Omar Rodriguez Lopez “Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar” | Rodriguez Lopez Productions | Sargent House
The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez is on what one can assume another prolific run of album releases this year. With the release of Un Corazón De Nadie earlier this year, At The Drive-In reissue albums and a new full length release with The Mars Volta in Noqtourniquet, the arrival of Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar today comes with a big smile on the faces of the staff at Sound Colour Vibration. The direction of Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar is stunning and features only one guest musician, The Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks. Utilizing drum programming, sequencing, synths, piano, wurlitzer, mellotron, bass, guitar and percussion with all lyrics and vocal contributions from himself, Omar Rodriguez Lopez dives into a very direction of music that calls to his past records in small ways but stands on its own as a truly unique release in his discography. It always feels like Omar is reacting to his last musical statements with a yearn to redefine what he has been labeled as from so many circles of thought. Synths and guitars are pronounced with tons of colors on this record and in an unusual manner to say the least.
Experimental at heart, Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar contains what I feel are the best and more focused attempts in the department of vocals from Omar Rodriguez Lopez. In past releases, his vocals are drenched in effects and become unrecogniable for the most part. With Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar and particularly tracks like “Gentle Umbrellas” and “Angel Hair”, Omar proves his strengths as a vocalist, coming off with a prestine glow that you’d expect from his bandmate of The Mars Volta Cedric Bixler Zavala. As a self contained voyage into the mind of Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar sounds like the continuation of what he started on the De-Loused in the Comatorium bonus track “Ambuletz”. Industrial dirty psyche is the best guess I have at labeling this album and it is with every album the division between genres and labels becomes more blurred. The piece “Spellbound” has really raw and dirty drums with snake like guitar patterns that make some of the most wonderful movement I have heard out of his guitar playing. The piece sounds like it has sludge pouring into the center of the mix with the clean washed out melody work that allows the direction and energy to move forward.
A song like “Fear Eats The Soul” is a really special creation to me. Laced in a really minimal setting of guitar processed in effects along with his vocal musings that define this entire album, the interactivity between the two makes this one of the most unique songs I have ever heard from Omar. There are sounds that I can’t even begin to describe that jump into the mix. When Deantoni Parks and the field of layers smashes into the composition, the otherworldly Jorodowsky inspired spaghetti western sound is at full flight and becomes something that reminds me of many of his records of the past. “Better to Hang a Dead Husband Than to Lose a Living Lover” is an excursion into the bass heavy, ghost overtone existence I mentioned with the The Mars Volta song “Ambuletz”. Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s voice adds a deeper and darker dimension however and his unorthodox melodic lines feel like spirits rising from the dead. The track becomes a cyclone that sends off blasts of colors in all corners of the room. It feels impossible to follow a track like this and is probably my favorite on the album.
“Tentaculos” rides a fine line between insanity and elegance. There is a weighted bouyancy that attracts the darkness and light into one field of focused energy. The drums are aligned with a heavy organic approach with syncopated runs that makes this ride as wobbly as it is poignant. The guitar is surprisingly fresh and beautiful, moving into position with a tenacity and angular push when Omar Rodriguez Lopez lets loose on an airy, drifting sequence of what seems like a solo but is uncharacteristically not like one. The vocal approach makes it feel like a ballad, not a complete mind fuck of experimental deviation.
All of the music on Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar was written and directed by Omar Rodriguez Lopez with the exception of Compartir (Sharing a Bus), co-written by Deantoni Parks and Omar Rodriguez Lopez. Mixing was completed by long time associate of The Mars Volta,Lars Stalfors along with mastering work by another long time The Mars Volta associate and co-owner of Infrasonic Sound Pete Lyman. Artwork was completed by Coral Romero Garcìa with design and layout from the prolific Sonny Kay. This is a record worth checking out if you love new directions in rock based music.