Jason Molina has always been a prolific songwriter, releasing at least an album a year under the name Songs: Ohia, not to mention numerous singles, EPs, and collaborations. So when it came time to release a document of a typical Songs: Ohia live shows, it comes as no surprise that some otherwise unreleased and unnamed songs show up on the set list. What might come as a surprise is exactly how much of Mi Sei Apparso Come un Fantasma (You Come to Me as a Ghost) is unreleased material, five out of eight songs to be exact. Molina is known to mull songs over for a long time, changing their titles and sometimes drastically altering them musically over time, often even after they're released. So chances are these songs will show up in some form on proper albums someday. But as they are presented here, the untitled songs are far from embryonic sketches or throwaways. Performed with a full backing band, which includes guitarist Dan Sullivan from Nad Navillus, Songs: Ohia stretches out on Fantasma, allowing Molina's songs to breathe but never sounding gratuitous, like a slightly subdued Crazy Horse. The untitled leadoff track is a good example: building upon a slow-churning riff and minimal snare crack, Molina sings in his unmistakable warble, "All those days, we don't have days like that left to us," and Sullivan's guitar tastefully fills the space in between without clouding the song's clarity or power, never overplaying or grandstanding. Recorded in Modena, Italy, in September 2000 as the band was touring behind The Lioness, Molina and company chose to rework two songs off that album, "Tigress" and "Being in Love." They close with a vastly changed version of "Cabwaylingo" from Songs: Ohia's self-titled debut album. The song is given a much harder edge overall: an extended staccato guitar intro, additional verses, and a smoother vocal delivery.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey