Omar-S, It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It


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Alright, so what exactly is Omar-S trying to do? The man born Alex Smith claims that only he can do it, and if it is a skeletal dub-house track paired with the moans and groans of a lady during a rigorous sex romp, then I would have to agree. But I’m pretty sure he has loftier ambitions, and Smith’s new album It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It is honestly the kind of album only he could have assembled. Part of that has to do with the fact that many of these tracks have been previously released on vinyl or contain motifs from FXHE highlights. “Here’s Your Trance Now Dance,” a strong contender for track of the year, is included in all its ten-minute glory, while acid workout “Solely Supported” and the New-Order-in-1983 reminiscent “Skynet 2 B” also show up to the party. “Over You Too” versions the classic “U” in an extended tip, while “I Come Over” is a short, vocal-less edit of “Lift Him Up.” Both tracks are bright spots, but those who are familiar with the originals might find big brother Don Q’s voice sorely missed — despite all the flack he got for having a less than stellar set of pipes.

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“I Come Over” quickly segues into “Ganymede,” an intense, gurgling acid number that keeps on building to delirious effect. With only two 303 lines, a couple of drum machines, and a handful of effects its ingredients are assuredly lo-fi, but with smart knob-tweaking and arrangement emerges as something genuinely more intriguing than another throwaway acid-house track. “Supported Solely” starts off quietly but fills out into a colorful bit of refined house, while the titles track’s tense snare hits and anxiety-ridden synthesizer sounds add up to an intense, driving tune. “You Wish” is an uptempo, almost saccharine track with bass lines that quibble with each other under layers of polished rhythms. Like much of the material on It Can Be Done, it’s sure to be a favorite of DJs, as most of the album’s inclusions are extended cuts primed for the floor. Instead of falling into the pitfalls of many house artists who try to lazily demonstrate depth by including beatless tracks, Smith sticks to what he does best and keeps it interesting by switching up timbres and moods throughout.

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While “Here’s Your Trance Now Dance” might be the soundtrack to your best Saturday night out in years, it’s possible “Nite’s Over Compton” is the album’s true highlight. It’s the sound of the following Sunday: all crushed, hungover beats trying desperately to keep from stumbling as the summer heat encourages dozing off. Pretty, laid-back pianos are filtered in and out of focus and analog bass jabs give the slightest hint of forward momentum. “Bobien Larkin” closes the album with slowly moving sirens and subtle, wistful chords; it’s shorter than most of the tracks on offer but finishes the album on a high note. It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It doesn’t push the Omar-S sound as much as refine it, pairing gritty textures with more polished ones, semi-sweet melodies with acid-soaked bass lines. FXHE has spent the past couple of years as one of the best and most reliable labels in Detroit due to Smith’s work ethic and quality. But if he still felt he had anything left to prove, It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It loudly reasserts that Omar-S is carrying the bright torch of electronic music in Detroit quite high indeed.

thetruth  on September 14, 2011 at 11:17 AM

over rated and the guy is a fucking knob. wont support his music, ever

kuri  on September 14, 2011 at 8:11 PM

wow, what did he do to you? wouldn’t sign your copy of FXHE02? dude doesn’t claim to be anything but what he is. throws down serious heat in the mix and ships in the US for free over $20. he’s alright by me.

kobe bryant  on September 15, 2011 at 12:42 PM

he makes shit music

you mad??

mats  on September 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Funny with all these strong opinions (he sucks, his music sucks etc.)..
When I started listening to him around 2006 or so, Psychotic Photosynthesis had yet to be released and there was *no* hype, reviews or anything, nada!
Just a few odd interviews on some obscure websites with some guy working at Ford or something and handwriting labels.

All this “hype” came after the fabric release and the RA interview.
IDK but it must have made people really angry, the Willalobo stuff, the “my tracks are the best” stuff.
There were furious forum threads, and he got a lot of attention he had not gotten before. Good or bad.

How people take this so seriously is beyond me, but he must have taken notice, as he now releases a new album with the provocative title “It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It” with a provocatively bad(taste) album cover to boot, and the same thing happens again.
*Lots* of free publicity given by a lot of angry internet people, with other people chiming in to say hes cool on blog and stuff.

Good. Marketing. Strategy.

kuri  on September 16, 2011 at 8:24 PM

“makes shit music”? there’s no accounting for bad taste. I wouldn’t say everything is worth buying but he’s put some solid material over the years. stone, cold classics imo.

Henderick AKA Thelonious Funk  on September 17, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Listen guys,

This man has gotten a lot of harsh comments by critics saying he was trying to be like Villalobos, who I think is given waaaaay too much credit. The man is trying to do his thing. He has been a bit of a hit than a miss to me… As for his so called arrogance, when you are in the music industry you have to have some belief in your abilities. I have not seen people give Jay Haze as much of a hard time for his opinions about everything. He is much more complicated than Omar S. Just enjoy his music if you like it. If not, different strokes for different folks…

blog techno  on September 17, 2011 at 10:52 AM

i love the “look her watch” thing, sooo cool track to conclude a dj set :)

Funkhunt  on September 17, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Maybe when he says “It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It” he’s refering to release an album with an awful art cover. I mean, who picks a cd to listen with this cover? 😛

BSU  on September 21, 2011 at 11:25 PM

I presume the title is a Rakim lyric reference? Not sure that everyone especially the younger Eurocentric techno/tech house crowd would know this. So from a hip hop perspective, his album cover and attitude/stance is not that surprising or offensive to me :)

kuri  on September 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

@BSU: i think you nailed it. Omar S “got soul.”

mats  on September 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM

@BSU, good catch, I got the same thoughts when googling the album and having that songs lyrics come up.

BTW, I think Here’s Trance, Now Dance is a reference to this metroplex release:

(awesome track btw)

carol brown aka auntie carollee  on November 13, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Dog gone your time/Don’t believe I know oMAR S.
Don’t know;don’t show;don’t want to know;Don’t believe I Do?????


Little White Earbuds September Charts 2011 | Little White Earbuds  on October 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM

[…] Pagliara, “A Wrong Choice (Tuff City Kids Remix)” [Live At Robert Johnson] 06. Omar S, “Nite’s Over Compton” [FXHE] 07. The Groove Victim, “GPS Groove” [My Love Is Underground] 08. Runaway, […]

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