Ahimsa

by The Antlers

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about

“Ahimsa” always felt like a simple song that could be interpreted in any number of styles, and as it’s made its way into our live shows over the years, I began to feel like it deserved an update.

The original version appeared on my 2017 solo album "Impermanence” with a patient temp, spare instrumentation and hypnotic circular delays. It was intended as a meditation on the Buddhist notion of "non-harming," which is perhaps a better translation of the title than "non-violence."

Stemming from my wish for a tranquil day amidst turbulent health issues, my focus was on confronting my own ephemerality as inspiration toward greater compassion for those around me.

But in the years since its original release, I think the song has taken on a meaning closer to the immediacy of the chorus of "no violence," and become a kind of hymn in opposition to the rampant turmoil and seemingly inescapable vitriol of the moment.

"Ahimsa" is an attempt to create a peaceful space within a violent world. The scope is wider now, though the message remains the same: mortality is one of the few qualities we all share in common, and through recognizing this we may discover compassion for one another.

This new version was recorded shortly before departing for our US tour this past Spring, and fittingly, it features the same players from those shows. Michael & I are joined by Paul Collins on a laidback baseline & Jared Van Fleet on an elegant piano, while Mike ‘Slo Mo’ Brenner provides heavenly pedal steel.

lyrics

Time is all we have.
I hope I have enough,
enough to show you love
before my time is up.

Before you wake the dead,
take a pause,
instead of deafening nonsense, share silence.

No violence today...

Like driving with the window down,
all of this will disappear.
I only have you now, you only have me here.

And we can’t count on tomorrow night,
or wait for brighter light.
I can hear you thru my eyelids,
chère Silence.

No violence today...

credits

released November 3, 2022
Written in 2015-2016 by Peter Silberman
Produced and engineered by Peter Silberman
Recorded at Mtn Acres in High Falls, NY in 2022
With additional recording in Tyler, TX; Queens, NY; Philadelphia, PA.

Mixed by Nicholas Principe at People Teeth in Kingston, NY.
Mastered by Gus Elg at Sky Onion in Portland, OR

Vocals, guitars and synthesizers by Peter Silberman
Drums by Michael Lerner
Piano by Jared Van Fleet
Bass by Paul Collins
Pedal Steel by Mike "Slo Mo" Brenner

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