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Subject: "The Mars Volta’s vinyl box set, 'La Realidad De Los Sueños,'" Previous topic | Next topic
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Wed Apr-28-21 08:30 PM

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"The Mars Volta’s vinyl box set, 'La Realidad De Los Sueños,'"




The Mars Volta’s Landscape Tantrums Deepens Mysteries of Debut LP
New vinyl box set, 'La Realidad De Los Sueños,' includes unfinished original recordings of 'De-Loused in the Comatorium'
Ryan Reed | April 19, 2021 - 1:42 pm

Remember when albums were marketed on TV commercials? (For that matter, remember commercials?) Back in 2003, flipping through channels during a vacation with friends, I was physically startled by the sound of “Inertiatic ESP” — flailing distortion, glass-shatteringly high vocals, drums as mammoth as the Smoky Mountains outside the rec room window of our rental cabin.

Who the fuck is this band?

The very next day, I casually suggested that we — a trio of small-town Bible Belt teenagers without easy access to a music store — make a detour on our drive home to the nearest Best Buy. I scanned the racks and, to my disbelief, found the CD: the Mars Volta’s De-Loused in the Comatorium. Whoa. The glorious Storm Thorgerson artwork (a golden, egg-like head beaming light from inside some kind of creepy laboratory), the surreal song titles (Should I be afraid to board a “Drunkship of Lanterns”?), the mayhem of “ESP” still rattling in my ears.

I’d heard probably 12 seconds of this music, and I probably had $12 in my wallet, but I made the plunge. I was immersed in mysteries, and I had to solve them.

I didn’t, of course. But that’s why I’ve spent the last 18 years revisiting the record over and over, always riveted by a dissonant guitar riff I’ve never spotted or a sparkle of wordplay I knew by heart but never bothered to pick apart. De-Loused is a musical nesting doll — a collision of prog, post-punk, salsa, free-jazz, electronica and folk balladry.

And that makes sense: For guitarist/musical director Omar Rodríguez-López and singer-lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the album followed their exit from acclaimed post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, along with their dub-reggae experiments in De Facto. De-Loused applied all these lessons and moved even further into the unknown.

The riddle was the point.

The band’s new, career-spanning vinyl box set, La Realidad De Los Sueños, translates from Spanish to “The Reality of Dreams.” It’s a fitting title, given the contents. The centerpiece of the whole project — on top of the remastered audio, elaborately devised packaging, liner notes and revamped artwork — is Landscape Tantrums, the unfinished original De-Loused recordings. A primitive version of the album has been floating around online for years under the name “Summer Demos.” But Tantrums is the holy grail for Volta nerds: a legit, high-fidelity glimpse into their original vision before the big-budget sessions with producer Rick Rubin.

It’s possible that some Volta fans may actually prefer Tantrums’ more direct, abrasive performances over De-Loused’s polished, note-perfect attack. There’s a ragged snarl on the riff of ballad-gone-convulsive “Eriatarka.” “Inertiatic ESP” leans heavier on Jeremy Michael Ward’s druggy vocal effects, with the bass distorted into a punkier shape. (Conversely, that song’s closing electric piano part is more soulful and ornamental than the later take.) Meanwhile, the noise-to-groove ratio on “Drunkship of Lantern” tips toward the former. Tantrums is a clear sibling to the band’s 2002 Tremulant EP — the link between De-Loused and At the Drive-In’s 2000 swan song, Relationship of Command.

La Realidad De Los Sueños digs out a couple of other treasured De-Loused-era rarities: the frantic, widely bootlegged fan-favorite “A Plague Upon Your Hissing Children” (featuring a handful of lyrics that later appeared on 2006’s “Day of the Baphomets”) and a tighter version of Tremulant’s “Eunuch Provocateur.” Given that both could slot easily onto De-Loused without a dip in quality, it’s wild to think they were shelved for so long.

“It is the right time to open these recordings up to the public,” Rodríguez-López said in a statement announcing the box set. “As a work of art in its own right, this set also needs to be seen as the end of a story.” In a way, that’s true: The shitty bootlegs are now irrelevant, and the compositional process has been illuminated.

Still, the core mystery of De-Loused — how they managed to make such madness so endlessly listenable — remains. Landscape Tantrums only enriches it.

Listening now, I drift back to that pivotal encounter in 2003. Leaving the Best Buy parking lot, I unwrapped the package, clicked the CD out of its jewel case and nervously passed up the disc from the minivan’s third row. It was a strange first setting for an hour of music that, I rightly assumed, might knock around my brain like a ping-pong ball. But now my friends were eager to hear these songs, probably just so they could snicker at my failed financial gamble.

Even as a critic, I strive to avoid hyperbole — but in that backseat, my eyes widening to the opening electric piano riff of “Son et lumière,” I was something close to reborn.


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The Mars Volta’s vinyl box set, 'La Realidad De Los Sueños,' [View all] , c71, Wed Apr-28-21 08:30 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
RE: The Mars Volta’s vinyl box set, 'La Realidad De Los Sueños,'
Apr 29th 2021
It’s sold out lol
Apr 29th 2021
      That's not my point AT ALL
Apr 30th 2021
Presale for the individual albums starts tomorrow
May 06th 2021

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