Review: Prism Shanks – PINK (self-released, Jan 5)

At the heart of PINK, Prism Shanks’ debut cassette release, is percussion—not only the “hand built” rhythmic devices the duo utilizes but also the way in which they approach the other elements in their music. This “largely improvised audio collage” finds footing amidst almost entirely formless cascades of manually struck drums and other objects, yet snaking in and out of this tactile clatter are the unmistakable metallic scrapes and ragged, distorted howls of a prepared guitar, an instrument here used with the same percussive predilection as its fellow sound objects. To my knowledge I’ve never heard any music by either James Worse or John W. Newman, the two members of Prism Shanks, but their abilities to construct immersive atmosphere and hypnotic headspace are immediately clear when you hear PINK; despite never quite falling into the familiar comfort of conventional rhythm, the tape nonetheless draws a magnetic energy from the dark, ritualistic timbres at play in the music. Every instant of the release’s thirty minute duration radiates a powerful, mystical force, concluded in the sublime final moments of the B side, where uneasy beauty is hewn from electric hum and Prévost-esque bowed cymbals (I can’t be the only one reminded of the formidable drone-scapes of Crux / Flayed).

Note: each copy of PINK comes with a unique custom collage overlay.

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