Boomkat Product Review:
The Works of John B. McLemore, the star of one of last years biggest podcasts, S-Town, which is coming out on Dais. The story behind this release is truly fascinating.. the music itself is ambient remixes of Tor Lundvall's best works, but with John's idiosyncratic slant on them, with some having been woven together using the horde of clocks he use to keep in his basement. This story is really worth a read if you get a chance.
"In September 2012, I received an e-mail from someone named John B. who said he had assembled a lengthy remix of my music, which also incorporated some of his own material. John asked if I'd mind if he posted this recording on YouTube, to which I agreed. He also mentioned that there was a second part to his mix that was "roughed out", but never completed. I was curious to hear both parts, so shortly afterwards, John mailed me two CDrs which I enjoyed very much. The recordings were hypnotic and haunting, evoking images of vast fields at twilight. I was especially fond of the second disc which had a darker atmosphere and featured more of John's original material, beginning with ghostly clock chimes and ending with a mysterious piece using dried seed pods and other cryptic sounds that slowly built-up into an intense, almost claustrophobic environment.
My correspondence with John lasted about two months. In one of his final e-mails, John said "I have to observe that your paintings seem to have a great deal of loneliness involved in them... even multiple characters seem to be together alone, so to speak... I really appreciate looking at your paintings as well as your music, I think I have connected with the spirit of them both as much as anyone can." He went on to discuss his struggles with depression, caring for his aging mom and his concerns about the future. I tried to encourage his music as a possible outlet, perhaps as a means to help transform his feelings of loneliness into a more content solitude. Always easy to say, but as I well know, not always easy to do.
In his last e-mail in late October 2012, John sent me a beautiful slideshow of his Fall flower beds and his dogs. I was touched and I told him how much watching his video had brightened my day. That was the last time I heard from him.
Last year, I visited John's YouTube channel to see if Part One of his mix was still posted, which it was, and still remains. I was shocked and saddened to read in the comments section that he had passed away. The comments also suggested that John had received some sort of national attention recently. This quickly led me to the S-Town podcast. Although I had mixed reactions after listening, I was thankful that S-Town shed more light on John and his remarkable life... but somehow, I just couldn't place the person in the podcast with the person I had corresponded with. Had I not listened to S-Town, I would have remembered John as a very private, somewhat dark and lonely person. He may have been these things, but there was obviously far more to him than that.
After finishing the final episode, I decided to play the second, unreleased CDr of John's recordings for the first time in years. Listening to his clock chimes ringing in the dark was an eerie and chilling moment. I was reminded of a line from my song "29" which says "I live with dreams and a lonely mind, my clock is set to a different time". I wondered what those lyrics might have meant to him.
John had mentioned that he wasn't satisfied with his final mix, but I felt his work was too special not to be heard. I hope that these recordings offer another glimpse into the creative mind of a unique, complex and gifted individual who tragically left this world all too early."
January 17th, 2018