URSA is a relatively new band coming from Terrassa in Spain who in March released full-length album “nulla.” This fully instrumental project consists of Marcos Cortes on guitar, Pol Ortega on bass, and Robert Arcos on drums.
As is the case with most instrumental albums, “nulla” requires careful listening in order to be fully appreciated. It is definitely not the kind of stuff you can put on as a soundtrack for other activities – complex music, full of twists and turns, yet not unnecessarily complicated, or weird for weirdness’ sake. In fact, the music has a beautiful, natural flow, a clarity and melodic quality. Even though guitars make up a prominent part of the sound, they never get to the point of overwhelming the other instruments. As in most experimental music, however, the foundation of URSA’s sound lies in the rhythm section, especially in the jaw-dropping drumming patterns provided by Arcos, and Ortega’s basslines.
Head-spinningly complex without being cold and sterile as other efforts in a similar vein, “nulla” can easily be listed as one of the top releases of 2017. In fact, the sterling musicianship, coupled with an admirable sense of restraint, focuses on creating cohesive, highly listenable tracks rather than pointless displays of technical skill. However, it is also an album that will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea. Strongly recommended to practising musicians and fans of intricate, challenging music, it may come across as daunting to those fans who prefer a higher measure of melody and accessibility, as well as a more conservative approach to progressive rock.