Review: Antonymes – ‘The Licence To Interpret Dreams’ (Hidden Shoal)

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Reviews
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The work of Ian M Hazeldine a photographer, designer and musician from Wales, ‘The Licence To Interpret Dreams’ is an inspiring album centred in and around the cinematic ambient and modern classical fields that will surely appeal to fans of Max Richter, Johann Johannsson or Rudi Arapahoe’s brilliant ‘Echoes From One To Another’.  Piano plays the lead part with Hazeldine employing an array of string and brass instruments alongside it, with the likes of harpsichord, organ, cello and glockenspiel all making a distinctive mark occasionally with angelic choir singing, field recordings and narcotic spoken word segments added in tandem to great effect.

From the first, tentative piano note which is struck 9 seconds into opener ‘A Fragile Acceptance’ there’s an air that something special is afoot in this Antonymes release.  Which proves to be the case during this LP’s 50 minute+ duration. It’s an album that needs to be digested as a whole, not for the Ipod shuffle generation.  It needs time to work its mesmeric charms over you, creating varying, shifting moods across the 12 tracks, with Hazeldine inviting us to interpret these dreamscapes.

‘The Siren, Hopelessly Lost’ is a nostalgic piano and strings passage with beautiful chord shifts, ‘The Door Towards The Dream’ builds from its sparse start into something epic, heroic and heart-warming an album highlight for sure, while the gorgeous ‘A Light From The Heavens’ manages the quite considerable feat of being both playful and melancholic at the same time.

‘The Gospel Pass’ is a warm and delicate piece, reassuring with its string segments and lulling harpsichord epilogue, while ‘Oradour-Sur-Glane’ offers similar solace amidst the grainy, spoken word parts and fragmented ambience, despite the fact that it is named after a small French town that was completely destroyed by Nazi’s.  For my money though, Hazeldine excels when he steers us into darker territories.  Closing number ‘On Approaching The Strange Museum’ (surely a title for a lost H.P Lovecraft novel) reminds of the skewed, wonky soundscapes of Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker with the misty, near-Gregorian chants mingling in the ether with a distant, pounding drum before evaporating into the lovely cello and piano refrain that cropped up earlier in the hypnotic ‘Doubt’.

I recently read that Hazeldine would like to get into composing film scores, from this evidence ‘The Licence To Interpret Dreams’ is a soundtrack for a film yet to be made.

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