Jason Urick – I Love You (Thrill Jockey)


On his glorious follow-up to 2009′ debut solo album Husbands, former WZT Hearts member Jason Urick erases the boundaries between dub, drone and his own sort of parallel-universe ragas. Recorded in the Netherlands, Baltimore and his current base of Portland, Oregon, I Love You was assembled and mixed entirely on Urich’ laptop.

For all its otherworldly qualities, the album is defined by its many moving parts: it tickles the ear with just how much is going on, and at times seems to play tricks of volume and distance, especially under the influence of headphones. The opening title track introduces drone and ambience but explores multiple themes at once in what feels like a galaxy-sized palette. It’s quite fast-moving by ambient standards.

The longest track at nearly 11 minutes, “Don’ Digital’ starts with a twisted, impressionistic vocal loop. Again the thing is alive and prone to shape-shifting. What sounds like an accordion is looped, and there’ a drowsy dub quality as well. It all sounds oddly at a remove, as if recorded live. “Ageless Isms’ has more dub in it still, though an itchy drone inches beneath. It distils Urick’ knack for creepy beauty and three-dimensional space, its mutant melodies and watery current eventually dissipating in a sort of yawn.

If an album like this could yield a “hit,” it would be “The Crying Song’. It’s a spine-tingling raga of layers in motion, with a drone that sounds like bagpipes regurgitated by an ancient computer. For the most part, the closing “Syndromes’ is as heavy and vast as what precedes it. But then it plays around with pared-back lightness in its last two minutes, making for some of the most subtly thrilling moments on a record that bends sound and space to its very will.

Doug Wallen


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