‘Butchered Voices’: Haunted memories in the work of The Caretaker

Clare Lesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Describing his early compositional processes as ‘butchering’ in conversation with Simon Reynolds, the songs and voices that James Leyland Kirby, also known as The Caretaker amongst other aliases, has obsessively reworked, looped, stretched and otherwise deconstructed, appear as ghosts, eternally trapped in auditory labyrinths of melancholy decay; the sonic equivalent of stirring bottomless pools of murky water. Drawing on conceptions of hauntology from the work of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), Mark Fisher (1968–2017) and others, this article will explore The Caretaker’s use of ‘butchered’ voices in The Haunted Ballroom Trilogy and Patience (After Sebald), to explore the deconstructive labyrinths that are intrinsic to his work in Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom (1991) onwards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Derrida
  • Gee
  • Kirby
  • Sebald
  • Winterreise
  • ballroom
  • hauntology
  • shining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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