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Hospice

4.8 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Hospice [Explicit]
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Audio CD, August 18, 2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 18, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Frenchkiss
  • ASIN: B002GYKTW2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,790 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Thinking about this album, the term Lo-fi (regardless of the new subgenre it now refers to) would imply lower sound quality (as a result of cheaper equipment used during production) or at the very least a stripped down sound without a great deal of multitracking. However, the use of low end synths, circuit bending, etc. has redefined Lo-fi (somewhat ironically.) Ironic because an album such as Hospice, which is a veritable sonic masterpiece, is associated with a term that evokes the static crackle of an old Lead Belly record. I am assuming that the digital wash which underpins certain tracks or the sustained, modulating notes which weave their way around the refrains and punctuate the intermissions conjure this connection. Make no mistake however; the clarity of sound is amazing. This is certainly an aural pièce de résistance which justifies the existence of 500 dollar headphones (almost.)

Upon listening to this album, one might be reminded of certain moments from Kid A, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets, along with elements of shoegaze and post-rock which are used sparingly and to great effect. However, this album is far from being a pastiche of the previously mentioned albums or musical approaches. In fact, holistically it doesn't necessarily sound like any one of them though if one were to deconstruct Hospice, certain elements of the previously mentioned albums would be present. And by using post rock/shoegaze as a tool instead of as a template, they brilliantly avoid some of the pitfalls for those respective genres. Thus, instead of being a 70 minute album with 5 songs, Hospice is ultimately a great pop album with excellent song craft which is woven within a shoegaze tapestry.
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I tend not to get too emotionally affected by music, mostly because I usually ignore lyrics unless they're especially clever, and well, a lot of musicians don't try that hard. But it's difficult to pay attention to Hospice at all and not get hit by it. It figures that only a couple weeks after I wrote a "best of 2009" list which featured nothing that made a huge impact on me, I'd hear an album as gripping as anything in recent memory. The music itself is only part of the equation, and you can't talk about Hospice without mentioning its origins. From what I can tell it's more or less the true story of the singer falling in love with a terminal bone cancer patient at the hospital where he worked. You can probably guess how well that works out.

Despite the simple honesty of the lyrics, they never really hit you over the head with the message, and it's easy to ignore the content if you just want to hear a nice mix of shoegazing post-rock and indie folkiness (why isn't this a more popular combination?), though if you do you're not giving it a fair chance to do everything it can. Some people probably wouldn't want to hear an album that would only depress the hell out of them, and that's fine. But it's one of the more powerful listening experiences I've had in a while.

Despite the sorrow of the words and the sincerity with which they're sung, it wouldn't work if the music was bad, and fortunately it's not. There's a fair amount of time spent without much happening beyond ambient noise, and it's difficult to love every moment when it feels like you're being pulled out of the flow a bit. There's a push and pull with the general sound as it goes between a strumming guitar and louder noise elements, and it could have gotten bogged down in its own seriousness.
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1 Comment 17 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I had a stroke this past June. When I listen to this album it moves me to tears. I cannot get the music out of my head. I am just blown away. I am moved to tears. Feeling hopeless and alone in a hospital is a horrid thing.
1 Comment 34 of 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Every once in a long while an album comes along that is so beautiful, so profound that it changes you. Hospice by The Antlers is such an album. A concept record written by Peter Silberman, about a terminally ill cancer patient and a nurse who falls in love while caring for her, Hospice is gut-wrenchingly sad. And yet, like life and the eventual experience of death, it is also filled with moments of pure joy and amazing revelations along the journey. In the age of single song digital downloads and as we stand precipitously close to the edge for the very survival of the concept album that must be absorbed whole to be fully appreciated, Silberman has given us such a lovely, precious gift in Hospice. This album is pastoral, but it also rocks at times. It is quiet; it is loud. It is a soft, delicate prayer; it is an anguished cry for help. It is a beautiful dream; it is a dreadful nightmare. It is filled with regret. It is filled with longing. The album features Peter Silberman on vocals, guitar, accordion, harp and keyboards. Joining him are Darby Cicci (trumpet, bowed banjo), Michael Lerner (drums, percussion) with Justin Stivers (bass) and Sharon Van Etten (vocals as Sylvia). The electronic sounds that give the music its rich, ethereal texture are leavened with real instruments and gorgeous singing. Hospice is moving, wise and utterly wonderful. If you are dealing with loss of any kind, you need this album.
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