Sunday, October 4, 2009

White Rainbow: New Clouds

The fog over the harbor in Provincetown made it impossible to see anything beyond the crowd of fishing boats knocking up against the dock. Behind us, the Pilgrims Monument rose up and disappeared into the mist, ghostly, like it was both here and not here. Inside my heart was a dream I couldn't access because of all the other noise. I tried again when we were on the ferry just as the Harbor Islands began to emerge from the horizon. I went to the bow and let the wind push it all out of me. I wanted the fog and the mist and the sea to lift me. Gulls and cormorants bobbed along the currents until we got too close, and at the last moment, the precise moment, they took flight. I wondered why they wait so long, why I wait so long to allow these perfect moments to untie the knot that keeps me tethered.

Part of the trick, maybe, is finding that tension between being pulled and being grounded. Like the best kind of mystical experience, where you can't tell if you are moving towards the godhead, or the godhead is descending to meet you. In either case, it all happens in the halfway point, somewhere between the immanent and the transcendent.

Adam Forkner, performing as White Rainbow has hit on this beautifully with his release New Clouds [Kranky]. Lots of folks are using the essential grammar of rock and roll to sort out ideas about the ineffable (Om for example), but they often tend towards the metal end of the rock spectrum. Forkner is working from a different model, a little more Krautrock, a little bit of prog. While certain elements of those genres became the template for New Age Music, Forkner is able to find spiritual reflection without so much as a hint of saccharine. The production has a lovely fuzziness, not too produced, but lovingly put together. I imagine on vinyl this is the just the thing to get you through until 3am when sleep will pull you towards the rest of that half-remembered dream about cormorants and fog.

There were many paths in the forking road White Rainbow is going down on New Clouds. Forkner chose the middle path, somewhere between the world of loops, pedals and guitars, and something sublime where we are given the means to simply let go.

-- Tuesdays Rollers and Strollers [Excerpt]

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