This is me being short and concise:
This is my pick for “Album of the Year 2010”
And this is me being long and elaborated:
In first place there is the fascination factor. I’ve been listening to this album in an almost continuous way since I’ve received it. It is different, dark and challenging like few that have been released in these last years.
Secondly, the music here on display is something really progressive, in the meaning that is modern; profoundly illustrative on how prog rock could be evolving nowadays; refreshing in the way that is reminiscent without being intrusive and constructed in a way that elevates the conjuring of those various reminiscences into a higher, anti-cliché musicality; and the overall result sounds so contemporary and different that it could be considered a landmark or the start of the (never mentioned) post-prog style.
Third, because this is a solo project where every instrument, every idea and every architectural corner has been designed and put to practice by a single person, which in my eyes (ears) puts Thomas Thielen aka t in that difficult and restrict hall of fame of true geniuses in modern prog (this to be confirmed in future releases, off course).
Anti-Matter Poetry may sound strange, unapproachable and intangible for many progheads out there, I reckon. It is an album that may even not be in the alley of the majority of the fans of the progressive music, but for me this is a real work of art, like a Velux to the soul (sorry the commercial pun, but I used it to reinforce the quality of the musical construction and its effect on me, as a listener).
The most noticeable characteristic of t’s musicality, which may pass (pardon the contrasense) unnoticed with first listens, is the profoundity and the number of details that the album has to offer. There is always a haunting piano, a surprising sax, a soothing symphonic part, a swell guitar drive and solo, an epic intrusion or simply an inorganic (poli) rhythm changing and shifting the music when least expected, keeping the lively and dynamic of the long tracks (the album has only 6 tracks and clocks around the 65 minute mark). These details enrich the music and can arouse the listener and bring him to completely new places and soundscapes. It is this richness, these signs and many times ghostly appearances, and not only the macadame road of the music, that makes me continuously come back to the album. Also, I just cannot escape the need to listen to it from start to finish, as a sole and compact work which looses meaning and focus when tracks are played separately.
I will now point out the connections to other bands/artists that I was able to scrutiny on this album, but let me add that these reminiscences are either very subtle or present a swell mutation of the music from the referred bands, in a way that keeps the work not only original and unique, but also contribute to the great diversity of approaches that are present on Anti-Matter Poetry. This means that, and let me reinforce this fact, the music here is never, ever, too derivative. Right on the contrary, the major “like” factor here is the uniqueness.
Scattered throughout the album, and without any special meaning or order, I would emphasize moments where I can relate to Parallel or 90 Degrees, in a twisted and calmer way (normally); Gazpacho and (later) Marillion when it comes to the laid back and mellower and more melodic parts; David Bowie circa Earthlings on the track Hairdressers Symphony (Jon Neudorf from Sea of Tranquility got it absolutely right here); David Sylvian in a strange registry; Guillaume Cazenave and even Tricky in the usage of some pseudo-trip hop industrial rhythms; No-Man and solo Roger Waters in a mixer; Rain’s Cerullean Blue also comes to mind, and them some…
The tracks, all long and elaborated, are monuments of progressive rock, with their constant changes and challenging shifts, never quite returning to the same grounds that were previously presented. The tracks interact in a continuous motion, as a whole rather than separate entities. And the use of dialogues between guitar and piano, guitar and sax and other duels do more than occasionally take the listener into a whole new level.
So I admit it, I am completely in love with this release!
In a way, not that many albums pass my personal “test of time”, which consists in occasionally continuing listening to an album I heavily listened to when I received it. In these later years I may consider about 10 albums that I can still put in the tray and listen with the same pleasure I did when I first listened to them. Phideaux, Porcupine Tree, Gazpacho and Jupiter Society later albums are amongst these, as I have already assumed that t’s Anti-Matter Poetry will be.
Again, and thanking you in advance if you manage to endure the whole text, this is my pick for “Album of the Year 2010”.