Lots of you will already be very familiar with The Caretaker and this record – especially as it came out in its final form more than a year ago, and much of it was originally recorded at least a decade before that. If so, please forgive me for delving back into the recent and not so recent past, which is, after all, exactly what Everywhere At The End Of Time is all about.
Probably the best-known alias of Leyland James Kirby, The Caretaker is someone I’ve always thought I would enjoy, but never really gave the proper time and attention – due at least in part to the fact that none of his work ever appears on streaming services. Recently this 6-hour+ epic has become a trend of TikTok, a Quietus article about which made me finally commit an extended listening session.
Everywhere… was released in instalments, each portion of the release representing a different stage of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease until – with the final instalment in 2019 – The Caretaker character died and the moniker was retired. The Caretaker project was initially inspired by the haunted ballroom scene in The Shining, and like many of his albums – and often revisiting and sampling his earlier work – Everywhere… is mainly comprised of treated and manipulated samples of 1930s ballroom recordings, which disintegrate further and more violently into chaos as the album progresses, representing the various stages of memory decline brought about by the disease.
The result is utterly haunting, harrowing, beautiful and existential, and one of the most profound – if at times extremely challenging – experiences you can have listening to music. Will I be making a TikTok video to share my experience? I shall not.