Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez
A Manual Dexterity – Soundtrack Volume I
Gold Standard Labs
Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez became almost famous with the legendary, now defunct mathcore band At the Drive In, and he added more power to his breadth of work with The Mars Volta, releasing the instant classic De-loused in the Comatorium. A Manual Dexterity — Soundtrack Volume 1 is basically a soundtrack to a non-existent film, which Rodriguez-Lopez wrote during the break between ATDI and The Mars Volta.
For the most part, this album serves as a canvas upon which Rodriguez-Lopez shows off his talents in a mish-mash of splatters and brush strokes that lack direction and purpose. There seems to be no rhyme or reason from song to song. At times, drums and a groove accompany Omar (“Dyna Sark Aches),” while at other times (“Dramatic Theme”), it sounds simply like a band warming up their instruments before a show. The latter track is seven minutes long, mind you! Other excursions into pointless strangeness include “Sensory Decay, Part II,” which features a series of synthesized organ notes, straight out of an ’80s sci-fi B-movie, with occasional random thumps and bumps and a lot of white noise. The one constant throughout the album, thankfully, is Rodriguez-Lopez’s boundless talent as a guitarist. This helps make up for the over abundance of weirdness.
I’m not really quite sure who will enjoy this disc. It doesn’t sound anything like At The Drive In or The Mars Volta, save for Rodriguez-Lopez’s guitar phrasing and tone. It’s really spacey and tripped out. Fans of Brian Eno, early David Bowie and John Frusciante might find merit in what this album is trying to convey. This is a fun little experiment, but I actually broke out my copy of Relationship of Command to help brush the cobwebs from my mind after listening to A Manual Dexterity…
Gold Standard Labs: www.goldstandardlabs.com