Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another World

The not-so-new Antony track and title of his new EP is a fantastic expression of fiction. The song comes across as a quiet, but seriously powerful spell, an incantation brought into being through the repetition of phrasing, verbal and musical and the listing of objects. The song starts gently and calmly, the fingers on the piano are sure and confident. We hear almost immediately beneath and behind the clear chords the sound of a whining feedback which runs alongside and counter to the beauty of the struck notes, an alien thing beneath the human made. He sings: "I need another place" and once the speaker decides to speak, to sing, there is no way away from his words and what they unleash. The speaker must carry it through to the end. The need for this new place (hopefully peaceful) has transformed his world and he cannot go back. The need for this safety overrides regret. He lists all the things he loved (the sea, the snow, the animals, the bees, the birds, the wind) and in naming them gives life to them briefly one more time. The words fall away and the little creatures fade. He seemingly moves forward, and again that whistling, whining wind, (the [absent] lover he was kissing "so long") rises up and sweeps his previous position away, leaving only the vanishing world and the wind and the silence all around it. I think about The Nothing in the Neverending Story. The Infinite Sadness. The song never falters. Step by step, chord by chord it advances through the fear and into something completely new and hopefully better.

As a counterpoint: "Asleep," by the Smiths and lovingly covered by Xiu Xiu. "There is another world / There is a better world / Well, there must be" The desire stated in this song is for vanishing of the self, for something more than and beyond sleep, more than waking up alone, again, day after day. The idea that the speaker is incomplete never being allowed gladness and joy and how much that makes one a faliure. The quietness of failure and what terrible solitude there is in not being able to escape failure.

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