prana (Sanskrit) - breath, respiration, life, vitality, energy or strength. Important concept in Pranayama, a yogic breathing practice meant to increase vitality through deep and consciously, carefully controlled breathing. The breath travels throughout the body.

In Yogic philosophy, and particularly the Vedas themselves, some of the earliest-known recorded works and - if tradition holds - works perhaps far anterior to the comparatively recent Western civilization, Prana is the primal force of the universe, the Life-energy which upholds all of manifestation. Although it has come to connote a more anthropic meaning of breath, originally it referred to the "breath" in a cosmic sense, as the cyclical and continuous outbreathing (expulsion) and inbreathing (withdrawal) of the universe by the Supreme Brahman in his creative and destructive aspects, respectively.

The universal cosmic energy was anciently linked to human physiology, and Yogis from time immemorial have held that mastery of the life-currents of the human body is the key to the various seemingy supernatural activities and facilities of the Yogi, the saint, and the fakir. It was conceived that the rhythms of man were (at one time) in harmony with the cosmic rhythms, and a proportionality was established between the heartbeats and other body rhythms and the cyclic nature of the forces of the universe. By attuning the rhythms of the body to their cosmic archetypes, they believed that the physiological analogues to those cosmic forces could be invoked by sympathy and thus quickened into action.

Control of prana (pranayama) is one of the foundational limbs of the Yoga explicated by Patanjali in his Yoga sutras, as an ability necessary to the achievement of control of the mind, to prepare the body for the progressive experiences of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and contemplation (samadhi).

Prana is a psychedelic trance group formed in London in 1993 through the collaboration of Japanese psytrance DJ Tsuyoshi Suzuki and Nick Taylor. Tsuyoshi came to the psytrance scene after being inspired by a trip to Goa, India in 1993. He and Taylor had been collaborating previously under the name "Blissed", but this was not a psytrance act. Tsuyoshi had previously been involved with various experimental bands, influenced by groups like Yello Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk. Blissed recorded an EP, self-titled "Blissed", and produced an album, "Rite of Passage", before disbanding.

In July, Tsuyoshi moved to London to work with Taylor, and they released the first work by Prana in 1994, doing several singles for various compilations before signing onto Tsuyoshi's own recently-begun Matsuri label. Throughout 1995, they produced a number of singles which were released under that label, and created the first Prana album, Cyclone. By the time it was ready for release in 1996, Taylor had left London, moving to Australia to work with Andy Guthrie of Medicine Drum, while Tsuyoshi was performing internationally as a psytrance DJ. They collaborated again to create the four original Prana tracks which would appear in their second album, "Geomantik", with 5 remixes of material from their first album "Cyclone" done by various other psytrance artists, including Tristan and Process, Green Nuns of the Revolution, Chakra, and Total Eclipse, which was released in 1997.

Prana definitely has its own sound, and by the standards of modern psytrance pundits the music is quite dated and contains a lot of effects and sounds which have become cliche motifs. Of course, it was groundbreaking in its time and deserves the respect of someone with a more historical perspective on the fledgling scene it helped to launch.

The music abounds with complex arpeggiated riffs and an agressive, melodic sound with lots of squealing TB-303, usually complemented by rather minimal, relentlessly pounding trance beats and rhythm produced by TR-808 and 909 drum machines, overlaid with various sound effects and samples. Individual tracks are excellent and well-constructed, but the listener who is new to this type of psytrance will probably not find much variation between tracks. Fans of a more melodic goa style of psytrance abounding with acid sounds and lots of knob tweaking will probably love it - definite emotional peaks and valleys exist within the music which can have a very powerful effect on the listener.

Discography (albums only)

Cyclone (1996)

Geomantik (1997)
    01. 08:40 Geomantik
    02. 08:12 Alien Pets
    03. 09:35 Primal Orbit
    04. 06:40 Boundless
    05. 06:40 Scarab (Snake Thing remix)*
    06. 07:20 Scarab (Green Nuns remix)
    07. 06:52 Starchild (Total Eclipse remix)
    08. 07:55 Kiba (Tristan And Process remix)
    09. 09:00 Taiyo (Chakra remix)

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