In the era where recording a song on a laptop is nothing extraordinary, a project revolving around artists working online is also not unusual anymore. Antiquity is one of such concepts. The group created back in the 90s, mainly as a live act project in the New York area, with time transformed into an initiative where the concept of creating music online was started, allegedly to give the artists more freedom.
As Gerald Duchene (primary writer and producer) mentions, “We have tried to maintain somewhat of a style, but it’s hard to control a rushing river. We’ve allowed the songwriting to take us where it will, like a ship on the tide. We decided not to tailor songs for public consumption but to write and play from the heart.”
The aforementioned quote is the best depiction of what we can hear on The Experience LP, released on the 12th of September. Antiquity indeed might have tried to “maintain some kind of concept“ – but failed terribly. And it’s all because they have “allowed the songwriting to take us where it will, like a ship on the tide,” and in the process of doing so, the whole album is completely lacking any decent direction. To put it in most simple words – The Experience is one of the most boring, and amateur-sounding albums that we have heard in a while. Taking from the iconic Gladiator – we are not entertained.
To start – the production, based on the concept of “artists across the seas,” is not good for people expecting something super-polished in terms of recording. As it was mentioned, Antiquity was originally based on the live-band concept, and this is heard on the album in terms of how raw songs sound. We’ve been to hundreds of live gigs or – more specifically jam sessions – and this is precisely how the whole LP is pictured. Like a group of people gathered on Friday night in some small-town club, and decided to put something together with small brakes to sip a beer. And then someone recorded it. Just take a listen to What’s Behind The Door.
One of the biggest problems is the fact that songs are way to long, and the amount of instrumental nothingness is staggering. Even the intro Rain from the Clouds is monotonous to the point of us not wanting to hear the next song. This concept is, unfortunately, repeated throughout the whole LP. The “solo-spaces” are definitely taking from the jam-session type of playing. If you ever been to such live gig, you will know that it is the standard, as artists try to come up with the new ideas to play on the spot and improvise. It just doesn’t explain why such concept was introduced for this LP.
All of the songs on the album would be much better in shorter, more concise forms. Listening for 15 seconds to same boring background instrumental, awaiting something “more” is not an enjoyable listening experience.
Just take Putting out fire with Gasoline, and over 90-second intro that was supposed to be a rather oriental experience, instead feeling like an out-of-body experience, lack of interest caused by repetitive and clueless songwriting. Spark of hope lied in (finally) hearing the next part, but it was extinguished quite fast by – putting it mildly – not an entertaining continuation. Same goes for Serenade pour les morts, with rather nice choruses as the intro concept, but why the band decided to play it for over 30 seconds without basically anything else as for the help? This question was asked many, many times while listening to creative clashes on this album.
To sum up – The Experience LP is a true “Experience” of how jam sessions sounds, without having to attend one. Lots of guitar solos, some occasional splash of synths, choruses, sax (because there is sometimes that one guy with sax). It is not a polished project; it is not a distinctive one. Lacking general creative vision, letting songs be longer than they should, while simultaneously not providing anything interesting in the process. Antiquity is just multiplying the same rock ideas with a minimal effort to make the next song sound more unique than the previous one while using some “original” add-on from time to time. It feels like a better choice would be to take a walk and “experience” live-music atmosphere by yourself.