Aisle of Palm explores the feelings of delirious happiness, vitality, and anxieties brought on by transitional states existing in both objective reality and dream states. The songs are a product of my own unnerving experiences with sleep paralysis, and on the contrary, the exhilaration felt from many late nights fueled by self exploration. Manic behavior can be brought on by lack of sleep while often thought loops pervade the mind and prevent one from sleeping. Some people who have restless sleep can feel like they are floating, falling, and separating from their bodies before slumber. Others claim that they hear strange noises, voices and music as well as weird mechanistic sounds like beeps and boops during these liminal states. What would these noises sound like if they were to be captured and recorded during these so-called hypnagogic states, and what feelings would they evoke? Aisle of Palm reckons with transitional states, not just between wakefulness and sleep, but between places and within the self. In these moments there exists beauty, levity, melancholy, and hysteria.
New York-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Beshken is self-releasing his album Aisle of Palm, due June 14th. Arriving on the heels of three 2019 singles, “Cursed”, “Passion”, “White Gemini" and the 2017 EP, For Time Is the Longest Distance Between Two People, his debut record coalesces elements of experimental dance, ambient, psychedelia and dream-pop. Billboard called “White Gemini” an “adventurous beat over internal moods. It's steady and danceable, but there's a quietness at its heart, a beat made for dancing alone”. A highly personal testament to Beshken’s chameleonic dance between genres, Aisle of Palm explores the point where acoustic recording and digital rendering meet. It is an effective lesson in how field recordings, synthesizers, and introspective lyrics can fuse into a musically complex, yet sonically accessible format.
Beshken wrote the LP in late 2017 while living in Berlin, influenced by an existential chapter adapting to a foreign place and ruminating on sleepless nights. These periods of transition from place to place or wakefulness to sleep can be vulnerable and isolating--the first step in letting one’s unconscious have agency. Beshken is content at this hypnagogic junction, seeing it as fertile ground for meditation and new beginnings, “The record can be moody and unsettling at times, although I’m interested in exploring the levity in these disorienting moments”.
Synth and bass sounds in the single “Cursed” are actually noises from the echochamber-like geodesic domes of Teufelsberg, a Cold War-era listening station just outside the German capital. “Focus On” is a mantra to living life in the present, the lyrics repetitive and reassuring. In “Golden Sun”, a haunting Moog Mother-32 modular synthesizer complements a garage-inspired groove. Almost all of the sounds, percussion, and samples on Aisle of Palm were created using synthesizers and manipulated field recordings collected over the past few years.
Ben Shirken (a.k.a. Beshken) grew up in Los Angeles, where artists like Shlohmo, Teebs, Flying Lotus and iconic evenings like The Low End Theory created a musical foundation to which he was drawn. In L.A., Shirken was part of the group Partytime, remixing Corbin (Spooky Black) and Ryan Hemsworth. The duo performed with artists like Suicideyear, Karman, Girl Pool, and Groundislava at The Smell, Pehrspace, and other art spaces around the city.
In 2015, Shirken moved to New York and began performing in the city’s D.I.Y. scene, where his multi-instrumental and ever-evolving live shows brought him to hallowed venues like Palisades, Elsewhere, and the now-closed Cameo Gallery. While he shared bills with electronic musicians like Macintosh Plus and XXYYXX, Shirken also played with bands like Men I Trust, Crumb, and recently toured with Gus Dapperton. Additionally, Ben established himself as a DJ in New York, spinning eclectic sets of house and techno at The Lot Radio, Good Room and NTS Radio. Aisle of Palm signifies an exciting stage in Beshken’s career that underscores his versatility as a producer and honesty as a songwriter.
released June 14, 2019
Mastering: Jose Lambert
Artwork: Jesse Fillingham
Typography/Website: Jesse Pimenta