Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World LP
Working with sound as meditations on memory and loss, The Caretaker takes old jazz records, various effects, and what sounds like a battery of old beat up Victrolas, and weaves Philip Jeck like soundscapes. Unlike Jeck, the source sounds here are not obfuscated. The Caretaker records are almost like spectral mix-tapes, especially on this one, which sounds like old 78s left to play in a big old auditorium. The room's reverb lovingly wreathes the music in a gauzy old timey haze. The surface noise, hiss, crackle and pop are accentuated by the cavernous space. Better yet, replace the auditorium with an old abandoned mansion. Imagine the great room, animal heads on the walls, old oil paintings, a massive fireplace, charred black, old decaying rugs, all the furniture covered in white cloths, looking like ghosts, cobwebs in all the corners, the floor beneath a layer of dust. In the corner, there's a solitary antique record player. Lit up, its turntable spinning slowly some old dusty record, to a room full of spirits. It's a sonic requiem for a time that once was. The music seeming to reflects the ever fading memories. Haunted house jazz, old timey seance blues, mournful melodies played on an old piano, muted trumpet, swoonsome strings, shuffling drums, a slow motion big band performing live in the ether, playing lament after lament, dedicating it to their lost loves, and loves lost.
An Empty Bliss Beyond This World plays like some archival collection of lost 78's, but where the records' provenance is unknown, timeless music that could have come from anytime, and anywhere, the imperfections and inconsistencies as much a part of the sound as the music itself, all of that hiss and crackle a warm wreath of time-transformed-into-sound detritus, the passing of time mad physical, a sonic memorial to the past. So utterly gorgeous.