Leyland Kirby Vinyl, CD & tapes by Leyland Kirby at Norman Records
Leyland Kirby... Keyland Lirby. Whichever way you wanna swing it (and you can't swing it the second way, because that's not his name at all), he's a musician. A notorious one, in fact: under his Caretaker alias, he joins William Basinski as a pioneer of a certain type of ambient music interested in memory and decay. Kirby's project gained interest and acclaim for An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, a gorgeous and -- yes, I'll say it -- haunting record themed around the fractured experiences of dementia. Using vignettes of Dixieland jazz and ballroom music (old musics connected to the study memory loss), Kirby created a narrative about the later stages of dementia and its symptoms. A deeply thematic masterpiece of its genre, he has spent much of his time with the Caretaker expanding on this theme, repurposing the same tunes to create a six-part opus documenting the stages of the illness that he's spent his career studying.
Elsewhere, Kirby's ambitions are less lofty, and often a whole lot stupider: as V/Vm he creates comedic pluderphonics, often taking the works of other artists and dissolving them into silly aesthetics, such as ragtime versions of Tim Hecker's Love Streams. His long list of concepts, projects and stage names prove him an endlessly ambitious and deep-diving artist, as in his element deconstructing experimental music 'til its laughable mush as he is making tender, deeply thoughtful work.
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