Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Xenophanes


4.0
excellent

Review

by Taxt USER (4 Reviews)
September 29th, 2009 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Xenophanes is the first of Omar Rodríguez-López's solo albums that feels like it is complete.

Xenophanes is the 12th solo album released by Mars Volta composer and frontman Omar Rodr*guez-López.
Contributors are as follows:

* Omar Rodr*guez-López - Producer, guitars, vocals
* Juan Alderete de la Peña - Bass
* Thomas Pridgen - Drums
* Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez - Percussion, keyboards
* Mark Aanderud - Additional keyboards
* Ximena Sariñana - Backing vocals

The albums that make up Omar Rodr*guez-López's solo career fall for the most part into two recording periods, the first being the period between the break up of At The Drive-In and the formation of The Mars Volta (Absence, Minor Cuts, etc.), the second being the Amsterdam series (Se Dice, Megaritual, etc.). Xenophanes was recorded in 2008 in Zapopan, Mexico, marking the start of a new chapter in his solo career, a fact that is easily heard in the large shift in sound from the Amsterdam sessions. Xenophanes sounds closer to The Mars Volta than it does to any of his previous solo albums.


After the ambient intro Azoemia ends and Mundo De Ciegos kicks in, the amount of focus is apparent. I can't help but compare it to his older work, and it's like comparing a half-finished collage of magazine cutouts to a finished painting. Songs are structured and focused, gone are the meandering fifteen minute guitar and keys wank-athons. There is a greater emphasis on melody and less of an emphasis on how many notes are played. After listening to the whole thing, it actually feels like one coherent statement, something that can't be said for much of anything else released under Omar's many monikers.


Another first on this album is the fact that Rodr*guez-López handles vocal duties as well (aided by Ximena Sariñana), and he proves to be more than adequate. I can't help but wonder how much of this is really his voice and how much is studio magic, and it's hard to tell due to the myriad of vocal effects employed, but the end product is satisfying. This is also the first studio record featuring Ximena Sariñana and Mark Aanderud. I'm not usually a fan of female vocalists, but Ximena's performance is very good. Employing two vocalists, one male and one female, provides some great vocal harmonies. In the song "Asco Que Conmueve Los Puntos Erógenos", both voices are kind of blended together, and while it sounds strange, the effect is very powerful. The lyrics are sung exclusively in Spanish, so I can't really comment on them. Mark Aanderud's contribution on the piano gives a jazzy/salsa edge to the punk-funk core of the rhythm section and acid drenched guitar leads.


Xenophanes is produced as well as any Volta record, another factor that distinguishes it from the rest of Omar's solo catalog. Every instrument can be heard, even though there is often a lot going on. It's all layered very well, as opposed to sounding like it was just thrown together.


If I had to put Xenophanes in a genre, I'd make a new one called interstellar punk-funk. On my first listen, I constantly thought of outer space. The guitar tones and the vocals provide the soaring-spacey feel even though the actual music is pretty dense. Thomas Pridgen and Juan Alderete work very well as a combo, building a core that is sometimes straight up rock, sometimes downright funky, and always solid.


In the end, I am very satisfied with this record. I expected it to be another average Omar release, and I expected having to wade through a bunch of nonsense to find the gems that may or may not be hiding somewhere in the album. Turns out it's his first real album that has substance, a coherent and concise statement. If you've never heard any of Omar's solo projects before, there's no greater place to start.

Stream and/or purchase here: http://omardigital.rodriguezlopezproductions.com/album/xenophanes


user ratings (119)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Eli EMERITUS (4)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez pulls his head out of his ass and makes the best record of his solo career....

Jacob Royal STAFF (4)
"Xenophanes" is an adventure through space, and the journey is well worth it....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Taxt
September 29th 2009


683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream or purchase here:

http://omardigital.rodriguezlopezproductions.com/album/xenophanes

The physical release in the U.S. is in November, you can preorder here:

http://hellomerch.com/sh/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=46&Itemid=2

Prophet178
September 29th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think I'm going to do Los Suenos tonight, unless you were planning on it.

Prophet178
September 29th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No.

Taxt
September 29th 2009


683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This couldn't be more different from Crypomnesia really.
And go for it Prophet, I wanna see what you say about it.

Prophet178
September 29th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wankyweedlediddly rifferage


So gonna use that in my review. Epic word.

Chewie
September 29th 2009


4533 Comments


whenever I see a Omar Rodriguez Lopez album I think he wrote and recorded it in half an hour while way too high on acid.

Good review though

willfellmarsy
September 29th 2009


3849 Comments


haven't heard this yet but i cannot continue to be silent over se dice...'s awesomeness and how it is underrated to the max...good review minus the ultra-spacing...

Gyromania
September 30th 2009


16074 Comments


lmao, four albums in one year

MaskAtTheMasquerade
September 30th 2009


2888 Comments


lmao yeah it's ridiculous

Prophet178
September 30th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

9 album in one year actually haha. And 2 films.

Taxt
September 30th 2009


683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Old Money, Despair, Megaritual, Cryptomnesia, Octahedron, Las Suenos, Xenophanes and two more supposedly coming out by years end. LOL

Prophet178
September 30th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ridiculous.

Enotron
October 3rd 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so far I really like this album. I can't help but wait for the pitchfork review for it

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 3rd 2009


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

all of these albums have such a similarity in their inherent structures and ways they are produced its ridiculous

Enotron
October 3rd 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

all of them being two. could be worse. Omar's voice could sound like a choir of schizophrenic chipmunks(referring to cedric on tbig).

Then again, you could be on to something. Every song seems to end with some weird, distorted, rhythmic loop thingy.

If there's one thing that could really do this album justice, it would be cedrics voice. Omar's vocals are really good and the melodies he sang were fine, but they lack the personality that cedric does so well.

though in general, I like this record. better than cryptomnesia, thats for sure.



Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2009


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no all of omars in general

Enotron
October 5th 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think A Manual Dexterity is much like the rest of his solo work.

ianjulian
November 3rd 2009


637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya nos mereciamos un disco en español de este nivel
chingon por omar

imnotthere420
November 9th 2009


106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is one of the better solo album's he's released. it really does feel like a cohesive statement, which is something new for him. really good.

lauriej
December 2nd 2009


1712 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is pretty fucking insane, almost at the end and i'm thinking a 4



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