21 Nov 2020

USA

"You'll not encounter a more striking and singular set of songs all year."

'California deep Psychedelic loner. Acid leads, mystical vocals, tons of effects, completely stoned feeling. Came out as 2 single albums and even more limited as a double album, which is so rare that only 3 copies are known to exist. The music is outta space psychedelic with great songs and beautiful vocals. A real killer from beginning to end. This record is in Paul Major's "Top Five of Weird Underground Psych/Folk", as revealed in Vice magazine.'

'The first ever official release of Craig Smith's psychedelic folk masterpiece 'Apache-Inca'. In 1972, after changing his name to Maitreya Kali, Craig compiled and custom-pressed two LPs documenting his musical journey from 1967-72, including tracks with the Penny Arkade. Combined into a double album set, 'Apache-Inca' was given away or sold hand to hand on the street before Maitreya... and Craig... disappeared into the shadows. Only a handful of original copies are known to exist. The last time one was offered for sale, it went for over $10,000. Pirate copies routinely sell for over $400.'

The psychedelic masterpiece nobody heard.

'First ever official, authorized release of psychedelic mega-rarity. After suffering an LSD-induced mental breakdown, Los Angeles-based songwriter Craig Smith renamed himself Maitreya Kali and custom-pressed Apache / Inca, a double-LP documenting his musical, personal, and spiritual journey. His message to the world, encoded on the album jackets in rambling, quasi-mystical Messianic verse, was urgent, desperate, delusional, and disturbing. Recorded between 1967 and 1971, the music tells a different story. Achingly beautiful, haunting acoustic folk songs; luminescent psychedelic folk-rock; eerie, off-kilter acid rock; fragments; field recordings -- all meticulously woven into a magical, mesmerizing whole. Apache / Inca is an extraordinary work. Not the dark, self-indulgent ramblings of a cracked Messiah, but a thoughtfully-crafted collection of work by a singer and songwriter of remarkable depth and talent whose world was falling apart. Soon afterwards Maitreya -- and Craig -- disappeared into the shadows. He died homeless in a North Hollywood Park in 2012. Decades after its creation, Apache / Inca was discovered by collectors and hailed as a psychedelic masterpiece. It is now one of the most revered and sought-after artifacts of the era. Includes seven tracks by the Penny Arkade, produced by Michael Nesmith.'


'To fully appreciate Apache/Inca, you’ll need to know a little bit of history on Craig Smith (aka Maitreya Kali), though his story is best told by Mike Stax’ biography, Swim Through The Darkness. Smith was your stereotypical California kid in the mid-’60s. His clean cut image and good looks helped him land a role as a regular cast member on The Andy Williams show, he was a shortlisted candidate for The Monkees, and was a promising songwriter, penning tunes for Williams and The Monkees, among others. Mike Nesmith even produced an album of material recorded by Smith and friend Chris Ducey, with Nesmith dubbing the group The Penny Arkade. Smith’s star seemed to be rapidly rising, but then things went south very quickly. Despite Nesmith’s efforts, and label interest, for some reason a record deal never materialized, and by 1968 the Penny Arkade splintered. Smith, like many young people at that time, started going on LSD-fuelled journey’s of self discovery, and decided to use his entertainment industry earnings to travel what’s known as “the Hippie Trail”, an above-ground trek from Europe into Asia. On that trip, Smith was viciously robbed, beaten, and raped in Afghanistan, and when he return to Los Angeles in 1969 it was clear that he was not the same guy his friend had known. Smith began suffering from intense delusions and would refer to himself as Maitreya Kali. Worse, he became increasingly unpredictable and violent, and would spend the next few years mixing spiritual journeys, court-ordered mental institution stays, and scaring off his old friends. He still wrote music though, and in 1972, Smith, now with a spider tattoo in the middle of his forehead, went to Custom Fidelity Inc. with a handful of tapes (including the unreleased Penny Arkade sessions) to put together two albums, Apache and Inca. He filled the LPs’ packaging with unfocused writings on religion, music, drugs, and himself, giving some insight into his fractured state mind at the time of recording. Printed in small amounts, Smith distributed the records among friends and acquaintances.

Chronologically, the music begins with seven Penny Arkade songs from 1967. These tracks leave you wondering why they found a record deal so hard to come. The band was a solid L.A. folk-rock outfit, with some psychedelic leanings that surely could have found an audience in 1967. You could drop a harmony-laden song like “Color Fantasy” in the middle of a set with The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Turtles, and The Monkees, and nobody would bat an eyelash. As good as those songs are, Smith’s solo recordings as Maitreya Kali are far more interesting. Along with a new name, Smith also adapted a more sophisticated folk approach and a sweeter, more innocent vocal style, sounding at times like Art Garfunkel or Colin Blunstone. Given Smith’s history of mental illness you might expect these songs to be off-kilter documents of his deterioration, like Syd Barrett or Skip Spence, but the demons Smith was facing left his talents thankfully intact. Smith included some weird snippets of conversation, and a strange recording of him and Mike Love from The Beach Boys listening to a playback of Smith’s version of “Salesmen,” which he wrote for The Monkees, but these moments are mostly outliers among a strong set of songs. The album peaks on delicately rendered psych-folk tunes like “Black Swan” and “Music Box Sound,” which sound like they were both cut at the same session and answer the question, “what would it sound like if Arthur Lee recorded Harvest instead of Neil Young?” “Revelation” also stands out, a heavily psychedelicized piece of self-mythologizing with Smith feeding his voice through a Leslie speaker and covering a variety of spiritual/religious topics while simultaneously warning, “Someone’s out to get you/I think it’s gonna be me.” That warning takes on added meaning when you learn that the year after he released these albums, Smith went to jail for three years for beating up his mother. He would then spend his post-jail years drifting around Los Angeles in various states of homelessness until his death in 2012.

This reissue features the best sound you’re likely to get from these albums, since the original tapes were likely destroyed a long time ago. There’s also informative liner notes by Smith biographer Mike Stax (of Ugly Things Magazine) who put this album out as well. Definitely seek this one out.' -12A26A

Apache
1. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Ice And Snow 3:24
2. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Black Swan 2:49
3. Penny Arkade - Color Fantasy 3:50
4. Penny Arkade - Voodoo Spell 2:00
5. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Salesman 2:55
6. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Music Box Sound 2:54
7. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Love Is Our Existence 2:29
8. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - One Last Farewell 2:34
9. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - I'm Walking Solo 2:27
10. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Silk And Ivory 3:04
11. Penny Arkade - Swim 2:42
12. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Revelation 3:11

Inca
13. Penny Arkade - Lights Of Dawn 2:56
14. Penny Arkade - Thesis 2:45
15. Penny Arkade - Knot The Frieze 12:31
16. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Jesus Owns 1:31
17. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Sam Pan Boat 3:17
18. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Fearless Men 3:37
19. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Cheryl 3:04
20. Penny Arkade - Country Girl 2:51
21. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Old Man 3:47
22. Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - King 0:08

Credits
Bass, Vocals – Don Glut
Design [Reissue] – Steve Stanley
Drums – Bobby Donaho
Executive Producer – Gary Smith
Producer [Penny Arkade Recordings] – Michael Nesmith
Reissue Producer, Liner Notes, Design [Reissue] – Mike Stax
Vocals, Guitar – Chris Ducey
Vocals, Guitar, Recorder, Songwriter, Producer [Non-Penny Arkade Tracks] – Craig Smith

Notes
First ever official, authorized CD release of psychedelic mega-rarity.
Includes 7 tracks by Penny Arkade.