Omar Rodriguez Lopez is quite the prolific character. The multi-instrumentalist, writer, performer, film director, songwriter, lead guitarist and producer for the group The Mars Volta, released his first solo effort in 2004. I just received one of his latest and 12th solo album by mail. So basically he makes 2 albums per year, next to being committed to his main group. He sure isn’t suffering from the notorious writers block. And if that isn’t enough, he also is involved as a session player in numerous projects. Where the hell he found the time to write music so complex as Xenophanes is beyond me.
Starting with a eerie sounding intro, it transforms into the first real track ‘Mundo de Ciegos’. For those not equipped with knowledge of the Spanish language, it means Blind World. This experimental track sounds quite cacophonous at first, it takes some time to get used to it. I couldn’t make head or tail from it, eventually you do get the song. It is a complex piece of art and challenging to say the least. I do appreciate the fact that are a number of people out there, who still make an effort to make music challenging instead of following the quick and easy way. As a matter a fact this is true for all the songs on the album.
Xenophanes is actually a concept album and tells the story of a woman who falls in love with a man who dies shortly after. The easy part of the story ends there. When the woman goes on to explore life in a bunch of different ways, it causes her soul to evolve. Eventually she allows herself to come to some sort of major epiphany regarding her former lover. To admit the truth, I needed the official press release in order to understand this concept. The story isn’t presented on a silver platter.
Of course you can’t expect everybody to like this record due to its experimental nature. For those who think The Mars Volta is already on the edge, this might be just too elusive. Adding the fact that the record is completely sung in Spanish doesn’t help either. It can be a nuisance to the occasional listener, but I guess Omar Rodriguez Lopez isn’t bothered by that. This is music for people who are in for a challenge and hate easy tunes. This record is brilliant.