Friday, November 15, 2013

The Stranger In An Even Stranger Land

The Stranger
Watching Dead Empires In Decay

By now, musical electrician Leyland Kirby must know that he's making absolutely perfect soundtracks for urban exploring, right? His previous work under the moniker The Caretaker fused warped jazz 78s with hisses and clicks; the perfect accompaniment for navigating abandoned TB hospitals, shuttered auto plants or spooky-ass insane asylums (whatever floats your boat). Additionally, Kirby's recordings under his own name and V/Vm are both atmospheric and cheekily confounding (respectfully). His latest, possibly Albert Camus-inspired iteration, The Stranger, even goes so far as to depict a derelict apartment block on the cover of its debut LP, Watching Dead Empires In Decay (natch!)

Unlike his previous work however, Kirby's The Stranger has ratcheted-up the foreboding and dread, turning those explorations down peeled-paint hallways into fodder for nightmares ("Spiral of Decline"). And unlike his previous cut-n-paste recordings, Decay features a fully realized narrative from start to finish, complete with second act denouements taking place at the gates of Hell itself ("Where Are Our Monsters Now, Where Are Our Friends?") It's all quite glorious, mad-for-sadness stuff. For those of you (us) in a perpetually melancholy mood, Decay is manna from Hades.

Just take heed of the warning sign on the the front gates before you break in, k?