September 19, 2010

Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Tychozorente Review

For one of the most experimental and explosive songwriters to appear over the past couple decades, multi-instrumentalist Omar Rodriguez Lopez has clearly made a name for himself in this generation of music. From his early start in the hardcore/alternative rock group At The Drive-In, to his departure with musical partner Cedric Bixler-Zavala to explore the musical realms of psychedelic and progressive rock with The Mars Volta and beyond, Rodriguez Lopez has made an impressive track record, which will now include, his seventeenth solo album, Tychozorente.

Tychozorente makes such a departure from any of Rodriguez Lopez’s previous music projects by the fact that this is his first release without any guitars whatsoever. In addition to this, it is also a first for his girlfriend, Ximena Sarinana Rivera, to sing in English. Her vocals are still as beautiful as ever in the electronic, synth-programmed tracks that appear on Tychozorente. The eight tracks are shared equally, as they go from Ximena songs (in English as well as Spanish) to Rodriguez Lopez's spoken word Spanish compositions, and back again. There are some very eerie frequencies that resonate through some songs, while others take on an exceptionally melodic and upbeat tone when compared to some of Rodriguez Lopez’s previous output as a songwriter and producer. Every song has a steady rhythm since this album focuses more on produced electronic beats than the standard music group that Rodriguez Lopez assembles for his many different projects. Overall, at just over a half hour, this new release by Rodriguez Productions is a very enjoyable, and mellow, musical journey. The cover art is compelling and as weird as usual, echoing the wash of sound that is to be heard when listening to Omar’s work.

Check Tychozorente out, and stay tuned for more Rodriguez Lopez in the very near future, because two more albums will be dropping before the end of the year. Cheers!

Tychozorente - 7.6/10

September 12, 2010

Mount Kimbie - Crooks and Lovers Review

To make my blog more exciting, I decided that I am now going to start doing album reviews of music that I have enjoyed enough to feature in my radio show Adrift In The Airwaves.

For my first album review, I decided to take a look at Mount Kimbie's debut full-length, Crooks & Lovers.

Released on July 19th of this year, Mount Kimbie's album, Crooks & Lovers is the first full-length from the electronic duo. Most of their music takes on an experimental, minimalistic vibe, that verges into the realms of dubstep and ambient music. Personally, I haven’t known of Mount Kimbie for long, but after developing a huge crush on their song “Maybes” remixed by one of their fellow contemporaries James Blake (who is also highly recommended), I had to check out their first album to hear more of what these guys were up to.

Crooks and Lovers is something best to be played through your headphones, as the atmospheric synth and guitar textures make a rewarding contrast with the wobble of the bass that can be found in most of their songs. From the very start, the album picks up with “Tunnelvision,” a short prelude echoing with vocals that sound like a distant memory. There is no time wasted on this LP, when songs like “Would Know” and “Before I Move Off” follow close by. Mount Kimbie’s reserved blend of ambient, minimal, and dubstep elements, when mixed with cut up samples and phrases of soulful vocals, makes for a very enjoyable listen. Nearly every song starts off as a simple beat, slowly building with added melodic textures. “Carbonated” is a great example of this, as a simple, empty beat slowly reverberates over time and fills your ears with sound. The peak and release of songs like “Carbonated” and “Field” are perfectly timed. Most songs are about three to four minutes long, clocking their debut album at just under forty minutes, making Crooks and Lovers a very soft but compelling musical journey. Every track is finely crafted, made for listening while relaxing, with the bass turned up. The best way to describe this group and their debut release would have to be minimalist, ambient, dubstep. As for the dubstep element, there is nothing abrasive about the sounds in this album. Every note hits your ears softly, but the overall effect is a beautiful mix of atmospheric textures, powerful beats, and moving vocals. Check out Crooks and Lovers, and try not to fall in love.

Rating: 8.3/10

Recommended Tracks: Tunnelvision, Would Know, Carbonated