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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Unicorn Skeleton Mask CD (album) cover

UNICORN SKELETON MASK

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

Eclectic Prog


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3 stars If you're a fan of The Mars Volta's latest (last?) effort, 'Noctourniquet', then you might want to check out this album- it's widely speculated among fans that the sessions between Omar and drummer Deantoni Parks that spawned that album are the same sessions that bore many of the songs here. Some of these songs have also been performed instrumentally live by the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group.

The thing that will strike you first is the strange mixing- intentionally muddied, bass heavy, just weird. It's enough to many Omar fans off, but it's not a problem once you're used to it. The other is Omar's vocals- while previous albums (Xenophanes, Un Escorpion Perfumado) have shown him to be a perfectly capable vocalist, through the recent years (his electronic era), he has taken to singing almost mumbled vocals, which are then distorted and run through effects so as to make them completely undecipherable- rendering them more like another instrument. Albeit an annoying one, according to many. This is just one of the trends of his recent solo albums continued here- in recent years for solo albums: a shift towards electronic music influences, intentionally messy production and distorted/effected vocals, albums recently digitally seemingly on a whim, consisting largely of music recorded years earlier.

On to the songs: there are largely two kinds of tracks on this album, structured songs (the ones thought to have been considered for inclusion on TMV's album) such as Storm Shadow, Right of Way, Maria te Canta and Names. These are all very good, mixing and vocals aside, with many interesting parts, and like many Noctourniquet, excellent bridges. The other kind are mostly short jams on a drumbeat or loop, such as Happiness, Tennesse (sic) and Bored to Burns (which highlights Deantoni on drums- although the entire album is filled with his astounding prescence).

Overall, a good if somewhat difficult album, one of his best in recent years, and one of particularly interest to Volta fans and those who have seen Omar's tours in recent years.

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Posted Friday, December 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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