Review Summary: Sometimes the most simplistic approach can produce the most legitimate sense of musical value.
There's something incredibly spooky when it comes to minimalism in music. Of course, there are different types. Often minimalism has a theme. The theme is the basis of the entire piece of music. Every note and concept passed by can be explained by the theme and is there due to the theme. But there's another sort of minimalism; It's the sound of that which remains obscure in musical concept and definition. It is music which lacks a reason. It works less album-like when it comes to a record like Jane Doe
, for example. The sound of Jane Doe is stressed with deliberation and it's theme lays in emotion characterized by the sound and music, as well as anonymity. Records such as Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
lay in a completely opposite vein.
The sound of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and John Frusciante riffing off each other and bouncing textures over simplistic, yet defined melodies is what lies in this new Omar-related musical endeavor. The record goes back to the concept of a two-man guitar jam. It's one of the most basic forms of musical bonding and the intertwining of individuals' styles and musical thoughts over a set progression or song. However the process of two men recording their completely different musical abilities over an album of set melodies and songs, transcends above what is originally seen as a stripped-down, simple jam. The sound of Omar and John both adding textures and helping move and shape the loose melodies that they original set can be compared to that of a post-rock record. It's the sound of two individuals taking songs and working and jamming to create something that is difficult to achieve and yet a simple sound: Beauty. Instead of the cohesive, tight progression of these tunes that is generally found in any band or project, it captures the personality of both musicians involved and how they both individually approach each melody. And what they contribute ultimately achieves the sound of most tightly-formed and practiced bands; Their approach to the jam involves everything from loosely-phrased melodies to emphasize the structure of the song to personalized, unique textures that transcend the song.
And yet it is the lack of basic direction that graces the record with a vibe of sincerity. On the minimalist, yet highly melodic track of 0
, John and Omar take a restraint approach of adding melodic phrases to enhance the bitter-sweet chord progression. However a completely different approach is taken on 4:17 AM
, featuring Omar diving into the depths of tonal and textural wah-laced abnormalities that loosely brush over the soft, yet majestic melody strummed out by Frusciante. On tracks like ZIM
Omar and John delve into the more restraint and progressive melodies of post-rock, while LOE
explores the looser sounds and psychedelic, wanderous musical exploring that are not unlike the textures crafted by various art-rock groups. And the fact that the jam-based, un-intellectualized approach of this album can create such a haunting atmosphere and create a vibe of musical complexity, is what is ultimately the most impressive aspect of this record. When two men approach the same song structure with different sounds and ideas, it can lead to magnificent heights. And this is proof.