F a t rabbit hole and emotional post incoming. I should note that the album talked about below is not something you should listen to, if the last thing you need right now is to feel sad or depressed.So for the past few months I've wandered around YouTube recommendations to see what kind of rabbit hole I could get myself into. One day, I saw this on my feed:
So being the weird and out-there music junky I am, I was ecstatic to find out if this album (or 6) could, well, emotionally break me. This guy, named Leyland Kirby, is a UK artist that goes under the moniker The Caretaker. He samples and mixes music from old 30s/40s ballroom waltzes and turns them into essentially Boomer LoFi, which is quite the vibe.
At first, I went to his normal length projects such as An Empty Bliss Beyond This World and Patience (After Sebald) . I thought they were great pieces of art that I could study and relax to.
Then, my morbid curiosity couldn't be quenched. It was time to experience the piece that everyone was freaking out about. The Caretaker's final project, and his magnum opus, Everywhere at the End of Time. (it's the video you see in my signature)
To start off, Everywhere at the End of Time is a musical/audio art piece that delves into the mind of a patient with Dementia (the disease that older folks get, makes you forget things). It covers its subtle beginnings, advancements, and complete and crushing totality. It has several reoccurring tracks throughout that seem to deteriorate the further you go. The songs are supposed to represent the most precious memories held dear to oneself. I have a genetic predisposition for Dementia anyway, and I've had both my grandfathers die to it, so why not give this a go? Should be a neat experience, right? Maybe I'll... learn something?
Well, upon clicking the video,
It's Six and a Half hours long. Hours.
Whatever, it's my weekend and I have nothing better to do, anyway. So I do what I used to do : Pour myself a glass of Gentlemen Jack (or 6), hop up on my couch and strap in for the long haul. And holy shit, was it l o n g. This was meant to be experienced in its entirety, according to the comments section. So be it.
I wish I could tell you that it was a mediocre, boring experience. It was the exact opposite. After six and a half hours of slowly descending into uncertainty, confusion and horror, I can say this piece was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
This album broke me.
It gave me perspective of how my grandfathers must've felt before their death. How my grandma that I love dearly is on the downward spiral as I type this. It reminded me that my own father is next, then... me, one day. One day, they will be gone before they're truly dead, that the person they once were will wither away before they go, that their basic human function will disappear and they will be trapped in their deteriorating minds as their condition grows worse. They will cease to understand the world around them, the words that are being said to them, and finally, themselves as a person. My grandmother will soon no longer remember who I am. My father will one day not recognize his own son, nor himself when he looks in the mirror.
Safe to say, I had an emotional meltdown. I can't tell you that last time I really cried. This album hit me in a place deep enough that I finally realized I should be cherishing every little moment of my life. I finally realized that through severe alcoholism and depression, I could barely remember the last five years of my life. Any important moments with family, work, or personal were washed away with booze. Every day was a day spent going through the motions at work, then coming home and getting black-out hammered. Interest and care for my hobbies, family and friends were gone. I finally decided to stop drinking and let my mind heal. To this day, I am still in recovery. Every day is mental agony, trying everything to suppress an instinctual need that found its way into my head. It's an uphill battle I will fight for the rest of my life.
Emotional monologue out the way, Everywhere at the End of Time is an absolutely profound and emotionally heavy experience. It is totally fine to listen to this bits at a time, but I highly recommend that you find a day where you can experience this beautiful work of music and art in its entirety, the way The Caretaker intended.
If any of you have listened to this, or any of The Caretaker's projects, please feel free to share your experiences.
And for the folks living away from their family: Call them. Call your grandparents/parents if they're still around. I'm sure they'll appreciate it.