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Omenopus

Time Flies

Review by Gary Hill

The EP Portents was the first we heard from Omenopus. Two of the tracks from that release are also included on this, their first full album. The group is essentially a spin off of Spirits Burning. A trio, their music does move in the direction of space rock, but that’s really just a starting point. Much of this sits near electronica, but again, that’s too limiting a term. For my money, this is one of the best discs of the year. It should be noted that I used the two track reviews from Portents here, with a little modification, for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Truth & Lies

This is a slowly developing and mellow number. It has a gentle texture, a bit like Europop electronica meets Kate Bush. It works out later to a more involved and powered up arrangement for a while, but eventually drops back down to the territory from whence that section came. That powered up movement returns later and it continues this alternating path from there. There is a little instrumental section later that calls to mind Hawkwind’s Hall of the Mountain Grill album just a bit, but blended with a more electronic mode.

These Are My Thoughts
This starts with a definite percussive, rhythmic sort of texture. It’s space rock, though, and very much like the more ambient Hawkwind material. It builds very gradually and also has a bit of a performance art feeling to it. It maintains this sort of minimalist approach for a time, but then gets more involved and more in an experimental electronica kind of fashion a little past the three-minute mark (this song is over nine-minutes in length). Percussion dominates later. Bridget Wishart’s vocal delivery is whispy and spoken. It builds gradually and is just so tasty.
Don't Want To Be Here
Hawkwind-like space keys open this. The track itself is a Tangerine Dream or Vangelis kind of exploration. At less than three and a half minutes in length, this is one of the shortest pieces on show. It doesn’t go very far in terms of changes, either, but is just plain cool.
Night Twist
This starts with a mode that is quite stripped down and very much like some type of performance art. It reminds me a bit of Gong. As it grows upward we get elements of space rock, but also some Native American sounds. This is a cut that has a weird sort of chaotic texture, but yet is captivating and enchanting. It becomes more of a hard rocking tune later with some heavier guitar coming in to play.  
Night Twist Omega

This seems to come straight out of the previous number and has some space rock with major ambient motifs. It builds very gradually and, in some ways, isn’t that different from some of the more textural Hawkwind material. It carries on more or less like this, but then moves out into a cool pounding jam later that has a hint of Celtic music. It’s very much based in a electronica. It turns out to some killer keyboard jamming as it builds.

Hen
This is like chamber music meets Hawkwind meets pop oriented progressive rock. It’s bouncy and catchy – and yet tastefully odd.
Le Chapeau Rouge
A keyboard and vocal (in French) based intro eventually gives way to acoustic guitar building in a very gentle fashion. Spoken vocals come over this and then the track takes on a more electronica based style. The track gets quite involved and interesting. It’s another that might call to mind Tangerine Dream a bit.
You Don't Talk Like a Human
Much of this track has a sparse arrangement. It’s definitely got an electronica feel, but there is some space rock in the mix. It even has some hints of world music at times. It rocks out a bit harder at points, but overall remains quite understated.
Snapshot
There’s more of a rock texture to this, but in some ways it makes me think of something we might have heard from Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe, blended with Hawkwind-type music. It’s quite a cool piece. Eventually it turns out to a hard rocking jam that has some links to Hawkwind. It drops way down to a bouncing, stripped down motif later. From there it gradually works out to more rock type sounds. Around the nine minute mark (that’s not quite the half way point), it powers out to a hard-edged Hawkwind-like jam that’s quite cool. The guitar gets pretty noisy, but it’s also quite tasty. Then after the eleven minute mark it drops down to just keys. That gives way to a purely percussive and very sparse arrangement. It works back out from there in another stripped down electronic motif. There are overlayers as this builds back up that call to mind Hawkwind. Then around the seventeen minute mark some hard rocking, almost metal guitar threatens to take over. It eventually does dominate the piece, but Hawk-like keys come over top and the tune kicks into a very Hawkwind-like jam. That section takes it to a crescendo that leaves behind nothing but keyboards to take it out.
 
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