What makes this music so compelling is that it is like watching someone die, but made beautiful. Watching a person pass is rarely a dignified thing and many of us find it hard to watch due to our own sense of shame and helplessness, whether grandparent or the plants we have let go brown and brittle.
This is brittle music.
Most of the leaves have fallen away in flakes and you can see the stems and bones, all fibrous and weak. Brittle but alive, unlike James Kirby Leyland’s last record of 2011 under the Caretaker moniker. While “An Empty Bliss Beyond This World” saw him make Frankensteins out of already dead pre-war ballroom records, “Eager to Tear Apart the Stars” is more of a hunger strike or a fast. Minimal synths, bass and string samples shimmer angelically over the same vinyl-fuzz that haunted the halls of “An Empty Bliss… ” placing it in a similar world, much like later Davis Lynch films (Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr., Inland Empire) all appear to be set in a similar world with their own logic and physics, not unlike, but different from our own, just recognizable enough that we know to empathize with what’s happening, but also far away enough that we know we don’t know where we are.
“Eager to Tear…” may also deserve a Lynch comparison in musical tone. Much of it is reminiscent of the ghost-lounge scores of Angelo Badalamenti and could have easily been featured in an episode of Twin Peaks, while Caretaker name is a sly wink to The Shining and its haunted ballroom.
The world where these albums come from does not exist anymore. It orbited a star that exploded a long time ago and the light and sound that we get from it are very old and are essentially only memories at this point. Memories are never real, they are always seen by the bias of the present which taints their clarity, but still we are eager to confuse them because we like to feel like we can be in a place of our time, our world.