I like surprises as much as the next person. Iamthemorning has decided to tap into that vein with a brand new EP called “Counting the Ghosts”. It has a Christmas theme to it, which is even more surprising. You won’t see me complaining, though. The EP releases independently through the band’s Bandcamp page on December 4th. You can preorder various editions and packages now.
Iamthemorning is one of the most underrated acts in modern progressive music. While they have won some Prog Awards and do get plenty of publicity, I feel like many hardcore proggers still haven’t given them a chance. The duo hails from Russia, and includes Marjana Semkina on vocals and guitar, and Gleb Kolyadin on synth, piano, and guitar. This release also includes Vlad Avy on guitar, Zoltan Renaldi on fretless bass and double bass, and Mr. Konin on marimba.
The band offers what has started to become known as “chamber prog”. With strong neo-classical influences, as well as influence from progressive rock, post-prog, and post-rock, Iamthemorning weaves a golden thread of beauty, regality, and clarity. With this new EP, I would add that the typically raw and dark lyrics have given way to Advent-themed words that come across as innocent and pure. It’s an interesting change of pace, too, making this release feel sacred and sanctified in some abstract way.
“Counting the Ghosts” clocks in at just over 13 minutes in length and has four tracks. The first and last tracks are “I Wonder as I Wander” and “Veni Veni Emmanuel”, which are both classic Christmas songs. Let me just put my thoughts this way: I think I need a full Christmas album from this band. Both are done immaculately well with plenty of atmosphere and haunting Christmas glow. I’m not sure which I like more, though. “I Wonder as I Wander” isn’t as familiar to me as “Veni Veni Emmanuel”, but I love the way it is executed. I love “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” and I sing it with my family around Christmas many times every year, and Iamthemorning does the song justice.
The songs “Cradle Song” and title track “Counting the Ghosts” are two original songs. “Cradle Song” is an effervescent song with a bright aura, foggy texture, and all-around beautiful effect. I love the slow ambient rise of the atmosphere near the end. “Counting the Ghosts” is my favorite overall, though. It has the darkest lyrics on the EP, and its rhythmic tone, slight quirkiness, and relatable imagery represents yet another fantastic addition to the band’s already impressive discography.
Long story short, if you like Iamthemorning, you need to buy a copy of “Counting the Ghosts”. Not only will it help fund the next full-length album, but it will give you a little taste to savor in the meantime. This EP is quite the stunning little package, and I am enjoying it immensely.
Find Iamthemorning online: