Although Taylor Freels may have been born too late to experience house music's heyday firsthand (he's only in his early 20s), the LA resident better known as Urulu has built himself a reputation for consistently putting out tunes that harken back to the early '90s. But whereas a track like "1991" seemed like an overt attempt to recapture the aesthetics and sounds of the past, Urulu's latest offering, In My Life, takes a slightly more subtle route.
The three-track record, released via his own Amadeus imprint, doesn't quite carry the same trimmings of prior Urulu material. While the tracks found on Sincerely 91 and Across the Sky EPs often featured grandiose, diva-esque vocal samples, In My Life is much more understated. Here, Urulu uses samples sparingly, and they're often, but not always, in the form of wordless utterances; as such, they're used to accent and complement a track's other components instead of supplanting them altogether. This approach is readily apparent on the title track, which plods along a tight, stomping house groove. Compared to past Urulu efforts, "In My Life" is minimalistic, featuring understated bass, delayed keys that form the lead melody, and a slow synth build that periodically washes over the entire mix. It's unexpected, and although it's certainly a good and interesting listen, it ultimately feels as though the song is building up to—and not quite reaching—something larger.
Over the course of the remaining tracks, Urulu slowly moves back into familiar territory. "These Days"' title is a bit of a misnomer, as some of its elements—the prominent chord stabs, skittering house percussion, and occasional "move your body" sample in particular—feel like enough of a throwback that "Those Days" would perhaps be more of an appropriate name. It's got more club-friendly weight than the title track, although there isn't much variation in the way the song proceeds rhythmically and melodically.
Closing out the record is Broke One's imaginative remix of "In My Life," which, with its energetic, thumping rhythm, ascendant pads, and infectiously wonky reworking of the original's organ lead, renders its source material nearly unrecognizable. Its more energetic pace is an abrupt change from the record's previous offerings, but one could argue that the sudden burst of energy is a necessary change of pace. Following Urulu's tasteful exercises in restraint, Broke One's take lets go of the reins a bit, and wraps In My Life on a high note.