Friday, October 16, 2009

Leyland Kirby - sadly, the future is not what it was

Leyland Kirby
sadly, the future is no longer what it was - trilogy
(2009, History Always Favours The Winners)
RIYL = The Disintegration Loops, The Sinking of the Titanic, The Caretaker, Eluvium

Holy wow...Leyland Kirby has just pulled out all the stops with sadly, the future is no longer what it was. Having only been introduced to him recently through his incredible Persistent Repetition of Phrases album from last year under The Caretaker moniker, I am doing all I can to catch up. And now, with this 3x CD/6x LP release I am not likely to be back tracking very far very soon on an account of being swamped in this, Kirby’s most recent, expansive set of soul-jarringly gorgeous music. With such a brief familiarity with the man, it has been an utter shock to realize what I have been missing with the incredible quality of the recordings Kirby has created. And, sadly, the future is no longer what it was only improves upon that quality. No, improve is too simple a term to be applied to this. Sadly, the future is no longer what it was is a proper epic, both in terms length (obviously, 6x LPs!) and in emotional weight. Kirby’s work is piano based, but at its core it is truly a work of atmosphere. Kirby has a subtle way of working with drones and tonal disintegration that is reminiscent of William Basinski’s monumental Disintegration Loops. That is a lofty comparison, seeing has how Basinski’s work is such an impressive, singular work in its own right, but I do not hesitate to make it. Kirby is working at that same standard and sadly, the future is no longer what it was is destined to hold the same amount of sentimental and historical stock, even without the backdrop of 9/11. Being a trilogy, and a lengthy one at that, I have only listened to the first two volume so far (the third being yet to be released), but I have no reservations about the third installment living up to the quality of the first two. Both waver in and out of crystalline piano pieces into warbly, thick, thick patches of drone and then warmer synths. In the moments where Kirby’s droney murmur reaches its most crowded, layered, deafening tones, I am convinced there is no better musician working in such sounds. Sadly, the future is not what it was is a devastating, but ultimately hopeful musical composition that defies contemporary musical standards by adventuring deep into poignant territory rarely tread. This is the kind of album that changes you. You simply cannot listen the same way after hearing it. Hugely recommended.


Listen to streams of the album here

1 comment:

Ryan Hall said...

I want this. So bad.