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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the The Caretaker website  The Caretaker - A Stairway To The Stars [V/Vm Test Records - 2002]

"A Stairway To The Stars" is the second album by The Caretaker, who presumably also recorded music under the name V/Vm. Perhaps the most interesting music on V/Vm Test Records has to offer, "A Stairway To The Stars" consists of reprocessed ballroom music from the 1930's and 1940's.

The Caretaker already released "The Haunted Ballroom", also on V/Vm Test Records. The title of the album describes pretty much what The Caretaker is about. For those of you who can remember the incredible creepy ballroom scene from Stanley Kubrick's movie "The Shining" (with Jack Nicholson) know what to expect considering the atmosphere on the album. It's not only very ghostly, but also immensely beautiful and tempting. The stunning opening track "We Cannot Escape The Past" already produces this eerie feeling, packed in a haunting ambient piece of barely two minutes.

Although most of the tracks turn out to be odd and dark ambient tracks, the memories from the haunted ballroom appear more clearly in some of the songs. "Cloudy, Since You Left Away" and "Robins And Roses" are good examples of this, bringing back the recognizable sad melodies, trumpets and deep vocals from those old times. The ballroom classics are taken straight from vinyl records and then manipulated on the computer: reversed, re-sampled, slowed down, all you can think of. This might seem like an easy way to create some music, but the result is both incredible and original. It would perfectly fit as soundtrack for a horror movie, proved by the fact that The Caretaker has been asked by a Belgian theatre company to score a forthcoming production and has also been approached by various film companies who are looking to secure The Caretaker audio for their forthcoming films.

"A Stairway To The Stars" is one of the darkest albums I've heard in a very long time, and easily surpasses other dark ambient acts on for instance Cold Meat Industry in both composition and originality. As with most "dark" albums, this can best be experienced with the lights down and headphones on, even though you might get too frightened. I can't wait for the split 12" on Fat Cat Records later this year!

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Justin Faase
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