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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack Volume One album cover
3.75 | 34 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Around Knuckle White Tile (7:16)
2. Dyna Sark Arches (4:38)
3. Here the Tame Go By (5:11)
4. Deus Ex Machina (5:03)
5. Dramatic Theme (7:16)
6. A Dressing Failure (2:54)
7. Sensory Decay Part II (6:04)
8. Of Blood Blue Blisters (4:53)
9. Dream Sequence (6:11)
10. The Palpitations Form a Limit (3:22)

Total Time 52:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez / guitars, bass, percussion, hand claps, Roland VP-330, SH-1000, SH-101, SH-7, SH-2000, Korg MS2000, microKORG, organ, drum machines, ProMars, pianette, piano, Yamaha QY100, rhythm sequence, samples, TVs, telephone, typewriter, breathing
- Blake Fleming / drums, hand claps
- Jeremy Michael Ward / melodica, guitar pedals, yelling
- John Frusciante / Minimoog, A-100, guitars
- Cedric Bixler-Zavala / percussion & hand claps, vocals
- Angel Marcelo Rodriguez / vocals
- David Lopez / trumpet
- Cecilio Ortiz / guitar
- Alberto El Professor Aragonez / percussion
- Isaiah Ikey Owens / piano
- Andrew Sheps / trumpet
- Sara Christina Gross / saxophone

Thanks to chamberry for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack Volume One ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack Volume One reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Kempokid
4 stars It's actually kinda amazing how off the rails and loose this is and how indicative it is of what happens when Omar only needs to write for himself and nobody else. A Manual Dexterity is Omar Rodriguez Lopez's first solo album and it really shows a few things, namely that it's apparent that he had even more creative control than ever before, and that there were some really out there ideas he wanted to express. At the same time, it's also kinda undeniable that some of this compositional approach ended up translating into certain more avant-garde ideas on The Mars Volta's Frances The Mute as well, whether it's the passages of ambient, the moments of latin rock, and allowing the instrumentation to be even more significant in creating these detailed soundscapes and emotional moments. While this is definitely very loose and uneven in its tracklisting, with quite a lot of filler moments throughout, the ambition surrounding this and its total commitment to this cold sound is nonetheless hugely admirable in quite a few ways.

Around Knuckle White Tile immediately demonstrates a lot of strengths through its long, memorable melodic passages with some wonderfully interplay between the drums and guitar that then gets interspersed by these off kilter, screechy guitar solos. It all has such a distinct sense of flow to it as the instruments ebb and flow, heightening the intensity often before completely cutting it away and paving the way for a moment of spacey, psychedelic jamming. This is definitely one of the better songs on the album and feels as if it almost serves as a blueprint to the long instrumental stretches of tracks like Cygnus Vismund Cygnus and Cassandra Gemini, yet with a much messier sound indicative of Omar just wanting to get out his guitar and play around with some solos over everything else. At the same time, along with having these sorts of more atmospheric instrumental stretches, there's also some much more tightly written, catchy material to give this a bit more grounding. Of these, special mention should go to Deus Ex Machina and The Palpitations Form A Limit for being some truly great songs that manage to have some cool technical moments along with a strong sense of atmosphere and ability to weave some wonderfully evocative imagery that tie in with the idea of this essentially being a soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist. Deus Ex Machina in particular interests me, since while it's very repetitive, that central melody is so, so great, and just has Omar build upon it in some really satisfying ways, as vocal filters phase in and out to continuously distort this song with these wonderful horns and percussion instruments further adding a lot of flavour to the soundscapes. Palpitations that Form a Limit simply appeals to me since it sounds a lot like a regular Mars Volta song, complete with vocals and some explosive instrumental moments, just being an incredibly solid track that should be heard.

While Omar's lack of filter undoubtedly is a contributing force to this being so unique and interesting, I can't deny the fact that it's also the one downfall of it as well, as while you've got some amazing moments that play wonderfully into the concept surrounding the album, such as Sensory Decay Part II, which paints a melancholic and frankly tragic picture of loneliness and degradation, seemingly being one part of a much bigger story as the waves of feedback engulf the track, but then you've got a bunch of useless stuff as well. Dramatic Theme and Dream Sequence feel especially egregious in this regard to me, with hints of greatness being buried under a whole lot of nothing, just dragging out the album by another 13 minutes and contributing to the album as a whole feeling a tad bloated. Omar also seems to have a really hard time starting almost any track on the album as well, with a lot of them having more or less a minute of weird sound effects and aimless guitar noodling before things fall into place, which gets quite tiresome by the end of the album when it's such a constant issue that only further bloats things. Despite the fact that this album runs too long as a result of these aforementioned issues, I still think that this is very solid in general and shows the sort of stuff Omar comes up with and messes around with when he doesn't have to filter any of his creativity in order to come off as marketable in any capacity, and also has a nice balance of more experimental, proggy moments, and atmospheric, borderline ambient moments that give this some nice variety. Definitely recommended to those who are interested in the more experimental elements of The Mars Volta's work, as this feels like those aspects extended into a full album.

Best tracks: Around Knuckle White Tile, Deus Ex Machina, Sensory Decay Part II, The Palpitations Form a Limit

Weakest tracks: Dramatic Theme, A Dressing Failure, Dream Sequence

Latest members reviews

4 stars A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack Volume One, the first album to be composed and recorded after Omar, Cedric and co. abandoned At the Drive In, and decided to explore territories of music which would allow their talent and creativeness to reach its full glory. This is a good start of Omar's solo c ... (read more)

Report this review (#564743) | Posted by fils de lumiere | Wednesday, November 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars More than the will to listen to the music, I really would like to see the film to which this provides soundtrack to, this film, never released by Omar, if it passes the same experience as listening to the album, must be really something. "A Manual Dexterity", and let me just say how I love the t ... (read more)

Report this review (#235892) | Posted by JTP88 | Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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