Multi instrumentalist's third album
This writer has listened to a lot of progressive rock of late and so was less than excited about the prospect of another self-indulgent musical theory lesson. That feeling of trepidation almost instantly faded into the background as 'Anti-Matter Poetry' by multi instrumentalist T (aka Thomas Thielen) engaged with my cd player. Opening with sounds that perfectly evoke the 'Wasted Lands' song title as the waxing and waning electronics mingle with disembodied dialogue, strings and distant guitars. This desolation bleeds into a simple piano motif and the lament of a survivor: 'a heartbreak in black and white, a life the rain/a stain on the scenery and a whole in your stare'. Suffice it to say this record is not overly cheery. 'Scavenger' has a more obvious prog influence but T's Berlin period Bowie voice and 'The Wall' style production takes the song in an unexpected direction. As do the increasingly twisted lyrics, 'there she goes, seventeen and ripe/her flesh the acid in my veins'. The knife is twisted here with a dark guitar solo before the song mutates again.
The drama of the album continues over the 22 minutes of 'Phantom Pain Scars' and 'I Saved the World' which are filled with yet more variety as the saxophones are broken out and a creaking mellotron adds character. The lyrical themes continue to intrigue: 'let me tell you my story then/like creaking bones beneath my skin/Of idiot maturity and agony so deeply muffled I was never a child, but I saved the world'. Following this the suite of songs I probably feared when I sat down to listen to 'Anti Matter Poetry' appears. 'The Rear View Mirror Suite' is broken down into three movements: a) The Echo of the Gap b) Last Dance c) The Grace of Boredom. Thankfully, this set of songs isn't a deal breaker. Beginning with the broody and slow paced 'Echo of the Gap' where T heaps on the fragile melancholy 'this is all I get: a fallen angel/the high hopes of the past, a flower from last spring' before seguing into 'Last Dance' a contemplative instrumental the suite ends with the repressed anger of 'The Grace of Boredom'. Closing song 'Anti Matter Poetry' continues with the bleak yet captivating style of the record and builds to crashing drums as T finally unravels and drifts into space.
'Anti Matter Poetry' coaxes elements of NIN, Roger Waters era Pink Floyd and David Bowie into a cohesive whole. T's vision is an impressively expansive one which grasps you by the ears over its 60 minute running time and rarely lets them go.