Leyland Kirby closes his 20-year project as The Caretaker with this, the sixth and last work in the 'Everywhere At The End Of Time' series. Comprised of four meditative and evocatively-titled tracks - 'Confusion so thick you forget forgetting', 'A brutal bliss beyond this empty defeat', 'Long decline is over', and 'Place in the World fades away' - the sense of an overwhelming, inescapable conclusion makes for a fitting end to a near-mythical undertaking.
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- Everywhere At The End Of Time - Stage 6 by The Caretaker
We bid farewell to The Caretaker after his presence in our lives since James Leyland Kirby first released work under the handle twenty years ago with ‘Selected Memories From The Haunted Ballroom’ on his own V/Vm Test Records label. It’s been interesting observing and listening to the evolution of his work as The Caretaker. It was a strong concept since day one, and one which would eventually capture the hearts and minds of a now devoted cult following. It’s a vast body of work which could well seem intimidating if you’re late to the party, but if you’ve been absorbing it organically as it has evolved then you’ll know how much of an emotionally rich and absorbing microcosm it is.
His ‘Everywhere At The End Of Time’ series in itself is a staggering amount of audio and a chapter in the story that really rewards patience. We’re now at the sixth and final stage of the series that initially emerged in 2016. The gradual onset of dementia has peaked to the point where memories seem very almost impossible to recall but tiny fragments glitch and crackle as though they’re lingering in there somewhere. Things feel mangled, dislocated and disorientating - as if we’re wandering, lost in endless tunnels or have been sucked up into a weather system. To me, this last stage feels like we’ve travelled beyond the human body into the realms of the afterlife - perhaps an empty bliss beyond this world into a Bardo state where the soul lingers, still retaining information from its previous vehicle before it arrives in another. I’m often reminded of those little montage sequences David Lynch does where parallel worlds collide and bleed into each other.
It’s a heavy one this for sure, and pretty much what I had hoped for as a climax since first hearing the manipulated ballroom 78s gradually decaying. I won’t say too much about the final track but it does feel that as the project concludes, we finally reach a sense of peace and tranquillity.
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