Sometimes it feels as if sanity rides on a cushion of nostalgia and melancholy or it doesn’t ride at all. That is as good of an argument for the need for and desirability of insanities as it is for the need for and desirability of nostalgia and melancholy. These kinds of ideas can be felt in Leyland Kirby‘s music and they can be felt again and anew with Eager to Tear Apart the Stars, the first album-length release of material under his own name since 2009’s epically long and longingly epic, Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was. Kirby also issued three volumes of Intrigue & Stuff in 2011, a series of 12-inches that move into futuristic psychedelia that ranges from ecstatic to disturbing. But with Eager he returns home to his kingdom of cosmic melancholia, though it is of course a home that never quite exists except in the ache of its absence.
An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, Kirby’s latest work as The Caretaker, produces an experience akin to being trapped in one’s own mind, one’s own world, as the people, landscapes, art, and events that gave that world meaning and density crumble one upon the next. The past loses its coherence. On Eager to Tear Apart the Stars the past is everywhere but like a siren song calling you into impossible existences, impossible places, impossible times. It is music as space without bound, sub-bass rumbling like the creation of universes, slivers, shards, and droplets of sound drifting and clattering into melodies, everything immersed in ballooning clouds of static.
“This Is the Story of Paradise Lost.” “They Are All Dead, There Is No Skip at All.” “My Dream Contained a Star.” Such titles do nothing to contain the music that they designate, but they do function like points of entry. A beautiful place that floats forever on the horizon as seen from a point verging on wasteland. Circling endlessly in a dream of dancing dreamed from a world where the never ceasing of motion is a reassurance rather than a source of fear. The beginning of impossible responsibilities in the visions of joy that suffuse our sleep.
A lot of ambient music is too homogeneous and worse than that the spaces and emotions that it opens onto are too homogeneous. The worlds that Leyland Kirby makes are something else altogether, and the sadness that they are filled with can seem like anything from an antidote to a telescope, a mnemonic device to a machine of automatic thought, the shape of bodies, cinematic cities, the shape of space’s shapelessness. The rooms and planet we inhabit are finite, those that we peer in with music on are endless and here we do not stand and walk so much as float atop the surface of the past.
Stream: Leyland Kirby – “Remember Us”