[PREMIERE] Em Spel – Ghost Story

An acclaimed flautist based out of Chicago, Emma Hospelhorn is a member of the contemporary music-collective Ensemble Dal Niente and one-half of the electroacoustic duo The Machine Is Neither as well as a guest performer in pretty much any genre of music you care to imagine. Alongside those, Emma also somehow finds time to make solo music in her experimental folk project, Em Spel, which I last featured on the site last year around the release of the debut album, The Carillon Towers. Just ten months on, Emma is gearing up to share new music with the world and is today premiering her latest single, Ghost Story.

Photo & Header Photo by Evan Jenkins

Ghost Story enters strikingly, as Emma’s opening line drifts into your ears, “I have no time for ghosts — they’ve nothing to say to me”. There’s not a drop of fear at the spectres, more a slight hint of annoyance at the ghosts who never remember to call or come to visit. From there the track drifts by on steady ticking drums and ghostly keyboard flourishes, Emma’s easy, almost sing-song vocals bringing to mind Dana Gavanski or Eerie Wanda’s Marina Tadic.

As Emma recalls, Ghost Story, “started life on a balmy evening on Maine’s Norton Island, listening to artists share ghost stories around a campfire”, and as she recalls, “everyone’s stories and ideas about ghosts were so different, but as a person with no ghost stories of my own to share, it struck me that ghosts are useful things to have around. What is a ghost but an embodiment of the past? If you have no ghosts, what are you shutting out?” This idea plays out in a song that drifts between dreams and memories, talking of both loss and the ongoing influence people have on our lives, long after they have shuffled off, as Emma sings, “if you want to come inside and stay a while, you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to worry that it only was a dream”.

The accompanying video, which you can check out below, was made in collaboration with Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, stitches together scenes from Hospelhorn’s Chicago backyard, Chicago’s Humboldt Park, and the Green Bay Trail — with a brief cameo by a Californian scorpion nicknamed “Cuddles” — to create a zoomed-in universe that is as strange as it is intimately familiar.

Ghost Story is out tomorrow via Carillonia Records. For more information on Em Spel visit http://www.emmahospelhorn.com/.

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