Omar Rodriguez Lopez's Old Money is the first album that The Mars Volta guitarist/producer/writer/arranger will release with Stones Throw Records. The addictive melodies and passionate execution of each performance render Old Money perhaps the most accessible of his non-Volta recordings, and the perfect entry point to anyone not yet familiar with what this prolific artist has to offer.
The album fits comfortably between the guitarist's monumental work with The Mars Volta, and his prior rock-based solo releases such as 2007's The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange. Loosely based on the concept of exploitative industrialists and, well, their old money, the album presents a 10-track collection of concise rock compositions, which range from progressive to psychedelic to downright funky. Many of these sounds could easily be at home on a Volta record proper had they meshed with Cedric Bixler-Zavala's vocals; Rodriguez Lopez has hinted that this record was a potential follow up to the 2006 Volta release Amputechture until he changed his musical direction.
Through the assistance of many of the players familiar to any fan of his "day gig", Rodriguez Lopez goes straight for the jugular with an unrelenting trio of opening tracks: the lead-in "The Power of Myth", the haunting, Middle Eastern-psych flavored "How to Bill the Bilderberg Group", and the blistering "Population Council's Wet Dream." The results are formidable and easily rank among the most exciting moments of Rodriguez Lopez's solo output. The remainder of the album is equally as memorable and certainly the product of acute inspiration on behalf of its creator. Though clear influences of popular ensembles such as Pink Floyd and Santana can be discerned, a deeper study reveals the cross-continental influence of Israeli garage psych heroes The Churchills, French proggers Ame Son and Magma and Turkish guitar-god Erkin Koray – amongst others.
This historical, though thoroughly modern, discourse ensures that this release fits perfectly within the ever expanding Stones Throw Records' novel. This album serves as an interesting new chapter in the same book that houses Madlib's interplanetary ramblings, Gary Wilson's recurring adolescent nightmares and The Stark Reality's fuzzy children's stories: all Mars Volta favorites.