… an eventual process where all memories begin to become more fluid through entanglements, repetition and rupture…
Label: History Always Favours The Winners
Mastered By: Lupo Lubich
Artwork By: Ivan Seal
See Also: Everywhere, an empty bliss
If You Like: William Basinski, Celer, Biosphere, and Thomas Köner
When Jim Kirby‘s project, titled Everywhere At The End Of Time began with the first stage in 2016, I knew that it was going to be epic, tracing a trajectory of a decline, psychological fear, onset of dementia. In the beginning, it was almost fun, listening to the ballroom tunes, barely manipulated and repeated, as they revealed early signs of the memory loss, bathing in the imagination of the glory days. This was recalled in the writeup for Stage 1. In the following stages (see words for Stage 3), the protagonist slowly descended through jitters of consciousness until, and, somewhere around Stage 4, they appeared to vanish in the nightmarish void of the terminal insanity. In the final few works, The Caretaker has undergone a radical transformation, from confusion and horror to acceptance and emptiness. This is where everything simply dissolves. This is where “Place in the World fades away” – the conclusive and favourite entry in a multi-year project, which you now can collect as a complete set.
When work began on this series it was difficult to predict how the music would unravel itself. Dementia is an emotive subject for many and always a subject I have treated with maximum respect. Stages have all been artistic reflections of specific symptoms which can be common with the progression and advancement of the different forms of Alzheimer’s.
– The Caretaker
Listening through all 50 pieces of this 6-part entry (which progressively become longer and longer) follows a defined downward spiral, until, at the very last piece, fragments of earlier sounds are barely recalled, let alone recognized. And yet, the concluding Stage 6 stands out on its own, as a deep minimal split in between the realities, those known to us and the ones known to others. Here, in the tradition of post-ambient deconstruction, all sound is decayed, decomposed and dismantled. Slow oscillations now barely breathe, narrowly recognizable passages live outside of time, swaying alone in their closing trajectory. In a “brutal bliss beyond this empty defeat,” we come to terms with all-covering darkness, which feels very welcome. It feels like we’re home…
In the end, The Caretaker is gone. From the Selected Memories From The Haunted Ballroom (1999), to the golden farewell, released as a recent surprise in a form of a digital album available for a limited time, Everywhere, an empty bliss (cover art pictured above), “offering you one last chance to raise a charged glass for those we lost along the way, for all the works, for those ghosts from our past, for our uncertain future…” A lovely project from a lovely being, and although I won’t mourn for Leyland Kirby, I’ll light and incense stick or two, for the one and only, for The Caretaker. “May the ballroom remain eternal.“