John B. McLemore became something of a folk legend after being the focus of the hit podcast S-Town. Before he was mowing hedge mazes in his backyard, however, the accomplished horologist was making ambient music based on the works of painter and musician Tor Lundvall.
In 2003, McLemore recorded his first remix of Lundvall’s work, incorporating some of his own field recordings into the rework. It wasn’t until 2012 that he reached out to Lundvall and asked permission to post his album to YouTube, which Lundvall granted. The two kept up a correspondence for about two months, including McLemore sending over a second collection of songs. McLemore never got to finish that follow-up album to his liking, however, as he took his own life in June 2015. Now, though, Dais Records has shared McLemore’s efforts with the rest of the word.
The label has today released the five-part effort as a digital LP called Witness Marks. “John had mentioned that he wasn’t satisfied with his final mix, but I felt his work was too special not to be heard,” Lundvall said in an accompanying statement. “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.”
Take a listen below.
McLemore’s notes on the album, written in September of 2012, were posted alongside the record. Read them in their entirety below.
This is what was intended to be the second part of my Tor Lundvall Remix series. Unfortunately I am dissatisfied with it due to a few defects, and it is highly unlikely that I will ever be able to complete it. Still it serves as a testament to my interest in the work of Tor Lundvall that I made it this far. Defects are as follows: The first movement is too ‘fussy’, and the first section of the fifth movement seems a bit long and may bore the listener, but since it consisted of so many slow moving textures, I don’t know how I could redo it and still achieve what I was wanting to accomplish. Additionally, this recording was done just days before my Father died, and there are many feelings of guilt associated with the time spent on it. If you are receiving this recording, either you are one of my better friends, or you are a great admirer of Tor Lundvall, and requested that I send it to you.
1st Part: Basically a track of me fiddling around with old clock bells, and air turbulence mixed with Tor Lundvall and Field Recordings of rain, birds, cicadas, frogs and such.
2nd Part: My interpretation of Lundvall’s Dark Spring. This track was inspired by the music of Carl Michael von Hausswolff.
3rd Part: Very ambient Field Recordings inspired by the work of Francisco Lopez.
4th Part: A Very Quiet passage consisting of delicate Field Recordings.
5th Part: Music performed entirely by me inspired by the Darker paintings of Tor Lundvall. Most of the instruments on this piece consisted of dried seed pods from the plant; Showy Rattlebox (Crotolaria Spectabilis), that I had collected and dried the previous Fall. There are other sounds from my own environment as well.
This mix was assembled in the Late Fall of 2003. There are some very Quiet passages in this piece, so it requires a nearly Isolated listening environment… It should be heard After Midnight, in the Late Fall of the year, and, not surprisingly, a Very Long Attention span is a Prerequisite.