The first two of six installments in hauntologist extraordinaire Leyland Kirby’s final, painfully beautiful musical exploration of dementia. Built from treated and decayed loops of old classical and big band records, everything is made to sound even more distant and faded than the original sources. The first installment covers the initial stages of mental decay, during which snippets of old memories return with a veneer of pleasant nostalgia, but before mental capacity becomes significantly impaired. In the second installment, the nostalgic yearning gives way to paralyzing sadness and dread. Taken alone, each piece is pretty in a wistful way, but the sense of imminently approaching loss is borderline upsetting. Speaking as someone who’s spent a lot of time with people in their 70s and up, this is a deeply moving, special project, and it explores an major aspect of life that little other music currently seems to do. Favorites: 1-2, 1-6, 1-7, 1-9, 2-2, 2-4, 2-7, 2-10. No words, no FCCs.|
Disc 1 (Stage 1)
1. (3:32)—Bold, triumphant, syrupy big band music.
2. *(3:30)—Graceful, delicate piano resolving to a pleasant finish.
3. (3:36)—Extremely grainy, jaunty barroom piano.
4. (2:58)—Furtive big band strut.
5. (2:02)—Piano barely audible under surface vinyl noise.
6. *(4:34)—Extremely slowed-down horns.
7. *(3:32)—The horns on this big band track sound like they’re wilting. It’s very unsettling.
8. (2:47)—Pretty, unraveling piano.
9. *(3:31)—Grainy, loping big band. The catchiest piece?
10. (4:04)–Twinkling, upbeat, dreamy piano.
11. (4:36)—More jaunty but vaguely depressed big band.
12. (2:41)—Brash, with a full-orchestra. Evokes opulent Rodgers and Hammerstein theatre sets.
Disc 2 (Stage 2)
1. (4:38)—Lots of surface noise. A lone woodwind rides a wash of bright drone.
2. *(4:43)—Weeping dirge, with an almost mocking horn melody.
3. (2:38)—Violin and horn-driven reprise of 1-1. Still vaguely jaunty in a creepy way.
4. *(4:43)—Gloomy, dark, windy, like the score to a nightmare scene in an old cartoon. Syrupy, dread-inducing violin.
5. (5:04)—Minimal horns, like a botched version of “Taps.” Rhythmic hiss.
6. (4:08)—Deep, muddy horns and woodwinds. Similar feel to 2-4 at the beginning. Turns into a soft, Fantasia-like drone.
7. *(3:37)—Simple, pathos-wrung orchestra passage with sliding violin. Sad, sad, sad, so sad. *Sniff sniff*
8. (3:53)—Appropriate to the title, returns to the relative clarity and gaeity of Stage 1. Upbeat big band.
9. (4:16)—Blurry, tinny. Weird juxtaposition of dissonant chaos and soft levity.
10. *(4:15)—Floating strings. Lovely, gentle, elegaic beginning. Grand black-and-white film climax middle. Everything buried in haze.