Review Summary: A perfect blend of Electronica, Jazz, and Prog-rock that make this album one of Omar's most psychedelic efforts to date.
There is a hypnotic effect that comes from music. There is just something about the sounds the instruments make that has this uncanny ability to take us away from our reality, while letting it's seducing melodies help us descend deep into our mind. For that moment, when the only thing our ears listen to is the music we love, the rest of the world just seems to fade away. It's almost like meditation. The atmosphere of Psychedelic music revolves around this type of effect, it's music to get lost in. Recreating that trancing effect that is caused by the psychoactive drugs that helped invent it's sound.
Omar has spent a large portion of his career translating the sensations of psychedelic drugs into music. And within Calibration (Is Pushing Luck and Key Too Far)
, we find Omar taking us through a metaphysical journey where we encounter abstract sounds that induce an ethereal delicacy just as easily as they can descend into a more intense eruption of ferocity. We begin with, "Mexico"
, initially it exhibits itself in an almost peaceful manner. A soothing atmosphere floats through our senses, and just as it begins to seduce us into a calming state, it reveals it's true agenda. A frantic instrumental jam erupts out of it's gentle ambience. In this album, we find Omar indulging his music with every influence that has ever inspired him in anyway. Whether it's Electronica, Jazz, or Progressive Rock, Calibration is a coalescence of genres that help create a surreal musical experience.
"…Is Pushing Luck"
is perhaps the essence of everything Omar was trying to accomplish with this album. This is Omar showing absolutely no self-restrain, unleashing an excessive barrage of psychedelic effects that are as bizarre as they are mind altering. Referring back to "Mexico"
, the song foreshadows the altering moods of this album. Though there are moments of aggression, this album for the most part displays a surprisingly mellow collection of songs. "Lick The Tilting Poppies"
, is a typical example of what this album sounds like. It has a very lethargic tone, but that is to reflect the euphoric sensation of opiates (as referenced by it's title). The music perfectly captures that "down" feeling induced by opiates, it has such a trancing atmosphere that reflects the absolute bliss that flows through the body and mind once the effect of the drug kicks in. Omar also provides vocals for the track, which was often a rare treat during his earlier albums.
will perhaps be seen as the highlight of this album for most, as it's the most accessible track. Its a typical guitar-driven piece, but it's also no exception to Omar's tendencies for Synthesizer effects. Cedric Bixler-Zavala provides vocals on this song, as well as it's counterpart, "…Is Pushing Luck"
, along with tracks like "Sidewalk Fins"
, represent the more elevated portion of the album as they contain a more Rock-oriented structure with the latter even displaying Jazz elements in it's compositions. The album concludes with "Las Lágrimas de Arakuine"
and it's a very interesting piece because it is driven by a very fast-paced drum rhythm, yet the guitars and synthesizers that decorate the song follow a more gentle path.
After hearing the first installments of the "Amsterdam" series, like "Omar Rodrgiuez"
and "The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange"
, which contained a very aggressive performance, it's refreshing to hear Omar create an album that is more atmospheric than chaotic. But even still, Calibration presents the same eccentric and bizarre music that we've gotten to know from Omar. It's one of his most psychedelic releases, containing a dense layer of sounds that create an atmosphere of ambient chaos all around, yet it's all coordinated exquisitely. Each note and each sound serves a purpose, no matter how random it may seem at times. As I've said before; its as if they were the ingredients that go into a drug, and without all the necessary components, it could never reach the desired effect.