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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Cryptomnesia CD (album) cover


Omar Rodriguez-Lopez


Eclectic Prog

3.03 | 44 ratings

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3 stars What if the recently deceased Captain Beefheart decided to make a hardcore punk album?

The dissonant harmonies and insistent poly-rhythms make me recall 1969's Trout Mask Replica. To be clear, I'm don't find Don Van Vliet's music pleasing or even regularly listenable: and any self-respecting human being would probably find themselves turning "Cryptomnesia" down in volume, if not off altogether. The lyrics are a wry, psychedelic commentary on the excessive and immature "punk" aesthetic Cedric Bixler Zavala was acquainted with growing up in El Paso, Texas: the song title "Shake is for 8th Graders," referring to the dusty remnants of marijuana often found at the bottom of a swiftly disappearing bag, sums up the ridiculous "theme" of this album. Bixler-Zavala's words are crafted to be as blunt and disphonic as the underlying musical texture, produced by the guitarist, Omar A. Rodriguez Lopez. I can almost imagine a furious, glitching android at the producer's desk, distorting the music both literally and figuratively to paint a picture of some sort of bizarre, angular suffering. I suppose that pretty much sums up the 90s hardcore punk scene: These people were disillusioned, childish, and fuming at the nostrils.

Clocking in at about 36 minutes, I propose that what we are hearing is really a postmodern masterpiece in some respects: The music is highly complex, coherent, and provides ironic commentary on the juvenile anger and foul attitude that characterized commercial punk music and commercial punk culture. It is saturated in progressive ethos from its obvious connection to the music of Van Vliet. Overall, it is worth hearing, if in small doses: We even get a sense of the "musical theater" present in many of The Mars Volta's releases. Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala are playing with us, and if we have the wherewithal to play along, the pain is rewarding. After all, the best comedy is a touch cruel. Three stars for effort, but unfortunately, this is not a lasting release.

Brubbrub | 3/5 |


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