The Caretaker can’t do no wrong, or so it seems. Initially inspired by haunting and legendary scene of a massacre in empty ballroom from Kubrick classic horror The Shining, The Caretaker catalyzed terror through ostensible calm. But haunted ballrooms are history, a bit. James Kirby analyses music as a set of memories, fragmented, incomplete, shaded, obscure somewhere on the bottom of one’s mind. Amnesiacs, Alzheimer’s patients, people with disorders affecting their memories - those are Kirby’s objects of research. In comparison to neuro-scientists or psychologists, Kirby’s results aren’t sets of tables, graphs and theories that wait for validation. Rather, it’s a collection of several excellent releases that are both eerie and splendid, disturbing and soothing.
An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, his new full-length sounds more delightedly and complacent. Particular psychical illnesses don’t cause any aches to body and mind and so is his new album stripped out of pain, troubles and difficulties. Just old-fashioned idyll of 20’s and 30’s easy-listening music. Camaraderie At Arms Length is the longest track here and evolves above mentioned motives to the strongest effect. This piece for solo saxophone is bizarrely glorious, almost happy about its loose melody and peculiar strings and winds in the background. James Kirby breathed fellowship and friendship into this song and these are charming ideas. Although the satisfying mood could be explained with various positive names, camaraderie is fitting.
The cut at the end of it even increases the effect. The secret is to play all these songs on repeat and the end connects fluidly to its beginning. Lovely metaphor to the loop that suffering minds live in. An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, one of 2011’s best records, can be purchased on Kirby’s official page.