Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Winter songs

The Caretaker minds (and mines) Franz Schubert



The Caretaker

Patience (After Sebald)
(History Always Favours the Winners)

The review below is based on a digital version of Patience (After Sebald), not the available vinyl record. That’s notable mainly because one can imagine a particularly surreal new element of irony that might come from listening to music so affected with hiss and scratch and out-and-out white-noise fog as the needle of your own record player travels along a dusty, dog-hairy groove. This omnipresent texture, varying between a light hiss dusting and something almost jarring, is plenty literal. As with the Caretaker’s 2011 surprising indieland crossover breakthrough, An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, Patience (After Sebald) – born as a soundtrack to the upcoming film of same name – is sourced from music from the dawn of recorded sound, and then cut up/looped/spliced by the Caretaker, aka ambient musician Leyland Kirby, into ghostly fog by using a process that’s extremely adept at erasing its own tracks.

An Empty Bliss Beyond This World comprises all found ballroom records and the result was basically The Shining’s Overlook Hotel cut onto acetate. The source material in this case is Franz Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise, and the net result is Franz Schubert’s Winterreise plus 184 years (it was published in 1828). At times the music is barely half-remembered as the core melody is subsumed in a sheet of sound mirroring the inside of an airliner, while piano notes dissolve underneath like orphaned jet contrails. Or just as likely the whole song fades into just that one melody, looping again and again, and you’re not quite realizing it because you don’t have the whole song anymore, maybe never having had it in the first place, which is all the terror and sadness of forgetting. In “The Homesickness That Was Corroding Her Soul,” a track somewhere at the 45-minute mark that mostly smears into one, frustration is made audible better than the toughest NYHC song as one melody loops over and over, begging to resolve into something just out of reach. But whatever, that resolution is gone forever, and that’s the point.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.