JASON MOLINA: “Eight Gates” limited red vinyl LP.

JASON MOLINA: “Eight Gates” limited red vinyl LP.

£20.00

JASON MOLINA: “Eight Gates” limited red vinyl LP. Released 7th August 2020

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JASON MOLINA: “Eight Gates” limited red vinyl LP. Released 7th August 2020

Sometime in 2006 or 2007, Jason Molina moved from the Midwest to London. Separated from
his bandmates and friends and never one for idleness, Molina explored his new home with
fervour. Sometimes he’d head out on foot, often with no destination in mind. Other times, he’d
pick a random tube stop and find his way back home. He’d pick up on arcane trivia about
London’s rich history and if the historical factoids weren’t available – or weren’t quite to his
liking – Molina was quite comfortable conjuring his own history. His adoration of The Great
American Tall Tales like John Henry and Paul Bunyan’s blue ox Babe stretched across the
Atantic, where he created his own personal Tall Tales. And when he learned of the London
Wall’s seven gates (itself a misconception), Molina went ahead and called it eight, carving out a
gate just for himself. The eighth gate was Molina’s way into London, a gate only passable in
the mind.  Fast forward to 2008, Molina set off on an experimental solo tour through Europe. While in
Northern Italy, Molina claimed to have been bitten by a rare, poisonous spider. A debilitating
bout of illness ensued. “I was in the hospital here in London,” Molina wrote in a letter. “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.” There is no record of a single doctor visit, not any prescription
record for these medications. It is entirely plausible there was no spider and that whatever was
keeping him indoors during this time was entirely self-induced.  While at home, he of course wrote songs. Molina also claimed that during this time, he fed
several bright green parrots that would gather in his yard. While often associated with a
greyscale sensibility, Molina was oft-clad in a Hawaiian shirt and had, at least in part, selected
the name Songs: Ohia for his first project as a nod to Hawaii’s ‘Ohi’a lehua flower. Which is all
to say, the tropical element the parakeets brought to those sick days delighted Molina. He
made short, crude field recordings of them with his trusty four-track. Only once Molina was
officially on the mend and re-exploring the streets of London would he learn that those parrots
had their own fabled tale. Back in the 60s, Jimi Hendrix – in a moment of psychedelic clarity –
released his pair of lime green ring-necked parakeets from their cage, setting them free into
the London sky. Now, their descendants are spotted regularly around certain parts of the city.
Or so we’re told.  ‘Eight Gates’ is the last collection of solo studio recordings Molina made before he passed from
complications related to alcoholism in 2013. Recorded in London around the time of the
supposed spider bite and Jimi’s supposed parakeets, some of the songs (‘Whispered Away’,
‘Thistle Blue’) are fully-realized – dark, moody textures that call to mind his earlier work on The
Lioness. Knowing what we know about those parakeets and their peppered presence on the
recordings, one can’t help but think of that colourful tree of birds on Talk Talk’s classic
‘Laughing Stock’, certainly a spiritual guide for much of the set. Other songs (‘She Says’, ‘The
Crossroads and The Emptiness’) lay in a more unfinished states, acoustic takes that call to
mind Molina’s ‘Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go’, and still tethered to Molina’s humorous studio
banter. You remember how young Molina was and how weighty this art was for such a young
man. On the closer, ‘The Crossroads and The Emptiness’, Molina snaps at the engineer before
tearing into a song in which he sings of his birthday (December 30), a palm reading and the
great emptiness with which he always wrestled. It is a perfect closer and, in many ways, the
eighth gate incarnate: mythical, passable only in the mind, built for himself and partway
imaginary but shared, thankfully, with us.

Tracklisting
Whisper Away
Shadow Answers the
Wall
The Mission’s End
Old Worry
She Says
Fire on the Rail
Be Told the Truth
Thistle Blue
The Crossroad + The
Emptiness

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