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.