story, an abundance of beautiful light, an “art
book”.
Technical specifics: the camera is a Mercury Univex II half frame 35mm camera, the film is expired 800 speed
Kodak, the prints are pre-2004 cheap lab optical light onto paper in chemicals. Around 2004 the global move to
digital printing ended this pursuit of distorted walls of fog; the gradients got ugly.
In book form the photos are printed at actual size. The text is unobtrusively small. The dustjacket removes to
reveal hidden tiny text specifying additional information about each image (where known). There’s a golden ribbon
to mark your place. The heavy hardcover binding is wrapped in black cloth and stamped with gold foil on the cover
and spine. This book is a substantial brick.
It’s a culmination of a lifetime still underway. I’m still taking pictures in the weird low light with the same obsolete
camera, finding ways. The pursuit continues, the path through distortion and grain twists forward.
- Phil Elverum
November 9th, 2020
Livre 45,00