James Leyland Kirby is better known to the world as The Caretaker but under his given name he delves no less into the haunted recesses of nostalgia and memory than he has under that longstanding alias. His latest album, Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was is a cinematic sweep into the recesses of melancholy; the way it affects our lives and our connection to things physical and emotional. Over the course of three discs, Kirby's music washes over the listener in gentle waves that gradually eat away at the hardened exterior that protects one against the ravages of longing and the fleeting tendencies of memory. Kirby reminds us that time will always win in the fight to keep moments locked in amber, that the corrosive qualities of age will always triumph over the most strident archivist. But it seems, in the instant the tear is shed, you've already forgotten why you shed it.
Over the course of the album Kirby seems to see both sides of this dilemma, with some tracks twinging with a queasy sense of lost panic, scrambling ever so uselessly to hold onto the eroded pieces of life. Other tracks become calm, which may be more unsettling than the former pieces. The struggle ends because the listener has already forgotten what the fight was for. Easing back into acceptance and never really remembering what all that fuss was about anyway.
The album's not quite as sinister as this would imply, there are beautiful moments when Kirby nails the overwhelming bliss of easing into the past, letting go and remembering when the cold wasn't so sharp and the faces not so hard. Kirby's provided a full map of the terrain of emotions that like in wait for all those who tread into the recesses of nostalgia and that in itself eases the pain of inevitable loss.
[MP3] Leyland Kirby - Don't Sleep I'm Not What I Seem, I'm A Very Quiet Storm
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