The Artist/Album: The Caretaker, Patience (After Sebald) (History Always Favours the Winners, 2012)
A Short Review: Leyland Kirby’s discomforting string of delightfully degraded ambient recordings continues with the soundtrack to a documentary on the life of the German writer W.G. Sebald. A critical favorite who was poised to win the Nobel Prize at the time of his death in 2001, Sebald’s work often explored themes of memory loss and decay. The literary equivalent of Kirby’s Caretaker guise, in other words, a parallel the producer explores through mangled, sample-strewn 78 versions of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle. An even more extreme version of the ashen aesthetics of the Caretaker’s last proper album (An Empty Bliss Beyond This World), the entire score sounds like it was submerged in barrels of muddy water and mic’d against a rain storm. While all of these variables should add up to a monotonous listen, it’s a magical instance of mood manipulation instead.