Mount Eerie: Pre-Human Ideas (P.W. Elverum & Sun) - Album Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIMMount Eerie

Pre-Human Ideas

P.W. Elverum & Sun

Nov 22, 2013 Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM Bookmark and Share

Phil Elverum recently posted a response on Tumblr to a complaint from somebody who’d bought an album from the Mount Eerie merch table and was disappointed to discover it sounded nothing like the set they’d played on that particular night. “A fundamental aspect of art is that it is wild and unpredictable,” replied Elverum, later adding, “You are not purchasing a reliable product like pants.”

Elverum edited out which specific LP that customer unwittingly purchased. Was it a collection of earnest folk ballads? Some claustrophobic drone work? An exercise in wielding the intensity of black metal? Perhaps it was this, one of Elverum’s oddest releases to date.

As the PR blurb explains, Pre-Human Ideas is “an unusual release for Mount Eerie” (are there any “usual” ones?). There are no new songs; these are mostly reworkings of tracks from 2012’s Ocean Roar and Clear Moon LPs. Also, “the dude’s face is on the cover.” Most significantly, all the songs have been recorded on a computer, with synthetic, Auto-Tuned vocals.

What’s that? You thought Auto-Tune was a tool to disguise the vocal incompetency of rapping millionaires? Or an effect that should’ve been buried 200 feet underground, along with Cher herself, after her abominable “Belie-ie-ieve” song? Well then let Phil enlighten you by using this deplorable weapon as a force for good.

Pre-Human Ideas does resemble Mount Eerie’s past recordings in at least two respects. Firstly, it sounds like nobody else on Earth, and secondly, it is brilliant. While some of the higher vocal tones may be a little chipmunk-shrill, Phil sure manages to coax plenty of tranquilizing sounds, warm drones, and surprisingly affecting melodies out of his desktop. Ultimately, Pre-Human Ideas is less a testament to the untapped power of Auto-Tune than further testament to the genius of Elverum himself. (

Author rating: 8/10

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