Review of “Everywhere at the End of Time.”

Review+of+Everywhere+at+the+End+of+Time.

Listening to this album is like discovering a new color: life-changing.

Created over the span of 2016 to 2019, “Everywhere at the End of Time” by The Caretaker, aka Leyland James Kirby, this 6 ½ hour ambient noise-and-drone experience is a musical personification of memory loss due to dementia. It is 6 albums made into one collection, with each album representing a certain stage of dementia.

This album has the ability to alter one’s perspective on reality. Its first two stages begin as peaceful-sounding music, with only occasional interruptions by record-cracking or scratching. Every noise you hear is sampled from 1920s ballroom music, which gives the listener a strange feeling of nostalgia as they listen to these reverb-drenched tracks. Stage 3 introduces more distortion to the tracks, providing a sense of anxiety as the listener realizes where they are headed. Stages 4-6 show a descent into madness, confusion, and empty bliss. Every second of these final three stages is both terrifying and beautiful in its own special way. What sticks with listeners the most, however, is the 6-minute ending to The Caretaker’s magnum opus. It would be criminal to spoil it, but the description for Stage 6 is often cited to describe it best.

“Post-awareness stage six has no description,” The Caretaker writes about this chilling final album.

To go along with the musical experience, the cover art for each stage is one of my favorite parts of this experience. Painted by artist Ivan Seal, who is known for creating pieces that the viewer can somehow recognize, but struggles to name exactly what is being depicted, the cover art for each album is a metaphor for memory loss. The art is distorted just enough to where it is unrecognizable, yet familiar. Stage Six’s cover stands out from the rest; a cardboard sheet with blue tape on it. Although many theories for what it represents exist, the most popular one is that the actual art is on the back of the cardboard canvas, but a mind in stage-six dementia wouldn’t be able to comprehend it, so the listener of the album does not get to see it.

“I felt emotions I didn’t even know existed while listening to this. I danced, I dreamt, I cried, I lived. Six and a half hours in the grand scheme of things is a very short period of time, but I felt as though I had lived a lifetime after listening to this masterpiece,” an internet user notes about their experience with this album. 

Overall, this album is not for the faint of heart, but is absolutely worth listening to. The experience is one that can change your life, and give you an opportunity to think about the memories you have made so far. After listening, the community around The Caretaker is always open to new discussions being brought to the table. Sample hunting, other Caretaker projects theorizing, analysis videos, fan projects, and more await listeners after completing the masterpiece that is “Everywhere at the End of Time.”