Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & John Frusciante – Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & John Frusciante (2010)


Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante Cover Art

The last thing I ever thought I would be listening to this summer (or really, ever) would be another side project album from TMV’s guitarist/composer/co-leader-buttbuddy Omar. The Mars Volta was for a long time my absolute favorite band in the world, but both myself and the band have changed significantly since I was 15 (I still love the shit out of most of their stuff, though). Omie-Womie has been appallingly prolific in his solo output, but none of it has ever really grabbed me the way his band does- the albums always felt like side projects. The strange thing is, if anything, this album is his most side-projecty of all: it’s a charityware album he made with other lifelong buttbuddy, John Frusciante sometimes of and sometimes formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Everything about it screams out “I was created in a basement at crazy o’ clock in the morning  just for the hell of it”, and it’s great. The songs are all instrumental and (except for maybe the timestamps) arbitrarily titled- the recordings are about as lo-fi as you’ll probably ever hear two major-label grammy-winning musicians/producers get. You can hear the guitars being slightly out of tune in “0=2”, you can hear them getting slightly out of time with the fart-noise synthesizer in “ZIM”, but somehow that makes it better. You really get the feeling that this is just two guys having fun and seeing what they can make together, and their two radically different approaches to the guitar really mesh here to create something fantastic. Frusciante gives some great driving melodic lines and wraps Omar’s signature “I don’t give a fuck, I want to play this note” dissonance in some more traditional harmony, giving the music the grounding it needed. This is the kind of shit you expect to hear when you walk into a dark, smoky basement with a couple of guys flopped over musty old couches with guitars in hand, just doing whateverthefuck and loving it.

The link I provided is to Omar’s online store, because they’re giving this album away for free: enter 0.00 if you want it for exactly that amount, but anything more will be a donation to “Keep Music in Schools” programs, which is extremely cool of them.

~ Julian


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