Review Summary: Not only is It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It brilliant in every sense of the word, but brutally so. And yet for Omar-S, it really is just that simple
It's easy to brand Omar-S as arrogant when he makes it so easy to do so, what with his bold exclamations and his decision to not even address his fans by simply turning away from them. Choosing to handle his inclusion in the Fabric family as one of his own releases then only becomes surprising when you wonder why he even agreed to do so in the first place; a man who runs his own label on the flip side of a 9 to 5 job and generally avoids any chance to address his music would initially seem out of place on such a magnanimous roster as of that of the infamous Fabric club, but in true Detroit fashion Omar treated it like a publicity junket, revealing himself as a man who does things only on his terms. And that's what It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It
is really all about at the end of the day; it's stripped down to the bone, no frills house music made by a man rooted in one of the most diversely rich musical cultures in America.
And it's Omar's embrace and love for his town that makes his output such a treat to digest, as every note rung out and every drum hit echo out with the sound of a thousand different styles that have since come to define the nightclub age of the last twenty years. But it's more than that though, the authenticity and integrity present here is merely just an extension of the artist himself. The man's lived and breathed Detroit all of his life and it shows here; whether it's in the bubbling acid of opener 'Solely Supported' or on the jazzy hangover of 'Nite's Over Compton', Omar is simply re-living and playing what he knows, and what he alone knows best. And it's easy to get a feel for the city even if we only live in it through his music, as not only the whole album but everything that Omar has ever done plays out like an ode to a seemingly long ago era with its crystalline techno and Technicolor rave. Which makes listening to anything from the man sort of like opening up a time capsule of sorts, something old being re-told through something new. Even by the standards of whatever genre Omar chooses to wander into, his is a style much more rooted in mood and texture than anything resembling true immediacy. It still hits you hard though, but instead of going straight for the jugular it opts to take darting little bites at you until you're left clutching at your knees.
Because hidden away in all those deep bass grooves and oscillating rave comedowns are hooks, stealthily masquerading within the futurist calamity but there none the less. And as subtle as they may be they're still big enough to catch you unawares and leave you hanging on them. The obvious example would be in the underground anthem 'Here's Your Trance Now Dance', a ten minute masterpiece of deep house groove and Detroit funk that pulls absolutely no punches in its quest to redeem the weekend from the insipid rut that its found itself in. But even on the propulsive acid nightmare 'Ganymede' beats the warm heart of familiarity, buried under those dark beats still lurks something that slowly circles the insides of your head before clinging to it. Even the mournful 'Look Hear Watch' can't get by without falling into the normally cumbersome pretense of repetition, even if Omar attempts to drown it out by looping it under the soundtrack of a porno flick (complete with ass slap). But even if that alluring intoxication of some form of common ground is present (even if it is a little spotty and initially indistinguishable) it still fluctuates as dramatically as the album, shifting as quickly as Omar himself, following the quick turnaround from lo-fi deep house to full blown kaleidoscopic techno as if it had no other choice; which, of course, it didn't.
It becomes impossible to hold Omar accountable for any misgivings related to his release schedule when the output is of such a consistently high level as this. And it also becomes justifiable to write off his apparent arrogance
and instead brand him as merely extremely confident
in not only his prowess, but his understanding and subsequent carrying-out of said knowledge. Could anyone else produce and release an album with such an inflammatory title as this and get away with it? Or use such an obvious photoshop creation as the cover simply because there are far more important things to think about? Or include a full blown porn scene in one of his tracks and somehow not only make it work, but make it seem as if it actually belonged? Of course not, but that is of course why Omar-S would lead you to believe that he is the only one who could do it, and not only make it work but pull it off with such damning efficiency. Because at the end of it all, not only is It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It
brilliant in every sense of the word, but brutally so. But for Omar, it really is just that easy.