The Caretaker's remixed 78s

When I first heard the lovely music James Kirby creates as The Caretaker, it instantly reminded me of The Shining's ballroom ghost scenes. Turns out, that's where Kirby found his original inspiration. His compositions draw from his huge collection of vintage 78s with added static, glitches, loops, and ambience for a deeply ghosty and, well, haunted vibe. The Caretaker's new LP on the History Always Favours The Winners label is titled "An Empty Bliss Beyond This World," and themed around memory. More specifically, lost ones.

From Altered Zones:
 Artworks-000008170078-3Qpdzi-Original With An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, his second full-length foray as The Caretaker, Kirby tackles amnesia, building on his previous work with the subject in 2005's Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia. This time around, Kirby contemplates the ability of Alzheimer’s patients to recollect passages of music from their past and connect them to specific people and places. Sourced from Kirby’s massive collection of '78s, the pieces return him to the faded arena of ballroom jazz, which he further corrodes with subtle loops and haunted static. Kirby's chosen subject matter surfaces most explicitly in song titles like "I Feel As If I Might Be Vanishing," "Moments of Sufficient Lucidity," and "Tiny Gradiations Of Loss." A few titles even reoccur in the span of the album, but with the accompanying audio in varying degrees of decay.
The Caretaker: An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (Soundcloud)

buy The Caretaker: An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (Amazon)

buy The Caretaker: Persistent Repetition of Phrases (Amazon)



  1. Wish I had seen him open for Steve Stapleton/Nurse with Wound at Mutek in MTL. Sigh… Hope that happens again…Probably not…sigh

  2. I agree that it’s nice, but no download and $15 for a CD (said the guy who paid at least that much for a pencil sharpener the other day)? I think I’ll pass.

  3. oooh – and if you liked that be sure to check out Stephan Mathieu, A Static Place who’s been doing this processed 78rpm records thing for some good time too. Last track on that album Dawn is sooh beautiful it’s worthy of weeping to as the sun comes up on a morning!

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