Every reviews about KrysaliSound releases…

The second heart moving chapter of the trilogy – being the first one “Ghost Folk” released by polar Seas Recordings last year – that Bristol-based sound artist James Alexander McDermid dedicated to her sister Harriet, who died in August 2016 after two years of illness, comes out on KrysaliSound. The emotional framework of the plenty of tracks that this producer poured out during this painful experience before and after Harriett’s death was exhaustively explained by the author’s own words: “once the original shock dissipated, a wall of grief fell on me and, as a result, I found it an almost impossible task seeing my world in quite the same way as I once had. The wear and tear of life became suffocating, so I continued with the idea of channeling what I was feeling, into music; however, coming to terms with Harriett’s death, rather than her illness, started to cloud and confuse what I was doing. In the end, it was Sophie Calle’s book Exquisite Pain – a book arguably about grief in its various forms – that provided me with the clarity I needed. Calle’s writing – in particular, the people in it trying to come to terms with their own similar tragedies – helped shape and direct my own thoughts; Exquisite Pain acted as a conduit for what I was both feeling and trying to convey. Tonal Glints is the end result”. The stream of sound that James forged for this stage of enlightenment is riddled with many pearls. The main resounding element on the opening “The Vagabond”, – a sort of squeaking music box – seems to open the gate of the memories, which get unrolled on the almost scenic elements filling the crescendo of the following “All the shutters are closed”, whose waves crash against a wall of a distant choir of female voices. The thin overlapping of amplified tones of “I put the letter in my pocket” sound like the ruffled surface of a pond where some sweet images of the past could get vivid and precedes one of the best moment of the whole album “I’ll take one who loves me”, when James picks his acoustic guitar up to weave a delicately intimate folk. Other fragments of memories (or maybe ghost sighting) could have inspired the weird cameo of “Bunny” and the ambient expansions of the following “Within reach”, where a sort of regular breath, that becomes more and more audible, makes me argue that this track is somehow related to some dreams or nightmares (rendered by the dark tones of “Worse than the last look”) experienced during the sleep. The whispered litany of “If you concede” (another peak of this album), the tinkling standstill of “Eastern Bloc” and the gloomy minute of “Last Year” prepare the ground for the triggering aphony of “I saw red, and through the red, nothing” and the cathartic release in the incomprehensible murmur, the evanescent sonic cloak and the rift in the darkness opened by a thin piano-driven melody in the tail of the final track “Faraway too close”.


L’arte del musicista e pittore danese Paw Grabowski (OjeRum) è inscindibilmente legata alle sue due forme espressive: le immagini e il suono. Dopo le precedenti cover raffiguranti volti compenetrati nei paesaggi, o ricostruiti tramite stralci di fotografie vecchie e nuove per ricreare la ferocia del tempo, non solo sui volti ma persino sugli oggetti che lo ritraggono, OjeRum ci regala una nuova potente immagine. Una sorta di “mente-mondo” che si apre verso l’Universo perdendosi in esso, probabilmente per testimoniare l’importanza e la grandezza dei pensieri umani, dei ragionamenti complessi e nobili, che sono senza dubbio il più grande “miracolo” creato dall’incontro di semplice materia, nonché la vera essenza di ogni singolo individuo.

E soffice come il pensiero solitario è il nuovo Lp “Stilhedens Strommen I Fuglenes Blod”, edito dall’etichetta italiana KrysaliSound di Francis M. Gri. Un solo brano di trenta minuti con un mood costante ricreato da chitarre acustiche e nastri preregistrati, di una semplicità spesso disarmante tra folk minimale e ambient. L’andamento evoca – senza mai modificarsi – i momenti riflessivi di chi è perso nei propri pensieri, non schiacciato dai caotici doveri o dai ruoli imposti dalla società che opprimono l’uomo moderno e che gli impediscono la serena ricerca della propria e più autentica essenza.

Vera musica per arredamento a dirla come Eno, musica che scompare nell’ambiente ma compenetrandosi in esso. Non musica per aeroporti moderni e caotici, ma semmai per spazi incontaminati, ormai ignoti o addirittura alieni alla società contemporanea, con accenni spirituali che sanno di nostalgia ma che possono essere intesi come denuncia di un modello di vita tanto frenetico da impedire a ogni uomo di diventare la “mente-mondo” della cover.
“Stilhedens Strommen I Fuglenes Blod” è soprattutto questo; un’idea, un abbozzo di pensieri che un domani potrebbero fungere da base per un nuovo lavoro più solido e compiuto.


A natural oratory style. An electroacoustic guitar coda. C minor augmented, meet e flattened 5th. At least that’s how initial reaction alludes. On Danish artist Paw Grabowski’s second record for the KrysaliSound label – an unofficial paean to the world of electronicised drone guitar music – lies simplicity in wonderfully interwoven layers of melody, even pulses, mixolydian modes and nodules of noodly Earth-defying anti-war gravity.

Over the course of a grassy 30 minute patchwork of drone moss and figures in the vein of Sawako and Loren Connors, the central chords begin to overlap, break down and blend their tracks, as if part of a massive tape machine. It’s an addictive listen, smooth to the touch and evoking memories of log fires, candlelit suppers or rather in Western worlds munchies at midnight with the heating turned up.

While nothing here reinvents, the wheels are intriguingly oiled with guitar minimalism in mind. Significant effort has been made to dampen play the sonic field rather than overcompress it. This gives the music a tendency to become more than just ambience, because it’s unignorable. Then again, honeyed guitar meanderings were always welcome here…



Danish collage artist & musician Paw Grabowski aka øjeRum made his first appearance on KrysaliSound with one of the standout EPs of last year, a reissue of his alternate soundtrack to Chris Marker’s 1962 time travel film La Jetée entitled He remembers there were gardens. He returns with an encore reissue of another øjeRum long form piece, […]

via Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod by øjeRum [KrysaliSound] — Stationary Travels

ØJERUM – Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod (KrysaliSound, 2018) La prolificità di Paw Grabowski si manifesta senza soluzione di continuità attraverso una serie di tracce rese disponibili in formato digitale attraverso la sua pagina Bandcamp, che viaggiano in parallelo rispetto alle sue altrettanto numerose pubblicazioni ufficiali su cassetta o cd-r, tutte sotto l’abituale alias øjeRum. A […]

via — music won’t save you

A wonderful sort of experimental folk emerges on øjeRum’s thoughtful journey of “Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod”. Opting for a tremendous amount of space, the ambition of the album lies within the song’s deliberate pacing. Mysterious to its very core, the way various sounds filter in and out of the mix at times give it a truly fleeting feeling. By opting for such a loose approach, the entire piece gains a mantra-like quality to it, courtesy of the delicate guitar work. Indeed, it is the soothing guitar that ensures the entire thing is able to move forward. With the only rhythm, the heart of it all, the guitar allows for a great deal of emotional impact to enter into the equation.

Subtle shades of vinyl hiss introduce the track. For a while the guitar work has a quality like a record skipping, repeating the same phrase in the same way. This hypnotic aura works wonders in setting the tone for what follows. Gradually elements of drone enter into the equation for everything starts to truly shimmer and shine. By letting things slow down øjeRum can explore every single moment of the sound and do it with the utmost of effectiveness. Building up carefully but never too loudly, an entire world comes into view, one that feels so vast and unknowable yet somehow familiar.

With “Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod” øjeRum delves into a blissful beautiful realm, one that feels soothing and satisfying.


James A. McDermid goes for glowing realms with the soothing ambient washes of “Tonal Glints”. Infused with tremendous melodies, James A. McDermid balances between the real and the imagined. Done with the utmost of grace everything about these pieces teems with such life. Hope radiates out of these small suites, while James A. McDermid employs a series of tactile sounds into the mix ensuring that everything feels living and breathing. Rhythms have a pastoral quality to them, for James A. McDermid eschews percussion. By opting out of a more conventional rhythm means these pieces have a dreamy, hazy quality to them.

Setting a curious opener is the playful music box quality of “The vagabond”. From there things start in earnest with the serene beauty of “All the shutters are closed”. A hazy quality comes to define the entirety of the track, allowing it such tremendous beauty. By far the highlight of the collection it simply washes over in a blissful, half-dreamed sort of way. Elements of folk appear in the ghostly atmosphere of “I’ll take one who loves me”. The spacious “Within reach” goes for a deeper presence, one nearly mystical in tenor. Field recording meets ambient composition on the gentle “If you concede”. Eerie with its otherworldly presence is “I saw red, and through the red, nothing”. Bringing the album to a close the reflective “Faraway Too Close” feels just right.

On “Tonal Glints” James A McDermid explores an entire universe of sound, one that feels so vivid and full of color.


Il musicista di Bristol, James A. McDermid, inizia la sua carriera circa 15 anni fa, ma solo dopo la prematura morte della sorella Harriet trova costanza e ispirazione per i suoi primi lavori più compiuti. Dopo il folk elettronico scarnificato di “Ghost Folk” – ispiratissimo Lp di ben 25 bozzetti pieni di malinconici rimandi alla sofferenza e al senso di vuoto nato dal lutto – è la volta del nuovo “Tonal Glints”, anch’esso figlio dell’elaborazione del dolore e dell’incapacità di razionalizzare un evento tanto traumatico.

James A. McDermid si muove al di là dei classici confini della musica elettronica atmosferica per lambire momenti gothic-dark, dal folk più depresso sino al post-rock in stile Labradford. Le dodici tracce passano da ricerche timbriche di synth spettrali (le campane in lontananza di “The Vagabond”) a più classici crescendi ambient di “All The Shutters Are Closed” (inizio elettroacustico e imponente muro sonoro finale con cori femminili).
Momenti poetici si sviluppano quando McDermid imbraccia la chitarra acustica per tracciare un percorso di folk atmosferico intimista (“I’ll Take One Who loves Me”) di notevole impatto emotivo. Gli episodi più oscuri rimandano invece alle tenebrose sonorità dark di Elegi (“Last Year”) o alle dissonanze del Tim Hecker di “Ravedeath, 1972” (“Worse Than The Last Look” e “I Put The Letter In My Pocket”).

Tra brevi abbozzi di musique concrete (“Bunny”) e ambient dilatato in stile Hammock(“Within Reach”), spicca il post-rock, parente strettissimo dell’approccio dark con voce sussurrata dei Labradford, di “If You Concede”. Sussurro che diventa una sorta di preghiera laica che non ha bisogno di urlare le proprie certezze, perché è solo un tentativo per esorcizzare i propri incubi, non ostentazione di una pseudo-verità precostituita.
Si chiude con “Faraway Too Close”, straziante texture di synth con dialoghi impercettibili e finale liberatorio con poche note di piano a creare uno squarcio di luce nelle tenebre. James A. McDermid sembra salutare un’ultima volta la sorella per dirci che la vita, nonostante tutto, deve andare avanti.



[krysalisound] Un turbine di emozioni pesanti come piombo tradotti in catartiche sculture sonore. È il dolore profondo per una prematura assenza che spinge James A. McDermid a strutturare in opera concreta il suo approccio alla musica trasformandolo in gesto necessario per riuscire a superare la perdita della sorella. Un’urgenza espressiva che origina un trittico di […]

via james a. mcdermid “tonal glints” — SoWhat

My sister is my only sibling; I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose her.  Two years ago, James A. McDermid experienced the unimaginable.  The loss of Harriet (1975-2016) left a huge hole in his life, and ever since then music has been his lighthouse in a sea of grief.  Tonal Glints is the second of two albums released in her honor, following last year’s Ghost Folk on Polar Seas.  The new album has half as many tracks but is no less powerful.  It represents a time in which the sorrow has reached the marrow.

McDermid cites Sophie Calle’s Exquisite Pain as one inspiration.  In that multi-media book, the artist pairs photographs with personal answers to the question, “When did you most suffer?”  One of the conclusions she seems to reach is that great suffering can lead to great art (although most would prefer not to have paid the price).  McDermid channels his emotions into his music, and creates an echo of his sister’s life through the lens of loss.

Although primarily ambient, the music touches upon other genres as well, the opening chimes like field recordings, the highlight track “All the shutters are closed” an excursion into drone, the languid “I’ll take one who loves me” beginning like folk music before disintegrating into fog.  But despite the changes in texture and instrument, the pensive tone remains the same.  This is music about getting up in the afternoon when one had planned to get up in the morning, but staying the course long enough to get one little thing done.  It’s music that whispers at a bedside so as not to disturb a loved one’s sleep.  When words do emerge (“Within reach”), they dangle just beyond reach, like reminders in the clouds.  Strangely, the album seems neither mournful nor cheerful, but stuck, attempting to pull its legs from the quicksand of grief.  And yet we know that the album is evidence of the opposite: an artist fighting against torpor and ever-so-slowly succeeding.

Tonal Glints is about Harriet, but also about James, and the ties that bind, even beyond death.  It’s a beautiful testimony about a continuing relationship, one sibling gone and yet not-gone.  We can look through this window and almost see her; but in this case, even a glint is a blessing.  (Richard Allen)