Madison, WI-based rising psychedelic-funk multi-instrumentalist Kainalu shares mellow, introspective groove, "Inhibitions / Intuitions" out everywhere now, along with a lyric video, featuring vocalist MUNYA. The contemplative, experimental sophomore LP by Kainalu, Ginseng Hourglass, is due out November 4. Shop exclusive Kainalu merch on sale now here.
"Intuitions / Inhibitions" picks up where the previously shared nostalgia-tinged psychedelic-house track "Queen of Wands" left off. The airy groove wrestles with the apprehension that comes with taking risks in love and trusting one's instincts, which aren't always right. Longtime collaborators and internet friends, the latest track sees the musicians expand upon their creative foundation to arrive somewhere brand new as MUNYA's vocals float along the bassline. "MUNYA, aka Josie Boivin, and I have been collaborating on tracks together for several years," says Kainalu. "We met through Instagram and have actually never met in person despite creating countless songs together. The song dives deeper into the story presented by 'Queen of Wands.' Fighting one’s inhibitions about taking risks in love versus following their intuition which has previously led them astray."
MUNYA notes the two collaborators, though never having met in person, work together naturally. MUNYA shares, "Trent and I have been working together for a few years now. Even if we have never met in person, we have built a strong connection that allows us to create and complete each other in a very natural way." Thrilled to bring the latest work to life with Kainalu, MUNYA continues, "I had a lot of fun singing on Inhibitions / Intuitions and I'm so honoured to be part of Kainalu's album. Super stoked for this one and the whole album."
PopMatters who debuted the new single, says, "Producing, writing, engineering, and performing under the name of Kainalu, his warm style of simmering psychedelic yacht-funk has been known to peel back the clouds, and reveal invigorating brightness." On the new offering, they add, "Together, MUNYA’s wistful, elegant tones coo perfectly along with Kainalu’s sighing falsetto, underscoring the track’s beachy, sun-bleached feel. Written with an intention of healing, the lyrics speak of following your gut and overcoming the niggling doubts in the pursuit of love. The music is danceable, yet the story is resonant, a nourishing blend of style and substance."
Watch "Inhibitions / Intuitions" (Official Lyric Video)
The smooth psych-funk jam "Queen of Wands," inspired by a tarot reading and the power of femininity, caught the attention of tastemakers like EARMILK and Acid Stag. EARMILK wrote, "Besides the sludgy bass that feels as luring as smudged lipstick, the synth ascent feels like warm summer waves in the ocean. On top of the instrumentations, there's the sensualness of the distorted vocal, reminiscent and assuring at the same time." Acid Stag added the track "immediately lures you in with the ultra smooth bass line injecting considerable groove into the soundscape and sets the addictive tone in tact immediately. With breezy melodies floating majestically through the mix with their effortlessness...glowing synths...crispy percussion."
The forthcoming captivating project titled Ginseng Hourglass is a contemplative, philosophical exploration of the passage of time and the finiteness of life over 11 enveloping tracks. It manages to strike a delicate balance of feeling airy and effervescent while plunging into the depths of despair. Following the recent untimely passing of his mother, and the conversations they had surrounding her life and mortality in her last few months, Kainalu took to creating an album that captures the tiny joys amid the trauma and wisdom in the emotional ruin. Though the LP's subject matter is sad, Ginseng Hourglass is anything but, as it finds hope in the midst of pain. “I don’t want people to think this album is sad because it’s not," says Kainalu. “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 concept of the album shown in the cover art resembles the falling sand in an hourglass — the embodiment of time slipping away, knowing one’s time is all the more precious. Moving from groove to groove across the project, the joy lies in its danceable tunes, but dig deeper to find a rabbit hole of emotions and profound processing in its lyrical content. Simply put, Ginseng Hourglass is as much therapy as it is a fever dream, with Kainalu's story and struggle front and center. Created as a means of escape and healing, Kainalu 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.” While Kainalu is the lead writer, performer, engineer and producer of his work, the LP was co-produced, mixed and mastered by Adam Thein and creatively directed by Madda Udvari-Solner.
Kainalu's earlier work gained a wide array of recognition for its innovative approach. From the Intercom wrote, "Kainalu's music sounds timeless. Even back when he released his first Bloom Lagoon EP (2017) and its pulsing retro-psychedelic debut album Lotus Gate (2019) which has garnered millions of streams on Spotify, Kainalu’s music already established itself as a modern approach to glitzy 70s psych and funk, always inspiring its listeners to move." Like much of his single art featuring quickly evaporating hourglasses, the fragility of life and the preciousness of time are threaded through his music. It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine recognized this, writing, "Beneath a titanic bass line lies a deep lyrical exploration of one’s relationship with the finiteness of life." When highlighting emerging AAPI musicians, Grammy.com lauded, "You hear his confidence bloom in the music. Prall’s 2019 album Lotus Gate and his just-released single "Revelator" seem to drip with sunshine and orange juice. Whenever keyboards stomp, low and insistently, or stray bass notes dip in and out like lingering pool flies, Kainalu’s voice cuts through it; he seems to stand tall, like the director of his own dream."
Trent Prall is the writer, producer, engineer and singer behind Kainalu, a word that roughly translates to "ocean waves" in Hawaiian. Raised Buddhist in the Midwest, Kainalu's roots lay in his Japanese-Hawaiian heritage and inform both his writing and sound. Since 2017, the multi-instrumentalist has been blending psychedelic funk, synthy beats, and distorted vocals with vulnerable lyricism to immerse listeners in a kaleidoscopic, expansive daydream. In March, Kainalu shared a live EP through Audiotree which can be seen in full here. In addition to his solo music, Kainalu tours with Joe Keery's (Stranger Things) musical project Djo around the U.S.
When performing live, Kainalu is joined by Joe Waldbillig (guitar), Evan Nelson (bass), Matthew Allen (drums) and Julian Russell (drums) and conga drummer Aaron Gochberg, who combine to create a jam-influenced rendition of his recorded music.
"Inhibitions / Intuitions" featuring MUNYA, out everywhere now, is a breezy, vulnerable attempt to stray from one's instincts in search of something new. Kainalu's forthcoming sophomore LP Ginseng Hourglass is due out November 4. Shop Kainalu merch here and connect with Kainalu on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for much more from the rising performer, musician and producer.