Chaos with composure
Ben Shirken, New Yorker and artist behind Beshken, releases his second album Pantomime. The album’s 11 tracks serve as the inner dialogue of this outward-projecting mime with plenty of spiraling synths, subdued vocals, and sped-up drum and bass elements. The album is a seductive loop of “duality in motion” as Shirken puts it. instagram. His first album of 2019, palm alley, prefaced these features in a softer approach, but in Pantomime, he builds on this vulnerability and aims to disrupt it.
More dreamy tracks are paired at the beginning of the album, such as “Melatonin”, an awake intro of piano keys and “Hourglass (Spinning Around)”. This duo rocks the third track “Self Defense”, which uses undulating electronics with clockwork rhythm. Lyrical hypnosis begins here and continues throughout.
“MIA” serves as the album’s uplifting midpoint. An escape mantra, “I’m leaving without you…” is the relayed message. This version is kept in tempo with a matrix of long, soaring synths alongside a signature drum-n-bass sound. After the middle comes “The Ocean, El Diablo” which is similar in style to “Anti Heaven”, both with unique jazz percussion. Beshken’s undulating voice sinks deeper behind these vigorous instrumentals.
Fifth track, “Social Suicide” is a more upbeat, yet haunting track. A story is told about the anxieties of social exposure, “staring at your phone, soulless, but you’re not alone…”, paired with a lot more synths and drums. The last track, “Under Your Skin”, begins with a slow ascent of instruments. This track then fades to conclude the album, leaving a strong impression left truly under the listener’s skin.
Pantomime, a theme of “internal contradiction” as described by Force field. Listeners can pick up a vocal timbre similar to James Blake with a fusion of Machinedrum speed. These fast rhythms and tender narratives come together in a reflective conception of this mime and result in a successful new version for this emerging artist.