Peter Silberman
Impermanence


3.2
good

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
February 27th, 2017 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The quiet road to recovery.

Almost losing your hearing will do a number on your psyche. Around the time Silberman was releasing Familiars with The Antlers, a frightening dilemma was unfolding. The sound of ringing and rushing water overtook the inner walls of his mind. It left him paralyzed with fear, often recoiling in pain at loud or abrasive noises. At one point, he had no hearing at all in his left ear. It’s an understatement to say that playing music was out of the question, and there was a legitimate chance that the musical career he’d worked so hard to build would, quite suddenly, come crashing down. His road to recovery was riddled with sound barriers, forcing a slow and overtly quiet return that took not months, but years. Impermanence is the culmination of that experience: the shocking assault of tinnitus upon his aural nerves, the unsettling silence, and the trepidation surrounding the gradual re-introduction of sound into his world. Most of all though, it’s a concept record about the temporary nature of all things in life – including suffering.

Impermanence. It’s one of the essential doctrines of Buddhism, a belief that all existence, without exception, is "transient, evanescent, and inconstant.” The implications of such principles can be heard far and wide on this record, from the opening ‘Karuna’ (a Sanskrit word for compassion) through Silberman’s rally for peace on the penultimate ‘Ahimsa.’ Lines like “All of this will disappear / I only have you now, you only have me here / And we can’t count on tomorrow night” speak to the transience of life, and the desire to make the most of all time spent here on Earth. Set to a hushed, ambient atmosphere, every moment of Impermanence sounds like an ephemeral thought in a stream-of-consciousness life. Take the single ‘New York’, a Paul Simon-esque ballad that revisits his hearing loss atop muted guitar picking and regal horns: “When my nerve wore down, I was assailed by simple little sounds / Hammer clangs, sirens in the park, like I never heard New York.” Like a still-frame photo of a moment in time, it’s both gorgeous and unassuming. This subdued tonality, combined with Silberman’s at-times angelic vocal abilities, washes over much of Impermancence in a breathtaking haze.

While the passive mystique of Silberman’s solo debut works mostly to his advantage, it does often have unintentional drawbacks. It’s undeniably sleepy, and drags about for long stretches such as the midsection comprised of ‘Gone Beyond’ and ‘Maya’, which evokes adjectives like “pretty” and “nice” but fails to make any sort of lasting impression across what amounts to thirteen minutes of outstretched, monotonous ambience. The former track is essentially just Silberman repeating the title over echoing cymbals, while the latter is a goodbye ballad of sorts that might have been more memorable if the acoustic guitars ventured outside of the same couple strings being tediously picked, never increasing in tempo or even offering variation within its confines. Generally, if you’re not totally ensnared by a track on Impermanence, chances are it’s passing by totally unnoticed. While ‘Karuna’, ‘New York’ and ‘Ahimsa’ all admirably hold their own, the same can’t be said for the other three tracks; a meandering and often confusing mish-mash of monotony-drenched ambience.

At the end of the day, Impermanence marks an important milestone on Silberman’s road to recovery. It’s an understandably discreet effort, as Peter finds himself working within a new set of auditory parameters that may not have existed prior to his brush with hearing loss. It’s not the most exciting effort in his repertoire, even compared to his relatively lo-fi Antlers outings, but he still finds moments of triumph using little more than his voice and the quiet pitter-patter of instruments that have been purposely subdued from ringing out with the kind of clarity that would make most records feel full-bodied. This is a transitory album true to its name and its concept, illustrating a challenging but ultimately temporary chapter in Silberman’s life. Of course it’s not his best work, but given the obstacles he’s faced, it’s not a bad first step as the world of indie-rock slowly regains one of its most talented and alluring artists.




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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
February 27th 2017


29881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

A semi-letdown, but still enjoyable. Six tracks and three of them are really great, the other three just kind of drone on. Antlers fans should probably still check this.

Artuma
February 27th 2017


30225 Comments


i have a strong feeling i will actually agree with you on this one sowing. granted, i've only listened to one song off this so far but it basically sounded like a rather disappointing antlers song. will definitely give this a listen though

nice job with the review btw :]

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 27th 2017


29881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

I wanted so badly to give this a higher score but 3/6 tracks are just kind of there and do nothing for me.



Anyway, be sure to check Karuna, New York, and Ahimsa (the best track on here IMO).

minty901
February 27th 2017


3685 Comments


This album is really stunning when half-asleep. If I'm too awake then it can be a bit annoying and/or boring. But that doesn't take away from how good it is at night.

Look forward to reading the review


FullOfSounds
February 27th 2017


15770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh this came out! I'm not expecting much tbh, maybe light 3.5 but anything Peter related is worth a listen.

Awesome review as always. I'm a sucker for growth and I'm looking forward to hear how Peter came back from this through his music

NorthernSkylark
February 27th 2017


9130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lovely album

Digging: Ride - Nowhere

FullOfSounds
February 27th 2017


15770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol cover reminds me so much of James Blake

DoofusWainwright
February 27th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is the album of 2017 everyone wants to like more than they actually do

NorthernSkylark
February 27th 2017


9130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 27th 2017


29881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

^both of the above two posts [2]



With regards to wanting to like this more than I do, I kind of agree with minty in that this is dependent on the time/surroundings in which you listen. I seem to have varying degrees of disdain and appreciation for this...first listen was like a 2, and now I like it a lot more. I think what this really needed to be was an EP consisting of Karuna, New York, and Ahimsa. Would have been a 4.5 EP for sure.

gotsthedewsdood
February 27th 2017


711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm enjoying this quite a bit. The three highlights you named are some of my favorite songs of the year, but I can understand the other tracks kind of falling into the background for most. I'm a HUGE Antlers fan so I'm a bit biased. Peter is doing a "Living Room" tour near where I live and I was able to grab tickets so I'm really excited to experience these songs in an intimate setting.

silentstar
February 28th 2017


2526 Comments


yoo same i was able to get them for a show in toronto

looking forward to it + hoping he'll play a couple antlers songs too!

wwf
February 28th 2017


6219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

anyone got a link to lyrics for this

DinosaurJones
February 28th 2017


10036 Comments


The lead single really didn't do much for me, but I'll still check this out. I love the Antlers, so I have to imagine I'll at least enjoy this somewhat.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
February 28th 2017


15071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Man losing his hearing must have been so hard on the man. Loved the review and the story behind the album. Gonna check it out.

Digging: Deafkids - Metaprogramao

AdolfChrist
March 2nd 2017


20395 Comments


Shit, i never knew about his condition.

Digging: Somali Yacht Club - The Sea

rufinthefury
March 2nd 2017


3093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Karuna and Gone Beyond are definitely my favorites.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2017


15071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice little record. Needless to say I prefer his work with The Antlers but this is pretty decent.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2017


2802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fantastic review! New York is so, so beautiful.

Edit: Holy shit, Karuna...

Digging: Angel Du$t - Pretty Buff

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 3rd 2017


29881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Blush, have you ever heard The Antlers? If you like this, you'll love anything they've done. In The Attic of the Universe is in my top 10 albums that came out post-2000, and most of their records are 4's or 4.5's.



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