‘There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay’ is a follow-up of sorts to Antonymes’ 2009 album, ‘Beauty Becomes The Enemy Of The Future’. The man behind the moniker, Ian M. Hazeldine enlists assistance from like-minded and talented collaborators from the ambient/classical world such as Offthesky, Ian Hawgood and Wil Bolton.
From the warm, refined opening of ‘Means Of Escape [I]’ there is an immediate impression of feeling comfortable and relaxed, whether that “escape” is retreating to a location remote from civilisation or the simple pleasures of home life after a tough day at work. The slowly undulating drone patterns of ‘Strange Light [II] consolidate that feeling of being somewhere nice and it’s not until ‘Forever Without Hope [II]’ that there’s any sense of “decay”, where the drones are gentler but the steady infusion of beats and eerie synth noise indicate the darker tones suggested in the title.
So far the album is lovingly put together but doesn’t pull on the heart strings or send shivers through the body too much. Then the music becomes rather striking and poignant especially the way the strings swell and fade for the heavenly ‘Falling’ and the beautifully sad ‘The End Of Everything [I] and [II] could be the soundtrack for to the last dance on Earth. Credit too for the haunting cries and echoes of ‘Misshapen Beauty [II]’; the most experimental offering on the album.
Admittedly this is an album that takes a little while to truly appreciate but since there’s over an hour’s worth of listening here, the project demands a patient listener anyway. Then once submerged under Hazeldine’s hypnotic spell, you will be duly rewarded and it’s a heaven you won’t want to leave.
Library Tapes, Offthesky