2 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Brooklyn trio Prince Rama has come a long way since its early punk-infused beginnings. Its 2012 offering Utopia = No Person may at first glance seem like half an EP, with just two listed tracks. Yet both are sprawling psychedelic songs, totaling more than 40 minutes. The set begins by spoofing '80s aerobics (as hinted at on the album artwork) with “Introduction + 15 Minute Workout.” Over dramatic synthesizer drones, sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson harmonize exercise directions with Michael Collins; then the song slowly succumbs to a crumbling sonic decay. Walls of distortion and looped vocal parts build into a hypnotic mantra. When the smoke clears, we’re left with only skittering beats playing over ascending and descending Moog tones that swoosh in and out of chilling new wave synths. Ghostly, pitched-down vocals introduce “Exorcise (Chopped N Skrewed R.E.M.I.X.).” As the song unfolds at a snail’s pace, it’s evident that this is a recording that’s been cleverly slowed to sound like ambient shoegazing for 21 minutes.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Brooklyn trio Prince Rama has come a long way since its early punk-infused beginnings. Its 2012 offering Utopia = No Person may at first glance seem like half an EP, with just two listed tracks. Yet both are sprawling psychedelic songs, totaling more than 40 minutes. The set begins by spoofing '80s aerobics (as hinted at on the album artwork) with “Introduction + 15 Minute Workout.” Over dramatic synthesizer drones, sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson harmonize exercise directions with Michael Collins; then the song slowly succumbs to a crumbling sonic decay. Walls of distortion and looped vocal parts build into a hypnotic mantra. When the smoke clears, we’re left with only skittering beats playing over ascending and descending Moog tones that swoosh in and out of chilling new wave synths. Ghostly, pitched-down vocals introduce “Exorcise (Chopped N Skrewed R.E.M.I.X.).” As the song unfolds at a snail’s pace, it’s evident that this is a recording that’s been cleverly slowed to sound like ambient shoegazing for 21 minutes.

TITLE TIME
19:14
21:05

About Prince Rama

Brooklyn-based "now age" group Prince Rama (formerly known as Prince Rama of Ayodhya) formed in 2007 around the talents of Michael Collins and sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson. The trio members, who were raised in a Hare Krishna-centric Florida community, met in high school and began their musical journey as a straight-up punk-pop outfit, but a year in a Boston art school, as well as a steady diet of Amon Düül, Animal Collective, and Gang Gang Dance records, helped them make the transition from wannabe skatepunks to cosmic purveyors of tribal, mantra-heavy, lo-fi psychedelic pop. The group's debut collection, Threshold Dances, appeared in 2008 on the British-based Cosmos label. Zetland arrived in 2009, followed in 2010 by the limited vinyl EP Architecture of Utopia (Animal Image Search) and Shadow Temple, which was co-produced by Animal Collective's Deakin and Avey Tare and released on their Paw Tracks imprint. The Larson sisters, Taraka and Nimai, pared Prince Rama down to a duo for the group's fifth album, 2011's Trust Now. It was recorded in a church with producer Scott Colburn. The building provided the perfect environment for their new hybrid of pagan and new age sounds, witchy textures, and ambient spaces. In February of 2012, Not Not Fun issued the group's single "Utopia = No Person" b/w "Exorcise [Chopped N Skrewed R.E.M.I.X.]," followed in November by the full-length Top Ten Hits of the World, again on Paw Tracks. The extreme sports-inspired Xtreme Now, released by Carpark, followed in 2016. ~ James Christopher Monger

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