Omar Rodriguez-Lopez with new album and vinyl box set
There are some artists and bands where, in the face of their musical output, you wonder if their day has more than 24 hours. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard would come to mind spontaneously… or Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who has become particularly known as the guitarist of legendary bands like At The Drive-In or The Mars Volta. In his portfolio, there are also collaborations with numerous artists such as the similarly prolific John Frusciante or Terri Gender Bender.
Now his output from the last 20 years has been released on vinyl. And not as a Best Of-compilation or similar, but in the form of an extensive vinyl box set titled “Amor de Frances.” Extensive, in this case, means: 57 vinyl records. In words: fifty-seven! As you can imagine, the price accordingly reflects this. In the Clouds Hill label shop, which exclusively offers the box set, you have to shell out €1499 as the purchase price – roughly €26 per vinyl.
Ultimately, it remains a matter of cost. And a matter of taste, of course, because Rodriguez-Lopez’s ventures into jazz, prog, latin or electronic music are not always accessible. For die-hard fans however, the box set is the ultimate opportunity to immerse themselves in the sonic universe of ORL.
Some key points about the full boxset:
Limited Edition: The box set is an ultra-exclusive limited edition, with only 500 copies available, making it a must-have collector’s item.
Four-Piece Box Set: It comes as a beautifully crafted four-piece box set, with each box adorned in vibrant and artistically designed banderoles.
Vinyl Collection: This extraordinary collection comprises 57 albums, all pressed on recycled black vinyl to ensure exceptional sound quality.
Unreleased Material: Fans will be delighted to discover two previously unreleased records included in the collection, offering a unique listening experience.
Vinyl Debuts: Adding an extra layer of excitement, 31 records are making their vinyl debut, making this release truly special.
Cover Artwork: We’ve gone the extra mile to faithfully recreate the original cover artworks and even introduced selected redesigns for a couple of the artworks.
Art Prints: To enhance the collector’s experience, we’ve included a set of nine art prints. Additionally, the sleeve can be replaced with “The Clouds Hill Tapes Pt. 1-3” from 2020 (not included in the box set) to complete the silhouette on the spines.
Remastered Sound: The entire collection has been meticulously remastered by our in-house mastering studio Soundgarden.
‘New’ album available on vinyl for the first time
Since last friday you can purchase each of the vinyl records included in the box set individually. These are available not only in the label’s online shop but also in any well-stocked record store. So, for those who don’t necessarily need to own every creative output of the musician, this offers a more cost-effective option.
As mentioned earlier, the box set includes two previously unreleased albums. Alongside the live recording “Live At Clouds Hill,” recorded during the label festival in Hamburg in 2018, there is the new album “Is It The Clouds?”. Although the album is labeled as ‘new’, the recordings are from a few years ago and are influenced by the death of Omar’s mother after a long illness. Accordingly, the songs are quite calm and reflective, almost accessible by Rodriguez-Lopez’s standards. There are no prog-style outbreaks that might overwhelm the listener.
A southern Americana sound influenced by latin rhythms pervades all the songs, often reminding me of Calexico. The album even features an outstanding pop song in “Your Own Worst Enemy.” However, it almost seems like Omar, in the face of its catchiness, got cold feet because the song fades out quite abruptly after just over 2 1/2 minutes. Perhaps the negative energy in the lyrics, contradicting the overall catchy sound, was too much for him. After all, the lyrics state:
“You never seemed to doubt this path of arrogance
How does it feel to know your greatest accomplishment is sabotage?
Your love for putting others down
Was something come back to haunt your soul.”
Rodriguez-Lopez succeeds in creating a pleasant singer-songwriter album with “Is It The Clouds?” Despite its ‘short’ duration of just under 29 minutes, it offers a lot of variety, featuring some genuine gems, sometimes drifting a bit into the inconsequential though. Those who appreciate artists like Calexico, Nick Cave or Get Well Soon might find happiness with this album. For everyone else, there are 56 more albums to explore from Rodriguez-Lopez’s seemingly infinite sonic universe.