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Album: Peter Silberman — Impermanence

On his first solo venture, the Antlers frontman strips his distinguished sound down to gorgeous melodies and stark guitar

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Released 24th February via Transgressive

7/10

Peter Silberman’s first solo album following the hiatus of his band The Antlers in late 2015 can be described as a minimalist yet intense effort. Impermanence breaks no creative boundaries, but nevertheless, the six-song album contains some gorgeous melodies as Silberman strips back his distinguished sound to simply his serenading voice and occasional strums of guitar.

Silberman ascribes this quieter ambience surrounding the record as a reaction to The Antlers’ 2014 Familiars; Silberman experienced a series of hearing conditions that made him back away from the sounds of urban life while touring the album. So as not to aggravate his sensitive ears, Silberman composed his latest record while easing himself back into music and keeping the volume and tempo of his music minimal.

And so it shows. Album opener ‘Karuna’ represents an immediate statement of Silberman’s mellow intent. Surprisingly for an almost nine-minute opener, it flies by and pushes the listener to indulge themselves in delicate dreaming. There’s no rush to reach a pinnacle, and Impermanence follows this theme throughout its following five tracks.

Following track ‘New York’ sees Silberman reflect on his experiences and outlook of his home state. The track is a certain highlight of the album, notable for Silberman’s Jeff Buckley-like vocals on a track that wouldn’t go amiss on an Antlers’ record.

Much of the album entails gorgeous tones, powered by the softly executed instrumentation of Silberman’s guitar. However, there is occasionally the feeling that the tracks on Impermanence leave just a little more to be desired. ‘Maya’ fails to build into a satisfying crescendo; the beautifully gentle first half of the song becomes tarnished by its failure to develop as ‘Karuna’ so effectively does.

Yet Silberman has clearly outlined his formula and sticks to it throughout. ‘Ahimsa’ provides a striking contrast from its lyrics, the refrain “no violence today” repeated consistently, alongside its sombre and docile backing guitar patterns and sporadic percussion. The mood perfectly encapsulates the record’s title, and the album namesake ‘Impermanence’ rounds off the sparse and minimal complexion of Silberman’s work.

Impermanence therefore represents an artist’s reflection of his past work, and the response to his need to strip back his creative process. The record is an often enchanting effort though, in many ways, but leaves more to be desired.