Boomkat Product Review:
Montréal's URA joins the Motion Ward family with a liminal set of dubwise/clubwise ambience. Imagine a Chain Reaction LP that scraped as much influence from trap as it did techno, and you'll have a clue where this one's going.
Zac MacArthur follows albums on Montréal's Collect-Call imprint with "Baby With A Halo", his most unified statement to date. The album is basically a suite of dubbed-out club abstractions, but while Chain Reaction took the majority of its ideas from Jamaican dub techniques and Detroit techno, URA takes a more contemporary track, widening his creative net to absorb rap triplets and drill womps. At its most blunted, the album sounds like Clams Casino's early instrumentals dubbed to cassette and put thru a spin cycle a few times.
MacArthur's stylistic peers are Special Guest DJ's 3XL/Experiences Ltd. crew - think Ben Bondy, mu tate, Pendant - but his music relies more heavily on club aesthetics. On early moments like 'Medicate', he abstracts rave wobbles and drill womps into disorienting, dubbed-out rhythms - leaving only a meatless skeleton to suggest form, it's an inverse of our expectations, like Vladislav Delay's crucial early material. '4give' is more clearly structured, building scratchy lowercase trap beats against spectral pads, while 'Baby With A Halo' is pure melancholy lo-fi rap euphoria. Recommended.