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the amnesiac's book of ghosts

by caroline mckenzie

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This is the sister album to "bloodless".


I'm mistrustful of my memory. It can be so fragmented and minimal that I struggle to consider what's there to be truly reliable - a lack of supporting evidence or somesuch. Over the first couple of months of this year, I spent a little too much time inside my own head, a consequence firstly of a confined hospital environment and then of being housebound for a spell once home. I can overthink at the best of times and there was nothing to stop me doing so.

There were two main sparks for this album. The first was Daniel Kitson's "After the Beginning, Before the End", a recording from 2013 in which he ruminates on the role memory plays in our perception both of the world and of ourselves.** The second was an MRI scan I had in Glasgow on February 25th; during the scan, the machine made a noise that was almost identical to that of the blood pressure/heart rate monitor used in the hospital in Brighton the previous month. In an instant, my mind flashed me right back there, the sound acting as a disorientatingly powerful trigger. That was when this album cohered as a separate entity to "bloodless" - the vagaries of my conscious mind as opposed to those of the unconscious/subconscious.

I often feel haunted by myself, tormented by something more than just sour memories or guilt. There were many people I could have been or should have been and, in some of the more difficult moments of these last few years, I found that I would almost mourn for those "selves", imagining their lives as easier, more successful and rewarding, not riven by anxiety, by fear and by a raw, debilitating anger that could turn itself both inside and out.

This album, therefore, is about the distance between how we are perceived and how/who we really are, the slow fade/blur/distortion of our memories and how their echoes continue to reverberate through us, even when we can no longer hear them.

It's an ending of sorts.

CJM - 16th March 2017


released March 20, 2017

Recorded Glasgow, February-March 2017 save for the voice on "room 31 / sub wait area 3", recorded Brighton, January 2017.

(**The first half-hour or so of Kitson's album can be heard here - danielkitson.bandcamp.com/album/after-the-beginning-before-the-end - I highly recommend downloading the full release with particular reference to the album's final section "a relatively mixed message".)


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