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

OMAR RODRIGUEZ

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

 

Eclectic Prog

3.42 | 32 ratings

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Kempokid
3 stars Omar Rodriguez is a pretty interesting album to me, as while musically it's honestly not really anything too special for the most part due to essentially being early ideas that would be further fleshed out just a bit down the line, this album has a really unique appeal in terms of further representing the sheer control Omar had when it came to directing the sound of The Mars Volta. Omar here essentially takes his brand of proggy instrumental jamming and then injects some really neat jazziness into it in order to craft something that's both way more full on while also having a bit more of an outwardly quirky feel to it. A lot of these tracks end up feeling like prototypes of what would end up on The Mars Volta's next album, Amputechture, with these more manic, downright surreal elements pushed to the forefront, with a lot of this tightly controlled chaos that was present in their previous stuff joist feeling a bit closer to well, actual chaos. Everything here feels as loose as can be for the most part, often having these mostly repetitive backing rhythms while you hear Omar totally shredding his guitar whilst a saxophone will often also come in to provide some more variety to these jams. This feels best done on Regenbogen Stelen Van Prostituees, which is one constant burst of energy that feels so densely layered with little interjections that phase in and out to give a lot of depth to this glorified jam session. I find that it particularly works well when the instruments often find themselves briefly falling in line with that central repeated melody before breaking away yet again, gives a nice bit of contrast to make the frenetic soloing feel even more crazy and intense.

Despite these praises however, I do still find this album to be a bit lacking in certain areas, with tracks 3 and 4 taking up the majority of the album's runtime and frankly feeling pretty insignificant beyond being a cool experience for Mars Volta fans to hear where some of their ideas started off with Amputechture. Jacob Van Lennepkade is the most repetitive track here, using the bassline that would soon become Viscera Eyes for 17 minutes straight while some more explorative jamming goes on. The issue is that it just doesn't have enough going for it to carry 17 minutes worth of music and wasn't just outdone with Viscera Eyes, but also with Jacob Van Lennepkade II which essentially sounds like a more intense, exciting version of this. It's pretty cool when not compared to its superior versions, but along with both of them existing making this feel much less important to hear, it's also just rather flawed in certain respects with its aforementioned pacing. Vondelpark bij nacht is the worst offender here though, being this lengthy, spacey almost ambient track that has some really interesting sounds going on, but doesn't really do anything with them, sounding like a budget El Ciervo Vulnerado. It's cool for a couple of minutes for sure but 7 minutes dedicated to this meandering kills the flow a bit and also becomes less interesting once you hear what it becomes on Amputechture, since as this album goes on, it almost feels like it's a demo of that album rather than its own thing, and while these tend to still be quite fun, they just end up feeling a bit unimportant at the same time. This is a really cool album for those who are right into The Mars Volta, which is why I'm giving it a reasonably high score despite how much complaining I've been doing, but I feel that otherwise you'd be better off listening to Amputechture or Omar's next 2 solo albums, which take this kind of sound and push it way further. As it stands, this ends up being pretty cool, but also not really an essential listen either.

Best tracks: Regenbogen stelen van prostituees, Spookrijden op het fietspad

Weakest tracks: Jacob Van Lennepkade, Vondelpark bij nacht

Kempokid | 3/5 |

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