Release Date: Nov 5, 2012
Record label: Paw Tracks
For those who crave concept behind their music insatiably, a Hare Krishna upbringing, hand-drum interludes and mantra chant cycles would typically be enough to suffice. That is, unless you’re like the chicks from Prince Rama. For their sixth record, Taraka and Nimai Larson devised the concept album to end ’em all—literally. The songs on ...End of the World were allegedly channeled through the sisters Larson from 10 deceased pop bands that perished in the apocalypse.
Prince Rama’s Top Ten Hits of the End of the World requires a bit of back story. This isn’t surprising, as explaining Taraka and Nimai Larson’s back story has always been necessary. The well touted tale of the sisters growing up on an ashram has been less about building a myth and more about verifying the authenticity of their heavily eastern-influenced, New Agey sound.
There's a lot of make believe that can go into starting a band. If you've ever fantasized about starting your own, you probably spent some time dreaming up genre concepts and brainstorming cool names. A new wave band, a Hindi-pop act, a desert psych group, complete with own logos, all crudely scrawled across your high school assignment book. Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson-- anchors of the new-age revival project Prince Rama-- are no strangers to mixing make believe and music.
Prince RamaTop Ten Hits Of The End Of The World[Paw Tracks; 2012]By Corinne Bagish; November 14, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIf you couldn't already tell from the title, Prince Rama's Top Ten Hits Of The End Of The World certainly spins an eclectic tale. Released via Animal Collective's Paw Tracks imprint, Top Ten Hits is essentially a collection of apocalyptic chart toppers. Brooklyn-based sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson conceptualized ten fictional pop bands that met their makers when the world ended.
Prince Rama’s absurdist personas have always been more fascinating than their druggy, drone-y music. Brooklyn sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson were raised within a Florida Hare Krishna commune, and, as their press materials boast, they’ve also “written manifestos, delivered lectures from pools of fake blood, (and) conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts,” all on the way to being signed by Animal Collective’s record label Paw Tracks (AKA the only label weird enough to encourage this kind of off-putting mania). Meanwhile, their live shows have earned a polarizing reputation—somewhere between an indulgent community theater performance and a tribal séance.
Prince Rama is a very modest band. That’s why for their latest release, they decided to make a concept album in which they channel the spirits of ten different fictional bands – all with names like “Black Elk Speaks” and “I.M.M.O.R.T.A.L.I.F.E.” – who each had a top ten hit on the eve of the apocalypse and subsequently perished. And in case you’re still confused by this, you can find almost all of this information depicted right on the albums cover.
On 2011's Trust Now, Prince Rama honed itself down to the duo of Taraka and Nimai Larson, with help from engineer and sometime-guitarist Scott Colburn. The end result was a witchy, neo-gothic, psychedelic dance music full of tripped-out jams and quasi-mystical kookiness that worked its loopy magic from beginning to end. On Top 10 Hits of the End of the World, the Larsons have tried to tighten up and make it conceptual.
Sisters Nimai and Taraka Larson never wanted for high-concept. Their albums as Prince Rama were indebted to their childhood in a Hare Krishna community, drones and mantras proliferating, Indian flourishes appropriated at will. The results were occasionally clumsy, often entirely over-blown, and always entrancing, whether due to the power of the music or the sheer idiosyncrasy of the artistic image expounded.
Prince Rama’s new LP is posed as a compilation of hit singles by imaginary bands that died during the Dec. 21, 2012, apocalypse. The sister duo behind Prince Rama, which got its start in Boston, crafted bios and even donned costumes for photo shoots of the made-up musicians. All this sounds like the making of an absurd jumble of a project.