“Antonymes — musician/photographer/designer Ian M. Hazeldine — strange and fantastic music to reflect strange and fantastic surroundings. He begins at the piano, playing and rearranging notes and then adds detail at his computer to create the fully formed pieces that make his music. It’s these little details that provide interest; the moments of quiet solitude evoked by his piano playing on ‘Towards Tragedy and Dissolution’ have left me breathless, before the most flowing, harmonious and sorrowful strings come in to reduce you to a puddle of tears.
On opening track ‘The Lure of the Land’, gentle strings course slowly but surely, trickling then tumbling as a mountain stream into a crystalline lake. The sound builds and opens up, reflecting the wilds of the landscape in Ian’s native North Wales. The sense of space on this record is overwhelming. On ‘Elegy (ii)’, the piano gives way to swathes of strings and the beautiful vocals of Joanna Swan (Ilya). The way ‘Delicate Power’ builds and ebbs reminds me of Deaf Center.
‘Elegy (iv)’ is Ian at his most affecting, once more coaxing single notes at the piano, free of obvious electronic over-processing, to produce a calming sketch worthy of comparison to Olafur Arnalds, then on ‘Fatal Ambition’ the piano is accompanied by a mournful muted trumpet. I’m wiping the tears off my cheeks before they drip into my falafel salad. ‘A Sadder Light Than Waning Moon’ may well have been composed at his dusty piano in a hut near Aberystwyth on a clear September night, and I’m glad he did. So we don’t have to. A gorgeous record. 9/10″