Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Rain Drinkers - Urthen Web (2011)

artist: Rain Drink­ers
release: Urthen Web
format: MC
year of release: 2011
label: Brave Mys­ter­ies
dur­a­tion: 32:05

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Wis­con­sin duo Joseph Taylor and Zavier Krall have been releas­ing lim­ited edi­tion albums as Rain Drink­ers since 2009. Urthen Web is one of their most recent ones, and their evoc­at­ive cine­matic sounds have found a home on the Brave Mys­ter­ies label.

The mater­ial on this release sounds slightly lo-fi, which is per­haps why cas­sette is an appro­pri­ate medium for this album. The long “Strange Tapestry” fills the A-side, present­ing a unique com­pos­i­tion where brass, organ, clean elec­tric gui­tar, and hand per­cus­sion are the dom­in­at­ing instru­ments. Rain Drink­ers oper­ate with a flaw­less sense of ten­sion build­ing and intens­ity, which is per­haps why so many other review­ers have made the link between this music and cinema soundtracks. Indeed, the horn/trumpet sec­tion at the start of the track does paint a bit of Mor­ricon­esque musical pic­ture, though I would say that the band never leans to heav­ily on any of their influ­ences.

The B-side con­sists of two related pieces entitled “In the Cent­ral Loom”. The first part starts with deep drones, out of which a great organ melody rises. Dis­tant chants and sporadic plucked strings fin­ish off this excel­lent sec­tion. The clos­ing piece is based on gor­geous inter­leaved waves of lower and higher strings, free-ran­ging flute, and vari­ous effects, res­ult­ing in the most freefolk piece on this album. It’s moody, rich, and a great vari­ation added to the end of an already impress­ive release.

It’s a bit dif­fi­cult to pigeon­hole Rain Drink­ers’ music, as there are bits in there of ambi­ent, but with lots of melody, krautrock, the afore­men­tioned cine­matic style, and all sorts of stuff. In this case it’s best to let the music just be the music, which is won­der­ful. Urthen Web is a bit less pol­ished in terms of pro­duc­tion than recent CD-R releases like the equally impress­ive Springtide which was released on Reverb Wor­ship this year, but excel­lent stuff non­ethe­less. Another test­a­ment to the bril­liance cur­rently lurk­ing in the US under­ground, which is being picked up by excel­lent labels like these.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. Strange Tapestry (16:05)

2. In the Cent­ral Loom I (9:25)
3. In the Cent­ral Loom II (6:35)