There is no maelstrom, no swell of overwhelming sound. Antonyme’s first full-length work, The License to Interpret Dreams, is defiant in its fragility; in fact, the work is so over-wrought that it teeters on the point of collapse. It seems its purpose is to carry on a prolonged moment of respite despite the fact that it shudders under its weight and poignancy.
Each piece is a wonder, much like encountering different facets of the same being, finding something new to love about someone: an unintended twitch, a new wrinkle, freckle. To think you know something or someone so deeply and be surprised by what is still to be discovered. A guarded laugh may at times burst out into a full-fledged explosion. An undefined glance. I can also imagine knowing someone so deeply but encountering them in a store or street, without accompanying them, and seeing them exist outside of your life together, as if you’ve never met or known one another. Who is a person you care deeply about when they’re not with you? On this work, I began to look at people I’ve known and places I’ve visited in a new light, questioning everything I’ve ever known, and whether what I’ve known was conjured and an extension of myself. I listen to “Doubt” and I hear scattered words and experience an assortment of images, and I wonder whether what I see is me, or, as I understand myself to be.
A finite layer of gossamer shrouds the album from the start, as “A Fragile Acceptance” gradually seeps out of the speakers. A serene hush floats in and, intermittently, notes pick up out of the silence. A wave of strings emerges from the silence and shares a kinship with the sensation of an epiphany, of knowing everything all at once before it completely escapes you. I felt lonely in its absence, when it subsides, but became used to the emptiness so effortlessly filled in with the right note or the right shift, at the right time.
“Womb of the Great Mother” is barely there. I was directly connected to it without noticing; it was affecting what I was doing, whether I would stop and stare, entranced, while finishing some work, it began to inform my thinking and my doing. I suppose the purpose of some music is to barely exist and creep into your being. The many diluted definitions of ambient music try to express this point but what they fail to accept is that your mind moves with the music, you become aware, and it washes over you. Music should never exist at the perimeter and Antonymes’ work permeates your being from all angles. The listener plumbs the depths, occasionally rising for air on “Landscape Beyond an Open Window”; the wind cuddles around you before “Endlessly” wisps you away from the bracken, the charming foliage, and the shrubbery.
There is so much to experience and so much the music will conjure for the listener. The music on “The License to Interprete Dreams” can influence how one views the world, their inherent sensibilities, of knowing, and, finally, of returning.
Review from Fluid Radio