Review Summary: An album that blends Jazz, Psychedelia, and overly experimental tendencies- Omar in a nutshell.
The music of Omar Rodriguez
seems to have an avidity to transcend musical boundaries. Fundamentally, this album serves as Omar's first venture into Jazz Fusion in his solo career, but it also explores other musical styles that will often recur in his subsequent efforts. "Een Ode Aan Ed Van Der Elsken"
serves as the overture to this exploratory performance of the abstract. It's an ambient piece arranged to induce a tenebrous mood before descending into the opening act, "Regenbogen Stelen Van Prostituees"
. A bassline introduces the Ostinato that comprises the harmonic framework of the song, establishing the recurring melodic theme. It's an interestingly composed piece because each instrument carries the repetitive theme of the song, until it's their turn to perform a solo, with each going one by one.
"Regenbogen Stelen Van Prostituees"
is our first impression with Omar fully embracing his newfound admiration for Jazz, and it's certainly a positive one. The recurring melodic theme is quite infectious, but it's the solos that manage to captivate our attention, obviously as they are the centerpieces of the song. Of course, Omar's aggressive shredding may be the initial purpose that most fans will have for listening to this album, but the piano and saxophone sections provide an equally captivating performance. Adrian Terrazas-Gonzalez has certainly proven himself as a highly remarkable saxophonist in Frances The Mute
, but this is the first time we hear Omar's little brother, Marcel, perform on keyboards- and he's actually quite talented. In fact, Marcel's solo is the first we hear in "Regenbogen Stelen Van Prostituees"
, in which he channels a Chick Corea-influenced style.
Omar's guitar work, on the other hand, seems to be working on an obscure level. In "Jacob van Lennepkade"
and "Spookrijden Op Het Fietspad"
, he tends to divert from the rhythmic flow, moving at his own pace and conveying enigmatic agendas. His guitar arrangements do have their moments of eruptive brilliance, but often enough his solos feel strained. The recording sessions for this album were highly improvisational, with very little premeditated outlines prepared for the songs, but yet Adrian and Marcel manage to produce a natural spontaneity in their solos while comfortably flowing along with the rhythmic groove. Omar's style usually flourishes in an improvisational atmosphere, but here he seems to just be struggling along so as to keep up with the other instruments. But don't get me wrong, Omar still manages to provide some highly dextrous solos, though they certainly lack his usual innovative flaunts.
As I said before, this album transcends beyond Jazz Fusion and ventures into other musical styles. Most of the songs exhibit decorative psychedelic passages, but they are all surprisingly subtle. The anomalous "Vondelpark Bij Nacht"
, is a reflection into Omar's experimental indulgence. The musical aesthetic is actually very reminiscent of John Coltrane's Om
, expressing a similar ghastly rendition of raga ambience that decorates Adrian's free-form saxophone solos. As the name inevitably implies, this album is really just Omar… being Omar. It's a musical voyage where we encounter all of the different inspirations that come across Omar's creative mind, and in the end, that's all you can really hope for.