1. The Path Beneath 16:49
2. Essential Salt 18:06
3. "I Will Be the Light" 22:18
Ur were born in early 2005 as a collaboration between Federico Esposito and Mauro Sciaccaluga, both active in the italian hardcore circuit.
Federico was a member of Heartside and is also responsible of the industrial / power-electronics project Den LXV. Mauro is still a member of Never Was, Downright and Kafka, and he is also collaborating with Den LXV.
Federico and Mauro were later joined by Andrea Ferraris, past and present member of Burning Defeat, Permanent Scar, Onefineday, Deep End and One By One.
Ur made their live debut at the Afe-Party in November 2005, recently they also opened for Eugene Chadbourne and Wolf Eyes during their italian tours.
Their music is mostly based on free improvisation and its sonorities can't easily be described without referring to the well-known and wildest experiments of Industrial music of the late '70s / early '80s.
There is a strong dramatic feeling in their powerful sound, where everything seems to reproduce a sort of wedding between the modernity of the media and the primordial instincts of the performers.
Following their self-released "Baptism & Birthday", "Triadic Memories" was released on Afe in April 2006.
An Ur CD entitled "Trieb" was released in 2008 on Topheth Prophet in Israel, soon followed by a CD-R entitled "Four Calls For Locust" published by Mask of the Slave in Transylvania - Romania.
Craig Hilton was born in 1972, he has been playing the guitar since he was 10. His first experimentations in sound began as a teenager with a guitar and a 4 track tape recorder, unknowing of the catalogue of experimental music that came before him.
After intensive study of classical and flamenco guitar for years, he finally started to return to the idea of abstract sound designs and noise with an industrial project called Sixtus V, where he became obsessed with the idea of using electronic means (i.e. samplers, treated tape loops) to achieve sounds he was not able to create with guitar alone.
These experimentations led him down the path of more "stand-alone" pieces, utilizing clusters and creating large walls of sound completely in the electronic domain. As a result, there was a collaboration between his project at the time and the late MSBR.
His first release was a collaboration with Yannick Franck (Belgium) entitled "Amatra". A second collaboration happened with Maurizio Bianchi (Italy) entitled "PU94" which is being re-released in late 2008.
A solo CD "The Smoking Mirror", released early 2008, incorporated much of what he wanted to achieve after the long and intensive collaborations with Yannick and MB.
Here's a description of "I Will Be the Light" written by Ur themselves:
We've never met Craig personally, we've come into each other thru the web and indirectly it happened cause one of us had just interviewed Maurizio Bianchi while Craig had just collaborated with him for the recording of "PU 94".
We've sent him what at the time were our forthcoming releases and later we expressed mutual interest in putting our effort into a collaboration, that's how it all started.
We've been recording four different takes we've sent Craig to manipulate and rework, telling him he was free to do whatever he wanted, I think he finished the work during the summer and he did it using a mixed approach.
In "The Path Beneath" and "Essential Salt" he gave a new shape to our materials and worked on dynamics and volume showing his great skill in the use of crescendos. In "I Will Be the Light" he joined us (sort of) by leaving the original intention of our track almost untouched, he virtually played with us and got sucked perfectly in the atmosphere of the song.
The track and album title comes from an article on Timothy Leary's last moments, when asked what he wanted to do with his body, old Timothy said that he wanted to be cremated, and that he wanted to get his ashes into space.
"An essence of Timothy's ashes would have been launched on board the Pegasus rocket, organized by the first entrepreneurial space burial company in Houston, Texas, Celestis, Inc." ... "When he saw the three minute Celestis video, he jumped up and down in his wheelchair, ecstatic as he watched the burst of light caused by the burn-up of the rocket stage to which he'll be attached when it re-enters the earth's atmosphere. He was, also, glad to learn he wouldn't become space debris. When he looked so relieved as he said, "Finally, I'll be a space pioneer, and everyone will know: That will be me. I will be the light", I knew this was the very moment when he decided to take the step, to release himself from his body." (Carol Sue Rosin).*
"Light is the language of the sun and the stars where we will meet again." (Timothy Leary, 1996)
[* taken from earthportals.com/Portal_Ship/rosin.html]
"...Tre brani di durata prossima ai venti minuti che convincono soprattutto nello sviluppo piacevolmente mutevole che alterna pathos scoperto, inquiete esplosioni, torbidi crepitii e taglienti scudisciate in "The Path Beneath", con "Essential Salt" che predilige una meno frastagliata attitudine ambient e "I Wll Be the Light" che procede in lenta ascesa seraficamente lustmordiana."
Blow Up [more]
"A joint fascination for the work of Maurizio Bianchi brought Ur in contact with Craig Hilton, who did a collaboration with Bianchi. Ur sent Hilton four different takes of music and asked him to work freely with that. The title comes from Timothy Leary, about his ashes sent into space. The whole Bianchi link is not very difficult to hear in the three pieces. Unlike Ur on their own, which have a more gritty, lo-fi electronic sound, this is more of a digital processing kind. The metallic sounds are filtered and re-processed into a new world of its own. Floating like rusty space ships - to stay on the thematic approach of the title, moving and humming. A bit like Organum's early works, but then covered with electrically charged dust. A very fine work, more refined that the previous Ur release, and the industrial music of the 21st century. Chilling."
Vital Weekly [more]
"...Ur + Craig Hilton offerieren mit "I Will Be the Light" eine Veröffentlichung der Spitzenklasse, welche durch vielseitige Atmosphären wie Strukturen besticht, die sich schnell in den Gehörgängen verankern und zum Kopfkino animieren – meine absolute Kaufempfehlung!"
Kultur Terrorismus [more]
"...A sound of rattling static is starting "The Path Beneath". Subliminal sounds rise from this electrified static, and slowly you will get in more mellow atmospheres with shifting sounds of manipulated voice. The music is full of static, drones and fluxing sounds that swift in the atmosphere like a colossal spaceship in the vast universe and is coming nearer very slow. While listening to "I Will Be the Light" you'll get sucked in the atmosphere very easily as the sounds are consumer friendly. The music slowly evolves and the lengthy tracks seems to be separated in chapters as the sounds continually changes from static to more recognisable sounds like brass and voice... Maurizio Bianchi doesn"t seem very far away as influence to this work and the metal rattling and scraping has the subtlety of Organum. Ingredients to make sure you are dealing with a fascinating album with a symbiosis between noise and spacious ambient."
"..."The Path Beneath" unloads from the very beginning, only then dropping the volume to draw the listener in. The music crackles like fire and noise bursts into the quiet, foreboding atmosphere like someone operating a grinding wheel in a cavernous factory building. Eventually, the noise builds to a deafening crescendo, only to end in spastic bursts of noise. The silence after these assaults makes you quite aware of what you have just listened to. "Essential Salt" follows a similar trajectory, with noise that gives way to atmosphere. This track incorporates long periods of silence, but after the opening track, the listener is waiting to be assaulted by noise. However, we are met with a soothing wash of heavy drones with a bit of noise beneath the surface, rather than a outright blast of noise. Nicely done... This album uses moments of silence and quiet to draw in the listener and provide a sense of motion in the composition. Despite Ur's self description that they are all about free improvisation, this album feels like a meticulously crafted composition..."
Chain D.L.K. [more]
"La nuova rappresentazione del terzetto genovese, questa volta affiancato sebbene solo virtualmente dal One Man Band Craig Hilton, continua il proprio viaggio post-apocalisse, intrapreso anni orsono, all'interno di cavi elettrici ed echi di una pallida umanità quasi dimenticata. Anche questa volta le evocazioni ambientali procedono non tanto per immagini quanto all'interno di un viatico sgranato e puntiforme: indimenticabile e superba la proiezione dell' "abominevole" Begotten di E. Elias Merhige durante i live act della band. Un'esplorazione nell'improvvisazione che speriamo continui a lungo e offra sempre nuovi spunti per la ricerca. Alcune volte l'aria è talmente rarefatta da generare un senso di soffocamento all'ascoltatore diffidente: più che di predisposizione a queste sonorità credo sia richiesta una capacità di visionaria immaginazione e un'assolutà libertà da pregiudizi..."
"...Both "The Path Beneath" and "Essential Salt", who were manipulated by Hilton, are beautiful in the way they develop. The organic-sounding layers of low trumpet or trumpet like drones, as heard in "Essential Salt" are making the high pitched shrieks that accompany them sound even more majestic. A plague of locusts is literally being played over the low drones of the (Salty, if you will) ground. Ur manage to sound ceremonial without the usual gimmicks of ritualistic music. "I Will Be the Light" is a different matter entirely. Sounding powerful and dramatic from the first moment to the last. With metallic screams over a low melody that grows more and more intense as each second passes. It seems like the last track grows very emotional and while it begins very slowly and heavily. It will end with the feeling of spreading infinitely into space. Almost begging to be heard in complete darkness and at full volume, this third part of the album can charm you with the slow, whale-like breathing of its begining and the way it becomes a stellar overdrive sonic sun... A great album for a band you should put your eye on!"
Heathen Harvest [more]
"E' un viaggio sonoro ai limiti degli inferi quello che contraddistingue questo lavoro che i genovesi Ur hanno preparato con l'aiuto dello sperimentatore statunitense Craig Hilton. Il prodotto di quest'incontro regala un parto di tre tracce di rumorismo ambientale dal suono astratto e densissimo. Un esteso mantra senza compromesso alcuno. Una dolorosa nenia diabolica. Un bagno nell'acido che non prevede nessun tipo di redenzione. Un lungo ronzio per l'apocalisse che segue la lezione di un maestro del genere come il nostro immenso Maurizio Bianchi. Infernale stratificazione di suoni nichilisti come si suonavano in Inghilterra nei primi anni 80, ad esempio i Nocturnal Emissions ma anche i primi cerimoniali Current 93..."