Prince Rama Rage In Peace
Rage In Peace is in essence a break-up EP, culled from orphaned, half-written singles that were intended for a new album for sister-duo, Prince Rama, when suddenly Taraka Larson got the phone call from her sister, Nimai, that she was “retiring from the music scene to explore who she was outside of the band”.
“It took months for that phone call to sink in. I couldn’t imagine myself as anything other than in Prince Rama. It has been a part of my flesh, my blood, my soul for ten years. Nimai and I have been playing music together since high school. I realized that continuing Prince Rama without Nimai would be like continuing Guns n Roses without Slash; it just didn’t feel right. So even though this has been perhaps one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, I realized I had no choice but to just fully embrace death so that the music can be free to live on in a different form.” –Taraka
After Nimai’s departure, Taraka took a complete break from her city life in Brooklyn and even the internet and electricity to “privately die”. She traveled down to the Amazon in Peru and moved to a remote hamlet in upstate New York to process the death of the band. There, she got the message that the only way to set Prince Rama free was to finish the last remaining songs herself and release them as a final farewell. They were recorded by Taraka at the Wassaic Project artist residency, and produced with help from Ryan Sciaino (Win Win, Spank Rock), and Tim Koh (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti). The songs are as haunting as they are joyful, celebratory, and bittersweet, holographically weaving together a retrospective of sounds ranging across Prince Rama’s ten year lifespan, from the ecstatic devotional chants of their early albums to the more disheveled disco and 90s baggy guitar-driven pop of their later career.
Rage In Peace is a tender relic and ritualistic sculptural object in itself, each vinyl disc a sonic coffin to house the cremated remains of Prince Rama in the form of an ash record. To make the record, Taraka built a bonfire in the Catskills and on the day Jesus Christ was crucified, burned all Prince Rama’s old records, stage outfits, video props, make-up, show flyers, manifestos, Pitchfork reviews, energy drinks and all other physical remains until nothing was left but ashes. She then sent the funerary ashes out to be pressed into vinyl 7”s and hand-painted each record sleeve as an “emotional epitaph to express that which can’t be spoken or sung”. There is a forlorn kind of magic that whispers through this process, and while Prince Rama has previously focused on abstract themes of immortality and metaphysics, Rage In Peace instead offers a more intimate and personal celebration of mortality, grief, anger, letting go, embracing imperfection, and the whole messy ephemerality of the human experience. As the final offering of Prince Rama’s life cycle, Rage In Peace solidifies the band’s unique place as an ever-ceasing visionary tour de force and authentic voice, pushing the envelope and bridging the gap between visual art, performance and music, exploring existential themes throughout its life as well as its death with courage, vulnerability, and an aesthetic vision wholly their own, one that will live on and continue to inspire.
Prince Rama is made up of sisters, Taraka and Nimai Larson, who have been playing music together for over a decade. Their bizarre and often misunderstood history brought them from the Hare Krishna Ashram where they grew up without TV or internet to art school in Boston, where Taraka studied experimental film and started making music as a means to write scores to her own surreal and often nihilistic films. After releasing their first two records in the UK, she worked for visionary artist Paul Laffoley and wrote Architecture in Utopia in 2009 based on his paintings of utopic space. From the very inception of the band, there was a strong link between music, performance, and visual art, as well as a kindredness with other visionary artists at the fringes of society and esoteric spirituality.
Prince Rama’s lifespan reveals a prolific, unique, and multi-disciplinary approach to culture-making, releasing eight albums in ten years. After being discovered in a Texas dive bar by Avey Tare in 2010, Animal Collective helped them record and release Shadow Temple on their label, Paw Tracks, and Trust Now shortly thereafter, which peaked at #3 and #6 on the Billboard New Age Charts, respectively. Since then, the band has continually delivered powerful, raw performances of their own brand of disheveled visionary psychedelia, drawing influences from otherworldly ecstatic rituals, lo-fi rock and outsider disco, as well as coining and embodying the utopian spirit of “The Now Age Movement,” a cult of post-Internet transcendentalism. To commemorate the Mayan apocalypse, they released Top Ten Hits of the End of the World in 2012, a pseudo-compilation album comprised of ten singles “channeled” from fictional deceased pop bands and partially recorded with members of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Their last album, 2016’s Xtreme Now was the inaugural entry into what they have playfully coined as the “Extreme Sports Genre,” writing eccentric motivational dance music to fit the score of extreme sports’ death defying feats. One could see these preceding albums as premonitory preparation for this final release, Rage In Peace, where the band has to come face-to-face with its own mortality on a much more intimate, personal level.
Their visual art practice has always been an extension of the music itself, exhibiting internationally at the Whitney Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and Brooklyn Museum, to name a few. Taraka has also published several manifestos on the “Now Age” that puts forth Prince Rama’s aesthetic and metaphysical philosophies, garnering a growing cult of followers and earning both hatred and praise from art and music worlds alike. Her seemingly effortless way of weaving conceptual art practice with music places her in an ancestral legacy of New York renaissance visionaries such as Kim Gordon, Laurie Anderson, and Patti Smith. They also released Never Forever, a Now Age psych-opera to accompany Top Ten Hits which premiered in 2013 at the MoMA PS 1 VW Dome.
Since Nimai’s departure from the band after a final concert on New Years 2017, Taraka has taken time off to work on a solo album in New York and finish the last remaining Prince Rama songs to be released as a farewell EP, Rage In Peace in summer 2019.
RAGE IN PEACE
• College/Non-Commercial radio by Terrorbird
• Limited ash-filled clear vinyl
• Each jacket uniquely hand-painted and signed by Taraka Larson
• Vinyl includes free digital download
- Love Song to My Death
- Love in Kontrol
- F.A.T.E. (Brought Us Together)