If you have read a few of my earlier reviews, you might know that I’ve mentioned that my favourite modern guitarist is Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. This is his new side project, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and it is the eleventh album he has made (solo and with The Mars Volta) since 2007.


El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - "Cryptomnesia"

El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - "Cryptomnesia"


This album is the first of a trilogy of albums, that the band will release. The band consists of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, Lead Guitar), Zach Hill (Hella, Drums), Jonathan Hischke (Hella, Synth Bass), Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta, Bass) and also include The Mars Volta vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala. The instrumental tracks were recorded in 2006 and it was not until last year that Bixler-Zavala recorded the vocal tracks.

Like most of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s music, it is largely experimental and doesn’t really conform to any common or popular standards. It may confuse some people, because there is so much going on in the tracks, but thats what I love about this music, every little peice of the song has it’s own merit.

The album’s vocals are very spontaneous, with some classic lines being blurted out, such as “I won’t get Tourette’s if you won’t get Tourette’s.”, especially when they’re repeated in a frenzy. Anyone who found Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s vocals annoying in last year’s Mars Volta album Bedlam In Goliath, then they should definitely give this album a listen because his vocals are almost at the top of his game.

The thing that sets this album apart from others is the musicianship, all the band members are amazing musicians and that can be heard quite clearly in the music. This is noticeable most in the drum tracks and while they are totally different in style to any beat The Mars Volta has done, it fits in with the music perfectly and almost bursts out in front of the rest of the other instruments.

The band isn’t quite as together as the Mars Volta but that’s very hard to replicate and I think they’ve achieved an album that is going to be very hard to top by the next two of the trilogy (which by the way, they have already recorded and I’m guessing will probably be released over the next year).

Cryptomnesia is a must for fans of The Mars Volta and to an extent At The Drive-In. The album probably isn’t for people who don’t like heavier music or experimental music, and I would definitely not recommend this album to them, but for people who are into this type of music then this is going to very interesting. Also, it has to be listened in full, for the best experience.


New Mars Volta album, “Octahedron”, has just been announced, with a release date of June 23…

So mark that date down in your calenders people.

~ by Michael Hodder on April 23, 2009.

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