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The album that simulates dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Have you listened to this album before? Let the team at Aged Care Guide know your thoughts!

Everywhere at the End of Time has a runtime of just over six and a half hours (Album art by Ivan Seal)

Everywhere at the End of Time has a runtime of just over six and a half hours (Album art by Ivan Seal)

Key points:

  • Everywhere at the End of Time is a horrific and truly human experience that allows people to experience the very gradual decay of memory over time
  • Released in six stages by English/Polish artist Leyland James Kirby, also known as ‘the Caretaker,’ the first stage was released in 2016, the second two in 2017, stages four and five were released in 2018 and the final in 2019, to give a sense of gradual decay
  • The project received initial criticism for its depiction, but eventually received critical acclaim upon public reception of the final stage


This edition of Aged Care Guide will give you the history behind an album that spread across the internet like wildfire as a result of its harrowing insight into what it’s like to experience dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

This article will cover the history behind the artist, the album and describe the six stages of Everywhere at the End of Time, along with how each reflects the relative progress of memory degeneration.

The Caretaker

Leyland James Kirby, under the pseudonym ‘the Caretaker,’ takes inspiration from ambient work such as ambient musician Brian Eno, along with films such as The Shining to create Everywhere at the End of Time. Kirby had ascribed an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis to the pseudonymous ‘Caretaker’ character, but Kirby himself has since had to detail that he does not have Alzheimer’s disease, drawing a distinction between the artist-character and the artist himself. 

The album was made using remastered, remixed and spliced together ballroom music vinyls from the 1930s, edited by Kirby in his Krakow apartment in Poland and spaced out across several years. According to the artist himself, he didn’t want to come across as pretentious and didn’t want people thinking that he was trying to be ‘deep.’

Reluctantly, Kirby published the first stage in 2016, stages two and three in 2017, stages four and five in 2018 and the final, most harrowing stage in 2019. For Kirby, this added to the sense of time between stages, furthering the narrative progress and sonic denigration of looping tracks, with the runtime of the album and annual gap between releases furthering the thematic toll that time takes for progressive memory failure.

Initially, critics panned and harshly condemned the album for its potential romanticisation of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, although each stage added to the overall vision for the ‘concept’ album, resulting in some critics rescinding their objections and praising the collection, which has since gone on to inspire viral trends on platforms such as TikTok — spreading awareness, understanding and abject terror regarding the impact of diseases commonly associated with aged care.

Praised by scientists and critics alike, Mr Parker Dunn, the online managing editor of Daily Utah Chronicle says “Everywhere at the End of Time is so much more than a collection of songs — it’s a cinematic-like story of experiencing loss, struggling and deteriorating down to nothing. If dementia is portrayed accurately by this album, then it’s certainly one of, if not the most, terrifying thing to go through in this world.”

Brian Browne, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of North America’s Dementia Care Education, says that the newfound awareness, accuracy and popularity of the album is “a much welcome thing,” stating “The composer of this music really was onto something in terms of being able to — through the medium of music — lead a younger generation on a journey through the sounds of what the brain is going through, through a dementing process.”

The six stages of Everywhere at the End of Time

Stage one

The album starts off with slightly crackling, yet consistent and lucid ballroom music, evoking a sense of nostalgia, yet uneasy and otherworldly ambient discomfort. It sounds romantic, sane and at times, oddly joyful about a bygone era.


Stage two

Seamlessly, the first stage bleeds into the second, with the same melodies and looping glamour of an outdated band performing orchestral music. You can almost picture the opulent tuxedos, the sweat dripping off the forehead of a trumpet player as the swing music roars. Only, now, the old vinyl crackle of an old record is starting to clip into otherwise enjoyable music in a very noticeable way. It doesn’t take anything away from the world you’re immersed in, but it does add a grim sense of looming disaster.


Stage three

The music now seems out of reach, slower and with added reverb. It were as if the listener was reaching out to hold onto what they were listening to only an hour prior. It seems like what you’d hear in your head, trying to hum a tune in order to recall a long-forgotten song. The sounds are still all there, sprinkling in occasional fractions of what you could once enjoy, but now, it’s fleeting. 


Stage four

Stage four kicks up the disintegration and confusion, giving the listener an ominous sense of unease. Sounds don’t sound recognisable and what you’re listening to now starts to sound more like a funhouse mirror of memory. Something that once existed still exists, only you can’t be sure it does. If it does, you can no longer tell how it existed or in what order. The listener may be able to pick up on one or two notes in the quaint orchestral melody, but they no longer make sense. It’s all lost, but it’s not lost, you’re lost. How do you get back to where you once were?


Stage five

You can no longer tell that you are listening to music at this point in the album, there’s no longer a tune, a melody or anything tangible to hang on to. Given the runtime of the album, what once seemed cheerful, if slightly repetitive, now seems foreign and brief windows of respite from scary static or muffled background music are cut short by compilations of unknown noise.


Stage six

As stage five carries into the final chapter of the album, the listener is already resigned to a state of apathy and is pressured into letting go of trying to recall anything. Instead, they’re wondering why they’re still listening to or expecting to hear music. What was once background noise or an interruption to ballroom music is now a dark all-encompassing shadow that imparts a hollow feeling of a person leaving their own body and becoming an empty shell. It is the heartbreaking audible silence of a person no longer there.

The importance of this album

Everywhere at the End of Time and its online influence have offered many younger people an insight into a troubling and truly nightmarish condition, which has left a new generation fearful and invested in the severity of Alzheimer’s disease. Some have said that they have experienced mental breakdowns, panic attacks or symptoms of physical illness as a result of listening to it. It remains a cultural touchstone and a stark reminder as to the importance of dementia care, the critical successes of research and the pain of seeing someone living with the condition.


Have you listened to this album before? Let the team at Aged Care Guide know your thoughts!


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