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Prana Crafter’s psychedelic guitar bliss

April 18, 2017

Prana Crafter’s psychedelic bliss always leaves me wanting more. After reviewing last year’s album, Rupture of Planes, I could not wait to get my hands on what William Sol had brewing next. And MindStreamBlessing was worth the anticipation. Just as the album’s title suggests, the tracks take me on a matchless journey, with no vocals and quite the range of instruments. Each instrument used brings its own flavor to the collection of six songs.

Released last month, MindStreamBlessing is an entrance to a world I wish I knew more intimately. The tracks feel playful yet seductive, as they show us a peek into the Washington woodlands. The first song, “At Agartha’s Gate,” is the most inviting, as the acoustic and electric guitar sweetly set the mood. As the album progresses, I notice that since this collection contains no vocals, the instruments are left to tell the stories, akin to orchestral works. Each time a particular instrument–like the electric guitar, drums, or synth–appears, they are like actors on a stage. For example, the intricate electric guitar work that is sprinkled in this first song fully grows into its soulful skin by the last track.

Similarly, the acoustic guitar that starts off the album returns in the title song “MindStreamBlessing” to show off more of its sassy personality. With each track, the first guitar or bass lays the rhythmic foundation so that a second, often electric, guitar can enter in and take the lead. That second guitar usually comes in and sings a soulful, jazzy tune. Similar to Jimi Hendrix, you never know when the lead electric guitar plans on ending its rant.

Percussion is also a great addition to this album. In “As the Weather Commands,” the beating of the drums tells a story of movement. Picture someone playing wooden drums for a show, perhaps snakes coming out of baskets. Then, my favorite track off the album: “Luminous Clouds” opens up with what sounds like a recording of the night woodland wind and slowly builds until about halfway in, where a tambourine, guitar, and drum circle combination immediately thrust my thoughts to the middle of the woods, dancing around a bonfire. And since that’s one of my favorite places to be, I certainly don’t mind that.

At large, there’s a cyclical nature to MindStreamBlessing. Each track feels orchestrated by jazz musicians. Even when the lead electric guitar does go off on soulful displays of its power, it always seems to cycle back to an established rhythm, giving the album an effect of falling slowly down a concentric helical spring. Finally, the organ-like synth sounds which make a continual appearance throughout the collection add just the right amount of eeriness to complete the album’s wall of sound.

Prana Crafter’s MindStreamBlessing proves itself as another magical journey, clearly constructed by an adventurous soul.–Krisann Janowitz

Prana Crafter’s Psychedelic Ride

April 8, 2016

pranacrafter

William Sol’s brainchild Prana Crafter serves up yet another mind-melting Prana Crafter album with Rupture of Planes. The album consists primarily of mysteriously seductive instrumental tracks that always leave you wanting more. For most of the album, Prana Crafter entices you; places you in a trance; and then, when you least expect it, kicks you out of your state. Until, that is, the next track begins. Rupture of Planes combines brilliant guitar work with raw vocals and poetic lyrics to create a truly existential experience.

William Sol is the best guitar player I have heard all year. Whether acoustic or electric, the guitar work in this album is jaw-dropping. At times the electric guitar oozes sex appeal (“Forest at First Light,” “Rupture of Planes,” “Mudra of the Mountain Throned”) akin to Jimi Hendrix’s guitar style. In other songs, Sol goes the more intricate route with both his electric (“Diamond Cutter of the Jagged Mountain,” “Moksha of Melting Mind”) and acoustic (“Vessel,” “Tara, Do You Remember the Way?”) guitars.

In the end, no matter which way he plays the guitar or whether it is acoustic or electric, Sol’s guitar work stands strong as the star of this psychedelic rock album. The interplay between the electric and acoustic guitars within songs like “Prana Crafter’s Abode” and “Mudra of the Mountain Throned” is playful yet competitive; it’s as if the two are in competition to see who can stand out the most. My vote is on the thunderous electric guitar.

Although less than half of Rupture of Planes contains vocals, both Sol’s voice and his lyrics are noteworthy aspects of the album. I love Sol’s voice; it’s very rustic and Eddie Vedder-esque. The lyrics are also breathtaking. One of my favorite tracks off the album, “Forest at First Light,” shows off Sol’s tender voice with thoughtful lyrics and some of that beautiful acoustic (and a bit of electric) guitar work. The nature-focused lyrics of “Forest at First Light” ooze poetry with such morsels as “the swimming song of the birds and the trees/ riding on the luminous breeze.” Sol creates these brilliant images with his words and his instrumentation.

Rupture of Planes will take you on a ride to a place you never dreamed you’d go. But when the album ends, you will want to take that awe-inspiring ride again and again. If you have never experienced Prana Crafter’s psychedelic rock, you are in for a treat.–Krisann Janowitz

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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