It’s been seven years now since the untimely parting of the unparalleled songwriter Jason Molina, best known under the monikers Songs: Ohia and The Magnolia Electric Co. In the years since he left us, his label Secretly Canadian has done an exquisite job of re-issuing albums like The Magnolia Electric Co., Didn’t It Rain and The Lioness, but now they’ve revealed that they have a previously unheard set of songs by Molina to release.
Named Eight Gates, the songs were written and recorded during a period around 2006-2008 when he decamped to London. He would set off every day to discover more about the city, and when he found out about London’s famous Seven Gates, he decided to create his own one for himself. Also during this time he took a trip to Northern Italy, where he was apparently bitten by a poisonous spider. Writing in a letter:
“I was in the hospital here in London. Saw six doctors and a Dr. House-type guy. They are all mystified by it, but I am allowed to be at home, where I am taking a dozen scary Hantavirus type pills a day that are all to supposedly help — but they make me feel like shit.”
Although no record of this visit to the hospital can be found – it could have just been a flight of his poetic imagination. It’s this mind that is sure to be found on Eight Gates, with the nine songs in the set at different stages of completion. The song shared today, “Shadow Answers the Wall”, is skeletal but full of jazz drums, mournful organ and Molina’s unmistakable voice. It might not have been the finished product, but you can’t imagine it being a better vessel for this song about loneliness and regret.
Eight Gates by Jason Molina comes out on August 7 via Secretly Canadian.