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Jason Urick - I Love You

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Artist: Jason Urick

Album: I Love You

Label: Thrill Jockey

Review date: Jan. 25, 2012


Jason Urick - "The Crying Song (Album Mix)" (I Love You)


Jason Urickís solo work kicks against easy categorizations: too rhythmic to file conveniently under drone; too abrasive to be considered properly ambient. The five pieces heard on I Love You, his second solo LP, bristle as you listen to them. Like some uncanny deep-sea creature, they toss through speakers, shifting as theyíre observed. And though I Love You can at times appeal on an intellectual level more than an aesthetic one, it still has a host of admirable (and listenable) qualities.

Urickís 2010 12Ē This Fussing & Fighting featured a dense, looming bass sound. On I Love You, that sound has become more of a gateway to relaxation: the albumís initial mood is one of a hazy, deep-focus landscape, and the feeling of renewed expansiveness that comes from it. Urick isnít necessarily aiming to lull the albumís listeners into a blissed-out place throughout, however. Partway through ďDonít Digital,Ē the hazy melodies fall just slightly out of sync, creating a low-key sense of dissonance, a subtle disorientation.

An underlying rhythm eventually takes shape; despite the sense of drift throughout I Love You, this is a work thatís constructed on the level of the album. ďAgeless IsmsĒ features a steady, dub-influenced beat throughout; at times, Iím wondering if Urickís haziness is a Baltimore art-rock response to the aesthetic of the German label Jahtari ó a Baltimore art-punk take on a similarly-minded reggae/dub mutation. Though ultimately, I Love You feels more transitional than anything: itís too prickly, too esoteric, to function as a purely ambient work. Those blissful components remain present throughout, however, along with the rhythmic undercurrents. Thereís a restlessness to this work, a sense of experimentation and a search for some new sound, some undiscovered moment of sonic epiphany. It doesnít always succeed, but hearing the evolution progress over time is fascinating in its own right.

By Tobias Carroll

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