Starving Ghosts V is a 24 minute movement full of tension and release, coloured by layers of reverb and synth textures with subtle, short-lived melodies that lure the listener deeper into the project’s emotional dynamic.
Starving Ghosts is a cold meditation. For nearly two years now, musician Jean-Étienne Sheehy has used the project as an outlet for ideas that don’t fit within the confines of his other work. The perfect soundtrack for a winter night or a simple escape from the day to day, Starving Ghosts began as a kind of mid-winter therapy, a reflection, and a contemplation on the snow covered isolation that is winter in New Brunswick.
“Starving Ghosts was initially an outlet to kill time and experiment,” said Sheehy. “New Brunswick is a pretty bleak place in the dead of winter so it kind of inspires this sort of darker-textural-ambient side of my creativity.”
Over the past nearly two years, Sheehy has released four albums as Starving Ghosts. January 2017’s self-titled debut received a glowing review via Exclaim! with writer Kevin Press calling the project, “as finely nuanced as a Daniel Lanois instrumental,” and giving the release a 9/10 rating.
Fueled in part by interest in the project and the contrast it offers to the many other bands and writing projects he has been involved with in recent years, Starving Ghosts has become an ongoing year-round exploration for Sheehy.
“As is turns out, there’s a certain solitude and bleakness which translates throughout the year and I just never stopped writing and recording,” said Sheehy.
Starving Ghosts V, Les Morts-vivants Aboient, is a 24 minute movement full of tension and release, coloured by layers of reverb and synth textures with subtle, short-lived melodies that lure the listener deeper into the project’s emotional dynamic.
“Starving Ghosts V is a collection of different movements and songs I was working on in the middle of August after returning from a solo hiking/cycling trip in Quebec,” said Sheehy. “I think out of all the releases, this one probably captures the most serenity and beauty. It’s still 100% improvised, but there’s a nice progression from the first longer-form ambient piece I’ve done to this one.”
For now, this release is only available streaming through Grid City Magazine. Over the past few months Sheehy has removed most of his music (Starving Ghosts, Off Season and older releases from Saint Jack) from streaming services like Bandcamp in an effort to reconnect with the art and the process involved in creating and sharing music.
“2018 was an awesome and shitty year on so many levels,” he said. “I’ve been taking a step back from the industry side of music for my own health and I’m still not quite sure what’s next. I feel better creating without pressures or deadlines.”
In an interview from October discussing some new music from his project Saint-Jack, Sheehy mentioned his interest in “music being ephemeral again” adding that for now at least, he has no intentions of leaving anything online for very long.
“I’m quite happy not operating under certain delusions of grandeur that there’s any professional future in music,” he said while chatting about this latest release. “Instead, I feel like when I got my first four-track when I was 12 and recorded for the heck of it. For me, I’m having way more fun doing this than pursuing some bigger goals.”