Patience (After Sebald)

January 16th, 2012 | stuff2012

James Leyland Kirby, in his guise of The Caretaker, created a soundtrack to Grant Gee’s documentary about the magnificent writer WG Sebald.  Currently on vinyl only – I’m a direct subscriber to Kirby’s work, and so received the download early.  It’ll be out on CD and download next month.

It’s of a piece with other Caretaker work, and Kirby’s other output outside the “Intrigue & Stuff” collections: deeply haunted early 20th Century recordings summoned through dusty electronic seance.  I’ve seen a few people comment that it’s Kirby-as-usual and the trick’s getting thin.  I think it’s a perfect response to Sebald’s work.

It did, in fact, send me running for my shattered old first-printing paperback copy of Sebald’s sublime THE RINGS OF SATURN.  Which promptly crumbled and disintegrated in my hands, a shower of papery dust and brittle yellowed sheets.  No more apt way to strew the way for the recording, I suppose. 

PATIENCE (AFTER SEBALD) is, at a long stroll’s pace, meditative and deeply involved with memory.  Exactly like Sebald’s own work.  I haven’t yet seem the film, but it’s hard to imagine a more fitting accompaniment to the man’s themes.  It is also, like Sebald’s prose, very stately and beautiful.

You can hear samples at Boomkat.  If you’ve never heard Kirby’s work before and have further interest, there’s a fine selection for full free streaming at his Bandcamp page.

(I can’t believe there’s not an ebook edition of RINGS OF SATURN.)


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis