The trick to making a memorable split release is to pair two acts together that are completely complimentary. They have to be somewhat related in sound, but with enough differences that they can bring out the best in each other’s work. Whoever decided to unite Prana Crafter and Tarotplane on one disc obviously knew this rule very well.
The Pacific Northwest-dwelling Prana Crafter (AKA William Sol) has been blowing minds far and wide with his unique style of cosmic rural-folk, like with the popular vinyl reissue of Bodhi Cheetah’s Choice from a few months ago, while the Baltimore-based Tarotplane (AKA PJ Dorsey) has been blasting listeners into deep space like an advanced (and well-funded) NASA with his Kosmische soundscapes.
Sol’s side begins with birdsongs sweetly drifting around rising drones and cascading guitars, which become more and more astral by the second. This intro helps to make the listener feel as though “Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn” is a journey that starts in a forest and slips between alternate realms and blended realities.
Throughout the side-long track, layers of effect-smothered guitars tangle and warp around iridescent waves of celestial keyboards. Occasional flurries of acoustic fingerpicking appear every now and again, grounding the piece with stable roots. By the end of the song, you are left adrift amongst colorful nebulae and distant moons.
Tarotplane’s side however, begins and ends in this expansive seascape of stars and galaxies. “We Move Slowly Through The Past” features Floydian reverb-drenched slide guitar and Ashra atmospherics that spiral and surge around ethereal synth meditations.
After soaring through vast interstellar oceans, otherworldly drums suddenly kick in during the final portion of the suite, adding a surprisingly tasteful bit of rhythm. This addition to the otherwise beautifully formless piece brings a little (danceable) order without loosing its wildness. In this way, the track takes on shades of Alpha Centauri-era Tangerine Dream or Affenstunde-era Popol Vuh. There’s a beat for sure, but the song still has a dreamy, abstract and complicated sound nonetheless.
After hearing these two sides together, you’ll find that Prana Crafter’s organic based psychedelia is made all the more cosmic when paired with Tarotplane’s chromatic astral wanderings. You’ll also notice that Tarotplane’s intergalactic explorations feel a little more tethered and terrestrial when played after Prana Crafter’s nature-inspired jams. To sum it up, this is the best kind of split release and certainly one of the finest within the world of psychedelic music.
Bless yourself with a copy here.