Omar-S, Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself

[FXHE Records]


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Omar-S seemingly has something to prove. This is, of course, a fallacy. Few working today have garnered as much trust to do whatever they so please, and Alex Smith takes full advantage of this, letting music trickle from his FXHE imprint as he sees fit. But given his thorny persona and the absolute torrid clip at which he’s been releasing music the past few years, his perma-against-the-wall attitude is readily palpable. “You can not copy Omar-S. style,” he declares on the back of the sleeve for his 2005 effort, Just Ask The Lonely. “You can only copy a song that has already been produced by Omar-S.” It’s pointedly stand-offish and largely true. But if this paranoia, this self-constructed defense mechanism, is the reason we end up with work like Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself, then by all means.

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Unlike prior full-lengths that saw him cobble together singles with accompanying filler, each of the 13-tracks here are unreleased and each a keeper. This alone ranks the album high amongst the most fully definitive statements of his career. There’s plenty semblance of trademark Omar-S — most notably the tireless attention paid to deftly syncopated drum programming — but its real definition is granted through breadth. Never afraid to test a variety of genre waters, he fully submerges himself in certain pockets on Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself, nestling next to contemporary geniuses currently owning their particular realm and proving his keep. Most impressive is how much it sounds entirely of the moment while remaining a distinctly Omar-S affair. “Air Of The Day,” for example, sees Omar testing the momentum-dictated melee of New York heads like Jus-Ed and Levon Vincent. And there’s more than a couple instances resembling the cobwebby textures being so prevalently plied by the world-beating L.I.E.S. crew. “Hellter Shelter,” in particular, burbles ever so skeptically around a loose-limbed assemblage of patter, and “Messier Sixty Eight” lives up to its title, working a hi-hat and wood block smattering around a forever-plunging lurch. Not surprisingly given the attached “mixed by Luke Hess” credit, “I Just Want” is the most techno thing here, forging down a pitch-black corridor and reaching the end with a few bumps and bruises as a result of jostling into the walls.

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While his chameleonic dexterity helps keep things rounded, let’s not forget that this is Omar-S and wouldn’t be without some of that trademark emotion. It’s what makes his classics his classics; that ability to effortlessly alleviate a room from the dregs via unflinchingly delicate beauty, wringing ethos from a dance track in a manner that so few are capable. Quite often it’s accomplished on the simplest of terms. An achingly basic 303 frill and drum break form the spine of “Thank U 4 Letting Me Be Myself,” and yet it winds up being one the more finespun tracks of this early year thanks to a lick that sounds like a mouse running up-and-down a piano’s keys. The initial drum riff on “Its Money In The ‘D'” implodes and it seems destined to fall in line with the surrounding grit. But a daybreak synth run rests ever so gently on top, birthing a warm, welcoming sensory shock. It’s these contradictions that have come to define Omar-S: abrasive yet seductive, free-thinking yet indebted to his surroundings, all on his own time. If we want to attach some semblance of great meaning to the album’s title, like many did with It Can Be Done But Only I Can Do It, then I say, the pleasure is all ours.

charlie  on April 26, 2013 at 4:44 AM

Are these tracks available digitally anywhere at the moment does anyone know? Not too bovved about owning a cd.

Andrew  on April 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM

“Its Money In The ‘D’ is track of the album for me.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds April Charts 2013 | Little White Earbuds  on May 3, 2013 at 1:02 AM

[…] Love Club Mix) [Wania] (buy) 09. Mr. Beatnick, “Symbiosis” [Don't Be Afraid] (buy) 10. Omar-S, “It’s Money In The ‘D’” [FXHE Records] (buy)Staff ChartsPer Bojsen-Moller 01. Bonobo, “Emkay” [Ninja Tune] 02. […]

2Q Reports 2013: Downloads | Little White Earbuds  on July 11, 2013 at 12:02 AM

[…] 20th anniversary coinciding with the release of the Motor City enigma’s most recent LP, the replete Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself, perhaps there was a bit of serendipity at play. And curiously enough, considering the […]

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