In a recent interview with HIGHSNOBIETY about his new music, LA-made (but NYC-based) artist Ben Shirken, known as “Beshken,” stated, “Feelings are fleeting, love is changing, and passion passes. There are days when I want to save the world and others when I work towards its expiration, unknowingly. Sometimes these are the same days, where making an impact can feel rather Sisyphean.” This dichotomy of struggling through life while simultaneously having hope is the ever-present theme throughout his debut album, Aisle of Palm.
The ethereal “Intro,” ending with the phrase “in limbo I live,” leads into the track “Passion,” a poetic song with a mixture of nature-like sounds and strong percussion that can be heard throughout the rest of the album. Musically, the album is overtly electronic, but with notes of folk guitar, soft piano, and throwback beats, which are very refreshing among the heavier tones. His use of synth on some tracks like “Grey Ghost” are often coupled with impressive vocal layering and sampling, creating a unique sound. Apart from the intro, spoken word is used on two other tracks. The previously mentioned “Grey Ghost” is equipped with a soundbyte in which a female voice describes light, while the track “Know Your Name” starts with a similar voice, stating, “I feel like I’m crazy.” This sort of push and pull between positive and negative thoughts is a common theme among many of the tracks. Songs like “Cursed,” “Grey Ghost,” “Relaxx,” and “White Gemini” evoke a sense of negativity within their lyrics, while tracks like “Focus On,” “Passion,” and “Golden Sun” do just the opposite with their hopeful messages.
“Outro” is an almost exact replica of “Intro,” but with the more abysmal ending of “In limbo I die.” However, all hope is not lost with the final track, “Light of Love.” This track repeats the lines “fight it off, in a rut…light of love is missing us.” These words reflect the overall message of the whole album — also reflected in Shirken’s statement from the interview — that although some days feel worthless and relentless, hope and light should be the striving point.
Recommended If You Like: Animal Collective, Cabu, Jerry Folk, Washed Out
Recommended Tracks: 4 (Cursed), 7 (White Gemini), 9 (Golden Sun), 5 (Focus On)
Do Not Play: 8 (Relaxx)
Written by Anna Stafford on 07/25/2019