Posts Tagged ‘Prana Crafter’

Favorite Albums of 2020

Here’s the year end list. I’m not gonna wax on about how this year was rough, we all know it was a shit year and even more so for artists. It was, however, a great year for recorded music, and I had a hard time not making this list about twice as long to show love for all the albums that lifted me this year. I’ve long been against the whole idea of numbered lists, so once again things are presented in quasi-alphabetical style (I always mess one or two up in creating this, but you get the point). I’ve included Bandcamp embeds where they exist, so if you have the means and find something new, please reach out and support the artists here. Looking forward to 2021 as another year that music makes getting through easier.

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Pranacrafter, Erik Davis & Aubrey Nehring – Sounds from the Bardo Vol. I

Got some exciting news today of a project from spiritual-arts programming collective Psychedelic Sangha. The NYC based group has been offering meditative psychedelic experiences, sound bath transmissions, and gatherings dedicated to sharing encounters with other states of consciousness. Notably a few of their Happenings from last year featured RSTB favorites Wet Tuna, M. Geddes Gengras, Sarah Louise, and Garcia Peoples, a series I was sad to miss being too far upstate. One of the group’s key experiences in addition to the Happenings is the Bardo Bath — a guided meditation paired with live music set to vibrate the mind beyond the edges of reality. The sound baths are inspired by the 1966 recording The Psychedelic Experience, an album designed to be used as an audio guide for navigating the inner space of the bardo. The recording was created by Drs. Richard Alpert, Timothy Leary, and Ralph Metzner and has served as a talisman for many who wish to break tethers with the body and enter a pure hypnogogic state.

With in-person experiences shut down due to safety concerns, Psychedelic Sangha has devised a way to bring the Bardo to you, at home. The first in a series, Sounds from the Bardo entitled “Born in the Kali Yuga” is being released today via the group’s Bandcamp. The first Bardo features longtime RSTB favorite Prana Crafter providing the musical component, lending his own unique strain of otherworldly float create a cocoon for the listener to enter via synth drones and a languid drip of guitar, eventually bursting forth into distorted pools of ozone-fried amp fry. The guided meditation here is provided by esteemed psychedelic scholar Erik Davis, author of High Weirdness, Techgnosis, and The Visionary State among other works.

As the project has attempted to subvert the traditional approach to the concept of sound baths in their residency so far, the home version continues that tradition, providing more than one way for the artist to experience the piece. Each piece in the series will also come along with a visual companion that allows the listener an alternative to the traditional eyed-closed Bardo experience, a nod to the group’s immersive light shows in their Happenings series. This first installment comes with hypnotic visuals by Aubrey Nehring that can alter the Bardo experience. Having listened through “Born in the Kali Yuga,” the series lives up to the high expectations placed on such amazing collaborators. As the group profess themselves — “Enter the psychedelic realm of the Misfit Seeker — welcome, friends.”


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Prana Crafter

If it wasn’t readily apparent from the sidelong strechout that populated his half of a split with Tarotplane last year, Will Sol’s music is made for grander statements than a compact runtime can accommodate. His latest LP pushes that boundary even further, nudging the scope from one side to two. Though it’s split into six parts, the tracks on MorphoMystic are essentially all part of one long piece. Still strolling the verdant gardens of ‘70s kosmiche and bending the will psych to the whims of prog, the new album truly enjoys the spectral build and release of his German predecessors.

Even when the tempo is slowed to a Cluster-crawl, the new Prana is percolating with a heart-flutter rhythm that’s humid and hungry, yet hunted and wounded — siphoning the cosmic impulses into a dark heart. This is a more furrowed and fraught side of Sol than I’ve heard before. He’s usually threading the gauze, letting his folk strings pull gently at his prog side, but here synths and ambience assert their dominance over the guitar for the most part.

He can still wring wrath from the six, but for the most part he’s embodying the Göttsching persona well while dipping into the works of fellow Ra member Schulze’s works for good measure. Creeping into view with a tempered step, he arcs MorphoMystic into a dizzying psychological thriller by the time “Chalice of the Fungal Sage” hits the speakers. Though if things end with blood and bone, they also end with a somber relief by the time we lie into the weary homecoming of “Starlight, Sing us A Lullaby.” Sol’s been working at body high hits for the last few years, but he’s besting himself yet again with this cohesive platter.




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Prana Crafter – “Rebirth In The Mosslands”

I’ve got a brand new one from Northwest psychedelic soaker Prana Crafter today and it’s just a small scrape of his upcoming release. Fresh off of two lengthy side-long splits with ragenap and Tarotplane, Will’s next release is essentially an album-long composition broken up into movements. The first section, “Rebirth In The Mosslands” walks in slow, with a touch of dread in its blood. Steady, progressive plucks give way to a Kosmiche grind that puts this squarely in the pocket of Popul Vuh fans. It’s the opening salvo to an album that tumbles through cosmic impulses — heady and nebulous — and acts as a proper continuation of what Sol was working on with his Symbiose split. There’s tension and trepidation at play here, and Sol wields both with a fine edge that never cuts too deep for discomfort. It’s been great to see him weave between psych folk and more atmospheric ephemera, as he lends a scholar’s ear to both genres. The record lands September 18th as a split release between Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube and you’re gonna want to get a hold of this one.



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Prana Crafter

While there may be a lot going on (even while there’s nowhere to go) that’s no reason not to focus in on the head zone these days. In the midst of global pandemic, there’s been a wealth of new music from RSTB fave Prana Crafter — from tapes to streams, and it begs lower light and a deep dive into the embryonic abyss. First, as a part of an excellent drop of albums from Null Zone Tapes, which also included one from Rootless, Curanderos, and Khoutek, Will Sol inhabits the cosmic cloud on two sidelong tracks. The first cut nudges into Terry Riley territory – amorphous and numbing in a wonderful way before it begins to take shape from the dust with ripples and riffs that let the mind wander interdimensionally for at least a few minutes. As the listener is lead out of the stasis haze, Sol filters in a touch of organ and acoustic playing that brings us all back to our senses. The visions that floated to the surface during the sensory depravation of the first 10-12 minutes fade away, but footing is still a bit spongey at best. Things turn much darker on the second side, and a whole lot less serene.

With a riff that sounds like Sabbath, or Amon Düül II filtering over the hills (its hard to pin down through the tempest winds that seem to blow up), Sol begins a more scorched approach on “Eye Closed Inner Thunder.” The song quivers in an unseen gale, but it seems defiant in the face of nature — screaming into the void and lashing itself to the mast. The two pieces, while nothing alike in tone give the impression of two halves of a whole. The first is bliss, ignorant or otherwise, and overwhelming calm. The second is the voice inside that told you to panic and the rage that bubbles beneath the surface come calling for a visit. Though neither of those feeling overwhelm the second piece by the end. Sol tame the tempest with a flurry of acoustic strums that match up with some of his best.

If this hits you right and you’re in the mood for more Crafter then I’d recommend heading over to Youtube to check out a set Will did from home that lays out some new material — comprised of the bulk of a new album he’s working on for Cardinal Fuzz/Feeding Tube later in the year along with few embellishments. Definitely an engrossing 30-min set for any night you need to hit the zone. Side note on the Null Zone releases as well — all proceeds from digital sales for this album will be donated to the Garrie Vereen Memorial Emergency Relief Fund organized by Nuçi’s Space in Athens, GA. The set is pay as you wish, but keep that in mind as you checkout.





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Ten Years Gone: A Tribute To Jack Rose

I didn’t have a chance to mention this one yesterday, but essential news nontheless. Its been ten years since Jack Rose vanished from this earth too soon and its still the decade hasn’t lessened the tragedy one bit. My fondest memory is of seeing him and Wooden Wand in the back of a small bar in Greenpoint. Jack’s presence was magnetic and made any venue come alive with the movement of his strings. Tompkins Square has released a touching tribute to Jack, curated by Buck Curran and it features “original instrumentals made as tribute to Jack by a few of his friends (Mike Gangloff, Sir Richard Bishop, Helena Espvall, Buck Curran, Micah Blue Smaldone, Nick Schillace) and by a group of emerging artists inspired by his music (Andy McLeod, Simone Romei, Matt Sowell, Joseph Allred, Prana Crafter, Paolo Laboule Novellino, Mariano Rodriguez).”

There are a ton of RSTB favorites in this list, and the album carries on the spirit of Jack Rose with beauty and grace. I’d highly recommend tucking into this one on a crisp winter’s morning and letting it wash over you for the rest of the day.



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Prana Crafter Split for Robert Hunter on Baked Tapes

A surprise release snuck out over the weekend from Baked Tapes. In the wake of Robert Hunter’s death this year both Will from PC and ragenap wound up processing their feelings on the matter through the only medium that seems appropriate, turning their sorrow to song with a split tape that cracks open like a call to heaven. For his side Will invokes the “Beggar’s Tomb,” churning grief into a miasmic haunt that’s fried through to the bone by guitar exorcisms on the back half. The tape serves as a nice cap on Prana Crafter’s already stellar year and a celebration of a poet and songwriter whose imprint will be felt long after his mortal years.



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Prana Crafter’s Will Sol on Terry Riley, Don Cherry, Karl Berger ‎– Live In Köln 23.2.1975

Last year Prana Crafter’s Will Sol released two vital parch-folk LPs for Beyond Beyond is Beyond and Sunrise Ocean Bender, both showcasing his mossy, forest-folk prowess mixed with a tenancy to scratch that wooded habit with the key to the cosmos. He’s pushed the cosmic tendencies even further this year with a split with Tarotplane that uses one side of a 12” to wind his folk into kosmiche delights. It seemed only natural, then to ask Will to contribute a pick to the Hidden Gems series and see what’s driven his sound. Will’s picked a ’75 collaboration from Terry Riley and Don Cherry that picks at a peirod that pushed both artists catalogs to in new and interesting directions. Check out how this came into Will’s live and what impact it’s had on his music.

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Prana Crafter & Tarotplane

The run of great LPs from Beyond Beyond is Beyond doesn’t let up this month as we’re all treated to a new split from Prana Crafter and Baltimore psych unit Tarotplane. Each band is given a sidelong séance and they both use their groovespace wisely. Coming off the double diamond release of Bodhi Cheetahs’ Choice and Enter the Stream, Will Sol taps deep into the cosmic consciousness with “Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn.” Moreso than ever, this vision of Prana Crafter owes a debt to the German Progressive and Swedish psychedelic scenes. The track picks at some Träd Gräs before tumbling through Ash Ra Temple touches and finally getting stuck in the web of sound that Achim Reichel wove under the banner of A.R. and Machines. Guitars echo and drip from the porcelain walls of Sol’s world with a disconcerting calm that slowly creeps up the legs like ice in the nerves. Its as expansive as he’s gone and its great to hear him spread out to such a large sonic canvas.

Likewise, the flip, featuring PJ Dorsey’s Tarotplane explores similarly Kosmiche terrain, divining mercurial guitar ripples that have traversed from the Atom Heart of the sun. “We Move Slowly Through the Past” slinks through the dreamtime on iridescent scales. The song unfolds slowly, building to a finish that strips away the calm, crashing with percussive touches and silver-flashed synths. Dorsey plays with echo in a similar manner as his compatriot, though his impulses tend to radiate more than drip. Both pieces inhabit the listener and grow outward until molecules loosen and the consciousness begins to touch the yawning of the ethers around. Any fans of Space Rock, Prog, and Psych-Folk oughta find a foothold in here. Double stunners from both artists and just one more reason you should be wading into the Beyond-verse.

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Prana Crafter – “Jagged Mountain Melts At Dawn”

Last year was a particularly solid year for Will Sol’s Prana Crafter, with two releases vying for end of year honors (Enter The Stream just edged out it’s predecessor). After turns at Eiderdown, Cardinal Fuzz, and Sunrise Ocean Bender Prana Crafter returns to roots at Beyond Beyond is Beyond for a gloriously grooved split with Baltimore’s Tarotplane. The artists share a mutual appreciation for their respective psychedelic sweat lodge transmissions and following an appearance together on a Hypnic Jerks Compilation in 2018 the outfits have opted for a more official partnership. Today I’ve got a glimpse into the cosmic quasar cave-in that Sol’s worked up for his half of the deal the bands dubbed Symbiose.

Prana Crafter opens his sidelong lymbic lifeboat, “Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn” with a slow creep– dark, dank, and burrowed in the soil. The track roots in his psych-folk fever, but reaches towards the cosmos by the time it taps out. Sol’s strings feel tactile, tilling tangles of moss before they begin to float and disappear into the echo. Will gives insight to the song’s creation, “The backbone of this track, he notes, “is a flowing improvisation made using a live-loop created slowly and flavored by a crybaby wah and a wonderful delay pedal gifted to me by Tarotplane, it was recorded after midnight in heavy darkness, with only the flashing lights of the pedals illuminating the room.” Seems that the conception of the track also serves its reception. I’d highly recommend dimming the bulbs and letting this one wash over in the stillness of night. Below you can listen to an edit of the song, the full jam will run almost 20 minutes when the split finds its way out August 16th.



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