Jason Urick: I Love You
Thrill Jockey

As direct as its title, I Love You presents thirty-seven minutes of mind-melting soundscaping that Portland-based Jason Urick wholly manipulated, mixed, and constructed on his laptop. It's his fifth release and third on Thrill Jockey since 2009's Husbands, but the new album has little in common with the gentle ambient character of that debut. I Love You is instead a considerably noisier collection that brings with it more than a little turbulence. For those who wish to do so, the album can be seen as a reflection of Urick's own unsettled life, as the producer found himself experiencing conflicting feelings about life in general during the album's creation and fluctuating between moments of excitement and anxiety. The title derives from a film of the same name by Marco Ferreri that features a man who falls in love with a keychain that would say the words “I Love You” when whistled at. Obviously struck by the film, Urick began to use the phrase as a mantra while working on the album as a way to help bring some sense of attunement and clarity to the process.

Certainly an out-of-time and geographical rootlessness permeates much of the material, with “Ageless Isms,” for instance, evidencing little or no connection to any currently fashionable trend or genre of music-making. In this case Urick appears intent on channeling lost souls from centuries past with raw and distorted sounds emerging from African soil like some primal, nightmarish ooze. Primitive percussion and horn sounds rumble at the center of the vortex but so distortedly the sounds fill the air like diseased vapours. Erupting as it does with shuddering convulsions and lashing windstorms, the title track likewise seems to well up from the very bowels of the earth, while in “Don't Digital” a simple vocal chant becomes a dizzying mantra before disappearing within a careening mass of clockwork rhythms. Urick typically pitches the material at a mind-warping level such that “The Crying Song,” for example, bleats like some lumbering ‘60s loft jam by tripping sitar and harpsichord players. At such moments, the material sounds more like a newly unearthed tape documenting a blistering set by Tony Conrad or The Theatre of Eternal Music than anything laid down in 2011—Urick's intent, presumably.

February 2012