The Caretaker - All You Are Going To Want To Do Is Get Back There

Leyland Kirby’s work under The Caretaker (note: the project’s inspiration comes from the ballroom scene from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining) has always been a sort of paradox, his simplest but most challenging music. Simple in that it’s often lightly touched samples of old ballroom recordings, and challenging in well… that it’s sometimes only those things. His latest album, An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, is almost overbearingly depressive despite the dry wit of its spiritually defeated song titles. The album, conceptual as ever, explores the triggering of memories through song as filtered through the experiences of Alzheimer’s patients who can retain recordings longer than many other aspects of their memories. It’s this theme that runs a current of almost sinister, creeping dread through the otherwise unassuming music.

Things start off “All You’re Going to Want to Do Is Get Back There,” a soothing waltz all resonant frequencies and squawking horns, and the cyclical vinyl crackle sounds like waves lapping at the shore. The device lends the album a curious “island getaway” setting, adding to the rustic pastoralism but also resembling the sort of unreachable oasis these recordings signify for their imagined target audience.

The album’s midsection is its most haunting, as the crackle of worn 78s begins to overcome the music altogether. The feeling of confusion is compounded by the repetition of tracks, as snippets of other songs find their way in between parts of the title track and “Mental Caverns Without Sunshine.”

So many other functionally “ambient” albums get lost in their own delusions of grandeur vis a vis elaborate concepts, but An Empty Bliss Beyond This World is an exception. While the record is certainly appreciable on purely musical terms—this is evocative, heart-tugging stuff—when knowledge of Kirby’s intent lurks underneath the damaged acetate grooves, it becomes something else entirely: A poignant interrogation of memory loss and aging. (via)

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  4. rvlvr said: gr8
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