James A. McDermid – Kern-​Host (2018 :: Whitelabrecs, WLR049)

My main focus when writing music is to begin with feeling more than sounds.

-James A. McDermid

James A. McDermid: talented music artist & radio show host at This Exquisite Pain, & former label owner of Nastycandy Records until 2005 when the time to run the label simply did not exist. McDermid has one of the most interesting and unique backgrounds, simply based on the diverse works he has created with his own productions and radio show. We had the pleasure of exchanging words with this kind soul after his music had touched us dearly. “Kern-Host,” released on Harry Towell’s Whitelabrecs is the third part in James‘ trilogy dedicated to his late sister, Harriet… The initial record [to the trilogy] “Ghost Folk,” made up of 25 emotive tracks & was released on Polar Seas Recordings on 21 April 2017.  Earlier this year, KrysaliSound released the follow-up, “Tonal Glints” on 18 February 2018.

                           “Ghost Folk” (2017 :: Polar Seas Recordings, PSR-020)                              “Tonal Glints” (2018 :: KrysaliSound, KS25)

Written and produced by James A. McDermid
Written in Paris, Bristol and the Algarve
Mastered by Tim Diagram
Artwork by James A. McDermid
(Artist Note) Thanks to: Inês; Harry; Brad; Francis; Paul; Tom; Susie; Al.


  1. Proheme (1:48)
  2. Quand Il M’a Touchée (4:43)
  3. Fais-le Tomber (3:54)
  4. Tendre (3:45)
  5. Elle Était Une Hardi Combattant (5:33)
  6. Fantôme (2:43)
  7. Ballade Des Pendus (3:39)
  8. Il Ne T’a Montré Que L’ombre (5:52)
  9. La Mort D’un Seul Innocent (15:18)
  10. Mettre Fin (4:35)

Favorite track: Quand Il M’a Touchée

The first track, ‘Proheme‘ features clear influence of experimental Paris haze as an introduction to James’ intricate and creative work. Upon initial listen, we were hooked and interested to discover the rest of the album as a result of this track. As a listener, one can’t help but to have a sense of eerie feelings of things to come. Next, in ‘Quand Il M’a Touchée,’ suddenly shimmering intricate soundscapes and transcendent loops are introduced. Quite the opposite of the work a listener would expect to hear following Proheme. Exploring Paris further in ‘Fais-le Tomber,’ we hear beautiful downtempo notes that evolve into drone harmonics. ‘Tendre‘ ventures further into the land of abstract electronica in which the fading ambient haze of James’ creativity is prevalent with whooshing sounds of a windy night and a sense of isolation — focus. ‘Elle Était Une Hardi Combattant’ involves the breakdown of gentle, yet audibly indiscernible vocal samples as the listener is slowly pushed back into a sense of mystical haze abstraction as the clock ticks. To begin the second half of the album, ‘Fantôme‘ once again highlights James’ ability to create cinematic pieces heavily inspired by specific moods and times. The feelings are a building block rather than the sounds…

Ballade Des Pendus‘ features echoing experimentation alongside haunting pads. Later, in ‘Il Ne T’a Montré Que L’ombre,‘ whispers emerge over subtle post rock-esc melodic harmonies; this track allows focus on the task at hand. The latter, more experimental side of
Il Ne T’a Montré Que L’ombre delves into touchy looping before seamlessly transitioning back into a meditative state. Next, ‘La Mort D’un Seul Innocent‘ continues the relaxed, spacey atmosphere of Paris. Interesting field recordings, transcendent guitar loops and wavy drone harmonics give the listener a sense of time and place. In the album closer, ‘[Mettre Fin],’ the whistling and whirling of audible bells among escalating drones for proper context and content for an atmospheric masterpiece. “Kern-Host” touches the highs and lows of mystical time spent in Paris and the Algarve and makes a unique statement whilst doing so.

Support James A. McDermid // Whitelabrecs.

One reply to “James A. McDermid – Kern-​Host (2018 :: Whitelabrecs, WLR049)

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