Monday, December 17, 2012

The Story So Far:
Leyland "The Caretaker" Kirby #10

This will be cursory, if not brief. Going back at least to his days as V/Vm, James Leyland Kirby has been extremely prolific, in a variety of modes, continuously, for a long time (since mid-'90s at least). The Caretaker &c. have also been fairly well documented on the web, with one notable exception.

V/Vm caused quite the hullabaloo in England over his "Pig" single (1999), when feeding sounds were mistook for a slaughterhouse soundscape. Despite this auspiciously scandalous ground-zero, I cannot find any streaming evidence of this prankster art collage.

The V/Vm Test label released mostly his own stuff, and weird theme compilations (curious about that Falco Tribute 2x7"). And he also gave Kid606 an early platform (then / now).

"Lady in Red" from 7" single (2000)

But he really broke through with uglified & distorted reprocessings of pop hits, like that NME single-of-the-week, or like "Take My Beef Away" or John Lennon. With "White Christmas" (2000) kinda pointing the way more towards The Caretaker. On the other hand, I missed all of that the first go-round.

At one time, huge amounts of The Caretaker discography were available for free download - which was the inspiration for the original post with the Free Music tag. But all of those archives disappeared a long, long time ago...

For about a decade, most everything from The Caretaker took a somewhat similar approach: loop melodic portions of old ballroom 78's (with attendant clicks and scratches), add some echo or reverb or distortions, and either let roll or compose from those modular sections. The results are linked (before or after) with an ongoing theme of the nature, tricks & travails, and cruelties of memory. The Caretaker name is in reference to Jack Torrance in Kubrick's The Shining (1980), who is haunted by the memories and tragedies of the Overlook Hotel - with chilling results.

One final note before we fly through the years: album-title links go to The Caretaker Bandcamp. All digital full-album downloads seem to cost around ₤5 or so ($8) - try something out, you'll love it!

"Thanks" from Selected Memories From The Haunted Ballroom (1999)

Good place to start on the first album, but not everything is that straightforward. Wouldn't be near as interesting that way. The opening track "The Haunted Ballroom" seeps up through the floorboards, darker than shadows.

"We Cannot Escape the Past" from A Stairway To The Stars (2001)

Now that's a great unofficial video. (Remember album titles link to full-record Bandcamp pages.) Drakulady has some good taste with a few videos like "Emptiness." But here is why I do all this blogging - discovering gems like "Cloudy Since You Went Away" (live?!). Yeah, live Caretaker... maybe. (original.) The blue-filtered photography videos, like the first one above and the title track here, are from Kirby himself.

"Stardust" from We'll All Go Riding On A Rainbow (2003)

I couldn't decide between kinda-bleak ("Hoping for Some Kind of Recognition") and maybe-more-hopeful ("We'll All Go Riding On A Rainbow"). Comment on "The Weeping Dancefloor":
i was thinking about how all those people playing in the big band orchestra are probably dead but their music lives on inside the caretaker. - EvilEtiquette

"memory six" & "memory seven" from Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia (#1 Drone/Ambient, 2005)

Not too many unofficial from this one. You can check out the full album + bonus tracks (Additional Amnesiac Memories) either as a YouTube playlist, or at Bandcamp:

I think maybe I should say a bit more here, seeing as this was the release that first exposed me to The Caretaker scene. Going from memory (ha!), these 72 tracks were released free via internet over the course of a year-long project. Then collected into a 6xCD box-set, which is where I come in - courtesy of Boomkat front-page hype.

Wikipedia description of titular condition:
In cases of pure anterograde amnesia, patients have recollections of events prior to the injury, but cannot recall day-to-day information or new facts presented to them after the injury occurred.

Deleted Scenes/Forgotten Dreams (I always forget I'd listed this as #15 of 2007) - one track, or at least title, over 4 parts, double-LP.

For some reason, I associate this one with another JLK identity - The Stranger, through which he's released a self-titled (1997) and Bleaklow (2008). I'd downloaded the first way back when, but never even heard about the more recent one.

"Lacunar Amnesia" from Persistent Repetition Of Phrases (2008)

Terrific album, maybe the best place to begin if just starting out. But who knows? (Click title for all...) I still regret missing the vinyl edition, which sold out too quickly. If only hear for select tunes, randomly chosen: "Rosy Retrospection" and "Long Term (Remote)." This video for "Past Life Regression" might be work-appropriate, due to POV sexytimes via Swedish/Russian film.

That's about it, except for a few web-mixes, of a similar nature. "Recollected Memories from the Museum of Garden History" (2008) with previous Caretaker material, for an event at the Museum of Garden History in London. Here's pretty much the whole thing (on YouTube). Then came Recollections from Old London Town (2009), still available for free download from The Wire. This one includes passages from The Stranger's "Kirkbymoorside" (from Bleaklow), "Von Restorff Effect" and others.

Wow. Okay, we're closing in on the end... promise.

Leyland Kirby broke out under that name in 2009 with 1 track on The Caretaker collection Recollections from Old London Town, and that year's more piano-based trilogy of 2xLP's Sadly, The Future No Longer Is What It Was (#3 Drone/Ambient, 2009).

"And Nothing Comes Between The Sadness And The Scream" from Sadly, The Future No Longer Is What It Was (2009)

Check out the HUGE double-trilogy compare & contrast series (against OPN's), probably my biggest project outside of Top 10'ing the entire popular music era. Since it was six vinyl LP's, there's too much to go through here - so here's my video for "I've Hummed This Tune To All The Girls I've Known" then. I'm also very fond of the title "Not Even Nostalgia Is As Good As It Used To Be."

That first year, Kirby apparently released 2 MP3 collections under the title Lost Moments, Errors And Accidents (#001 & #002), but I can't find them anywhere anymore. Also un-locate-able: When It Rains, The Puddles Shine Black download, and "What A World, What A Life, What A Love" downloadable. You can still stream it at The Wire link, but I can't find a D/L there.

Both of The Caretaker and Leyland Kirby aliases combined for the final Top 10 of 2011 entry - wrapping it up just in time: soon.

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