Omar Rodríguez-López – Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar
Genre: Electronic/Psychedelic Rock
Release Date: June 20, 2012
Record Label: Rodríguez-López Productions
Omar has developed an obsession with electronic music. Of course, we have seen him venture into the genre several times in the past, but his interest with this musical style has become much more prominent in his latest works. Ever since the release of Un Escorpión Perfumado in 2010, we have been seeing him divert further and further away from his usual Progressive rock and Jazz influences, while beginning to embrace a much more restrained sound. Lacking all of the musical spontaneity and instrumental explorations that once made his music so distinguishable. In albums like Un Escorpión Perfumado, and in the latest effort by The Mars Volta, Noctourniquet (2012), we found Omar regressing into a musical style that is much more reminiscent of his days in the Dub-Reggae act, De Facto, as electronic decorations have become the central element in his music.
Last month, Omar had released Un Corazón de Nadie, yet another exploratory album where he experimented with different orchestral techniques using electronic soundscapes. The album was an exact incarnation of one of his previous efforts, Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead (2008), as the musical content was approached with a similar agenda in mind. And though both albums contained their moments of impressive songwriting, they were, for the most part, an experiment with digital sounds than actual conscious efforts. Un Corazón de Nadie was certainly a frustrating experience to see Omar regress back into an experimental approach that served no further purpose than to be an experiment. The music was completely one-dimensional, lacking any sense of emotion, a mere orchestration of sounds that flowed through our senses without delivering anything that new to captivate our enthusiasm. Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar, on the other hand, follows a different philosophy. It uses the electronic sequences of its predecessors, while fusing them with Dub and Rock elements much like in Un Escorpión Perfumado, a coalescence that induces a deranged psychedelic atmosphere.
“Home Lost” opens the album, and immediately it releases a very simple rhythmic groove. The music is instant, almost anxious to begin. There are no excessive barrages of psychedelic flourishes that bombard our senses, a once familiar aspect that now feels like a distant memory. This is indeed a new Omar. An artist that has cast aside his past enthusiasm for lengthy instrumental voyages, to focus on condensed ambient grooves. The typical musical style of this album is very lethargic. “Compartir (Sharing a Bus)”, for example, induces a hypnotic trance. So delicate and alluring, like the sensation of descending into a dream. The music is flowing with delicate atmospheric textures that are reflective to that of Downtempo.
“Angel Hair” is another highlight. It begins with a mellow soundscape, leaving us to lose ourselves in a sensually ambient melody. And as the song progresses, it steadily grows more dynamic, evolving into a more powerful delivery in its climax. It has certainly been an interesting experience to see Omar’s aspirations for electronic music evolve throughout time. And we, the loyal fans who have followed Omar through all of his past trends and ventures, we know that this is just the beginning of a new phase. It’s Omar’s personal incessant quest to a better understanding of the esoteric language of music itself, and fortunately, we have a front row seat to witness it all.
- “Home Lost”
- “Gentle Umbrellas”
- “Fear Eats The Soul”
- “Better to Hang a Dead Husband Than to Lose a Living Lover”
- “Compartir (Sharing a Bus)”
- “Angel Hair”