Review: Ursa Minor

Ursa Minor
“Silent Moving Picture”
(Smells Like Records)

In a time when experimental music is about dramatic effect, Michelle Casillas experiments with subtlety and sounds unusual as they are understated on this song-oriented after-hours album gem. Much of the texture here derives from the juxtaposition of Casillas’ gently rolling piano and Fender Rhodes organ against the low-lever but wildly distorted guitars of Tony Scherr (Sex Mob, Lounge Lizard, Bill Frisell). Another Lounge Lizard is one hard: cellist Jane Scarpantoni as well as other one-song appearances by Yuri Lemishev (accordion) and Chris Brown (clavinet). Another feature of this album is the group’s take on the songs “Summertime Rolls” from Jane’s Addiction.