Label: Southern Release date: 14/12/09 Website: http://www.pwelverumandsun I remember when K Records reissued The Glow, Pt. 2 - that feeling of giddiness when the second disc of new songs started playing, that sadness that The Microphones were gone. It was the second time I felt that sadness, the first time being when Phil Elv(e)rum announced that The Microphones were indeed through. I diligently followed his output, not able to afford it and only purchasing it legally in the last few years thanks to outlets like Amoeba and Streetlight. I’ve traded for his records, saved pennies, and bookmarked endless sites with deals for those rare albums (what I wouldn’t give for a copy of Eleven Old Songs of Mount Eerie with all things in it). Imagine my glee when his epic Wind’s Poem finally came out. It was the crowning achievement of Mount Eerie, the closest thing Phil has come to a new masterpiece on par with the one-two-punch of The Glow, Pt. 2 and Mount Eerie (the album, not the band). While I could go on about Wind’s Poem, the focus is his new (yet old – it was recorded in 2007) Black Wooden EP, released not by his own P.W. Elverum & Sun label, but veteran one-off session label Southern as part of their excellent Latitudes series. Much like the other albums in that series, and much like his past few releases, this collection of songs proves to be an enduring work of art. Phil has never been a stranger to his audience, writing almost voyeuristic lyrics, publishing his winter journal in the heart of a breakup (another stellar release, Dawn), and playing shows that often consist of just himself on guitar, vocals, and merch booth. Black Wooden continues the deeply personal lyrics and sound that has been a trademark of his career, with most tracks simply being acoustic guitar and vocals, both recorded close to the mic, sometimes gently faltering, always impacting. The use of electric guitar on opening song ‘Black Wooden’ underpins the lyrics about being in nature, being the wind, seeing burnt destruction, and add a sense of doom usually reserved for songs like ‘The Gleam, pt. 2’ or even black metal. Whils half the EP is new songs (the title track, ‘The Bottomless Pit,’ which was a live song, and ‘Marriage,’ again a live song), the other half are amazing new takes on songs that are lynchpins to his Mount Eerie phase. ‘If We Knew’ resounds with lyrics like, “We would not be so scared to say, ‘I do,’ and settle down if we knew our hearts never come dating – they stay at home for us, patiently waiting.” Funny coming from a married man, but it’s emotional in its simplicity. ‘Appetite’ (formerly on his heavy metal album, Black Wooden Ceiling Opening) is given a nice take here, with simple strums and clear vocals that make the listener question what content actually means. By the time closing tune, ‘Mount Eerie Revealed (Version)’ rolls around, it’s hard to believe that only nineteen minutes have passed – each song envelops and gently shakes to the core. Something about Elverum’s voice has always been comforting but deeply effecting, his gentle tenor clear and always just a little off-kilter, as if he doesn’t know that the messages he sings will get across. Across over two dozen releases, ranging from noisy pop to almost orchestral epics, that feeling of being surrounded from a distance has been a constant in all aspects of Phil’s music. Despite being a somewhat limited release (this EP’s mainly available online and only in an edition of 1000), hopefully those old ways of mine to find the music of Mount Eerie will spread to other listeners - and despite having over 2 million scrobbled plays on, Mount Eerie remains somewhat of a hidden treasure, a unique take on the now ubiquitous term “lo-fi” before it was hip, a new take on what can be classified into genres, and one of the most deeply personal recording projects of this generation. Rating 9/10