Songs: Ohia, Ghost Tropic (Secretly Canadian): True to its title, Ghost Tropic sees Jason Molina's Songs: Ohia project venturing ever farther from home (you know, where the hurt is). The same burned-out heartland ache still smolders in the hearth, but here he's built his weathered cabin in the densely thicketed wilds of an unnamed other-place, where folky Americana meets the ghosts of the mixing desk. Strangeness comes a-calling, in the wailing aurora of "Incantation" and the latticed birdcalls of "The Ocean's Nerves," but Molina's fragile structures — unadorned guitar, bare-bones brushes and snare, and that rickety wail of his — do their best to hold the elements at bay. Thing is, the nature that will be our undoing comes from the inside. The bending notes and wavering confessional of "Lightning Risked It All" posit "a separate world," but a more familiar strangeness is already there, pooling in the leaden drums and the melted strings. Technology, these faint effects seem to say, isn't extraneous to "folk music" after all. A breathtaking addition to the travel literature of the uncanny, Ghost Tropic maps a barren world that turns out to have been our own degraded stomping ground all along. — Philip Sherburne

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