Prana Crafter and Tarotplane - Symbiose


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More and more people are becoming hip to the natural fact that the heads behind Beyond Beyond is Beyond are tireless curators of modern psychedelia. In addition to American bands, the label have released LPs featuring some truly stellar experimental jammers from around the globe (Kikagaku Moyo from Japan; Bart De Paepe from Belgium, and many more), this summer the label turn stateside once again with a bi-coastal kosmiche symbiosis from Baltimore’s Tarotplane and Prana Crafter from the woodlands of Washington state.

Over the past several years, Tarotplane has released excellent albums on boutique European labels Aguirre, Lullabies for Insomniacs and has an upcoming LP on 12th Isle, and Prana Crafter has released LPs on Beyond Beyond is Beyond, Sunrise Ocean Bender, Eiderdown, and Cardinal Fuzz. As a pair, Tarotplane (PJ Dorsey) and Prana Crafter (William Sol), are brother-guitar-monks from a transcontinental hermitage, one backdrop urban and one rural, working diligently in their own cells, creating stargazing soundtracks in parallel. A pair of hermetic guitar explorers bound across thousands of miles by mutual respect for each other’s six-string vibrations and deep appreciation and love of kosmic music. This musical brotherhood came to fruition last year with the mind-meld track, ‘Mycorrhizal Brainstorm’ and through both artists contributing to a 2018 Hypnic Jerk Tapes compilation.

The next evolution in this artistic partnership is Symbiose, a split LP featuring two panoramic deep-field oozers that sustain interest, gently wandering the cosmos, through smoke rings and across star clusters, filling the space that stretches between Eastern and Western America and continuing the musical thread that connects modern American underground artists to the European birth of kosmic music. Like Popol Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel, Symbiose sinks its roots into the liminal landscape of the listeners neuro-hemispheres, creeping like black-light illuminated mycelium, passing through subterranean pathways of inner experience, emotion, and vision. According to the artists, the two tracks that make up Symbiose were composed independently but with the intentional goal of presenting a unified, comprehensive, work of modern kosmiche that offers the listener a unique journey on each side of the record, a bit like passing through different dream realms in one continuous slumber, a changing of moods and textures, all while certain elements remain common between the two canvases, between the two kosmic dreamscapes.

Prana Crafter’s ‘Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn’, a present-tense title, like an ancient Chinese wilderness poem or Beat Generation prose, with a sound akin to Sandy Bull doing one of his epic blends on a more galactic canvas. This music softens the face and relaxes the belly as it explores the same mystic waters rowed by Manuel Göttsching on the much passed around live recordings from the early 70s.

Tarotplane’s ‘We Move Slowly Through the Past’ does indeed move slowly through nighttime flame-arcs and plangent whale song before engaging pineal thrusters for a proper space-rock rendezvous with something both ominous and inviting. A journey clearly inspired as much by Popol Vuh and Gila as by Pink Floyd. Tarotplane brings forth works that live and breathe in waves of shimmering timbre, a sound reminiscent of AR & Machines echodelic masterpieces, a true universal dream-mind sound.

With Symbiose, Beyond Beyond is Beyond presents a modern offering of new comprehensive kosmiche composed by a duo who feast on a diet of spaced out sounds from the past, and like their predecessors, they take the listener deep within, while casting the music out across a galactic canvas. The album art, by Jack Hardwicke, evokes a similar feeling of drifting in dream, the mind soaring through cosmic landscapes rooted in the collective imagination. Those who love modern acts like MV & EE and Ben Chasny will likely enjoy this album as much as European space rock and Pink Floyd Aficionados, because this Symbiose is an interaction between two organisms to the advantage of all. You won’t regret coming along with these guitar hermits on their outward-bound psych journey.