Impermanence by Peter Silberman

Release date: February 24, 2017
Label: Transgressive Records

Those familiar Peter Silberman‘s work in the indie-rock outfit The Antlers, will no doubt have an understanding of the incredible emotional resonance that his work can express. Now offering his debut solo album, we see a further continuation of this incredible body of work featuring such an emotional impact. Impermanence sees Silberman perhaps pulling away from the indie-rock roots of his previous work, and instead creating an album experience built more around gaps in notes, with emphasis on the silence it brings. It’s an album experience that is almost peculiar in how distant and empty it mostly feels, and yet in spite of that it still manages to express such a heavy understanding of emotion that can perfectly connect with an individual in such a powerful and comforting way.

Albums such as this can sometimes be very peculiar things. Sometimes they seem to just appear at a perfect time in one’s life, where in the real world, an emotional upheaval is turning everything around and distorting life. Impermanence (and albums similar to it in terms of tone and content) might not form such a strong emotional bond with everyone, but when it coincidentally concurs with a very difficult time in one’s life, it can help shape and mold one’s understanding of what is happening to them. There are many contributing factors to this, from the beautifully melancholy waltz that seem to fill one up with comfort to the slowly meandering ruminative essence captured in the album’s quieter moments. It can all result in something so beautifully powerful and personal, showing the incredible bond music can form with just about anyone.

Emotional connections to music vary from person to person, and what means so much to one person can mean very little to others. What should be of note here is how music can in itself form that kind of bond in the first place. Fans of The Antlers will no doubt know and understand Silberman’s incredible understanding of emotion, and just how effectively he can draw on those emotions and perfectly express it in his music. Whilst Impermanence is a much different album experience to what we might be used too from Silberman, one that instead places emphasis on minimalism, it is one that perfectly continues the emotional resonance we are perhaps used too.  Even one who is perhaps used to, and expecting that level of resonance may still be surprised to see what can be found underneath the quiet minimalist layers of Impermanence.

One can never truly account for the coincidental concurring of an album’s release with a personal experience currently happening. It’s perhaps not something other people can easily understand, but with it being something so personal, it’s maybe something you don’t need other people to understand. The fact music can form such a strong emotional connection is a truly beautiful thing that nobody in any circumstance can truly take away from you. Sometimes an album can just resonate with you in such a way, that it feels connected with you at a place and point where you happen to be, helping to shape and form your own understanding. Perhaps it is Silberman who has said it best, “I hope it can provide some comfort to those of us grappling with transition, which is, undoubtedly, all of us.” For this reviewer in particular, Impermanence has come along at the exactly right moment, as it no doubt has done for other people out there.

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