Everywhere at the End of Time, by The Caretaker
Suggested by Stuart Taylor
Everywhere at the End of Time is a six-and-a-half hour experimental piece presented as a reflection of dementia and the erosion of memory. It spans six distinct stages, each one tackling an aspect of the heartbreaking process, from initial loss of cognition to the horror of total memory fluidity through entanglements, repetition and rupture.
You can’t really dance to it.
The phases are further split into roughly twenty-minute segments, with the earlier segments comprising of individual tracks. The whole thing makes up a soundscape that’s more experience than music. It’s Art, with a capital A.
I’ve one thousand albums to listen to in a calendar year. That’s roughly three a day. Plus, I have to write reviews. I have to shower, and eat, and pet my kittens, and converse with my wife, and watch the latest season of The Boys, and work a full nine-to-five. I’m sorry, but you can’t have six-and-a-half hours of my day to review something so crippled by artistry that it’s one step from splitting up the Beatles.
As art, it’s intriguing. I’ve given it a full two hours, which encompasses the first three stages, and I do want to see where it goes next. Stage one consists of some heavily treated music hall samples, all very wartime and Vera Lynn and Green Mile. Stages two and three play with these themes, becoming discordant and disquieting, ending abruptly and causing genuine unpleasant feelings as I’m listening. I’m positive the remainder will be very profound, but it sure won’t be fun.
I’m an advocate for judging a piece of art by its whole, rather than an impression. You can’t declare the Mona Lisa as trash if you’ve never looked lower than her indistinct eyebrows. I also think I can’t really judge this by the same rules as the other albums on the list. It’d be like entering a pound of self-raising into the Chelsea Flower Show.
I can only give this 1/10, based on the criteria I set for this project. Naming a standout track is entirely pointless. But as art, I’ll return to it, likely piecemeal in the gaps between my remaining 990 albums. Because sometimes you want a lager, and sometimes you want a single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat.