Leyland Kirby "Sadly, the future is no longer what it was.” pt. I: “When We Parted My Heart Wanted To Die"
Here, if anywhere, the over-used term ‘epic’ is justified. Leyland Kirby (aka The Caretaker) unleashes a trilogy of albums: three cds, or, if measured in vinyl, three double lps. And each of these clocks in at around 70 minutes: full-length indeed, and epic also in that Kirby cunningly sticks to full sentences as project, album and (almost everywhere) even track titles. But come on, surely there must be some leftovers, some proof of self-righteousness, of an artist who cannot help but spill his guts? Let’s find out, taking it album by album.
“When we parted my heart wanted to die” is the first album in the series. The title track juxtaposes tape loops and Erik Satie-style piano phrases, which gradually open into immense echo spaces. Artemiev’s soundtracks for Tarkovskiy come to mind, and yet the first track isn’t even over. Elsewhere, parts of the utterly beautiful “And As I Sat Beside You I Felt The Great Sadness That Day“ are almost replicas of Popol Vuh’s “Aguirre” theme. With Leyland Kirby, ‘cinematic’ denotes a blend of personal, intimate memory and a claim to the human condition: the diary as Bible.
I’m not aware of exactly how long Kirby has been working on this entire project, but such a vast piece of work has to bear traces of its creative process, turning it into its own work journal. After all, “the future is no longer what it was”, and the project reflects on its realisation, oozing melancholy, nostalgia and dread. Bring on # 2 and 3! 8/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (14 October, 2009)