originally released on 100 cassettes via Tranquility Tapes
"Since 2010, Rain Drinkers have skillfully melded genres across incredible releases on Brave Mysteries, Earjerk, Reverb Worship, and their own Shifting Sands Congregation. Wood Violet finds the duo of Xax Mane Krass and Joe Taylor in top form, channeling the creative spirit to seamlessly blend elements of folk, classical, electronic, and psychedelic rock across two new studio tracks and a live recording. Both Krass and Taylor are incredibly adept musicians, weaving violins, synths, guitars, piano, drum machines, and various percussive instruments throughout each piece. There's real drama in each composition as the duo shifts fluidly between moments of pastoral beauty into passages of tense, rousing orchestration and then into smoldering psychedelia. It simply has to be heard to be believed. These two are treading a singular musical path that's deeply and uniquely inspired by the natural beauty found throughout their homeland of Wisconsin. If you're not on board already, this is a great place to dive in. If you already are, you don't need me to tell you that you're in for one hell of a ride with this one."
"The music of Wisconsin duo Rain Drinkers is intelligent and complex, difficult to categorize but easy to enjoy. A single track can range from pastoral ambience to cumulus drone to small orchestra. This is especially true on Wood Violet‘s 20-minute title track. Drum machines and violins lie in a king-sized bed along with guitars, pianos, and synths, discussing what they’d like for breakfast. Eventually they order everything. The tempo shifts with the shadows of the day, ranging from upbeat to nearly still.
If a single moment could summarize an artist, it would be 01:48 of “Wood Violet”. The strings have already smoothed the sheets. Bells have announced the day. Thunderclouds have formed and begun to test their borders. A flock of birds chatters a warning. Then for a second, everything drops out except the birds, as if Xan Mane Krass (who also records as Troy Schafer) and Joe Taylor are saying, notice. The more one listens, the more one hears elements before they come to the fore; the experience with the birds has trained the ear to listen to both the foreground and the background. At various junctures, one might ask, “Where did these drums come from?” “When did this turn into an electronic track?” Or even, “Where did the music go?” Like all of the best Rain Drinkers tracks, “Wood Violet” is a deep sonic forest. One can’t understand it by flying over it; one has to walk through it. Rain Drinkers rewards the slow approach, the measured step, the patient pedestrian. Pack the supplies, don the boots, and plunge in.
Side B begins with “Field of Ash” which launches into an apprehension of strings before smoldering like its title. The quickening pace of the early minutes is matched by the crumbling of the late. The center contains percussive embers, flaring full before burning out. Piano notes waft like smoke. The arc is easier to spot, but the beauty is intact. “Live at the Wisco” rounds out the set, demonstrating that Rain Drinkers is by no means a studio creation. This time, the surge is saved for the finale, providing an unexpected catharsis. A small crowd claps, and we do too."
"[...]These two have been incredibly consistent over the past four years, culminating with a gem of an LP in 2012 on Brave Mysteries. Wood Violet continues that streak with 40 minutes of sprawling, diverse neo-classical ambience. Eastern European-tinged folk motifs fold seamlessly into heavy guitar drones and psychedelic freakouts. These two never release anything less than a fully-realized, narrative document and Wood Violet is no exception. Rain Drinkers continue to be an intriguing, enigmatic force."
"With Wood Violet, they seem to have com a step further in the elaboration of their music, with a bigger presence of electronics and tracks written like chamber music. We are not in experimental music anymore but really in contemporary chamber music. Still dark, still intense, still beautiful and marvelously produced, the music of Rain Drinkers is one of this soundtrack quiet enough for your ears but exciting enough to stimulate brains in lack of imagination. One of my favorite release this year, so far."
-The Morning Slap