The Caretaker: soundtrack from 78 recordings of Franz Schubert music

The Caretaker, who I've posted about before, is the alter-ego of musician James Kirby who composes gorgeous haunted music by cutting up, processing, and looping vintage 78s. His last album as The Caretaker, "An Empty Bliss Beyond This World," themed around memory and amnesia, is one of my favorite albums of last year. The Caretaker has just released a new album, a soundtrack to Grant Gee's just-completed documentary film about the German writer WG Sebald. The Caretaker and Sebald are a natural pairing, as both of their work deals with memory (personal and cultural), lost histories, and decay. The soundtrack, titled "Patience (After Sebald)," was composed from public domain 1927 recordings of Franz Schubert's music, including his most famous song cycle for voice and piano, Winterreise. Once again, The Caretaker has created a gorgeous album that will transport you into a dreamlike state that may remind you of The Shining's haunted ballroom scenes, which was one of Kirby's inspirations. Above is a track from "Patience (After Sebald)." (The video is unrelated, but I think it's a nice fit.) I purchased my LPs by The Caretaker at San Francisco's Aquarius Records. More details on The Caretaker's releases at Kirby's History Always Favours The Winners site.


  1. This is a bit too static for me but if you like it, the music of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov after 1985 may be just the thing for you.  His philosophy of ‘musical postludes’ is to not deny the beauty and power of late romantic music, but to refer and meditate on it, deconstruct, slow down time, explore nuances of pedaling and dynamics, take it into places it wouldn’t normally go. 
    Youtube has plenty, symphony #5 is a good starter, but the songs and chamber music are a little closer to what’s here. 
    Nice intro here:

      1. Glad you and perhaps other readers enjoyed it.    Apparently his big stylistic shift was around 1972-74 with the cycle “Silent Songs”, but the ECM release was 1986.  Prior to that his style is more high modernist Darmstadt and would not have similar charms.   Better known composers like Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, and Gavin Bryars (composer of  Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet linked above) have expressed great admiration for him. 

  2. Thanks for this. I purchased digital copies of Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom and An Empty Bliss Beyond This World. Listening to Ballroom now and it is chillingly beautiful.

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