another new thing i’m trying on here is a recurring column that from here on in, unless someone comes up with something better, will be called “scoring life.” for each entry, i will take a newish album at random, listen to it during one of my myriad day to day tasks – some exciting, many mundane – and report back on what i think.
this serves two purposes: one to review music from a unique perspective as i find it interesting how listening to certain songs or artists can color what one is doing at the time and vice versa. two to offer brief, random glimpses into my ever so illusive personal life. aren’t i subversive?
we begin here with a look into the new album by the antlers, hospice…
first, some background. i acquired this album just last week. i had casually previewed a couple of tracks (“bears” even found its way onto a recent party playlist at my apartment) but had yet to give the whole the full attention that it required and deserved.
today at work, i was entering the third day of what can safely be called a lull. yes, i have a “real job” beyond this blog and it has its fair share of slow spells, typically at the start of each month. anyway, towards the end of the day, i was selected to undertake the uber-exciting task of scanning imagery and emailing it to myself to sort into folders for future design use. that’s right. my work had finally slowed to doing a receptionist’s job. this isn’t to say i dislike what i do. far from it, actually. but that didn’t make the task at hand any less mind-numbing or repetitive. knowing i’d be standing in front of a copier for the remainder of the afternoon, i thought it would be the perfect time to find something to listen to in-depth. guess which album was at the top of my queue?
and so i listened. the first thing i noticed was how the droning ambience of the opening songs, combined with how many of the individual tracks seemed to bleed directly into one another, perfectly matched both the lethargic pace at which the time and task were moving and the way my mind would slip into cruise control as i moved from scanning one image to the next, often losing track of where i was entirely.
this may sound like a bad thing, but things took on a very zen-like quality for me, and when the noise picked up and horns burst to life in songs like the subtly anthemic “sylvia,” i even cracked a smile and started to enjoy myself, swaying out of rhythm in front of the copier like an oblivious guy trying to entice an indifferent girl at the prom. by the time the aforementioned (and fantastic) “bears” came tumbling into my ears with it’s twinkling verses and rollicking chorus, i could have swayed and scanned for an eternity, even as the lyrics echoed the uneasy feeling that said eternity was a very real possibility:
“and all the while, i’ll know we’re fucked and not getting unfucked soon.”
but eternity never came, or rather it did. whichever. as i neared the end of my pile of crudely colored illustrations, the album followed in kind with sobering comedowns, the hauntingly patient “shiva” and the downbeat, eight-minute epic “wake,” the latter of which almost had me convinced i was back floating in space with spiritualized.
the lyric and melody of “bears” resurfaced, this time in acoustic form delivered in a formidable falsetto by head antler peter silberman, for hospice‘s appropriately titled “epilogue,” just as i reached the final folder in the plastic crate. fucked no more.
i hate to say it, but pitchfork is right. with hospice, one can in fact lose the “sense of boundary” between one’s self and the world around him or her. there’s a simultaneous sense of solitude and togetherness, emptiness and bounty in these songs. would i have gotten this from the album under any other circumstances? possibly. hell, hopefully. but i doubt i would have felt such a personal connection to it.
from the antlers themselves, happy listening!