Songs: Ohia

Travels in Constants Series, Vol. 14

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Originally released as part of a subscription-only EP series, this offering from Songs: Ohia was later made available to non-subscribers. It features one sprawling (nearly 18 minutes), untitled, and unaccompanied song. But with just an acoustic guitar and his voice, Jason Molina has no trouble commanding attention. The song starts with a two-minute introductory guitar solo that has an almost flamenco feel, but by the time he begins singing, it has grown spare and foreboding. In keeping with the theme of the CD series, the lyrics evoke travel, speaking of caravans and compasses. And, in keeping with Molina's typical lyrical disposition, the area being traversed is, of course, bleak and unforgiving, with the ominous birds and "the moon above like a sickle" and so on. As the song stretches out, the rhythm moves from slow and plodding to a rolling gallop, becoming more desperate and intense until it comes back to a guitar solo much like the one that started it off. Recorded live, you can almost hear the floorboards creek and the air crackle. In fact, at one point you can even hear a police siren from the street below. All this adds up to a intimate listening experience, as if you're listening in to a practice session that just happened to result in an amazing song that couldn't be improved upon by re-recording. Still, this EP is almost the definition of a fan-only release. However, if you're already sold on Molina's brand of dark Americana, it is well worth seeking out.