“Tonal Glints” in Merchants of Air

In recent weeks, my daily efforts seem to nudge towards my writing career more than my work for Merchants Of Air. In a way, that is a good evolution, certainly from a professional standpoint. However, I missed writing about brilliant new albums, and especially about albums that play a certain role in my other writings. This one by James A. McDermid has been playing quite a few times in the past few days. It accompagnied me while I created a new chapter in my ‘Unwasted Years’ project, thus it serves as some sort of inspiration. I said it before and I’ll say it again, that is what good albums do: inspire people. Therefore it’s certainly good enough to be reviewed.

Of course, James A. McDermid is no stranger to Merchants Of Air. Last April I reviewed his ‘Ghost Folk’ album, which had been released on Polar Seas Records (read). Now, the Bristol, England resident returns with a brand new set of instrumentals. Like ‘Ghost Folk’, this album is dedicated to McDermid’s sister Harriet, who passed away in August 2016. In these twelve tracks he tries to cope with the loss and the grief. You can also hear that. Although I tagged this as “ambient” most of the songs here are vague, subdued pieces of music, influenced by folk, ambient and post rock. You can hear sad guitars, gloomy soundscapes and a deeply introvert atmosphere.

I found it hard to pick a favorite track on this album, but I guess that’s just my massive adoration for ambient music. ‘Within Reach’ is a certain candidate for that spot, but so is the dark and droning ‘If You Concede’ and the lingering ‘All The Shutters Are Closed’. In all, obviously, this is a splendid album, a very emotional too. I’m certain that all of these tracks will appear in my day-to-day playlist from now on, along with their predecessors of ‘Ghost Folk’. Some of these songs will probably function as inspiration again as they are perfect mood setters. So yes, this album comes highly recommended to all ambient aficionados out there.


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