Agitated Atmosphere: Rain Drinkers – Yesodic Helices

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Rain Drinkers.

We find Wisconsin to be a media-friendly state. It’s smiling faces and happy residents make the most of isolation; it’s capital city home to a festive university and the small blue-collar town of Green Bay a pride among the state as the last surviving small market professional football team.

Yet there is isolation in Wisconsin. There are those, despite portrayals to the contrary, who retreat from the happy-go-lucky norm and find solace in singularity. They have made their peace with the civilized world, wishing to make a life in the abundance of the natural world.

Not as National Geographic or survivalist as it sounds, Yesodic Helices (released via Brave Mysteries) does embrace the root of man. The desire to be one with nature and family, with nothing to cause interference in the connection between these primal needs. Troy Shafer and Joe Taylor, together known as Rain Drinkers, embody this noble spirit.

Yesodic Helices is dark, but not of the soul. Rather, this is music for the night; when the forest is cold and quiet, when the nocturnal creatures have come out to find unsuspecting prey or to enjoy the silence of the surrounding world asleep. Comprised of two long-running pieces (“Helix I” and “Helix 2,” each occupying one side of vinyl), Yesodic Helices is the communal spirit of man and nature bowing to each other’s tendencies. The music is very industrial, even in its minimalism. It is created by the hands of man from parts appropriated from Mother Earth, but the wilderness gives her blessing throughout the cinematic album. It lends itself to the narrative, as Shafer and Taylor tap into the majesty of rural life. As the world plugs itself into the mainframe, the country retreat of Shafer and Taylor manifests itself into music that reminds us that we are of nature, not just from it.

Listen to two excerpts from Rain Drinkers’ Yesodic Helices:

“Helix 2″ makes this fact painfully truthful. The howls, thunder, and Roland Deschain vigilance toward protecting what must need protecting; to reach The Dark Tower in cyclical metaphor. Rain Drinkers are truly open to the land around them, translating it into music that is beyond mood and mechanics. No matter the instrumentation (of which there is plenty) and the means, Yesodic Helices is of the earth. It was pulled from rich soil by the hands of two men unafraid to show the world the real Wisconsin—and more so, the real world.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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