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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Mantra Hiroshima CD (album) cover

MANTRA HIROSHIMA

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

Eclectic Prog


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snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One more ORL release of year 2010 is his return to collaboration with Hella drummer Zach Hill (Hill participated in recording of El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez (album Cryptomnesia) in 2009).

Omar is extremely productive with his solo releases during last few years, but you never know what the music will be presented on every new release. This time it's spacey psychedelic jamming,played by trio (ORL, his regular collaborator Juan Alderete de la Pena and drummer Zach Hill). Music is complex, drumming is really great,and I like some guitar works and electronic effects as well. As on many Omar's latest albums, there are strong jazz fusion and math rock influence in music.

Main problem with this release there are no compositions at all. Ain't like I hate free improvisations, no - I really like such kind of music! But the musicians should be extremely talented and inspired to play such ambitious kind of music at high level. I have no negative comments on musicianship level on this album, all artists are really great.

But musical material isn't. In fact all recordings sound as rehearsal/jamming session, without any concept,idea or structure. There are many of interesting moments , but in whole it doesn't sound as material for album. Possibly, fans could enjoy musicianship and jamming there in this music, but recordings are really to raw and unfocused to attract unprepared listener.

My rating is 2,5, for the name of Omar's talent rounded to 3.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#341328)
Posted Friday, December 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Wicket
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Just when I thought the one man that sparked my interest in progressive music had fallen to the Latin side, he releases this album.

I had not known it yet, but the Mars Volta's "De-Loused In The Comatorium" was the singular album that had begun my journey through the hidden world of prog rock. Over 7 years later the picture looks very different. With every successive album release Omar had made, the spastic ingenuity and jam tendencies of TMV had slowly been vanishing before my very, uh, ears.

"Se Dice Bisonte, No Buffalo" and "Old Money" were and are particular gems of Omar's solo career, and the principle concept of flowing tracks (so as to feel like the entire album is 1 song) as constantly grabbed my attention much to my delight more often than not. Eventually, "Solar Gambling" signaled his slow transformation to his "Latino" side, despite not feeling the effects until much later. "Cryptmonesia", "Xenophanes" and the unpredictable, spastic, but still somewhat enjoyable "Sepulcros De Miel" rolled off the line (admist soundscapes like "Despair" and "Tychozorente") before "Ciza'a De Los Amores" put TMV's prog style in Omar's playing to rest, for good. Forever. Dead. 6 feet underground. Done-ski.

Then, I heard about a collaboration with Hella drummer Zach Hill, and my hopes were once again rejuvenated.

Not necessarily a big Hella fan, but as a drummer, I heard Hill mature from a spastic, stupid teenager into a refined drummer that, although there are times where he lets loose during this record, manages to retain the intensity to become a more refined, more detailed, more eloquent drummer. I have also listened to the genre of "math rock" from whence said maniacal drummer originated from. It's mainly based around unusual time signatures and rapid time signature changes along with unusual chord patterns and "stop-start rhythms".

A few listens to random tracks throughout the albums concluded that the entire album is just one big jam fest. And I love me some jam fest.

Heralding back to my obsession with jam bands like Phish and Umphrey's McGee, Omar once again reignited the spark within his magical retro guitar playing. The only significant difference is that this album was released at what I believe to be the climax of his "transformation" to his Latino experimental self.

In other words, if you don't know what you're getting into, do not get this album. If you do, know that there is a lot of spastic maniacal drumming, weird guitar chords and creepy synth effects.

Listen at your own peril. *maniacal laughter* (I love the word "maniacal")

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Send comments to Wicket (BETA) | Report this review (#474971)
Posted Sunday, July 03, 2011 | Review Permalink

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