It was a second and a half of silence that made me fall in love with "Winter Ghosts." JBM, a.k.a. Jesse Marchant, spends more than a minute playing a song filled with a sombre, cold mood and then, just as you think the song will crescendo and explode, it stops and lingers for exactly long enough to draw out the tension of the moment. In that stretched-out second you're required to fill in the blank space — giving a burst of nervous energy to the song.
Listen to JBM's "Winter Ghosts"
- Song: Winter Ghosts
- From: Stray Ashes
Marchant creates a sound that feels so vast with only vocals, guitar loops and a steady drum beat. Each element in the song includes some form of echo — the reverb on Marchant's voice or the repetitive guitar melody, which makes the track seem both hauntingly unnatural and spacious. There are so few pieces at work that the manipulations feel exaggerated — increasing the sense of space in the song while remaining an intimate, individual focus.
The lyrics are filled with a resigned hope. "'Winter Ghosts' is a song about all that is gone or missing, and about the realization that you are in fact desperately lost without it," Marchant wrote in an email. His narrator is waiting for things to happen — for a storm to come and for someone to arrive — but there's a hint of a realization that what he hopes for will never come. The song ends quietly, Marchant silent and stuck with only his memories of the past.
JBM's Stray Ashes will be out on May 22nd on Western Vinyl.