October 04, 2004

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez "A Manual Dexterity," Soundtrack Volume One

If you're familiar with the pulsing punk-rock onslaught of At The Drive-In or the mellow, grand prog-rock epics of The Mars Volta, then you've heard the music of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. Like his previous bands, Rodriguez-Lopez's style is shockingly different than anything he's done before. If you're familiar with his work and are expecting hard-rock, look elsewhere; "A Manual Dexterity" Soundtrack Volume One, his official solo debut, is yet another stylisitic shocker. The first volume of an independently-released film, this record is a stunning collection of atmospheric rock, heavy metal and noise--all of which sound nothing like you'd expect, which, of course, is exactly what you should expect.

"A Manual Dexterity," Soundtrack Volume One is mostly instrumental, but because the music is so volatile, you won't notice; in fact, on "Of Blood Blue Blisters," the dischordant music actually sounds like singing. Then there's "Deux Ex Machina," which is--get this--a weird blend of electronic noise and mariachi music. Album closer "The Palpatations Form a Limit" is perhaps the only song on the record that's remotely like anything Rodriguez-Lopez has done before--considering Cedric Bixler is handling vocal duties--in such mixed company, it sounds oddly out of place. The opening track, "Around Knuckle White Tile" is my favorite; it runs from Pink Floyd-style epic rock and bluesy guitar riffs and back again, all the while being truly unclassifiable.

For all of the weirdness, A Manual Dexterity, Soundtrack Volume One is exactly what you would expect from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. It's an amazing record from a heretofore underappreciated talent; it's a fascinating, captivating listen, and that this is merely volume one of a series makes the album even more enticing and exciting.

--Joseph Kyle

Label Website: http://www.goldstandardlabs.com

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