Surely it doesn’t need to be said just how much has changed in Peter Silberman’s personal life since The Antlers’ last record, 2014’s Familiars. As it goes, one may not recognize the changing of seasons solely judging by Impermanence’s mild-mannered nature.
Silberman is no stranger to dreamy elements of his slowcore affections, yet here we find something of a handicap in terms of all that he’s been capable of.
It was in fact the same tour in support of Familiars that left Silberman completely void of hearing in his left ear, complete with tinnitus to show for.
Per NPR’s “All Songs +1” segment, he in his own words affirmed this current frame of mind.
“I started trying to play again and trying to sing again, testing where the boundary was of the sensitivity and of the pain of it. What I found was that if I sang very quietly and if I played guitar very quietly that this would be a path for me.”
So there you have it. An already quiet man now makes quiet music full time, as opposed to only doing it sometimes.For real, it goes without saying just how important it is to protect your ears, this all coming from a guy whose naivety stretches to never really wearing earplugs to shows himself.
But enough about me, think too just how much it really says about The Antlers and their sound.
It is most certainly loud when it really melds together. From the very first impending rush of noise on Hospice’s “Prologue”, to the the climatic “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”, Silberman’s present venture into hollow guitar strumming over angelic falsetto truly exemplifies how much of a change this is from his forte. I say that not only for him as a musician, but also as an individual living his everyday life dealing with his newfound condition. Take the most fragile elements of Jeff Buckley’s bare-bones showcases, tempo that down even more, and here you have Impermanence, the modern day lovechild.
Lead single “Karuna”, along with “Gone Beyond” perfectly capture a new meaning of Peter Silberman’s Hindu inspirations.
Where song and album title give the audience a clue, see also the delicate guitar picking, complete with spacious reverb-drenched space. Silberman paired the album announcement and its subsequent release to the public with a full house tour accompaniment following in the coming months. If that isn’t the most intimate thing you can imagine, you’ve already found your paradise ages ago.
Silberman never truly fulfills his musical showcase of instrumentation (falsetto notwithstanding) on any Impermanence track, let alone scatter any horns, drums, or anything else in the music, minus a few minor appearances. This is solely him, his guitar, and the wispy voice that fans know so well.
Consider each passage of Peter Silberman’s work with The Antlers, that each wrenching whisper on the somber reflections that make up a bulk of his catalogue have slowly burst forth into fruition. From the solo passages on In The Attic of the Universe, to Hospice’s tearjerker love songs gone wrong, to the angelic coos of “Corsicana” off of Burst Apart, consider Impermanence less like the leftovers of one individual playing hurt, but more of the product of every wave of crushing emotion up to this point.
The Antlers could certainly be loud, as live shows would dictate, yet here we stand after the dust has settled, just man and his guitar. You feel like you’re standing in a crowded room with this one, voices silenced, nothing but the wave of Silberman’s delicate strums deafening a rushing world, just as his hearing personifies skin and bone.