Music Review – Ursa Minor, Silent Moving Picture
Ursa Minor may be best described as after-hours, folk/jazz experimental music. The tone of the music slowly rocks back and forth between a moody Portis head track and a twangy Joni Mitchell song.
Singer-songwriter Michelle Casillas is able to combine subtle jazz dynamics with a sensuously fragile Billy Holiday troubled sadness. Her inflexion and phrasing are reminiscent of Fiona Apple, lilting from yearning highs to crooning lows almost instantaneously.
The songs created for Silent Moving Picture, the debut album, are complex for such a small group, sometimes using elements of cello, accordion, and clavinet alongside Rob Jost (bass/vocals) and Robert DiPietro (drums/vocals) who make up the rest of the core trio.
Silent Moving Picture is a strong album. The songs are diverse yet smooth in transition with a low-key propulsion guiding you from track to track. The stormy vocals set alongside the haunting instrumental backdrop make for wonderful unobtrusive any time of day music. Perhaps the only downfall of this band is that they sometimes sound too much like the distinctively recognizable samples from the famous names mentioned above.