White Rainbow – Prism of Eternal Now (Kranky/Inertia)

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Adam Forkner has had his finger in numerous musical pies around the Portland OR area over the last decade, and this is his 5th album (although I suspect it’s the first to be widely available) as White Rainbow. I loved the mini-gatefold cover (so 1970s) as soon as I saw it, and I remember thinking: “this is great, but it’ll never live up to the sleeve…” How wrong I was… The cover is almost a send-up of motivational or healing music, as found in new-age bookstores the world over – but Forkner manages to have his cake and eat it, as he pastiches the packaging, and yet creates a long, warm, fuzzy, herbal essence bath of an album. There are some obvious minimalist influences at work – and Forkner is even cheeky enough to title one track ‘For Terry’, after Mr Riley, and indeed there’s a fair bit of Rainbow in Curved Air style organ noodling contained herein.

Prism of Eternal Now begins with ‘Pulses’, built around a simple, repetitive bass organ figure, with wordless vocal riffs, groovy percussion and blissed-out fuzz guitars. You could be forgiven for thinking there’s going to be much post-rockin’ going on, complete with ironically wailing guitars. However the beginning is deceptive. Forkner clearly enjoys some unfettered lead playing, but his interests extend in other directions also. There’s a descending arc across the nine tracks with the mood slowly but surely winding down, and moving into a realm of contemplative stasis. The standout track is ‘April 25th 11.14pm’ where the percussion and lead guitars disappear, and the sound field is filled by icy, sustained drones and an almost orchestral feel. The atmosphere is maintained with the sustained bass organ notes which anchor ‘Warm Clicked Fruit’, with dreamy synth drones and soft glitchy percussion overlaid, and the mood becomes almost Popol Vuh circa Affenstunde.

The sleeve notes claim that ‘all of the audio on the included disc comes with a Full Spectrum Vibrational Healing Eternity/Now Guarantee!!!’ (NB the triple exclamation marks.) What more do you want?

For MP3 previews click here

Ewan Burke

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Schaue vertrauensvoll in die Zukunft

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