For the final release of 2018, James A. McDermid joins our catalog with the final album to a triptych which has seen records released on Polar Seas Recordings, KrysaliSound and now Whitelabrecs. Kern-Host is an album which represents closure, as James has spent the duration of production struggling to come to terms with his sister’s terminal illness and death. This album was created in Paris, as James spent days wandering the city alone and nights working on sound experiments in the evening. This album should appeal to fans of Sea Trials, Janek Schaefer or Dino Spiluttini might enjoy.
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James A. McDermid is a Bristol, UK based artist who has also spent some time in Portugal. He became inspired to write music under the name Like Kisses of Thread after discovering artists such as Philip Jeck, Janek Schaefer, Christian Marclay and Kaffe Matthews; a project which ran alongside the curation of his label Nastycandy, which even piqued the interest of a certain John Peel, who played a piece on his Radio 1 show. The label ceased operation in 2005 due to work commitments and the rigours of running the demands of a job and a label simultaneously.
James stopped writing and recording music in 2010; this was until the sudden tragedy of his sister Harriet being diagnosed as terminally ill threw his world upside down. Struggling to understand the gravity of it all – or know what to do to help – he turned to music once more. In fact, the music poured out of him to the extent that he decided to create a trilogy of albums all dedicated to the memory of Harriet. The initial record ‘Ghost Folk’, made up of 25 tracks, was released on Polar Seas in 2017 and earlier this year KrysaliSound released the follow-up, ‘Tonal Glints’. The triptych is now complete with the final piece which is ‘Kern-Host’. ‘Ghost Folk’ represents his sister’s diagnosis and worsening condition, ‘Tonal Glints’ represents her death and the immediate aftermath, while ‘Kern-Host’ embodies closure. In the three albums, James tried to focus on melody and structured each track around it. Not all of the tracks worked out this way but working through his grief seemed to lend itself to finding melodies.
‘Kern-Host’ began as James spent some time alone in Paris. He’d walk around the city during the day and then work on music at night in his hotel room. He’d sift and rework sounds he had captured at home; he has a piano, a couple of accordions, a violin, guitar and ukulele. Using his laptop, headphones and a tiny keyboard controller he is able to work in a location away from the environment that his sample library had been created and Paris became the backdrop to this project. The ten recordings, aptly titled in French, feel as if James has recorded a sonic diary of his time spent alone in Paris and the beautiful texture to these drones will help you feel a part of his solitary visit. The accompanying cover artwork is of arranged, dried flowers against a plain background. Of the trilogy, this is the first cover that is in colour to represent the themes of closure that are present in Kern-Host.
“For my sister, Harriet (1975-2016)”
Written and produced by James A. McDermid
Written in Paris, Bristol and the Algarve
Mastered by Tim Diagram
Artwork by James A. McDermid
Thanks to: Inês; Harry; Brad; Francis; Paul; Tom; Susie; Al.