Mount Eerie Has Unlistenable Fun on “Pre-Human Ideas”

Mount Eerie, Pre-Human Ideas (out now, P. W. Elverum & Sun,

A year ago, Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum released a 7-inch titled Clear Moon/Ocean Roar (condensed versions). Side A featured tracks from his Clear Moon album played atop each other at once, and Side B did the same with Ocean Roar. The result sounds like falling into a black hole. The idea behind the strange single likely wasn’t for serious listening, but rather a funny conceptual joke. And hey, it is pretty funny. Elverum is no stranger to yuk-yuks, as he pens his own comics Fancy People Adventures, full of surreal antihumor about granola bars and Kindle headphone jacks. Similarly, Pre-Human Ideas is also probably not intended for serious listening. Consisting of modified instructional demo versions of tracks from Clear Moon and Ocean Roar, this album finds Elverum throwing strange layers of MIDI instruments on top of songs and Auto-Tuning his voice, so as to “digitally [pose] as a hoarse woman or a rough older man.” Unsurprisingly, the album isn’t revelatory or even listenable, but that isn’t the point: It might be just to make die-hard Elverum fans chuckle. Bookending the album are two analog organ tracks, “ORGANS (Pale Lights)” and “ORGANS (The Place Live),” which kind of work as ambient tracks. But in the end, with all the MIDI and Auto-Tune, at least now we know what it would have sounded like if T-Pain had written the music for Twin Peaks.

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