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Album Review

Ui is a trio that pieces together instrumentals throughout Lifelike. The prefix "post" could be applied to the music, also to Ui's relationship with Stereolab in John McEntire's studio for Uilab. Ui falls into a nice groove at the beginning of the record, like something from an Isotope 217 record — mid-'70s jazz fusion feel with fewer solos and more electronics. The beginnings of all of the songs grab your attention, but do not have that something extra to keep your mind from wandering. The mixing of Lifelike is wonderful headphone music. Many instruments create rich layers, each complementing the other. Polyrhythms seem to be the backbone of Lifelike, creating the main pulse, while guitars and electronics sprinkle on top to add layers. The horns throughout the record add a nice contrast to the electronics, but those moments are few. "Laceria" is a track that stands out, having a dub feel with breakbeats. Rhythm is the concentration and moving force of the tune with guitars providing the subtle melody. The switch in listening action comes from the adding of small layers at a time. Ui is very consistent throughout, but has nothing to push it to the next level. Nothing really swings here. Basslines with rhythms sound like marches. "Exeunt" is a drone soundscape, ambient music with tension created by the electronics in the background. Bottom tones rise up at the end of the song, giving Lifelike a quality finish to a solid record by Ui.


Formed: 1990 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Allied to the more organic, instrumental groovesters in the American post-rock scene led by Tortoise, Ui focuses on angular grooves provided by a dual-bass attack. The New York band was formed in 1990 by bassist Sasha Frere-Jones (formerly of the group Dolores and probably better known as a journalist than a musician) and drummer Clem Waldmann. The duo played several gigs, occasionally with additional bassist Alex Wright and DJ/percussionist David Weeks, before replacing them with bassist Wilbo Wright...
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Lifelike, Ui
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