Maybe about a month ago, I asked a friend to make a mix of their treasured Omar Rodriguez Lopez (The Mars Volta, ORL, Stones Throw, filmmaker extraordinaire) songs to share. I told them I would simultaneously work on my own, and voila- they presented theirs and I had nothing to share in typical “de” fashion. I called it a “challenge”, not because of some sort of egotistical ambition for this person to show off their knowledge of ORL’s discography (although I mean this could be a challenge, the sheer depth of ORL’s catalogue is intimidating), but instead I think I wanted this person to share to me why or how ORL’s work was inspirational to them. There are many different fans of this man’s work, and until recently (I’ve been a dedicated fan for almost 13 years) have I been able to share with his enthusiasts that cherish the same moments in his music that I do. So needless to say, this has been an interesting exercise.
In 2015, I lost profound hearing and gained tinnitus in my left ear from a debilitating sickness that I battled. I won, somewhat, and I am fine (sans hearing in one ear lol) but it proves difficult for me to listen to things without intentional manipulation of stereo sounds. When I am lazy and I just want to listen to a song off youtube, or another streaming device, this loss becomes realized- I’ll listen to a familiar song wondering where certain drumming patterns, bass lines, and chorus lines went- and then of course, usually while singing that part I’m missing aloud, I’ll remember why I can’t hear it. Sometimes, I’ll have a weird phantom experience with certain bass lines in some songs that I’ve listened to repeatedly- like I know I can’t hear certain parts but intuitively know its coming up in a song and I’ll get emotional about it and sing that missing part into existence for myself. Anyway, all of this is my starting point for this mix of songs by ORL.
Punk. Immigrant. Black. Foreign. Urgency. <<<<transverse.space>>>> is translated through the rhythm of ORL’s music. For this mix, I want to focus on the use of his constructed minor basslines that carry throughout the “genres” his music falls into and the drumming patterns that he uses to highlight those terms I shared. Generally speaking, his basslines and drums have worked for me as a chaotic, cathartic pulse- so much so that in the past it would really enhance my stream of consciousness. As a kid, at Nigerian parties, I would sit by the speakers and listen to the Afrobeat and Juju BLAST to where I would entertain myself by seeing if my heartbeat was at tempo with the songs. This peculiar hobby of mine (along with suburban teenage angst) manifested itself into my interests with (post) hardcore, powerviolence and now today doom. However, ontologically speaking, it is Omar’s ability to combine that reality with his minor, and/or funky basslines that actually spoke to my identity and how I see myself operating in the world. As complex as I am as a human, ORL is able to translate his similar complexities into those two elements I mentioned. Long story short, I am righteously apt to identify myself just as I am nihilistic about identity- and I want to believe he gets this and battles this too with his art. So, as listed below, I present some songs that I hope folks vibe with//feel power from.
at the drive in- 300hz
the mars volta- y2g//Vicarious Atonement (demo)
erykah badu- Twinkle
omar rodriguez lopez group- Lurking About In A Cold Sweat (Held Together By Venom)
at the drive in- Porfirio Diaz
the mars volta- Eunuch Provocateur
omar rodriguez lopez x ximena sariñana- Las Flores Con Limon
omar rodriguez lopez x ximena sariñana- Poincaré
the mars volta- circatriz pt. 3
the mars volta- Ouroborous
bosnian rainbows- Mother, Father Set Us Free
omar rodriguez lopez- loveless