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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange CD (album) cover

THE APOCALYPSE INSIDE OF AN ORANGE

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

 

Eclectic Prog

4.15 | 97 ratings

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The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Omar's fourth studio album, sees Omar bring in Juan Alderete on bass, Money Mark on keyboard and synthesizer, Adrian Terrazas-Gonzalez on saxophone and bass clarinet and finally Omar's brother, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez on drums to form the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Quintet. Although recorded in 2005 in Amsterdam, it was not released on CD until earlier on this year.

The album starts off like a chilled out jazz rock album with saxophone dominant opening track 'Melting Chariot'. Then second track, 'Knee Deep in the Loving Hush of Heresy' heads straight in to a frenzied, intensive blast of heavy guitars and drumming, before heading back into that chilled out zone, like that of the first track. The track bounces between the frenzied moments and the chilled out moments, often with a short pause after the frenzied moments showing the band's tightness and timing. The track exits on a high with the crazy guitar and drumming which sets the scene nicely for the next track.

The third track of the album, for me is the centrepiece of the whole album. At over 18 minutes and 39 seconds in length, 'Jacob van Lennepkade II' accounts for nearly a third of the hour plus long album. The track is based on the riff from 'Viscera eyes' from The Mars Volta's third album 'Amputechture'. In my opinion it is one of the best riffs Omar has created out of all the stuff he has done with The Mars Volta, At the Drive-in and his solo stuff. Both of these tracks appear to be written at the same time by Omar during his stay in Amsterdam. While 'Viscera eyes' was over 9 minutes on the album, it was reduced to just over four minutes to be a single.

In 'Jacob van Lennepkade II' the riff is a mainstay throughout the track, as other instruments and effects come and go to keep the track not only interesting, but also most enjoyable. After a quick search on the internet 'Jacob van Lennepkade' appears to be a street in Amsterdam which may be where Omar stayed or recorded this album. The guitar solo around the 7 minute 30 second mark is a particular highlight. While there is a sublime saxophone solo which comes in about 10 minutes 30 seconds into the track, reaching its peak in the 11 minute 30 second mark and it doesn't finish until the 14th minute. I just love the way the ideas are allowed to fully expand within the track as if time is not important. The track makes The Mars Volta seem like an accessible band even though we all know that is not true. This track instantly makes the album stand out amongst his others and shows Omar's true talent in not only his guitar playing ability but also his song writing ability.

If the first two tracks build up to the centerpiece then the last five tracks are definitely the come down. The first of these tracks, 'Fuerza de Liberacion' is destroyed with bad vocals courtesy of the 'Voice 4' which Omar uses to create vocals which sound like he has put his fist in his mouth as you can hardly make out what he is saying. After this hiccup the album returns to the nice chilled out sounds of 'Spared from the Insult List' and 'Baby Fat'. Then the album takes an interesting turn with the 11 minute, eerie 'The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange'. It is the only track on the album without out any bass or drums. It would be a great soundtrack for a Horror movie. I can just imagine this music playing in the background as a group of people enter the pyramids in Egypt who are really crept out by all the tombs and scared by any sound they hear. Album closer 'Comapony' displays arguably Omar's best guitar work on the album. It is one of those tracks where I recognise the tune but I have no idea where from. No doubt from one of The Mars Volta albums.

Overall this is the best Omar album I have heard so far and I currently own 7 of them. Not only is it filled with Omar's great guitar work, but it is Adrian Terrazas-Gonzalez's exquisite saxophone playing that really defines the album and is what makes it different and refreshing. 'Jacob van Lennepkade II' makes the album worth a purchase by itself. But you can't forget the other tracks as they offer great variety and depth to this well structured album.

The Rain Man | 5/5 |

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