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Friday, 1 January 2016


Another parcel from the postie arrived at our psychedelic basement…….this time package of goodies from Deep Water Acres Records that included two superb records from Prana Crafter and United Bible Studies which have both completely blown us away. We have been a little late to the party (again) and were unable to included them in our “Weird Scenes Inside The Psychedelic Basement” round up……..however as they are relatively recent releases and still available to buy (the UBS album is now on its second pressing) we have decided to bring them to the attention of you good folk that, like us, were out in the car park stealing car aerials while the cool kids were gathered round the Dancette taking in these sweet sounds.

Prana Crafter is the recording/performing pseudonym of Psych Folk guitarist William Sol, who hails from America’s great Pacific Northwest, and the recently released Rupture Of Planes is his second album of wonderfully twisted psychedelia and sweetly heartfelt balladry from deep in the woods of Washington. Incorporating both songs and instrumentals, recorded at home as well as in a professional studio, Rupture Of Planes mixes together beautiful, delicate songs that have been compared to the early 60s output from Elektra and Vanguard along with more experimental/improvised, shamanic guitar overload,  lo-fi Psych Rock excursions. The five truly fabulous songs have more of a conventional structure and are studio recordings with dressed-up arrangements and live drums………… the excellent tracks ’Forest at First Light’, ‘Rupture of Planes’, ‘Fog Has Lifted’ and the standout ‘Tara, Do You Remember the Way?’ are all beautifully absorbing, predominantly acoustic, time-honoured singer/songwriter material, fragile but with a steely core and really fantastic tunes. The home recorded tunes are all instrumental cosmic jams from the deep forest with electric intensity sharing space with blissed-out serenity, third-eye visions with dirt underneath their fingernails. Prana Crafter mixes up drones, ambient explorations and full on, wild eyed Psych Rock guitar wig outs with ‘Diamond Cutter of the Jagged Mountain’,  ‘Treasure in a Ruin’, ‘Dharma Dripping Lotus’ and  ‘Prana Crafter's Abode’ being possibly the best of some really outstanding tunes. ‘Prana' is the sanskrit for “life force” and in keeping with the Eastern wisdom traditions referenced by the name, to the extent this album ruptures any planes it’s with the larger goal of embodying their differences on some higher level. This is a really beautiful record and would have made it into our best of 2015 if we were a bit quicker on the uptake.

Rupture Of Planes is a CD release only and is available from the Deep Water Acres web shop with copies also available from Sunrise Ocean Bender. 

Another record that slipped through the cracks at Strange Things in 2015 is the beguiling So As To Preserve The Mystery by the experimental/improvisational Psych Folk collective United Bible Studies. They have been on our radar for quite a few years but with the sheer volume of their recorded work, mainly self-released, we have kinda lost track a little bit and missed this gem of a record when it turned up on Deep Water Acres towards the end of the summer. United Bible Studies was formed in Dublin in 2001 by David Colohan and James Rider and initially inspired by the likes of The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention. UBS soon developed into a sprawling entity featuring a revolving cast of members, with the same lineup rarely appearing twice. Pastoral psychedelia and traditional song have remained the cornerstones of the band's style, alongside collective improvisation that can take the form of extended drone-works or explosive outbursts of ecstatic noise. The fluid lineup of UBS currently includes former Mellow Candle vocalist Alison O'Donnell (who has also recorded with the fantastic British Acid Folk band The Owl Service), harpist Áine O'Dwyer and Michael Tanner (Plinth, Sharron Kraus, Mark Fry) who all appear on this record. So As To Preserve The Mystery like UBS previous records is an enthralling sonic adventure, produced by Evening Fires’ Kevin Moist who has captured the genuine essence of the their sound……. Evening Fires folksy, rural psychedelia comes from deep in the dark woods revealing the true spirit of “the psychedelic”, absorbing vibrations from nature and the stars and United Bible Studies mix of traditional song with gentle psychedelia and spellbinding improvisations comes from very much the same place. Voices and found sounds ooze out the rich layers of sound created by sparse instrumentation, drones and sweeping strings crafting music of such a beauty akin to being bathed in pure light, there is no standout track here as all the tunes coalesce into a single entity that is both otherworldly and rooted deep in nature…………music from before electricity. This is a remarkable record........So As To Preserve The Mystery is a must listen for any fans of twisted Acid Folk from labels such as Reverb Worship, Rif Mountain and Folk Police and the modern Psych Folk bands/artists who take the traditional British/Irish folk tradition and bend it into very strange shapes with Sproatly Smith and The Owl Service coming immediately to mind. This again is a record the would have certainly been included in our favourite releases of 2015 if we had turned up to the party on time. 

With their haunting, almost genre defying sound United Bible Studies are a perfect fit for Deep Water Acres and absolutely complement all the other strange psychedelic sounds released by this splendid, tasteful boutique label. Like the Prana Crafter album, So As To Preserve The Mystery is a CD release only and is available from the Deep Water Acres web site with copies also available from the Sunrise Ocean Bender web store. That Psych Folk revival we have a feeling in our bones about…….we reckon it’s on.


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