His biggest success was through his The Caretaker alias. Reworked versions of 1930s ballroom music, inspired by the ghostly ballroom scenes in Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'. Yes, I deliberately name it as Kubrick's instead of Stephen King's, because we all know King doesn't like that version but he knows nothing about making good movies, while Kubrick delivered masterpiece after masterpiece. But I digress.... The Caretaker surprised everyone with its highly classy and tasteful ghostly ambient and I love all his releases with a passion I can hardly express with words and some of it moves me to tears everytime I hear it. The Caretaker is currently working on a project that tries to put the different stages of dementia in some sort of audio form over a series of releases and it is absolutely stunning, meaningful, haunting, distressing and beautiful at the same time. Be sure to check this out.
But this review is not about The Caretaker. This is about Leyland Kirby. 'We, so tired of all the darkness in our lives' is technically speaking the 6th release under this alias. Unlike The Caretaker, or V/Vm before it, all the music is composed by James, so there's no reworking of other people's material. And this is where it gets interesting because a lot of people always saw him as someone who only reworks other works through VST processing. Which is damn shame because James had already proved he can actually compose some truly stunning work. He already released an intriguing album under the name H>Ost and the V/Vm albums 'Sometimes, Good Things Happen' also contained some great original work.
'We, so tired of all the darkness in our lives' is a collection of tracks James has revisited and reworked the most often in the last 5 years or so. The 16 tracks present some form of futurist ambient instrumental trip-hop (for lack of a better word) which is very heavy on the melancholic feelings. Vistas of empty metropolitan streets on rainy days; dull people sitting in dreary, grey bars; rundown housing estates in the winter; ugly graffitti on derelict train station walls, all this springs to mind. It's never happy or uplifting, but sparks of hope and meaning can be found. Most of the world is ugly as are most people. And those people are tired or fed up but you are not alone. And there is solace in that. Solace is, for me, the word that best describes this album. It calms me. It soothes me. Some tracks, like 'Collected Light' and 'Solid Mentality' move me to tears with their almost incomprehensible beauty. Shades of Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and early Vangelis pop up now and then and always the album has this distant, ghostly, hazy feeling. I can't quite grasp it. It falls apart as soon as you think you get it, like sand through your fingers.
I know I can get lost in metaphores every now and then, but this album has that effect on me. Its profound beauty, sincerety and honesty have, like I said, moved me to tears and I urge everyone to check this out and be covered by a warm blanket of pure melancholy put to sound. Because of it's ability to conjure up images it is highly recommend for people into sountracks as well. Jerry Goldsmith is just one of the composers that comes to mind as well as the already mentioned Vangelis. Since James never cared for the business side of making music; like a lot of his work this album is available as a pay-what-you-want release on Bandcamp. Do yourself a favor and go get this.