All music and lyrics by Mick Moss (2,4,6,8) & Duncan Patterson (1,3,7,9)
Mick Moss (vocals, acoustic guitars) & Duncan Patterson (piano, acoustic guitars, bass guitar, keyboards)
Rachel Brewster - (violins) (2,4,6,8)
Stephen Hughes - (bass guitar) (2,4,8)
Chris Phillips - (drums) (2,4,8)
Sue Marshall - (additional vocals) (8)
Amélie Festa - (vocals) (3,5,7)
Mehdi Messouci - (additional keyboards)
Barry Whyte - (lead guitar)
Alex Mazarguil - (djembe) (3)
Micheál ó Croinín - (drums) (3)
Recorded between July 2004 at Studio 33, Liverpool, England and Winter 2004 at Provisional, Midlands, Republic of Ireland and Neuilly, France
Engineered by Ronnie O'Keefe & Alex Mazarguil
Produced by Antimatter, Ronnie O'Keefe and Alex Mazarguil
Mastered at Counterpoint Studio by Gianni Skolnick
Cover design by Mick Moss from an original photograph by Brandon Stone
Inner photos by Chris Slack
Design by Mick Moss
Layout by Paul Kuhr
29th July 2005 (Prophecy Productions)
When is the defining moment of a band's career? Is it that first rush of pure emotion born from signing a recording contract? Is it that first world tour, and the realization that yes, people appreciate your music? Or could it be the music itself, and that one album that reaches out and touches people where they live? In the past, Antimatter has kept their fans at arm's length, crafting two somber albums that stood with one foot on each side of the border between longing and lost hope. Planetary Confinement, however, finds Antimatter far past that border, deep in the realms of loneliness and despair.
Solo piano piece, 'Planetary Confinement' is the perfect prelude to the pleading 'Weight Of The World'. As much as this song seeks compassion, it is very much a cold acknowledgement of the gulf between a lost soul and the rest of humanity. The gossamer quality to Amelie Festa's voice on 'Line Of Fire' lends even more fragility to this album, which is primarily acoustic. The sparse, bare presentation of the acoustic guitar peels back the layers of sound, leaving nothing but an open field and empty space. Vocally, 'Epitaph' is the sound of a voice miles away being heard for the last time. The line "A portrait, an epitaph." is a picture of the whole album, really. As real, and as lifelike as a painting of a loved one or landscape may be, through it we cannot touch the skin. We cannot feel the grass under our feet. It's a cold ache, and that is our 'Epitaph'. Trouble is one of those bands whose material has been rendered "untouchable". The sorrowed mania of addiction which consumes Trouble's 'Mr. White' (here covered acoustically, and beautifully featuring Amelie once more) falls headlong into the scathing 'A Portrait Of The Young Man As An Artist'. Easily the most blunt, straightforward song Antimatter have ever composed, 'A Portrait...' (the title is a clever rewording of a James Joyce work) pulls no punches, and shies away from the more poetic tones of the rest of the album's lyrics. Likely, this speaks more to Mick's belief that the subject of the song couldn't be intelligent enough to understand subtlety. 'Relapse' sees Patterson lost in regret, using diminished keys to accent the full-bodied sound of acoustic guitars. The last song with vocals on Planetary Confinement, 'Legions' seems as much a send-off as an encouragement to overcome, which leads us to the desolate beauty of 'Eternity Part 24'. With
quiet keys, muted strings, and distant birdsongs, thus ends Planetary Confinement (and Duncan Patterson's tenure in Antimatter).
Remember those defining moments I spoke of before? This is one. Stark, bleeding tears and melancholy, Planetary Confinement is an album for the unlit hours. Dark night of the soul, indeed.
At one point in college, when I was flunking out of the thrasher that is Electrical Engineering, realizing I did not want to be whatever an Electrical Engineer was, and they certainly did not want me, I toyed with the idea of becoming a physicist. It scratched an itch formed by the rift a young man begins to form with the rest of the talking monkeys in his angry twenties. The study of unattainable cosmic bodies of unfathomable size and distance, finding secrets in the Big Numbers that map out the pimples on God’s ass when plotted on special graph paper you get to buy from that section of the bookstore. It wasn’t until an encounter with a frustrated physics major turned me away from it, describing the practical study of physics as doing the world’s hardest word problems for an answer no one cares about, that I became convinced that being an armchair physicist is a far better lot for me, being able to converse on the subject, or at least sound convincing, allowing me to stick to the more masturbatory concepts rather than engaging in the actual rigor.
My favorite thing about physics is the absolutes, the infinities that one can juggle like bowling pins or chainsaws if one has a nimble enough hand, and the concept of matter and antimatter is a choice one. The idea that there has to be an “other” to all this stuff, and that the apocalyptic collision between the two is to delicious to not think about. All this seemed two easy an intro jibber-jab for reviewing the beautiful sad creature that is Antimatter’s Planetary Confinement, until I realised that a very metaphoric antimatter element was at play here.
Antimatter, for all practical purposes is actually two different configurations operating under the aegis of the group name, creating an album of rare non-eruptive icy beauty. One group centers around multi-instrumentalist Duncan Patterson, who announced this to be his last Antimatter release opting to work under his own forthcoming project Ion, who shows a penchant for deep string like keyboard arrangements and utilizing female vocalists to create some of the warmest chilly music going. The other half is occupied by singer songwriter Mick Moss, and his sonorous tenor voice and deft acoustic guitar work. I had a chance to throw an message out into the abyss to see if I had a clear picture of the process behind this album:
OutsideLeft: From the liner notes, it looks like two mutually exclusive groups, one headed by Patterson and one by Moss, were responsible for half of the songs each. Is that the case, and if so is that the normal way the band works, or did that rift lead to Patterson to leave the band to form his own project. If I am right about it being created by two different groups, how would you describe your half? How would you describe that of the other? If I am totally wrong about this, then let me know as well.
Duncan Patterson: We decided to do it this way, to get the album done and dusted. We live in different countries and write separately anyway. It’s never been a ‘band’, Antimatter has always just been me and Mick, and a few guests. There’s no difference on this album in that respect. As for describing the songs, you can hear them better than I can describe them.
Alright then. Patterson creates a near classical vibe centering around spare piano like on the opening instrumental title track and the tracks featuring Amelie Resta’s icy vocals like on “Line of Fire” and the particularly soulful cover of 80’s Chicago stoner metal touchstone band Trouble’s “Mr. White.” The way the despairing ambiance is wound around breathy female vocals, it reminds me of the last gasps of Swans, where Jarobe’s anti-diva chill was given a chance to shine. The best track of his half of the continuum, and the whole album, is the Zeppelin tinged “Relapse” where wheels of fingerpicking and foggy bogs of organ are cut through with Resta’s spectral crooning, great heavy lines like
Rain washed the panic from today
Decimation of anxiety
tribulations drift away
Pray tomorrow offers clarity
Its this unabashed sense of drama that makes the songs work. Unlike a lot of heavy rock acts that trade in this cosmic desperation, there are no Chris Cornell onanistic wheedling screams. Instead, the sadness is left to hang in the air where it was uttered, offering you a chance to bask in it. This is the lusciously depressing music people mean when they say Radiohead is depressing. Radiohead is pop music dabbling in unhappiness, this is lie-on-your-floor, stare-at-the-ceiling melancholy. And when you need it, its the best thing there is.
Mick Moss’ contributions feature his rich deep voice and crystalline guitar work backed up with undulating string arrangements. His voice is somewhere between the intoning of Dominic Appleton, singer for long forgotten aching beauty Breathless (and “The Jeweller” the finest song ever from This Mortal Coil) and an introspective Neil Diamond. His voice is so sonorous and dynamic, you remember that singers can actually sing after so many years of vocal posturing on the part of pipeless men. “The Weight of the World” puts his sound to good use to deliver his concept of the the abyss
I’m trying to scream but I can’t exhale
The world seems to spin while I’m left on this square
With no will to hold on
Am I the only one crushed by the weight of the world?
whereas the cinematic “Epitaph” offers the tenderest ballad on the album, where you feel adrift on a black sea awaiting that big wave that will flip you over for good. The tracking of the album, trading songs between the two writers serves Moss the best, so that you are given a breather from his heavy froth before the next gulp. “A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist” points his eye at the mirror, asking “does the picking of a string stop the ticking of the clock?” while his final croon “Legions” is an excellent lead-in to Patterson’s final drone-chamber opus “Eternity part 24.”
Despite this coming from two different sources, the melding of the two makes for a really compelling album, one that trades in that certain hopeful darkness that used to be the specialty of those smeary photo typeface atrocities from 4AD in the import bin. You don’t get your gloom on with tenderness much anymore, its got too much camp in it for my tastes. Like fellow dark side Jedi Michael Gira of Angels of Light, these two singers show that one can still create little rock requiems that ring a cosmic vibration through us all
Alex V. Cook, Music Editor
Falling far out of what's to be expected from the roster over at The End Records (known more for more experimental metal, black metal, and death metal), Antimatter are back to follow up to 2002's successful Saviour, and 2003's Lights Out. And they're doing this with a solid, ambient, tuneful and mesmerizing record: Planetary Confinement. Founded back in 1998, the band features ex Anathema Duncan Patterson and his long time friend Micheal Moss. Also on board are: Mick Moss, the "I just can't put to words how talented" Amelie Festa, who offers some of the best and most soothing vocals I've ever heard, Barry Whyte, Alex Mazarguil and a bunch more.
This album is much more acoustic based when comparing it to Saviour and Lights Out, but none-the-less offers up that great techno/electronic touch, best heard on tracks like: "Line Of Fire", my personal favourite "Mr. White" and "Relapse"
The acoustic songs are mostly Moss and Patterson flowing together as one unstoppable machine of emotion, and they deserve honorable mention for their flawless work together on leads and atmosphere.
With great lyrics, well written music, and still one hell of a bright future ahead of them Antimatter are damn well one band that is in fact progressing music. They are unlike most of the other bands out there, and what's setting them aside is the fact that they want to be different, rather than need to be
This is a powerhouse of emotions, led by some of the greatest underground musicians going. If you're into what they do, then I guarantee no record will impress you more this year, or maybe EVER!
Planetary Confinement is just one of those records you'll be holding close for the rest of you life. Someday I'll show this album to my kids, and it's knack for originality will have they too hooked, just because I cannot see anyone doing this any better than Patterson, Moss and Company. This is one reviewer that is overwhelmed with amazement!
Reviewed By : Kiel Burwell 5+ / 5
Vera: The repertory of Antimatter grows constantly, like an ever expanding oasis of tranquillity in the midst of this world gone mad. The third release of this cooperation between Duncan Patterson (ex componist/bass player of Anathema) and Mick Moss offers us a new perfect antidote against the infernal extremes we are confronted with daily. The previous CD's 'Saviour' and 'Lights Out' were a blend of dreamy guitars and melancholic, dark electronics with an ambient touch. This third album is a very unfeigned and personal piece of art, recorded acoustically all the way. Only acoustic guitars, bass, piano, drums, violin and vocals. It will not be that surprising for those who know them, for when the band goes on the road, it has been acoustic every time. Albums and live performances are coming closer to each other now.
It has become a slightly daring, yet very successful enterprise. In spite of those so-called 'limitations' 'Planetary Confinement' remains an exciting experience from the beginning till the end and this is only predetermined for a few real artists. But did we expect less of Antimatter? No, indeed. Let us explore which delicacies are served this time. After the wavering piano sounds of the introducing 'Planetary Confinement' we can beneficially drift away on those recognizable, deep-earnest voice of Mick Moss in 'The Weight Of The World', carefully assisted by acoustic guitar. Since Duncan lives in Ireland and Mick is based in Liverpool, this album came into being on two different places of this universe. Yet it is a coherent entirety. The also contemplative songs of the hands of Duncan are vocally coloured by angelic female vocals. In 'Line Of Fire' one can perceive an enthralled percussion moment. On the other hand it surely is the melancholic timbre of a violin that makes an intense experience of 'Epitaph'. The assimilation of an extreme bereavement is the foundation. I cannot help but shivering.
Very surprising is the cover of 'Mr. White' of Trouble. Not that surprising if you know the personal taste of these musicians, but astonishing in the way they made it like a song of their own. With serene female vocals this is hardly recognizable. In 'A Portrait Of The Young Man As An Artist' Mick outs his frustration about the music scene in Liverpool, which has lost it's integrity during the years. 'Relapse' and 'Legions' are moreover beacons of contemplation while the title of 'Eternity Part 24' draws my attention. Anathema has also some 'Eternity's part x. But do not expect a proper continuation of that theme. Here reign some atmospheric keyboards in a for the most part instrumental construction that reaches far beyond our patterns of expectation. The stairway to heaven is near. The subsequent chapter in Antimatter history is written. This essential part of the diary of an unique band will be found in my installation for numerous times in the near future, for competition on this level hardly exists.
When I first received the new Antimatter album "Planetary Confinement", I wasn't really sure what I was going to hear. I was expecting something different from their previous releases, something that would further prove the band's uniqueness and captivate many old fans and bring in new ones. I was right. This album is heavily influenced with acoustic guitars and in all honesty, reminds me of early Days of the New.
The acoustic guitar and light vocals give this album a feeling far beyond those of many of today's rock releases.
Something some people may find fascinating is that this album is kind of like a split. The two founding members Duncan Patterson and Mick Moss each have their own songs. For instance, "The Weight of the World", "Epitaph", "A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist" and "Legions" are the Mick Moss songs and "Planetary Confinement", "Line of Fire", "Relapse" and "Eternity Part 24" are the Duncan Patterson songs; along with a cover of Trouble's "Mr. White" off their 1992 album Manic Frustration. (Trouble is a doom metal band from Chicago, IL.)
Comparing both Duncan's and Mick's songs are fairly easy. Duncan's songs are very instrumentally detailed; more so than Mick's. Duncan's got the piano thing going on which I adore and the gorgeous voice of Amelie Festa. Mick's songs are just as great with emotional vocals and some soothing violins.
This album, much like the band is very unique and amazing. I suggest checking this album out because I have a feeling it's going to be one of the summer's big albums. Not just for The End Records, but for rock in general.
Having never been a huge Anathema fan, I didn't exactly jump the bandwagon when bassist Duncan Patterson departed to form Antimatter some years ago. As a matter of fact, up to about a month ago, I hadn't heard a lick of their music. Having been lately entranced by the gloomy atmosphere of 2003's Light's Out effort, I was pretty psyched to find the band's latest offering on my review pile. Many fans of the dark rock which exists on the periphery of the atmospheric doom scene (The Gathering, Katatonia's recent albums, Opeth's Damnation) will likely find themselves irresistably drawn into drawing parallels between Antimatter and their peers, but what the band do on their newest album is reach back a bit further, invoking the songwriting of Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen and other more contemporary dark songsmiths like Sol Invictus.
Restrained ambience and guitars a' glissando are the benchmarks of Antimatter's sound, supplemented with meditative and, I hesitate to use the word, tribal percussion at times. Planetary Confinement was recorded in two sessions with the two main members, Mr. Patterson and Mick Moss splitting the album in two both writing and performance-wise, a unique arrangement to be sure, as neither appears on the other's half of the record like the two divorcee's drawing a big line through the middle of their house ala "The War of the Roses". Of course, not having too much background info on this band, I can't say whether this seperation was the result of design or some creative conflict, but either way, the very fact of this set-up intrigues me and lends the album an air of mystery and high drama.
The common bond that ties all these songs (which include a great cover of Trouble's "Mr. White") is a tone-poem approach to the structuring. All the music is composed in a manner so it is directly supplemental to the lyrics. Where they diverge is in the different instrumental composition of each session. Mr. Moss's songs feature a pretty standard rock line-up with the addition of a violin, while Mr. Patterson gets a little more ambitious on that front, including keyboards, a beautiful female voice (belonging to one Amelie Festa) and a djembe (African drum). Despite these differences, there is a musical and spirtual unity on the album and both men's recordings alternate seamlessly. If this unorthodox method is any indication of competition between the two, I would have to call it a draw as and had I not read the liner notes I would have never guessed that what I am actually hearing is an Antimatter/Antimatter split CD.
In final summation, what we have here is as fine a collection of dark and beautiful songcraft as one might find these days, brilliantly rendered via a crystal clear production just in time for the dreary autumn months. So whether you are more a fan of Patterson (tastes great!) or Moss (less filling!), you would do quite well to confine yourself to solitude with this album, preferably on a stormy morning watching the winds ripping the dead leaves off the dead trees. Excellent stuff.
Antimatter consists of Mick Moss and ex-Anathema bassist Duncan Patterson, plus a number of guest musicians, and they are dedicated to creating emotional, tranquil music with a sombre tinge to it. Given this description, which I was aware of from the beginning, and the fact Anathema were one of my absolute favourite bands when Patterson left after _Alternative 4_ and created Antimatter (Anathema still are one of my favourite bands these days, but to a lesser extent), even I am surprised it took me some five years and three full-length albums to finally spend some time on one of their records. Yet I have done so with _Planetary Confinement_, perhaps encouraged by the moody and invitingly melancholy cover art.
Furthermore, while casually browsing the band's website, I started reading parts of one of the interviews featured there, taken from an unnamed Turkish source. There Patterson agreed with the interviewer about a "lack of vision" in Anathema after his departure, even though he had "never heard" _Judgement_ (their next album) apart from "a couple of tracks live and on jukeboxes" -- "some good riffs in parts but the lyrics are terrible", he stated. I couldn't help but feel more curious than before to hear the music and lyrics that Patterson was making now that might substantiate such bold claims.
There must be a whole heap of parables out there about searching for something and finding something else that turns out to be so much more interesting instead -- yet I can't seem to come up with one right now. The fact remains, however, that my curiosity to hear Patterson's current work led me to find Moss's frankly quite superior compositions -- at least for my taste. "The Weight of the World" and "Epitaph" are brilliant pieces of truly emotional music, without any of the gimmicks or commercial leanings often associated with it; "A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist" and "Legions" also fare very well. On Patterson's side of things, "Relapse" is very good indeed, but I fail to connect to his other songs in a similar way -- including the cover of Trouble's "Mr. White" and the interesting but excessively drawn out "Eternity Part 23".
_Planetary Confinement_ successively features one song by each composer / performer, Patterson having recorded his in Ireland and Moss in Liverpool, England. Patterson's songs feature the soft singing of Amélie Festa, with a combination of mostly subdued acoustic guitar and keyboards to support it. Moss opts for a more upfront acoustic guitar and violin, with his own emotional, mature voice fleshing out the songs. Alternating the two approaches throughout the record results in some patchy transitions, and perhaps presenting this more as a split effort of sorts would have been a more advantageous option for the listeners. Nevertheless, both composers have some merit, and while an EP featuring only Moss's tracks would have achieved a 9 out of 10, _Planetary Confinement_ as a whole remains very worthwhile.
Duncan Patterson has since left Antimatter to focus on his other projects. Mick Moss has a new Antimatter release planned for 2006 though, titled _Leaving Eden_ and featuring Anathema's Danny Cavanagh.
: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Antimatter's latest CD Planetary Confinement will be released in July and the title says it all. It just might be like they say, "the saddest CD of the year."
The CD takes you on a magical journey thru sound with meaningful lyrics that tug on your heart strings. Soft strumming guitars offer a hypnotic, soothing and truly relaxing background for many different eclectic sounds. Planetary Confinement has more natural strings, piano and drums to offer a darker feel. The emotions in each song are definitely felt on this more acoustic based album than any other. The fifth track is a cover of "Troubles Mr. White."
Antimatter's Planetary Confinement is definitely worth a listen, but make sure you have that box of tissues near by. It can definitely cause your heart to make your eyes tear.
While I still find their debut to be their finest offering to date, I'm an enormous Antimatter fan, and this record continues their tradition of somber, chilled out compositions chock full of lush singing and instrumentation. While not a vast departure from past efforts, this is indeed a different type of record on a couple of levels. Perhaps the cessation of the Mick Moss/Duncan Patterson unit (Patterson left the band just after the release of this disc) is hinted at in the fact that neither of the two actually appear on any of these songs together. The tracks are alternately penned by Patterson and Moss alone, with Moss (acoustic guitars, vocals) recording his tracks in England in mid-2004 with a backing band that (rarely) includes a rhythm section and occasional violins; while Patterson (acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and keybaords) recorded in Ireland in late-2004 with a backing band that includes a drummer, additional guitar and keyboards, as well as lead vocals from yet another excellent female vocalist, Amélie Festa - who sounds not so unlike some of contributors the duo has cooperated with in the past. Not that their older work was too heavily "electronic", but this material is of course more organic, with Moss tending to deal largely with stripped down interaction between acoustic guitars and vocals. I wish he had employed more vocal harmonies to add a little more emphasis at times, but I have to say that these songs really allow his vocals to shine. The guy's just got an exceptional voice that works perfectly for this style of music - heartfelt, sincere, emotional… very nice. The keyboards add a certain lushness to Patterson's compositions that work well with Festa's singing, which is doubled or harmonized on occasion, so… there's a little more instrumentation fleshed out, but somehow the general approach doesn't feel too far removed from Moss'. It's true that the tracklist might have been better served to keep the two composers' work grouped together rather than staggered, but the overall flow is pretty effective regardless. As far as slight departures go, the 7+ minute "Legions" sees Moss in a duet with the subtle addition of some female vocals for a little added character; while Patterson and company offer an unexpected cover of Trouble's "Mr. White", not to mention a couple of instrumentals: The rather brief piano/synth drone intro/title track, and the damn near nine-minute "Eternity Part 24", which leads from fingerpicked acoustics into layers of ambient synths that are far more abstract than anticipated. A bit of a dull piece, to be honest, but at least they made it the closing selection. The recording differences are basically unimportant, if not unnoticeable, as the two main directions explored are just contrasting enough to where there's not much of a discrepancy to be noted between the sessions. Everything sounds ultra clear and spacious to me, so I have no complaints there. The packaging also looks not unlike the band's past efforts, with minimal imagery and the lyrics presented over blank black panels. Of course the content is far from cheery, be it Moss imploring, "If you don't learn to leave this thing alone you'll never get to see the sun again," or Patterson penning, "Broken spirits, open fears, darksome shades combine fragility, Frigid smiles across the miles, guilty eyes surmise asymmetry…" Another splendid release overall. Almost too sparse to really hold my interest for nearly 50 minutes, and I'd actually prefer to have heard Moss handle a bit more since I feel a little more of a connection to his writing and vocal performance on this particular outing, but overall this will please the band's past fans. I'll always look forward to hearing more from this project, I just can't imagine ever being disappointed.
Running time - 47:10, Tracks: 9
[Notable tracks: The Weight of the World, Relapse, Legions]
Remember those acoustic Anathema songs, the beautifully crafted ones with female vocals? Planetary Confinement follows that line, expands it, and turns it into a masterpiece. No, it isn't 100% an Eternity / Judgement copy, but those two records sure play an important role in Antimatter’s sound.
Planetary Confinement shows a clear evolution. In previous albums there was a heavy usage of trip-hop elements, but that could somehow detract the attention from where it should be. In this one, there are no electronic beats to be found, keyboards scarcely, and no distorted guitars. Don't expect headbangable parts, heavy riffs or energy in the nine songs featured in here because you won't be able to find them. And in this case, that's a good thing. Sure, you could say it's a conservative album, and it is, but it's also one big piece of emotion-filled music.
Most of the songs are completely directionless and sometimes motionless, but it's a good thing. The album's recording was done in two sessions consisting of entirely different line-ups. One side's music is done by Moss, the other one by Patterson. Moss' side has his own vocals and guitarplaying and it's, above all, pure melancholy. No happy bits but slow songs with an apocalyptic feeling. Of course, everything's absolutely melodic and perfectly done.
Patterson's side, however, is not as sad but instead similar to Anathema's latest album. It contains female vocals, a little more complex instrumentation and a far catchier sound. All the sweet songs are from this one, and they are in some ways more like the Antimatter everyone used to know.
However, both sessions blend perfectly and are indeed almost perfect. As a unity, they are coherent and, as different as they are, don't abruptly change the overall mood. It's surprising that Moss and Patterson have a lot of chemistry between them, even being able to make an album out of two. Apparently, that chemistry is over, as Duncan Patterson is leaving the band for other projects. Sad, but as they say, enjoy it while it lasts. Absolutely brilliant. (9.8/10
review by: Ignacio Coluccio )
It's been about two years since Antimatter's last album 'Lights Out,' an album which made a huge impression on me as well as other fans of dark rock/pop/electronic music. 'Planetary Confinement' however sees Duncan Patterson and Mick Moss taking their music in a much more placid despondent route using acoustic guitars, violins, piano, light percussion and the heartbreaking vocals of Mick, Duncan and newly recruited female vocalist Amelie Festa. What's more Mick wrote one half of the album while Duncan wrote the other half, and the album was recorded in different studios with different session musicians.
The End Records describes Planetary Confinement as one of the saddest albums of the year and they really couldn't be any more correct. The album opens with a downhearted piano intro composed and played by Duncan, and quickly submerges into the 'The Weight of the World.' Here we see just Mick's voice, light percussion, violin, and his acoustic guitar pouring out his heart with very emotional lyrics and depressing music. Moving down the track listing we come to 'Epitaph,' which is another song wrote by Mick, and also probably the saddest song on the album. This one in particular I like seeing as it has a very disheartening violin riff in it while again Mick just slowly plucks away at his guitar and cries out his sad words. 'Mr. White' is a cover song originally performed by the old doom metal band Trouble although Antimatter's version is hardly doom metal. There rendition of the song uses piano, violin, acoustic guitars, and Amelie's light intimate vocals to form one beautifully catchy gloomy song. As the album continues on were treated to more tails of sorrow and finally we reach 'Eternity part 24,' which starts out with a brief acoustic guitar intro but then dives into a more dark ambient territory for the remaining seven minutes.
Most unfortunate though is that this will be Duncan's last album with Antimatter as he has decided to concentrate on his new project Ion. However Anathema's Daniel Cavanagh will be stepping in to replace him on the next album. So there is certainly more great music on the horizon. As for Planetary Confinement it certainly shows a band going through some changes, but the end result is one delightfully discouraging dazzling album of desolation. Pick it up July 26th.
8.5 of 10
While already well-known for their distinctive catalog of eclectic and experimental releases, The End has had one of those years for the record books. Even with exceptional offerings from Frantic Bleep, Thine Eyes Bleed, Peccatum, and Ulver, I’m still convinced that few will outshine Antimatter’s latest effort Planetary Confinement. Where Savior had a sort of goth sensibility that was seasoned by strong trip-hop and trance leanings, Lights Out saw them shed a great deal of that electronica element in exchange for a more psychedelic slant. Pushing their musical evolution a few degrees further, the duo of Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson (ex-Anathema) have returned with this summer’s soundtrack to desolation. Their third ethereal installment finds the band roaming down the same haunting path as earlier works; however, they are heading in a drastically different direction this time around.
A purely acoustic album accompanied by piano and strings, Planetary Confinement continues the process of introducing more of an organic air to the fold. Savior had only a handful of these acoustic passages, whereas Lights Out incorporated them into virtually every song. Though it has been a gradual cycle arriving at their present destination, Antimatter have been enhancing their sound ever since the initial note was penned in 1998. While over the course of the past seven years, the band has abandoned certain ideas to allow the materialization of fresh ones, a somber ambiance remains the key framework of their compositions. The atmosphere is a constant, where only the execution has been altered as seen fit. Predominantly directed through the dreamlike soundscapes by delicate female vocals in the past, another aspect that has taken shape more frequently, is the addition of the melancholic male crooning of Mick Moss. The hopelessness in his voice is evident as he trades verses with the languid yearning of Amelie Festa. The two compliment one another perfectly as they each sink deeper into their respective void of depression.
The most exact and to the point description I can give Planetary Confinement would be avantgarde acoustic doom for fans of the lighter side of Opeth, Ulver, and label mates Agalloch. I am personally filled with girlish glee when I listen to Antimatter, and Planetary Confinement is a stable contender for the coveted Album Of The Year award. Upon the unveiling of this disc, Duncan Patterson has since departed to focus on his Ion project. It will be interesting to see where Mick Moss takes the band when flying solo. The word on the street is that Moss has already put the finishing touches on the next Antimatter album, due out in early 2006 - a date that can't come soon enough. Let the drooling begin!
Whoa, talk about a surprise. I've heard of Antimatter before, but I've never actually heard any of their material. I was thinking metal when I popped this in and what I got was something way different. Antimatter plays a style that is very acoustic based, very dark, and very somber. The music is extremely beautiful and melancholy though with lots of very well-played acoustic guitars, piano, violins, and male and female vocals. Fans of Opeth's Damnation album will probably dig this band. The even do an interesting remake of Trouble's "Mr. White." The album opens with a piano played ever so delicately. From that point on, the band overwhelms you with moving and heartfelt music that sooths the soul.
Lyrically, the band pens some pretty good stuff. Some of it is depressing and much of it seems to be pointing fingers. "Legions" talks of death, fools, and the grave and then warns, "If you don't learn to leave this thing alone/You'll never get to see the sun again/Your won't come out on top/The seed is sown." Then the song "A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist" states, "Look at you clutching your guitars/As if it makes a difference to who you really are/Does the picking of a string stop the ticking of the clock?/When will this curtain fall?/How did you carve that psalm?/I'm sorry but your intellect is really not that sharp/You're drowning so you plagiarize what you wish to become/A stone masquerade so cold." Somewhat funny, yet true in many cases.
Not much more to say. Not metal at all, but some excellent stuff. Nice for that rainy, depressing day or for showing your metal-hating girlfriend that there is hope for you yet.
If soft, soothing music intimidates you as a metal fan, then you’re not really metal at all. Threaten to kill my cat for that remark if it makes you feel better, but one day it’ll dawn upon you, especially when you least expect it, that metal isn’t all about skullcrushing riffs, nearly incomprehensible speed and angry throat scrapes. Sure, it’s a wonderful release as a soundtrack to one’s inevitable frustration with life and trust me, I’ve been there and still feel various frustrations more pertinent to being 35 than I had at age 17, but let me tell you something about Antimatter’s Planetary Confinement… With nary a single ounce of metal to be found on this album, it’s one of the most metal albums I’ve heard this year.
Antimatter is the brainchild of ex-Anathema Duncan Patterson and his partner-in-crime, Michael Moss. Together they create separate compositions that soothe within their detached songs’ inner conflicts, and their crisp acoustics make Planetary Confinement an ultimately comforting corner to hang your head in, or at least find empathy.
Comparisons to Portishead and Radiohead have cropped up around this duo and in many ways it’s true. Primarily acoustic-driven, Planetary Confinement also utilizes soothing electronic elements ala Radiohead and Air, especially on Duncan Patterson’s “Relapse” “Eternity Part 24,” or his groovy cover of Trouble’s “Mr. White.” On some of Patterson’s songs, the innocuous vocals of Amelie Festa luxuriate them in the same way Harriet York did for The Sundays.
However, the thing that really sparkles on this album is the melancholic and heartfelt acoustic moodscapes created on songs like “Line of Fire,” “Legions” and Michael Moss’ brilliant “A Portrait of the Young Man As an Artist,” which calls to mind so many Old Master portraits in song it’s cheeky despite its overt despondence. At times Moss sounds like Peter Murphy, an appropriate inspiration to such far-flung music.
Metal is a state of mind, not an outright façade. Metal makes us feel good, yes, and sometimes it’s therapeutic to rage along with some bestial form of aggression, but as far as music that cleanses with its depressive structure, Planetary Confinement is a soul wash that is more welcome than a neck-spraining headbang any day.
Ray Van Horn, Jr.
Those who speak of doomy melancholy easily think of Anathema. Though Antimatter differs pretty much musically, there is a connection between both acts. The link is Duncan Patterson who left Anathema in 1998 after spending 7 years writing, recording and touring with them as their bass player.
Soon after his departure Patterson teamed up with long-time friend Mick Moss, creating some sort of "experimental dark orchestral ambient electronic dub with female vocals".
Their new album "Planetary Confinement" is more organic than the previous two releases "Saviour" and "Lights Out", and features an overall warm sound. No more synths and drum computers, but live strings and percussion this time. Duncan Patterson: „After doing many acoustic gigs we got used to playing in that format, and I think this album reflects that.“ No wonder this release is more acoustic and piano based. Still surprisingly good is the music that crawls under your skin and gives you gooseflesh.
Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson, the two creative brains behind Antimatter, succeed again in seducing the listeners with a very personal blend of relaxed guitars and acoustic soundscapes with warm vocals. Once again minimal though very effective: both musicians show tremendous feeling for atmosphere, culminating in a darkly melancholic album, fortunately with moments where a sunray cracks through the clouds. Soundsculptors avant la lettre!
Recorded in an "English" session and an "Irish"session, the first session includes guest drummer Chris Phillips, the latter features guest performances from local Irish musicians.
Funny factoid: One track from this session, "Mr. White", is a remarkable cover of a Trouble song. Anathema supported Trouble on one of their tours, and it was during this time that Duncan discussed with Trouble singer Eric Wagner the subject of Patterson covering "Mr. White" sometime in the future.
So this will be Duncan Patterson (Ex Anathema) last CD with this Folkish Post rock Project. I've never followed this project and I'm not sure why but listening to this CD I'm sad to say this as Antimatter is kicking my ass!!. To me this could fit just as well on a label like Neurot as well as The End. They mix elements of bands like The Grails, Tartenel, Neurosis, Steve Von till, Of the Wand and Moon, The Gathering, Dead Can Dead. So see where I'm going here. There all somber and reflective Male and female Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Atmospheric Synths and Simple but well done Percussion when needed. Antimatter is a haunting landscape of emotionally charge minimalist rock and folk tracks. At times I think there brother band to someone like Tenhi. Its a shame Duncan is going but I will dig up the older releases to now check them out and look forward to his next creation to see were he travels next and I hope Antimatter without him will continue on this course simply wonderful release here.
Those of us lucky enough to be accustomed to The End’s catalog know what we’re getting into with each subsequent release. As a matter of fact, groups such as Agalloch and Antimatter don’t just lace their material with moroseness, they seem to thrive on it. Planetary Confinement, as any conjecture will tell you, is no different, and this excursion is a glorious look into beautiful, enticing despondency.
The Antimatter tag-team is no more, since Duncan Patterson (Ion, ex-Anathema) bowed out following this release. However, lamenters will be consoled upon learning that Mick Moss is in for the long haul. At any rate, individuals who favor continuity above all will be irked by Planetary Confinement’s structure. Patterson and Moss alternate, and there are idiosyncratic traits to be grouped with each. On the one hand, Patterson’s opuses are littered with female vox while the scaffolding consists of keyboards and inconspicuous, acoustic guitars. On the other, Moss’s compositions feature prominent, acoustic guitars melded with Moss’s vocals, which make for enjoyable, somber numbers. Overall, I prefer Moss to Patterson; “Legions,” a downloadable track, is so sullen and brilliant that it’s overwhelming. Tissue anyone? Besides that, though, Antimatter really surpassed my expectations with this one.
To be fair, it’d be a lie if I claimed that Planetary Confinement weren’t my introduction to the band. If the remainder of their discography is as alluring as this latest piece, then I’m sure to seek it out. Agalloch fans will certainly been pacified during the aforementioned’s full-length, dry spell. And – come to think of it – quite a few records from The End emanate majestic, sulky overtones; do they ever have an off year?
8.5/10 By Jason Jordan
Planetary Confinement was recorded in separate sessions with different musicians by founders Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson, both graduates of the Roger Waters school of desperate music. Moss' tracks are carried by his emotionally charged vocals, gorgeous acoustic playing and embittered lyrics. Patterson's tracks include more keyboards and feature the creepy, delicate voice of Amelie Festa; the album is structured around the alternating vocalists and songwriters. Antimatter are not to be missed for fans of Pink Floyd at their bleakest, Patterson's former band Anathema, Portishead, and, hell, any other sad, delicate, suicide-soundtrack British music. by Katie Vrabel - July 28, 2005
Antimatter =Acoustic music to die for (literally)
Antimatter are one of the most beautiful-sounding depressing bands around—call it “acoustic doom,” if you will. This time around for Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson (ex-Anathema), the group has changed up its sound a bit. Gone are the electronic portions prevalent on previous releases Savior and Lights Out. In exchange, we get a more organic sound with unsynthesized drums that follow in the footsteps of the Portishead feel of past records. Acoustic guitars and piano flow in a symbiotic relationship with Mick Moss’ talented but oh-so-depressing vocals and lyrics. Tracks featuring female vocals lighten the release up a bit, though things still stand at a slow, sad pace. This record is not going to lighten up your day, but it is the best Antimatter album to date. Doomy as it may be, it is still a heavenly bit of music. Unfortunately, this album will be the last with Duncan Patterson, who has moved on to his solo work, Ion. –Bryer Wharton
After years and years of listening to metal, there comes a time when you just need to listen to something else for a little change of pace. Antimatter's third and latest release, Planetary Confinement, seemed to fill that niche perfectly. Dropping the electronic elements from their past discs, Planetary Confinement is a completely acoustic release that carries plenty of emotional weight and dark themes (admittedly more than some "metal" releases).
One interesting thing about PC is that the duo of Mick Moss and Duncan Patterson (ex-Anathema) recorded their contributions separately yet the music flows quite nicely, despite jumping back and forth from a Moss song to a Patterson song. The only thing that weighs the disc down is the female vocals on the Patterson-penned tracks by Amelie Festa. I'm aware that Antimatter was predominately built on these female vocals on the last two discs but her voice comes across as flat and emotionless when compared to Moss' vocals on his tracks. While they aren't bad by any means, they just pale in comparison and at this point I pretty much consistently jump over these songs for the Moss-penned ones. Moss sings in a very melancholic yet highly emotive voice that melds perfectly with the music and on songs like "Weight of the World", he truly sounds as he is carrying exactly that. Actually, "Weight of the World" might be one the most depressing (in a good way) and compelling songs I've heard in recent memory. The lush violins of "Epitaph" add a genuine sense of sorrow and this one sits along side "Weight" as one of my faves here. The only song I really disliked was the instrumental closer "Eternity Part 23", which starts off with nice acoustics but after a minute or so, ambient keyboards come in and it goes nowhere except pointlessly dragging the disc on for another 7 minutes.
Fans of later-day Anathema, and the more mellow moments of Agalloch and Opeth are sure to find Planetary Confinement more than entertaining with it's somber and suitably dark tone. I just wish that Moss had done all the vocals, instead of leaving us with a disc thats 1/2 fantastic and 1/2 merely okay.
Standout Tracks: Weight of the World, Epitaph, Legions, A Portrait Of The Young Man As An Artist
Antimatter was founded in 1998 by Duncan Patterson who left Anathema to team up with Michael Moss and with Planetary Confinement the third studio release from this band sees the light of day. This band is a new acquaintance to me and when I look them up on Rock Detector the band is described as playing dark ambient music. But this release separates itself from the others since this one is purely acoustic. Planetary Confinement is a calm and a very beautiful album with a touch of melancholia in the music that you mainly get from their tasteful use of violin. In the tracks where they let the acoustic guitar take up most of the space, it kind of reminds me of the ballads from American bands like Staind or Creed, calm and emotional songs with a dark feeling lying over them. Progressive band Threshold made an acoustic album a couple of years ago and there is also a similar feeling between these two albums.
Antimatter seem to have been following the "less is more" example with this album and sometimes the music just lets you float away with the subtle rhythms from the drums and the lonesome relaxed guitar while the violin sounds in the background. This acoustic album with its natural and naked instruments gives a feeling of being very personal and not least because of the touching voice from Michael Moss that has a fragile and sad touch to it. So just sit back and relax and simply let the impressions from Planetary Confinement sweep over you.
After the release of Planetary Confinement Duncan Patterson left Antimatter to focus on his new project Ion. Michael Moss will continue and is planning a new album for a 2006 release entitled Leaving Eden that will feature Anathema's Daniel Cavanagh.
I have said this many times before, and I will continue to stick with it. If there is one record company that I love more than any other, it has to be The End Records. This may seem odd as my favorite discs tend to come from the Century Family (Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Olympic, Abacus, and Liquor and Poker) or Candlelight records, but The End Records has one thing that only Candlelight can come close to (and the Century Family lacks altogether). That is the element of surprise. Candlelight has a diverse roster, which has everything from black and death metal to thrash, crossover, and just tons of other cool shit that is fun as hell to listen to. The End tends to take it to the next level, where it could be black metal, death metal, classic rock, or something that isn’t even anywhere close to the realms of metal. Antimatter is the case in this instance with a full acoustic album that is somewhat reminiscent of Opeth’s Damnation if only for the fact that it’s all clean guitar work or piano and is non-metal marketed to the metal crowd. Well, fuck Opeth, this shit rules.
When I played this at work, my buddy (who constantly makes fun of my metal) was surprised that our evil Satan ass-metal website would get a cd like this. I can’t say I feel the same, because (as I mentioned before) if it comes from The End, then there’s no telling what it will be and can almost literally be anything. Antimatter has also done an interesting thing here. I am no Antimatter expert, but what it appears has happened is the band has literally been split into two and have recorded completely independent of one another. This is of little consequence however, as the album flows from one song to the next with almost no difference in sound, production, etc. The overall mood of the disc is dark and depressing, but beautiful at the same time. The male vocals are deep and soothing while the female vocals are very high pitched, though have a soft edge, which prevents them from being shrill. The music is fun to listen to, not to mention some fairly complex acoustic work that is damn near spellbinding.
I’m a metal guy through and through, and can honestly say this is something that would never interest me if it wasn’t aimed at metal heads. Again, like Opeth, this is not normally my kind of music. However, this is a disc I’ll greatly enjoy after a long day of work, or something nice and soft to wake me up in the morning. This is an amazing disc, though dark and depressing in its own without having to resort to Satan (though he’s not a bad guy… I like that Satan character). This is a highly recommended disc for those who just want to kick back and relax.
Antimatter are a band that cannot be defined. Every time you predict or anticipate their next move, they sidestep you. The best part is that each step sounds natural yet largely unrelated to the previous step. Such is the case again with “Planetary Confinement.”
“Planetary Confinement” is being hailed as a deeply depressing album but I’m not sure that I’d quite call it that. Often the dark and exploratory offer something entirely beautiful and hopeful, you just have to look at it right. I believe that “Planetary Confinement” is one of those albums.
What is immediately striking about this album is that it’s an acoustic album (for those unfamiliar the band used electronics heavily on previous albums), almost entirely organic in nature and what Antimatter do, whether intended or not, is really put the weight of the album on the vocals and lyrics. Lesser bands sink when they try this but this is easily the band’s best work to date. It proves them not only versatile, but also extremely talented as songwriters. While that fact was evident in the past, it’s undeniable in the here and now.
“Eternity Part 24” is one of the album’s most intriguing moments. It’s an ambient piece with some spoken word scattered throughout it. It’s very focused and very intense, yet it never really pushes anything out at you. “Line of Fire” and “A Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist” are also extremely strong moments; especially as far as the guitar work goes. The former features a wonderful female vocal and the latter is a spellbinding song sung by Moss.
I can’t say enough wonderful things about this album. This is something that you can’t casually listen to- you’ll never get it if you try. It’s an album that requires thought and attention. If you put the time into it, you won’t regret it. This easily makes my short list for best of 2005.
Key Tracks: "Portrait of a Young Man as an Artist"
Reviewed by: Mark Fisher
The year is 2002, the band is Antimatter, the players are Duncan Patterson (ex-Anathema), and his long time friend, Michael Moss. The result was the absolutely smashing Saviour, a phenomenal work of art that needs to be listened to and not just heard. In 2003 Patterson and Moss reunite for the more distant and cold but still stellar album Lights Out to create yet another mind bending, soul searching work of art. And now in 2005 we are presented with the third stage in the evolution of the band entitled Planetary Confinement.
What always struck me about Antimatter is the tone or mood of their recordings. Its like drinking 3 bottles of cough syrup and veg out on the couch, unable to move your body, all the while your mind, in deliberate stillness slowly conjures up thoughts of solitude, isolation, anger, resentment, sorrow and the like for you to obsess on in your immovable state. All equating to a blissful, harmonic joy unlike anything you have ever felt before. Planetary Confinement is no different and is quite the return to form for Antimatter. Saviour set the mould, Lights Out froze the mould, and then shattered it into little, tiny pieces to be scattered all over your psyche, and Planetary Confinement takes the original plans and reshapes them into something more.
The title track is our instrumental introduction to the entire piece, reminding us of why we are here, listening, and searching for ourselves in this music. “The Weight Of The World” is typical Antimatter, smooth, solemn, and introspective. “Line Of Fire” heeds to the haunting female vocals of Amelie Festa, and then sets us up for a solid, mellow groove at about 4 minutes in, which stays with us until the track fades back into the void. I can still hear her voice deliberately floating through my head right now. “Epitaph” is the classic lyrical example of an Antimatter tune, “paint me in a room where I can dream, dream of a world I used to see…” It’s that satirical irony that I love about this band. Some of their lyrics remind me of what it would be like interpreting a Salvador Dali painting through words and music. Cryptic messages, are they talking to me?
The remainder of the album stays close to home, each bit dancing with the next, showcasing both male and female fronted tracks. Highlights are “Relapse”, “Legion”, and the aforementioned “The Weight Of The World”. If you liked the first two albums, you will like this one. If you’re in the mood for some surreal soul searching, this is the perfect place to lose yourself for a while. Just let someone know what you are doing cause you may never come back from your ambient trip, and if you do, you might not be the same old you.
Review by Michael Savko
As I am sure you know Antimatter is what Duncan Patterson is doing with his time now that he is no longer with Anathema. I am also pretty sure why this is on a metal label. I'm not going to knock this record because I rather like it, but this is metal by association. The music is slow, with quite a bit of acoustic playing to it and all of the vocals are clean, wonderfully sung by Mick Moss and Amelie Festa. The music is minimalism at its finest. This album was recorded with two different lineups with the even numbered songs done by Mick Moss and others while the odd numbered ones feature Duncan Patterson, Amelie Festa and company. No one person plays on every song on the album, which is bizarre because you could never tell that listening to the album. This is a rather soothing yet haunting album that is somewhat hard for me to listen to. It's not due to any deficiency in the record as it is just my personal leanings. This just isn't up my particular alley most of the time, although I'm glad I have this around for when the mood does strike. It's heavy only in the sense of mood and atmosphere, although it weighs a ton in those regards. It's quite a change of pace from live Impaled Nazarene and Sodom but it's a very necessary one, too. That, and I have to give credit to any band that can cover Nobody Home by Pink Floyd and have it make me want to hang myself almost as much as the original version does. This is despair writ large.
ANTIMATTERS selection of songs is one of constant growth. With some sensitivity one found in ‘Lights Out’ a more liberated, masterly successor to ‘Saviour’ – then recognising the quintessence of their music in the Strangelight Records distributed "live@K13''. "Planetary Confinement" continues this path - still minimal, at the same time more accented: Similar to the divine Beth Gibbons, (whom after Portishead brought us a wonderful, delicately stringed album) Duncan Patterson and his companion Mick Moss placed themselves with the premise to create new music merely with acoustic, organic sounds. The fact that in the long run Moss pursues this plan more consistently states something about the two songwriters: Patterson is today a soundsculptor with tremendous feeling for atmosphere which can be sometimes reached with only few noises and Moss is a singer-songwriter who strives for melody, drama and melancholy. Exciting it is that both functioned so captivatingly together, despite working seperately and independantly of each other. Therefore Pattersons so-called Irish session is just as free from Moss' influence as Moss' English session remains without a contribution of the former Anathema prophet. His past in Liverpool's Anathema has been on Duncan's mind again, not bringing forth certain melodies that would be reminscient of his days with them but rather recollecting familiar impulses. While there are no doubts which themes and atmospheres the dark and minimalistic 'Eternity Part 24' picks up and expands, Anathema's tour with Trouble provided the main idea for the adaptation of 'Mr White', an urgent interpretation of the tour-partners' classic, carried by Amelie Festas fragile, intimate voice. 'Planetary Confinement', bears an uncanny reminiscence to "Lights Out" with Pattersons return to atmosphere, while the songs written and sung by Moss will please everyone who had a good time with the acoustic concerts over the past year - 'Epitaph', is most unusually as easy as air and at the same time as heavy as rain; 'A Portrait Of The Young Man As An Artist' plays not only skilfully with the title of an early Joyce novel, but refers venomously to some presumptuous and spiritless pretending artist. How does one summarise all this? - A collection of wonderfully relaxed, melancholic, moving music attributed to ANTIMATTER.
REVIEW by MARCEL TILGER
I am sure it is coincidental, but the instrumental opener “Planetary confinement” sounds like a bare version of The Album Leaf.
Antimatter are a different breed altogether, but I am sure that if you are into the latter Anathema releases then you will find this pleasing, or is soothing perhaps a better expression? This is easily one of the better records to have ever come from Liverpool, where everyone else seems to spend too much time looking for the right vintage clothing store or cool amp. This is not a very uplifting record, as these acoustic guitars dwell around in a very somber and grey atmosphere. Nevertheless, this simple beauty that stands opposite to much of the experimental hardcore stuff we usually listen to sets beacons apart. This is nearly earthlike and colors a deserted landscape with rain on your window.
This relaxing music easily transcends you to a higher level and there is a reason for everything, so go with the flow!
On their latest release songwriters Duncan Patterson and Mick Moss have replaced all their electronic doodling with mostly acoustic instruments. And I have to say it's quite an improvement. Patterson and Moss have each recorded their songs separately in different sessions and put together these tracks make up quite a melancholy fest. People not familiar with ANTIMATTER and expecting something along the lines of Patterson's former band ANATHEMA should probably give this a listen first, since technically speaking this is not a rock or metal album.
The basis of every song is acoustic guitars, dressed up with violins, keyboards, djembe and female vocals. The most ‘metal' moment is a stripped down, virtually unrecognizable version of TROUBLE's "Mr. White". Quality-wise both Patterson and Moss are equally good songwriters and arrangers. The best track from the Patterson sessions is "Line Of Fire", thanks to some very cool percussion work. Moss' standout moment is the very dark and atmospheric "Legions".
It's too bad Patterson has already announced his departure from the ANTIMATTER fold, since this is quite an enjoyable listening experience for anyone who thinks PINK FLOYD in a black dress sounds like a good idea. Not one for the rockers, but definitely recommended for sad, world-weary types.
- The Angry Dutchman
For the past two or so months I have been regularly listening to a rough edit entitled Legions which was an excellent teaser for Antimatter's third album - Planetary Confinement.
With the album released recently, I procured a copy via The End Records - and have given it an eager cursory listen.
My initial impression is this is quite a magnificent album - with Legions not being the standout track (which was my expectation) instead I am quite pleased to find that other tracks are also excellent.
Until this album, Antimatter were a duo - with each writing and recording individually in separate countries and then merging the results when time came to compile an album. Planetary Confinement marked the last of three albums produced in this fashion.
Antimatter will continue - but Duncan has decided to move on, hopefully without the tension that surrounded his departure from Anathema many years back.
Even after a few weeks, I am still finding a lot to enjoy about this album. With every release they have got softer, more acoustic, less electronic. In many other bands this would be an unfortunate sell-out, for Antimatter it's has had the opposite effect, creating an organic yet melancholy masterpiece.
There is a distinct difference between the songs written and recorded by Mick and those by Duncan, with Duncan's songs generally offering colder production and featuring female vocals. This tonal juxtaposition however is also very beneficial to the overall album.
Like much of the music I review, this won't appeal to all, but for those who appreciate quality music with a huge dose of melancholy this album is highly recommended.
Antimatter is a very mellow group. Their music relies heavily on acoustic guitars and pianos and the like. The vocals are very natural sounding, and have a good flow with the instrumentals. The vocals used are both male and female, though not in the same tracks. The male vocals are quite nice to listen to, sounding somewhat like Aaron Lewis’ (Staind) voice in the song “It’s Been Awhile.” The female vocals are quite lovely as well, very flowery, kind of like Jewel. The lyrics are very interesting, dealing with various emotions. The whole album is very melodic, filled with emotion and beauty, as if it somehow knows your inner feelings and clings to them to fill you with a sense of awe.
Key Tracks: Legion
Reviewed by: Josh Wagers
First the good news – unlike the fractured and often tedious previous Antimatter release, “Lights Out”, “Planetary Confinement” is a world of difference. The songs are just that – songs, not drones, not the trippings of a slow psychosis, but actual melodies performed primarily in the acoustic realm. Many of the tunes reflect Irish / Scottish folk tendencies, all of which are quite welcomed. Duncan Patterson and Mick Moss have pulled together a release that is much easier on the senses, and yet it is hardly easy listening. Literally, “Planetary Confinement” is like two separate EPs combined as a whole. One can only speculate why the recording was made this way, as neither person actually performs or has influence on the other’s contributions, so there is a haze of division that settles over the disc.
After its release, Patterson formally resigned from the band. I suppose for us he left on a high point. Within the band structure, it very well could have been the lowest point. Who’s to say? And that’s where the bad news resides. Antimatter has never been a toe-tappin’, good time band. To even attempt that would certainly feel like a forgery, but “Planetary Confinement” is so steeped in sadness, that you once again have to take it in doses. Beyond that, you’ll certainly need to watch a comedy or eat something fattening. I took the disc around in Dw. Dunphy Test Lab Number One (a/k/a, my car) and went for a spin. By the end of the ride, I was drained, withdrawn, drained… If that was the goal, then mission accomplished. Antimatter’s music this time around could be a contender for the saddest music in the world, but without any contrast, without any ray of light coming through the razor-wire depicted on the cover, you could feel like giving it all up.
So where I stand on “Planetary Confinement” is that it is a wonderful improvement and a terribly emotional millstone. It’s going to affect you, possibly not in the kindest ways, so be advised
Reviewed by - Dw Dunphy
If ever an album cover matched the material inside, this is the one. Gray skies and barbed wire. That's the new Antimatter album in a nutshell. It's called Planetary Confinement and while I would hesitate to call it rock, just calling it music seems inadequate. Gray skies and barbed wire is much more descriptive. My introduction to Antimatter came a couple of years ago when they released an album, Unreleased 1998 - 2003, only on the internet and for free. It was hard to get a handle on the album at first. Finally I just had to stop and let the music sink in. Spare to the point of lonely, it is what it is. Now that Autumn is just around the corner and the top is on the convertible, my thoughts turn to quieter music that I am once again able to hear in my car. This is a good start.
The departure of Duncan Patterson sounds impressive. Just when he decides to step out of Antimatter they release their best album up to date. The sound is more acoustic and other live instruments oriented than on its predecessors and sound therefore more transparent and honest. This album is filled with tension and tranquil moments. Vocally it’s great as well with cold women’s voices and emotional male voices. Highlights are there enough. Only the intro ‘Planetary Confinement’ is too short to call it a highlight. The last song ‘Eternity Part 24’ is probably too long to call it a highlight – although it is a great last song for this album. The other six songs are brilliant emotional tracks and therefore is “Planetary Confinement” the perfect goodbye. You have to quit on your culminating point!