Jason Urick: Husbands
A consummate headphones record, Husbands is the latest in a long string of recent releases that linger suggestively at the intersection of straight ambient atmospherics, bombed-out noise, and blissed-tone drone. Depending on your listening preferences, you can direct thanks or blame toward New Age Tapes, Holy Mountain, No Fun, Kranky, Not Not Fun, and a ton of other imprints.
WZT Hearts--the Baltimore outfit laptop maestro Jason Urick recorded and performed with prior to its late 2008 dissolution--cranked out thick, Campbell's Chunky vertigo, a drain-clogging stew of snagged glitch, rainbowed drone, and digital feedback interspersed with overprocessed live-band glimpses. Urick's solo work feels considerably more meditative, if not outright medicated.
"Strides" sends forth wave after lapping wave of codeine synth and organ washes until a somnolent, amniotic din congeals. Dazed, echoing scales and wordless exultations zag, warp, and bubble up through the quivering sonic surface of "Let There Be Love," a pink-sunset fugue whose twilit seams Urick lovingly teases into shimmering ripples. "National Treasure" marks the point where shadows start creeping into Husbands' comfortably numb pup tent. Phantom drones twirl, drifting in and out of hearing range, cloaked in a faintly menacing electronic buzz, giving way in time to awestruck, amorphous synth drifts--only to revert, oh-so-slowly, to haunting first principals.
What to make of closer "The Eternal Return"? It's the album's harshest and most overtly sample-heavy offering, yet for all of its end-of-days gloom--hissing rivulets of static, children's voices looping nightmarishly, disconcerting industrial tapping, smothering slabs of white-hot guitar blare laced with what sounds suspiciously like discordant snatches of harmonica, of all things--it nonetheless comforts in Urick's deft ability to orchestrate and integrate chaotic elements; you never get the sense, here or anywhere else on Husbands, that he's anything other than in complete and utter control of the sonics he commands.