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(47:25, Crimsonic Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Aa 4:40 2. Nest of Storms 4:46 3. Ulalume 6:48 4. Mad as Birds 4:36 5. Heart Wakes 5:07 6. Map of Aggravations 4:37 7. Star-Drilled Void 13:31 LINEUP: Roger Ebner – saxophone; wind synth; voice William Kopecky – basses; wind drum
Prolusion. YETI RAIN is a studio project featuring two American musicians, Roger Ebner and William Kopecky, of whom the latter is one of the most active and noticeable personages on the modern progressive rock scene, as he is a full member of several more bands, such as Kopecky, Far Corner and Par Lindh Project, to name a few. A follow-up to their debut output “Discarnate”, which was released by Canada’s Unicorn Records at the very beginning of 2007, “Nest of Storms” saw the light of day last spring via the Swedish label Crimsonic Records (managed by Par Lindh). By the way, this album and “Bluewolf Bloodwalk” by the Snarling Adjective Convention have a certain relationship between them, since both are created impromptu, both featuring William as well as Roger. Since I discovered that I have decided to publish the corresponding reviews simultaneously, so that of “Nest of Storms” has been postponed for quite a while (sorry, William).
Analysis. This album is vastly different from its predecessor and is a much more comprehensive creation, to say the least. When trying to classify the music on “Discarnate” I labeled most of it as Doom Ambient, due to its at once dark and flowing, cinematic, nature, with a lot of quasi amorphous textures and comparatively few clearly audible, i.e. instantly recognizable, solos, particularly those of bass. There is nothing amorphous on the “Nest of Storms”, six of the disc’s seven tracks being full-fledged, almost completely structured, compositions, with plenty of real passages and solos. The music is not without a sense of doom, but inasmuch as only the bass provides distinctly somber colorations here, and even then not on all of the tracks, the overall palette of the album much more often suggests suspense than an overt darkness. The only piece with lyrics (delivered silently, in a whisper, although completely incomprehensible), Heart Wakes is at the same time the sole track on here that falls into the idiom of pure Ambient. Apart from Roger‘s voice, I believe there is only William’s bass whose sound is so heavily processed that it’s changed totally beyond recognition, being merely used for psychedelic effect. The concluding track, Star-Drilled Void, is another standout, as it doesn’t completely blend with the recording’s predominant style, nor does it feature the sax either. William plucks the higher-tone strings of bass here, perhaps by fingering, creating at once ever-changing and very harmonious patterns, while Roger, as I suppose, is behind the wind synth which, though, frequently sounds like a conventional synthesizer. This composition is closer to symphonic Space Rock in style and, save the (highly original, fusionesque) bass lines, evokes something halfway between Sphinx or Stonehenge by Black Sabbath (from “Seventh Star” and “Born Again”, respectively) and Edward Artemiev’s soundtrack for “The Stalker” movie by Andrei Tarkovsky, where – in both cases – the music not merely drifts, but properly evolves, slowly, yet constantly changing its outlines. Quite frankly, if I weren’t aware of the real state of affairs, I could have easily believed that it’s Geoff Nicholls and Edward who play keyboards all over the first and the second half of the track, respectively. If you are unacquainted with any of the aforesaid creations, recall Carried by the Cosmic Winds (Eloy, “Planets”) as a last resort, but only mark it well :-) that if those two can serve as relative reference points, the latter is almost exclusively so. In any event, this is a remarkable piece, throughout having a feeling that resonates with mystery and magic. The sax works directly as a soloing instrument throughout each of the remaining five compositions – alone on Mad as Birds and Ulalume, and along with bass on Aa, the title track and Map of Aggravations. Unlike the latter three compositions, the first two find William creating what comes across as constructed, yet truly artistic sonic tapestries which are often reminiscent of synthesizer passages, hence some resemblance between the first half of the epic Star-Drilled Void and both these which, though, are already jazz ambient pieces. As hinted above, the title track and Map of Aggravations consist of direct interactions between the players, and since the bass sounds heavy throughout both, each evokes Jazz Metal without drums (brilliant stuff). Okay, there are also echoed solos on these as well as some other tracks, but those are used not merely for effect: they help the music sound more volumetric, adding an additional dimension to it. Finally, Aa reminds me of some solo creations by Karsten Vogel (of Secret Oyster and Taylor’s Universe fame), but, well, while not far-fetched, this connection isn’t obvious, either.
Conclusion. One may say Mr. Lindh took a too brave step by having signed Yeti Rain to his ‘distinctly symphonic’ label, though this act of Par’s simply indicates that he is (and has actually always been) the most open-minded person, always willing to experiment and so on. Besides, while the project’s first outing is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea, “Nest of Storms” will please probably any experienced prog head with a broad stylistic horizon. Very moody and atmospheric, strange and imaginative, this creation is irresistible – a true piece of art. Top-20-2008
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