Hear Hana Stretton’s Transcendent Soon, Reissued Today By Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum

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Hear Hana Stretton’s Transcendent Soon, Reissued Today By Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum


Sometime after the British-Australian singer-songwriter Hana Stretton released her album Soon last year, she was booked to open for Mount Eerie in Melbourne. When Phil Elverum saw who was playing the show, he decided to check out Stretton’s album and was gobsmacked by what he heard. The result: Elverum’s record label P.W. Elverum & Sun has reissued Soon today, a rarity from a label that mostly just releases Elverum’s own work as Mount Eerie and the Microphones.

It doesn’t take long to understand what Elverum heard in Stretton’s music. Soon is a collection of warm, tender lo-fi recordings that immediately ingratiate themselves, filling up the room like a fog. The two artists aren’t totally congruent in style, but Stretton shares with Mount Eerie a deep sense of intimacy and a simple, direct compositional approach. It’s sort of like if Konradsen adopted the ambient found sound approach of Claire Rousay? Or like a Grouper record bathed in the faint glow of Radiohead’s “Motion Picture Soundtrack”? Suffice it to say that if you’re an Elverum fan you’ll probably be as entranced as he was.

Elverum has a lot to say about this release on his Substack, which has some extra informal chatter around this more official statement:

I am extremely honored to present this record to you. It’s a reissue of the now out of print short first run, remastered and redesigned, with words and booklets and etc. Yes, the object is beautiful, but more significantly, it carries a recording that does something very rare: a breathtaking internal world held in sound, crackling with life and free from intervention.

Artists try to quiet the chatter for moments long enough to collect ideas and bring them back to show the rest of us, polished off, decorated, built up. With these recordings it seems Hana Stretton was able to move completely in to that quiet place and just stay. Instead of picking the fruit, she gives us the whole orchard.

From what I can gather, Hana lived for many months, a year?, alone on a remote farm in deep rural New South Wales (Australia), Captain’s Flat. She spent her generous days tending to cows and eyeing down brush fires and floods. During this time these recordings were made. She says she set up the recording gear outside and that “the world was thick with sound, and so the music mimicked.” Yes. But more than that. I hear an artist who has entered completely into the stream where creation originates. Beyond mimicking a world, these recordings are made of it, no inside and no out.

Hana Stretton has truly recorded the deep flourishing sound of a quiet listening mind in full blossom. The chatter subdued, she brings forth the tapestry of the world itself. Accompanying animals and choirs of internal voices sing ribbons of inspired hunches, fluttering, then blowing away.

The thing that happens to a person’s mind on retreat has a sound. Silence isn’t silent. The world goes on. With enough time and breathing room, the rippling multitudinous activity of a place rises back up and fills the emptied bowl of sky. Hana was there to catch all this, to somehow record and play it back for us, to get out of the way enough to reveal the terrain and its singing. She is in the terrain too, with her tender actual human voices braiding together with the birds and grass and sky. The space between her fingers whiffing the air near guitar strings, making the space ring, clear and close.

Why this version? I am no record label. I put out my own stuff and that’s pretty much it, but every so often there’s an undeniable need for a thing to exist and I don’t know another way besides to just do it. When I heard Hana’s album in advance of playing a show together in Melbourne last fall, I dropped everything and went completely in, totally absorbed. I’d never heard anything like this. I thought forward fifty, a hundred years and saw others continually re-entering this tender world she’s made. It is a precious lost artifact, and we are the lucky ones who get to live in the now where it is made, not lost yet, not ancient yet, but absolutely timeless. So that’s why this non-record label is releasing a seemingly random (masterpiece) record from an Australian home recording recluse: because it needs to be heard.

– Phil Elverum, May 14th, 2024

Listen to Soon below.

Soon is out now via P.W. Elverum & Sun in a limited run of 500 LPs. Buy one of them here.

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