Over the course of the past couple of years of this site’s 12 year history, I’ve managed to spill a bit of virtual ink covering the Southern California-born, Madison,WI--based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, Trent Prall, the creative mastermind behind the rising psych pop, solo recording project Kainalu.
Deriving its name from the Hawaiian word for ocean wave, Prall’s work with Kanialu routinely sees him drawing from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk, and childhood trips to visit his mother’s family in Oahu. The end result is a breezy, funky and nostalgia-inducing sound that Prall has dubbed “Hawaii-fi,” which he further developed and expanded upon with his full-length Kainalu debut, Lotus Gate.
Back in 2020, the JOVM mainstay collaborated with fellow JOVM mainstay MUNYA on the breezy and infectious “You Never Let Go,” which revealed some easy-going yet ambitious, hook-driven songwriting that found the pair seamlessly meshing their individual sound and aesthetics.
Prall’s highly-anticipated sophomore Kainalu album Ginseng Hourglass is slated for a November 4, 2022 release, The 11-song album is reportedly a contemplative and philosophical exploration of the passage of time and the finite, fleeting nature of life. Ginseng Hourglass follows the recent and untimely death of Prall’s mother, and is deeply informed by the conversations they had about her life and mortality during the last few months of her life. While seeing Prall striking a delicate balance between breezy effervescence and the darkest depths of despair, the album’s material captures life’s small joys and victories amidst trauma, emotional ruin and hard-won wisdom. Ultimately, the album makes a concerted effect to find and see hope — in heartbreak and pain.
“I don’t want people to think this album is sad because it’s not,” Prall says in press notes. “I have always used music as a way to heal. That’s what this music is — a way to escape into a vibe and atmosphere when the world was crumbling. It’s meant to transport you into a world because that’s what I needed when I wrote it.”
The album’s main concert is also shown in the cover art, which resembles falling sand in an hourglass — the literal embodiment of time physically slipping away, knowing that one’s time is the most precious thing anyone could have. While the album will further cement Prall’s reputation for crafting dance floor friendly grooves, but lyrically, it may arguably be the most personal of his growing catalog: The songs deep deep into a rabbit hole of complex, conflicting emotions making the album a cathartic, therapeutic fever dream — with Prall’s story at the center. Created as a means of escape and healing, Prall explains, “I write to escape the thoughts that keeps me up at night. It’s a therapy device and meditative practice. These past years we all experienced so much loss. On top of the pandemic, I really went through some serious trauma and I wrote this record because I needed to.”
Ginseng Hourglass‘s latest single “Queen of Wands” is a strutting, funky bop that sonically seems to draw from Currents-era Tame Impala, electro pop, 90s funk, and 90s house music centerdd around Krall’s unerring knack for swooningly yearning, nostalgia-inducing songwriting and infectious, soaring hooks. Interestingly, “Queen of Wands” took shape after a tarot card reading in which Prall drew the queen of wands card. (According to some interpretations, the queen of wands card suggests that the person is upbeat, courageous, determined, self-actualized and self-aware. and can channel their strengths and weaknesses to achieve their goals. In some cases, those who draw the card are inspirational, charismatic, creative sorts.)
“It’s about being overwhelmed in the complexities of modern dating and relationships. As we grow older, the desire for deep connection becomes increasingly stronger and a sort of existential longing develops.” An ode to the power of femininity, Prall continues, “The track is a metaphor for this desire as the card roughly symbolizes a strong, driven feminine persona. When the queen of wands reveals themselves to you, resisting the signs is futile.”