Aside from the typical tracklist and credits, White Rainbow’s Prism of Eternal Now‘s back cover is completely covered in bizarre, ad sloganeering paragraphs proclaiming the benefits of “full spectrum vibrational healing energy,” and that the album is faster and more advanced than meditation. Some of these messages read like cosmetic ads, others like fluffy new age muck, and, truth be told, they’re all pretty funny, which is the point all along, one would imagine. Of course, there is a truth somewhere within these mad, adspeak ramblings, one that makes itself aware within the album’s sound, with or without the aid of psychedelics.
For lack of a better term, Prism of Eternal Now is an `ambient’ record. Instrumental, though central Rainbow-man Adam Forkner does use his voice in varying capacities, its sound ranges from ethereal and wispy to dense and swirling. It is complex in its vastness, yet simple in its progressions. Its patterns fold upon themselves, encircling and looping in the infinite, a circular `Om’-like meditative state—the Eternal Now. Yet each song is self-contained, similar in ethos to each preceding track, though far different in its sonic breadth.
For a record that could loosely be classified as ambient, however, Prism of Eternal Now hardly begins as such. “Pulses” is practically a pop song, albeit an abstract, instrumental pop song. Congas and shakers drive the song’s tribal beat, which gives way to a trippy, dirty grooving organ bassline, and Forkner’s odd, multi-tracked howls, creating a desert campfire dance party far preferable to Burning Man, especially when the hazy guitar freak out begins. In the next two tracks, “Middle” and “For Terry,” Forkner moves away from song structure in favor of a glorious, glimmering wall of fluid synths on the former and cosmic rays slowly beaming from the heavens in the latter.
Working in cycles of three songs, the second third of the album once again begins with a sort of rock-influenced sound, not unlike a more primal version of Neu!, on “Mystic Prism.” This is followed by the lengthy, barely there “April 25th 11:14 PM,” and “Warm Clicked Fruit,” which is named quite peculiarly, though aptly. The song itself has a warmth that opens slowly, like a time lapse video of photosynthesis from the National Film Board of Canada, to which this would make an excellent soundtrack I might add (note: not meant as ironic, those film reels had the coolest music!). And once again, a cycle renews in the final third, the noisy, distorted “Guitars” enlivening the mood where the prior songs soothed and floated. Though this, too, is an amorphous mist, breezing by ever intoxicatingly, followed by the self-explanatory “Waves” and closer “Awakening,” which, though ending the album, feels like a beginning of sorts.
The Eternal Now, whatever that means, may set off some kind of hippie alarms, though devoid of any nomenclature, this would still be a stunning piece of music. There is a spiritual beauty within each one of these tracks, from the psychedelic excursions to the subdued ambient meditations. At 71 minutes long, Prism of Eternal Now sends the listener on a sublime and spacious voyage, but even so, the slogan on the back might be right—it sure seems faster than meditation.
Fennesz – Endless Summer
Neu! – Neu!
Tim Hecker – Harmony in Ultraviolet
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.