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(53:15, Crimsonic Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Planets 10:30 2. Dragonfly Algebra 12:01 3. The Meeting 6:49 4. Fires of Heaven 6:56 5. The Sky Sickened 11:11 6. The Sixth Bowl of Wrath 5:48 LINEUP: William Kopecky – bass, vocals Roger Ebner – sax; wind synth Craig Walkner – percussion
Prolusion. The US-based outfit YETI RAIN is one of the many projects involving bassist William Kopecky, this one initially a duo in which he and saxophonist Roger Ebner crafted material described as dark ambient in style. Formed in 2005, this band made its debut in 2007 with "Discarnate" and a follow up production appeared one year later in the shape of "Nest of Storms". Since then the line-up has been expanded to include percussionist Craig Walkner, and this expanded outfit released the rather aptly named disc "III" on Par Lindh's Crimsonic label in 2010.
Analysis. There are many approaches one can take when creating music. Some strive to produce songs that will have a broad appeal and create interest in the mainstream market, where the commercial aspects are at least as important as the artistic ones. Others may seek to explore material that will appeal to a limited but dedicated fan base exclusively, where the main artistic limitations reside within what one suspects are the expectations of the chosen audience. But there are also artists that don't seem to care too much about any target audience at all, seemingly crafting material exactly as they want to and not giving a second thought as to who might buy it. I suspect that Yeti Rain may belong if not in full then at least partially among the latter segment of music creators. Thankfully, I might add. The universe explored by this trio is one with quite a few unique touches. The overall mood is one that is dark, brooding and menacing for starters. Echoing rhythmic effects of the kind that produce associations with explosions from far away in distant outer space are something of a red thread throughout this disc, a minor detail that does quite a good job of establishing a distinct identity to the material at hand. Clever use of synths and bass guitar strengthens the associations towards the bleak and lonely realms of far away corners of alien galaxies, at least in my mind, where resonating tones and brief fragmented sound details manage to craft a backdrop with a strong and distinct atmosphere. As far as references go, I'll have to bring in one rather obscure one: Norwegian artist Ivar Mykland, who started exploring territories of a similar nature with the band Munch in the late 80's, and continues doing so as a solo artist these days. As for the six compositions on Yeti Rain's latest endeavor, they can be divided into three different categories: Fusion, ambient and avant-garde, the opening two tracks covering the fusion genre quite nicely and brilliantly, with clever and at times rather experimental sax and bass combinations against the aforementioned backdrop and steady rhythms added in as well. Opening track Planets features an initial and final movement with more of a dream-laden, nightmare-inspired ambient nature, with a neatly evolving fusion-oriented segment in between that starts off with searching, careful explorations and ends in a frantic mode prior to the dying sounds of the end theme. The following Dragonfly Algebra also features an introduction of a more searching and careful nature prior to settling into a high-energy escapade with a hard metallic bass and what appears to be an improvised sax solo of an increasingly frantic and experimental nature. The Meeting and Fires of Heaven are briefer and calmer affairs, with slowly surging instrument textures as dominant features of creations that fit quite nicely into a dark ambient description, with The Meeting also sporting a rather surprising and enriching twist towards the end. The Sky Sickened is an effort of a more distinctly experimental nature, featuring a long narration intoned by Kopecky with a dampened, dark distorted voice, backed by the careful foundation previously described and with frequent inserts of high-intensity and apparently free-form chaotic themes. The last few minutes of the song then takes a left turn to explore an expression rather similar to the one explored onDragonfly Algebra, ending this piece in a nice and intriguing manner. Final effort The Sixth Bowl of Wrath also contains what appears to be a spoken voice, but this one distorted, dampened and less frequent, placed within a musical context closer to the ambient-oriented side of the band's repertoire, all well to brilliantly executed too, where the main limitation in appeal arguably is the bleak, ominous and overall dark atmosphere that is an underlying feature from the opening notes all the way to the end.
Conclusion. If you enjoy truly dark music, emphasizing bleak, ominous and brooding musical details, Yeti Rain is a band you might want to examine more closely. Ranging from ambient to fusion in stylistic expression there's a good variety to the material at hand, where the all-encompassing darkness of the atmospheres explored forms a solid and unique identity. One that most likely will appeal to a select few only, but for those this disc will be a treasured item frequently explored and enjoyed.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 11, 2011
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