Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Mars Volta
"Frances the Mute"

I had a conversation a couple weeks ago about At the Drive-In, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala's previous incarnation before The Mars Volta was formed. This reminded me that I needed to dig out the few Volta albums I have and give them a listen again.

This was the first Volta I'd ever heard. I was at a summer festival and they played the music video for "L'via L'viaquez" which sent my head whirling. I just didn't know anybody was making noise like that and getting attention for it.
Now granted, if you're standing near the hi-fi it's very easy to skip over the minutes upon minutes of noise that Rodriguez-Lopez installed in his project, but every song on here is different, hard-hitting and creative. Within two days I'd bought the record and was really able to digest Omar's guitar style which consists of endless parade of pyrotechnic force without any thought for going back for survivors.

To change it up, I listened to this today on my Tivoli Audio hi-fi which kept me company while I cleaned the kitchen. It's listening experience is very different than on my normal McIntosh/B&W set-up. Much of the middle ground is lost, which is too bad with this record, because that's where Omar's guitar lives. This isn't a criticism of the Tivoli - one can only expect a two-inch driver to do so much. It's a delightful bit of engineering and a swan song for Henry Kloss.

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