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I Love You

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Album Review

Electronic drone sculptor Jason Urick left his longtime home of Baltimore, Maryland shortly before the completion of his third full-length, I Love You, hopping over to the rainy, creative wonderland of Portland, Oregon. This transition and its effects on Urick's personal life were intense, to say the least, and the music on I Love You reflects both a life in transition and Urick's sound moving into new, sometimes scary places. Previous albums explored slowly shifting landscapes in a far more ambient head space, with glacial drones burying gauzy beats on his debut Husbands and in-the-red dub echoes colliding with minimal textures on Fussing & Fighting. I Love You is essentially the same framework as those drawn-out wanderings, replacing synthy tones and reggae fragments with crumbling electronics and sometimes grizzly sounds of a human origin. These disembodied voices, processed into oblivion, suggest an air of displacement and someone struggling with a sense of belonging. "Ageless Isms," the album's centerpiece, starts with a blown-out, eastern-sounding sample, looped slowly into infinity as harsh human wails and equally static electronic washes bubble up around it. It's some of Urick's most pop-curious material, and the songs on I Love You traipse in and out of this fractured pop experimentation. "The Crying Song (Album Mix)" is a digital jumble of wah-wah-filtered raga tones and melodic vamping. In comparison to the more troubled moments here, it comes off as pandering, a post-Ducktails shard of crystal-clutching, hypnopompic trippiness that hangs around for a little too long. Urick's penchant for slow evolutions is where his sounds excel. When he returns to the haunted rumble of album-closer "Syndromes," I Love You reaches its wounded apex. Stereo-panned waves of bleak anxiety crash in slow motion over almost indiscernible vocal snippets. There's a nearly pleading quality to the composition which seems to be reaching for a resolution (or possibly a relief) that never completely comes. This track is on par with the darkest Fennesz moments, or even parts of noise/drone artist Kevin Drumm's early catalog and stands as the most compelling moment on the record. While these songs could seem initially scattered or confused, the listening experience is best viewed as a whole, a winding journey rather than an immediate understanding. As rewarding as his earlier slow-paced drones are, so is his incremental development as an artist with each subsequent album, I Love You being one more step along the way.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A fixture on the Baltimore experimental scene, Jason Urick began performing solo ambient dronescapes under the name themoonstealingproject in the late 1990s. In the mid-2000s, he joined noise-pop improvisers Wzt Hearts (pronounced "Wet Hearts"), adding live processing and laptop manipulation to the group's open-ended post-rock wanderings. When Wzt Hearts disbanded in 2008, Urick reverted to solo mode, crafting glacially slow compositions inspired by minimal techno pioneers like Pan Sonic, Ryoji Ikeda,...
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I Love You, Jason Urick
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