When the four chambers of Wzt Hearts
ceased bleating back in 2008, like any good cardiac arrest, Jason Urick took
it…well, he took it to heart. In his various solo guises since, gone is the
three-pronged battering of the black Hearts’ Nicaea: noise, chaos and a total dearth of
sonic scruples. Be it his long dormant moonstealingproject, that Wildfire
Wildfire split seven inch with Jason Willet or his Thrill Jockey debut from
last year, Husbands, Urick’s been all about the Drang, with nary
a threat of Sturm.
Too subtle for electro, and yet far
too involved for the ambient tag, Urick’s laptop work has continually resisted
a proper taxonomy. Maybe that’s why he’s not better known outside of Baltimore’s dubious West End.
Inside the day-glo walls of his B.Y.O.B., smoke-it-if-you-bought-it Floristree
venue though, Jason Urick reigns o’er – a jolly, preternaturally catholic roi grayed before his time. And perhaps nowhere has Urick’s Mac sounded more
diverse than on his latest long player Fussing & Fighting.
Whereas before he was content to let
the samples lead, for the first time in a long time, Urick himself intervenes
here, tightening the contextual leash by adding that most fundamental of
musical elements – rhythm. Rumbling and fumbling, tumbling and bumbling, these
three extended tracks (not including the throw-away title remix by Matt Papich
and Dustin Wong’s Ecstatic Sunshine) are a veritable battle royale of prelude,
fugue and riff. And in the latter moments of “Make This Critical/Sleeping Bag”
anyways, there’s a churning, hyperkinetic vamp that almost recalls the Urick of
As per his own rails, development is
still glacially protracted and with regards to form, it’s more of the same old
song and dance. Nonetheless, Urick’s economy of means here, at least Gestalt-wise,
would embarrass both monk and Spartan. Perhaps never before has a soundscape
artist done so much time – over half-an-hour, easily – for so few source
infractions, especially given Urick’s own assertion that he was listening to a
lot of Peter Rehberg at the time.
If Casals was correct, all music is
either, one, singing or, two, dancing. And while there’s certainly no haste to
trot out your best blue suedes for this one, unlike some of Urick’s past
offerings, there’s no need to reach immediately for the caffeine either. As
much as Apple would like to think, no, there’s not an app to thank for that.
What it is, actually, is Jason Urick’s hard-learned wisdom that sometimes even
aural aesthetes need a little room to groove. That, and maybe an obfuscatingly
sly nanosample of London’s
reggae linchpin Jah Shaka.
DOWNLOAD: “Make This Critical/Sleeping Bag” LOGAN K. YOUNG