Sound — 9
Described on Gold Standard Labs' website as a "30 minute prog-rock-odysee", this offering from the Omar Rodriguez-Quintet is a very interesting listen. Omar Alfredo Rodriguez-Lopez (guitarist of The Mars Volta) has often been noted for his skill as a prog rock guitarist and composer, and Damo Suzuki has a prog rock career spanning well over thirty years, in which time he has become a god-like figure. Coupled together, the EP produced is a great listen. It is actually a live recording, it was recorded from one of the quintet's live performances in Cologne in 2005 (a bootleg can be found online on The Mars Volta's official forum), and this recording was taken by Omar to the studio to be treated with a vertiable smorgesbord of guitar parts, a vocal volume boost, more wind instruments, percussion and ambience to give it more of a prog rock feel. Side A begins with this ambience and gives a very dark and eery feeling, especially Damo's vocals playing over the top of it, and after about one and a half minutes the song explodes into a latin-rock free-jazz riff, with guitar solos and little licks being played everywhere and anywhere, which is known to be Omar's style. Damo's vocals range from his normal almost nonsensical rantings to his famous "Cookie Monster" nonsensical rantings, and really add to the song. There seems to be a "chorus" type section at some points, with a section of Damo's vocals copied and pasted into a part of the song and Omar adds a descending tremolo picking guitar riff, and this really is the only variation until Side B, where there is a slight riff change, and after about five minutes it all breaks down and the bass is left very promenent, with a keyboard (played by Money Mark Ramos-Nishita, who is famous for playing with the Beastie Boys) and accoustic guitar, and the drums fade out. A very relaxing moment, and a welcome variation from the previous noodling on the same riff (which is good, but not really a "prog rock odysee"). It then goes back into the original riff with more noodling until it suddenly just stops, and there is silence. The EP is a very interesting listen, but there is not enough bass in the main riff, which in the bootleg seems to carry the whole thing, and in the EP it is turned down slightly. It is described as a "30 minute prog-rock odysee", when it actually comes to about 25 minutes and a few riffs played for about 7 minutes each with a hell of a lot of noodling over it. However, I found it very interesting as even though the bootleg was brilliant, they managed to tweak it enough so that it is even more interesting to listen to. It also happens to be insanely catchy!
Lyrics — 10
Damo is known for his "instant composition", where he goes on stage with no idea of what he is going to sing, and just improvises completely, in many different tones and in many different languages, in many cases no one can work out what he is actually saying. It is a very mixed taste thing, but if you listen to Can or Damo Suzuki's Network recordings then this will not be anything too different and will please.
Overall Impression — 9
A very interesting album. The track takes you on a journey, from the ambience at the start, through the calming breakdown, to the sudden end. The riff could get repetitive, and this kind of music is very mixed taste, but it seems to be coming into the mainstream much more. It's a hugely funky riff and will make you dance. In ways you never thought you could dance. If you get it you won't regret it. Sure it has its problems, but they don't come through enough to ruin your experience of the album. Listen now.