[This review was to appear in issue 55 of Resonance Magazine, but due to publication crises that seem totally prophetic in retrospect the magazine folded instead. You can download exceedingly stylish .pdfs of the last two issues here.]
Prism of Eternal Now (Kranky, 2007)
by White Rainbow
Oh, Adam Forkner. Smirking transcendentalist, incurable dreamer. After years at the helm of Yume Bitsu—the kids who snuck out of post-rock camp to drop acid in the woods—and a mounting list of collaborations on the intelligent hippie scene, from the Microphones to the Dirty Projectors to Jackie-O Motherfucker, his pedigree is sufficiently sterling that he can release something called Prism of Eternal Now without us batting an eyelash. Good thing, too: from the looks of it, this is new-age mishmosh at its most feckless.
Of course, Kranky doesn't release mishmosh, and the womb-pink concept-shillery of the packaging (“Prism of Eternal Now = 100% Total Now Vibrational Presence!”) is just one of the contradictions to be unraveled here. Forkner has always treated music less as an end in itself than as the byproduct of some kind of metaphysical quest; in this case, the mission seems to be to slow time down to a pure healing solid, and, though the irony is thick on the outside, he gets admirable results. Sticking mainly to guitar manipulations (although time is also listed as an instrument, along with octave generators and a water jug) and skirting the territories charted by his labelmates—Stars of the Lid here, Loscil there, Gregg Kowalsky on the serrated “Guitars”—Forkner makes suspension his medium, crystallizing the kinetic and making the sedentary shimmer.
Prism doesn't fully cohere until its second half: a few early numbers like “For Terry” are more interminable than eternal, owing largely to Forkner’s trademark overphased guitar whine. But taken holistically—to borrow a word that probably appears in title case somewhere on the back cover—it alchemizes the flow of time with surprising consistency and persuasiveness, and should stand out as a refreshing display of discipline from a gifted slacker. Shine on, you crazy diamond.back