Buffalo to NYC transplant, Jesse James’ experimental project Jesse & the Spirit is back with a new single titled “a” set to release on April 26th.

Their Bandcamp bio breaks down Jesse & the Spirit’s sound well:

With collaboration from an unexplainable presence known simply as “The Spirit,” Jesse James creates emotional soundscapes in a maelstrom of electronic and acoustic drums, ambient synths, classical guitar, and otherworldly samples, touching on a variety of genres from trip hop, cold wave, and witch house to folk, noise, and raw atmospheric metal.”

It’s a true melting pot of cross-genre collusion.

If you’re looking to get a good idea of James’ chaotic musical combinations, compare their 2018 gothic avant-folk project, Clairvoyance to the grating experimental noise and dark electronic psychedelia on their project, also from 2018, When the Spirit caught up, I laid face down in the crossroad, clutching the ground with every ounce of strength I could find.

If you’re looking for something in between those two, among other experimental and apathetic sounds, as the perfect Jesse & the Spirit listener would be, try their 2021 release, Peculiar Living. Check out our 2019 review of “Anthropocene,” which would end up becoming the third song on Peculiar Living.

Their newest song, “a” features a skeletal trip-hop beat hollowed out to the point where it sounds ambient and defeated. James’ muffled vocals and thoughtful lyrics find a deep emptiness in solitude, as they sing “Only feet don’t touch the ground, screaming, hanging upside down. Every wave must feel the same, and every evening tends to fall away.

James said “‘a’ as a song aims to capture the feeling of disassociation and brain rot, the 3 am regret of having spent an entire evening absorbed in screens of varying sizes and dimensions. A haunted video game, or an eerie place of nostalgia in one’s mind.”

Ambient white noise is interspersed throughout the dreary soundscape like a depressing wash of radio static. The soulless, mechanical beat plods forward like the doldrum march of society.

James said “I’m inspired lately by confusion, derealization, simulated realities and experiences, internet lore and dreamlike aesthetics, found footage horror, the unexplained. That stuff all bled into ‘a’ and its sister, ‘M.’”

The other track that James references, “M,” is a cosmic instrumental hip-hop song with a strong gothic influence exhibited in James’ despondent vocals. The single-letter sister tracks both sound like long walks through dark cavernous liminal spaces.

Their respective music videos both touch on this in-between feeling, as they explore world-building through an animation program called Blender. James said “I do expect more of these worlds will be discovered in time,” hinting at tracks of a similar nature to follow.

In the meantime, check out “a” on April 26th on either Spotify or Apple Music.

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