Xenophanes, Omar Rodríguez López


Rodríguez López Productions, USA
Rating: 72
By Jean-Stephane Beriot

First, let me start by clarifying that as opposed to general assimilation, we do take ethnicity into account when selecting this site’s material. Yes, it’s a form of segregation and we hate that, but ignoring names such as The Mars Volta, Neon Indian or Y La Bamba would be like ignoring ourselves on top of the already uncomfortable but fitting limitations. We won’t go all technical about it, it’s not like we’re counting Mariah Carey in just because her dad is Venezuelan. With that said, it’s especially appropriate when second-generation acts embrace their culture. But what should I know; I’m just a French guy who happened to be raised between Chile and the States, see, sentiment counts. Xenophanes is one of those albums born out of such intuit, it is also one of Omar Rodriguez’s many ‘solo’ albums.

He seriously is a one-of-a-kind visionary instrumentalist; he might have stopped moving around his own eye but that has not stopped him from releasing albums every other day. It’s getting harder to get excited whenever he releases stuff, but Xenophanes is quite the surprise. It speaks volumes of Omar’s imaginative mind, not that the album sounds any different than his other solo albums or The Mars Volta, there’s just more of him even if he’s got extra company. Among its personnel, we can find Ximena Sariñana singing back vocals which makes the lineup that more exciting. Her vocals are beautifully notable in “Ojo Al Cristo de Plata”, if her jazzy voice sounds nice in pop it’s only obvious for it to sound good with progressive rock.

The overall raw sound defines unveils a much better work than the quite revolting Cryptomnesia (El Nuevo Grupo de Rodriguez Lopez), Xenophanes is equally ambiguous except that it’s actually conscious of whatever it is that is doing. It’s the only reason why songs like “Amanita Virosa” or “Asco Que Conmueve los Puntos Erógenos” don’t feel like pure pretentious noise. My favorite track is by far “Oremos”, in all its exploration it waves itself and gives itself to mechanics. First single “Mundo de Ciegos” and the album overall are well supported by Omar’s good (but not distinctive) vocals, and again, recruiting Ximena was the greatest decision to make Xenophanes a distinctive forward record, I can’t remember Los Suenos de un Higado nor am I ready to get into Solar Gambling (his new release), but this has found a place on my iPod and at the end, that’s what stands up.


  1. Yeah, I agree, it's hard to get excited for his new albums but this is his best of the year (hahahahaha).

    And great for you guys to include second-generation artists, I saw some people were surprised when you included the mars volta on your list, but it's so true, it would be like saying you guys are a bunch of gringos reviewing latin albums, not the case.

    Also, I think many people don't get the whole 'latino' view unless you live in the U.S.

  2. It's very funny to find a whole paragraph to explain the no-segregation in music. I think you're damn right. We can't separte music between frontiers and it's a fact Latin music in the US is not about Spanish language or maracas or where's your daddy hehehe. For example, Larry Harlow is a fundamental musicican for Salsa music but he's a jew and a new yorker. His "ethnicity" is not Latin but you can't tell the history of salsa without him.

    My english is not the best of the world but I hope my ideas'd be understood. It's cool talking about this stuff. Cheers.

  3. This review is wonderful in so many ways. Great work, Jean-Stephane

  4. Just to note something along the lines..Omar releases albums constantly, not for attention..its just for the therapy of recording something..he's fond of that..

    It's a great album overall, great people involved in it, like T. Pridgen on drums..

    Omar Rodriguez now has evolved from a sound that identifies him, to a genre.