Gradually working his way back from an unexpected hearing impairment, Peter Silberman's solo debut, Impermanence, examines the ephemeral nature of life. A few years prior, the Antlers frontman was beset by temporary hearing loss that led to extreme sound sensitivity, including his own vocalizations. Unable to sing or even speak regularly, Silberman left Brooklyn, retreating to the quietude of upstate New York in an effort to heal and reexamine his priorities and processes. The most profound revelation from his seclusion was the absolute luxury of silence, a concept generally taken for granted until we require it most. Slowly adding sound back into his life, Silberman gravitated toward the muted pluck of a nylon-string guitar and a half-whispered vocal style that changed his way of writing. While there had certainly been elements of hushed ambience in his work with the Antlers, those songs often built to dramatic, noisy crescendos with an emphasis on skittering rhythms. On Impermanence, Silberman dials back on all fronts, letting delicately picked notes ring out and decay as his voice croons in an ethereal falsetto. From the serene liquidity of "Karuna" to the spatial experimentations of the instrumental title track, Silberman's personal transformations are revealed on this thoughtful and understated debut.
by Timothy Monger