The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time: Stage 4

An unrelenting spiral into a cobweb-laced and thoroughly deranged funhouse of fear, confusion, and lost memory gathers apace on the latest entry in the Everywhere At The End Of Time series, not only observing but suffering in first person the unimaginable cruelty of dementia. We’re now progressing into Stage 4, where hope is but a naked flicker in a violent windstorm. The decline is real, as real and as vivid as the jaunty memory-loop zig-zagging through the brain’s wiring, sending signals to the wrong places amid scattered and severed connections, receptive but somehow unresponsive, tuned to the wrong radio frequency.

Likewise, the music comes and goes, repeating a series of sepia music halls and infinite dances. Underneath this fake sunshine, under the eternal bliss, a plague exists; it’s all an illusion. The crackles in the music are a premonition, an insidious fault-line and a sign of the breakage to come. The photographs are slowly ripping. The tear starts at the edge before dissolving into the record’s fuzz of eighty-year-old static, which hangs like long, matted hair over the music’s eyes. Muddled and tongue-tied, the music falters, veering into discordancy and bleak substitutions. Welcome to the latter post-awareness stages.

Serenity has been bent into horror. Appearances deceive, because disillusion continues on the inside, while in somewhat of a paradoxical twist these ill memories are shaped into deeper, watery experiences from which escape is difficult to nigh-on-impossible. This is the new reality. On the outside, the blank slate of forgetfulness reigns. As a result of the mind’s own entanglements, unreal memories merge together, forming a plastic and pulsating growth, a fake smile, even as the mind’s decorative wallpaper is torn down, stripped away, revealing nothing but a bare skull.

Disjointed sounds and oblique tones lead The Caretaker into the realms of experimentation, a night watchman in charge of failing lights or a captain in command of a sinking ship. ‘Temporary Bliss State’ jingles like an ice cream truck, but even these sounds are listing. Like an off-kilter mask, the pleasurable memories disguise a trembling, existential terror and the caverns of deepening isolation. Is this home?

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