Review: Rain Drinkers - Yesodic Helices (2012)


artist: Rain Drink­ers
release: Yesodic Helices
format: LP
year of release: 2012
label: Brave Mys­ter­ies
dur­a­tion: 30:17

One of my favour­ite dis­cov­er­ies from last year, and they’re back already with their first LP release: Wisconsin’s duo Rain Drink­ers. Zavier Krall (pseud­onym of Troy Schafer) and Joe Taylor have put out sev­eral albums since 2010, ran­ging from good to breath­tak­ing, and as I had expec­ted and hoped, this latest one is a worthy addi­tion to the dis­co­graphy.

Yesodic Helices starts with an atmo­sphere com­par­able to that of last year’s won­der­ful Springtide: a fine lay­er­ing of drones and violin, both cov­er­ing bass and high fre­quen­cies. With a few broad strokes, these men paint a vast musical can­vas from which to start, suf­fused with men­tal images and tiny details of sound. After about five minutes, lovely melod­ies on trum­pet and gui­tar, as well as soft chants, take over to intro­duce a new ton­al­ity. It’s uplift­ing on the one hand, but with notes of mys­tery and present danger as well. Rolling piano and drones con­tinue the track from here, slowly build­ing towards a subtle cres­cendo.

The second move­ment starts with some new low drones, faint piano, and elec­tric gui­tar. A theme with soft per­cus­sion, organ, and flute devel­ops out of this, still main­tain­ing a rather calm vibe. Shortly after the halfway point, flute and gui­tar give way to a pulsat­ing rhythm grow­ing in intens­ity, and more and more instru­ments and sounds (per­cus­sion, deep bells) join in for the album’s final cli­max. This sec­tion shares some ele­ments with the title track on Burial Hex’s Book of Delu­sions from last year, which is a com­pli­ment.

Though short for an album, Yesodic Helixes feels more like a single 30-minute track, per­fectly bal­anced and paced, and def­in­itely on the level of the project’s best releases so far. Review­ers are at a loss when they have to pigeon­hole Rain Drink­ers’ music, and terms like “urfolk” get thrown around at times. This is a sure sign that some new things are hap­pen­ing here, and indeed you can hear influ­ences from all over the place: folk, jazz, film music, ambi­ent, drone, ritual, etc. Com­bined with an obscure spir­itual imagery - what are these helices and what do they have to do with one of the sephirot? - and band image (mys­ter­i­ous names, unknown record­ing loc­a­tions), and you have a great pack­age. It must be clear I love these guys,  and I can’t do any­thing but recom­mend this and their other works to all our dear read­ers.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Helix I (15:23)

2. Helix II (14:54)

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