Iamthemorning – Counting The Ghosts EP review

29 11 2020

Following the success of their most recent studio album The Bell in 2019, Iamthemorning are self-releasing a new EP Counting The Ghosts on 4th December 2020.

Consisting of four tracks and recorded in isolation in the UK, Russia and Canada, Counting The Ghosts features two new original songs from the duo of Marjana Semkina and Gleb Kolyadin, alongside two traditional Christmas choir pieces that have been reimagined by the band.

The EP is perfect for this time of year. Evoking the magic of winter from times long past, I wonder as I wander is a beautiful, dark choral piece, based on an arrangement by John Rutter. A minimal string backing, with reverb-drenched bells and moving vocals from Marjana would make the perfect backing for a BBC Ghost Stories For Christmas episode, if you are looking for inspiration TV producers!

I wonder as I wander offers an intensely emotional listening experience. The direct and simple arrangement makes this a timeless piece of music, that for me sits amongst the finest in the duo’s catalogue.

Cradle Song is a newly written, original Iamthemorning song. Stripped back, with just vocals, keyboards and subtle dual guitar accompaniment, the song builds slowly, and then fades to a misty soundscape. The attention to detail in the gentle performances gives Cradle Song a magical power to hit you hard as the bass notes summon the beautiful, slowly decaying end section.

Counting the Ghosts is the final original Iamthemorning song on the EP. A commentary on 2020, surely the worst year most of us have lived through, the song wisely focuses’ on the human cost and emotions of a bleak 12 months.

I love the arrangement, which reminds me a little (particularly the fine fretless & double bass and Gleb’s piano work) of Never For Ever period Kate Bush. Counting the Ghosts has one of my favourite vocal performances, full of well harnessed restraint, from Marjana. The song is a perfect example of drawing on the past to build something new for the future.

“This year is ending but nothing feels right,
we have come a full circle while burning alive”

The EP ends with Veni Veni Emmanuel, a 12th century hymn that dials up the reverb to take us back to a feeling of a mist-fuelled winter and a nostalgic Victorian Christmas, full of fading memories and lonely ghosts. This is a song that would be so powerful heard in a live setting when this dreadful health emergency is over. Nothing beats the raw emotion of hearing choral music live, so I hope we get the chance to hear these songs performed in a year or so.

Counting The Ghosts is an essential purchase for fans of the duo, and will make a fine addition to any seasonal / winter playlists that you put together. I will take great pleasure in playing these four songs every winter, for many years to come.

Buy the physical EP or the download version from the Iamthemorning Bandcamp site, and support Marjana and Gleb. Now more than ever before, musicians need us to support their art and creativity where we can. Here’s to a better 2021 for everyone.

  1. I wonder as I wander
  2. Cradle Song
  3. Counting the Ghosts
  4. Veni Veni Emmanuel

Gleb Kolyadin – piano, synths, guitar on 2
Marjana Semkina – vocals, backing vocals, guitar on 2
Vlad Avy – guitar (2, 3)
Zoltan Renaldi – fretless bass, double bass (3)
Mr Konin – marimba (3)

Buy the EP from the Iamthemorning Bandcamp site








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