Prince Rama Architecture of Utopia
Aug 20th, 2019
While attending art school in Boston, Taraka Larson worked for the visionary artist and architect Paul Laffoley. Inspired by his maps of utopic space, she saw a parallel between his logarithmic spiral journey of the soul towards utopia and the logarithmic spiral journey of the needle towards the center of the record through the process of playing an album. Thus sparked the seed of Architecture of Utopia, a concept album which doubles as a sonic map of portable utopic space, with each song “tracing the soul’s journey towards a timeless center”. The album was conceived as four long-form songs ranging from tribal drums and harps to sci-fi gamelans based on paintings of Laffoley’s, with the last song appearing on a locked groove in the center of the record so that it could be played for an infinite stretch of time. Recording was completed by Taraka Larson in the basement of her Boston apartment in 2009 and lyrics were conceived as a combination of automatic writing and “The writings of Jesus Christ” by Paul Laffoley. Taraka presented the record as her final senior thesis at the Museum School in the spring, but it was met with mostly negative reviews, as it was deemed “too musical.” Regardless, the record’s outlandish concept caused other art curators to take notice and Prince Rama went on to perform live versions of the album at Paul Laffoley’s opening at the Kent Gallery in Chelsea as well as at his retrospective at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2010.
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