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Yeti Rain - Stars Fall Darkly CD (album) cover

STARS FALL DARKLY

Yeti Rain

 

Progressive Electronic

4.44 | 3 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band YETI RAIN have been around in one form or another since 2006, originally a duo but in the last few years expanding to become a trio. So far they have four studio albums to their name, of which "Stars Fall Darkly" is the most recent.

When describing this band and this album, the first stumbling block is probably placing them in a recognizable context. While generally described as an electronic unit, which to some extent can b justified too, the main instruments used and the sound generally explored doesn't have too much in common with electronic music per se. This is a band that primarily revolves around sax and bass, with drums and electronics as almost as important contributors of instrument details. All of them vital to the overall sound I'll hasten to say, but it is the contrast between saxophone ad bass guitar that supplies nerve and tension here.

Bassist William Kopecky supplies these compositions, or perhaps I'd better describe these tracks as improvisations, with his meaty, warm bass guitar. Often with a jazz-tinged sound to it but darker, more aggressive and more than occasionally twisted. Some neat, lighter-toned runs are added on occasion, but also elongated note resonances supplying a gentle and ambient timbre to the proceedings are utilized. Alongside spirited, compact basslines. More often than not with a tone and expression that easily merits a description as dark and dystopian. I just finished reading the book tie-in to the movie World War Z when going through this album, and Yeti Rain in general and Kopecky's bass in particular sounds like something that would have been well suited to that movie.

Roger Ebner's sax supplies emotions on a somewhat different level. Often opening with atmospheric, haunting textures that gradually develop towards wild, intense and atonal frantic ones, but also able and willing to use the sax to convey gentler moods. Shrill, dampened noises that sounds like a wild beat or rampant machine way in the distance, or otherwise crating the notion of something disturbing that may or may not be far away. Jazz-oriented to some extent his contributions too, but like Kopecky's bass in a twisted, somewhat demented manner that should appeal to fans of dystopian landscapes.

Craig Walkner supplies careful percussion effects on one hand, again with something of an expertise in crafting details of an unnerving nature, but is just as important in establishing a firm foundation for Kopecky and Ebner to play upon. We're also treated to a fair few occasions with percussion or drums set up against either bass or sax, that does add a nice variation to the proceedings.

Add in voice effects by Kopecky, generally of an unnerving quality, and the use of dark or unnerving electronic effects, and I think most ingredients in Yeti Rain's very special musical brew have been covered.

As for particular items of interest on this album, I was charmed by the opened Cradled. Combining dark, eastern inspired instrumental details with the voice of a woman's spoken words in Norwegian about the northern lights obviously something that will hit right at home with a Norwegian. But the gentle, haunting desolation of Playground, Nuclear Winter is another fascinating item, a fine example of how ambient music can be a truly unnerving and unsettling experience. But also the aggressive twisted antics of And It Crawled Out merits a mention, as does the unsettling combination of drum rolls and ambient noise exploration of Thundershark in a Dry Asylum. The concluding track Marseille Car Chase ends this production on a nice, energetic and pace-filled note, with a nice contrasting instrument development creating additional tension: The saxophone going from haunting and fairly conventional to wild, twisted and atonal towards the end, while Kopecky's bass opens twisted and demented developing towards a more regular expression. With solid, pace-filled and fairly sophisticated drum patterns beneath.

As for a key audience for this album, a prerequisite will have to be that you enjoy dark and haunting music. A taste for Orwellian inspired landscapes or the realms of Lovecraft given musical shape perhaps, or a fascination for the setting of being the documented last human alive that hears someone knocking on your door. If you also enjoy music with some subtle jazz-tinged details with plenty of saxophone soloing that can go from gentle and ambient to the occasional wild and frantic free improvisation, then I suspect that you'll find Yeti Rain's latest album "Stars Fall Darkly" to be a fascinating experience.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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