Unfiltered creativity from the Mars Volta guru...

The past two months has seen Omar Rodríguez-López gift the world not one, not two, but three enchanting releases. 'The Clouds Hill Tapes Pt. I - III' were composed by Rodríguez-López himself and feature an assemblage of musicians and the vocal talent of Maria Garcia-Alvez.

Part III comprises of only six tracks and as the artwork suggests, is the closing sequence of the cinematic musical experience that Rodriguez-Lopez has created. We find solace here, in this ending. As we are left to re-enter the world with the lessons that these songs leave behind. The music is unclear at times but beautiful non the less, as is the video for ‘Winter’s Gone’. Simply focus on the words and you will find moments of focus in this chaotic world.

The artistic vision of The Clouds Hill Tapes videos unfortunately were not replicated in the album art. Whilst a great effort was made to celebrate the analogue approach that the team took in creating this collection of work, the outcome the artwork does not compliment the work as it should. A brilliant concept, with an unfortunate shutterstock-friendly execution.

‘Running Away’ traverses the strain of relationships, sharing pain, letting people leave and return into your life. A tale as old as time, this “set in stone” experience is explored with a positive light, with the emotively beautiful piano accompaniment truly being the cherry on the cake.

And whilst the beauty of this piece is clear, the movement doesn’t track through the opus, with tracks like ‘Paint Yourself A Saint’ and ‘Born To Be Nobody’ having moments of clutter. Coco Chanel’s words of wisdom; ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’; come to mind. Whilst there is too much going on, this isn’t to say Rodriguez-Lopez is any less talented, if anything the overwhelming nature is the result of having too many eggs in one basket and simply not knowing where the line is, rather than being unable to produce creative masterpieces.

‘Tell Me What I Did Wrong’ certainly provides proof of this creative prowess. This track would be fitting on any major radio, with its blend of painfully troubled vocals blending beautifully with the near-dance beat. Both interesting and moving, it draws you in but would feel comfortable being remixed and revamped, a goldmine for radio DJs.

An unfiltered blast of creativity, 'The Clouds Hill Tapes Part III' finds Omar Rodríguez-López communicating directly with fans, with mixed but sometimes fascinating results.

7/10

Words: Megan Walder

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