The Stranger Watching Dead Empires in Decay LP

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Some serious darkness emanates from The Stranger. James Kirby inhabits a myriad of aliases, from the decaying and utterly enjoyable ballroom music of The Caretaker to the ambient synth sounds of Leland Kirby. His output as The Stranger exists in a totally different plane. Where you might find yourself enjoying a mint julep to the sounds of The Caretaker, The Stranger drags you through the decomposing factories of a post industrial wasteland. Modern Love seems to be an appropriate home for this material as its catalog leans to the more contemporary industrial sounds in music. This is dark and unsettling stuff, and it's nearly impossible to pin down how it was composed. Are these the last gasps of dying drum machines? Field recordings in giant, decrepit grain silos? Or samples run through indecipherable effects chains? Whatever the case, the music is utterly surreal, haunting and transportative. For as stark as it may seem, the sound is astoundingly beautiful. Don't be scared away by the first taste you get, you are guaranteed an enjoyably disturbing journey.

  • music label: Modern Love 2013
reviewed by Hank Ohs 11/2013