Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rendezvous With Rama

PRINCE RAMA – “Shadow Temple” CD ’10 (Paw Tracks, Swe) – Funny thing happened on the way to the “Psych” section…nobody seems to know what the term really means! And now I hear the sound of people descending on my front porch, pitchforks and torches high in hand as they object: “Ray, you got tired of beating the ‘what is prog’ dead horse, now you’ve left the ‘what is psych’ one out of the stable!” Hey, c’mon, I’m not such an argumentative guy, now am I? Thing is, I’m a person and I have feelings…I try to be calm, I try to be nice and peaceful. And then I hear someone spin a disc of half-baked QOTSA pseudo-stoner quiche with some joker making “space” noises over the top with a Magnus Chord Organ and call it “psych.” I’m sorry, but that’s when I lose it. It’s kinda like the people who call The Deftones metal. Ok, well it’s not that bad but you get my point. It’s a point that’s honed to a surgical sharpness when I get ahold of a record like PRINCE RAMA’s 3rd outing, “Shadow Temple” and hear psych the way it is supposed to be fucking done. See, a lot of people may think I go about some precise, systematic outline for reviewing an album and deciding whether said record is “the business” or not. You know, so many points for production, so many for guitar, so many for…well, no, that’s not what I do. To be honest, I have some real UN-scientific ways of deciding it something’s good shit or not. There are certain strange criteria the ol’ Rayman has and one of them is this: not every record alive, in fact, not many are suited to enter the Realm-o-Matic at the tail end of the night, fit to accompany this scribe’s drift off to dreamland. When I throw a disc in, slide the phones in and hunker down under the covers to relax, it’s a scant % of the play-pile that’ll join me. Lately, “Shadow Temple” has entered that rarified air. This is music that doesn’t seem to be shackled by time or space. The song titles are like mile markers but not boundaries…the music drifts with, if this is possible, an elegant urgency buoyed on washes of synth, guitars that ebb and flow like a tide and drums that are at once tribally insistent and pharmacologically hypnotic. Stretching thru the ether are strands of vocal melody bringing the listener a timeless feel of ecstatic exploration. So, if it seems like ol’ Ray has hauled out the thesaurus for that last little bit of description, please excuse his sad old sagging ass because he needed a little help this time. I sure don’t need any help in hitting “repeat” when this sucker ends, though as it’s a more satisfying listen every night. Fresh Prince Of Sweden Ray Dorsey

No comments: