Maitreya Kali is actually Craig Smith who was one of the key members of California folk-rock band the Penny Arkade. Their music was influenced by mystical psychedelia while also rooted in American folk and country traditions.
Chris Ducey and Craig Smith, the creative minds behind this group, incorporated elements like guitar distortion, abundant harmonies reminiscent of California, and a twangy, amplified country folk sound into many of their songs. Some of the Penny Arkade tracks were included in the 1972 release of "Inca." Smith's debut album, "Apache," came out earlier that year and also featured a few leftover Penny Arkade tracks from 1966-1968. Both albums include solo tracks by Craig Smith, and while they are both solid records, "Inca" may be slightly superior in terms of quality.
During his earlier years, Craig Smith wrote songs for artists such as the Monkees, Andy Williams, and Glen Campbell. With the royalties from his songwriting, Smith traveled the world and financed the release of the "Apache" and "Inca" albums. The solo tracks, like "Sam Pan Boat," showcase delicate and ethereal acid folk with lovely vocals and a beautifully melancholic atmosphere. The Penny Arkade tracks have often been likened to a garage version of Buffalo Springfield. Their most popular song, featured on this album, is the 12-and-a-half-minute epic "Knot the Freeze." This psychedelic folk-rock masterpiece is a must-listen for fans of the '60s era and strongly resembles the suite-like structure of Buffalo Springfield's "Broken Arrow." When "Inca" was released, "Knot the Freeze" reportedly received some local airplay, but it is not the only highlight on this privately released album. Other noteworthy Penny Arkade tracks include the melodious garage folk-rocker "Lights of Dawn" and the introspective acid folk musings of "Thesis." "Country Girl" stands out as one of their outstanding achievements as a band—a shimmering country rock gem with carefree lyrics and a rare honesty found in much of their music.
Not much is known about Craig Smith's current whereabouts, although it has been mentioned that he experienced a mental breakdown, possibly due to drug use, after these albums were released. Both albums offer a captivating listening experience and are highly recommended for fans of psychedelia and roots music.