Tickets went quick for last Sunday’s show at the Ottobar once Animal Collective fans caught wind that two core members of the group were putting on a show. Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), who both call Baltimore their hometown, shared a bill performing solo sets. DJ Dog Dick opened up for them, but the most interesting act of the night by far was Prince Rama of Ayodhya — Prince Rama for short. Last time they were in the area was for Whartscape, leaving Baltimoreans and festival attendees curious for more when a circuit blew five minutes into their set.
Prince Rama gained notice once they joined Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label earlier this year. After playing a spontaneous gig at SXSW, Dave Portner (Avey Tare) approached them, expressing interest in their music. The guys from Animal Collective helped them record their fourth album, Shadow Temple, which was just released this past Tuesday.
Press releases and band bios all carry an almost surreal description of the band, stating that sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson were born into a Hare Krishna community, spending their childhood playing out fables on farms in Texas and Florida. In Florida they were joined by Michael Collins, and then moved up the East Coast to study and create music and art between Boston and Brooklyn.
The group has some home ties to the Jamaica Plains area of Boston, being part of the Whitehaus Family Record collective, but just began another season of nomadic life on the road. Throughout September, they’ll be touring with Deakin as well as other figures along the way, such as Fennesz in Los Angeles. They are also planning out a month-long tour when they return that will include Midwest, Southeast, and more East Coast dates.
“Take one and pass it around after a while,” Taraka said as she leaned toward the Ottobar audience, holding a crate full of hand-sized instruments. It was like an elementary school teacher’s treasure trove of percussion instruments, but each was stylized by the band to add even more funkiness to the gesture: egg-shakers with colorful feathers sticking out of them, little boxes full of beans wrapped in neon duct tape.
Behind her double stack of keyboard, Taraka sang almost operatically, and often at times, in a call and response of mantras along with Nimai and Collins. Sandwiched between the different spacey synth-lines from Taraka and Collins, Nimai provided tribal beats on a variety of floor toms. Their music can easily be called psychedelic, but with its chants and chimes, their music is more celestial and transcending.