Omar-S, The Further You Look – The Less You Will See

[FXHE Records]


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There’s a tendency to describe Alex O. Smith, the owner of FXHE Records who is better known as Omar-S, as “enigmatic” or “mysterious,” but the latter is not something that Smith has spent much time cultivating. Smith is a prankster, with a strong tendency to, in his own words, “fuck with people.” So you could call him enigmatic for including juvenile messages on his records, as well as selling Omar-S ice cube trays on his web store. It’s hard to say how much Smith’s zany antics — like a this picture of him signing vinyl next to a revolver — have transferred onto the success of his music. He’s had a good five-year run of mostly “buy on sight” releases, but still hasn’t gained much more than a cult following.

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But 2008 is shaping up to be a good year for Smith. It feels like Omar-S, the personality, is taking a back seat to Omar-S the musician. “Psychotic Photosynthesis” is a near-masterpiece, a track that see-saws, psyche-licks, hypnotizes and eventually interlocks it all back together. “The Further You Look – The Less You See” is a worthy follow-up, but has been mostly ignored. Which is unfortunate; Smith likes to talk about his sound as Motown-gone-minimal, and “TFYLTLYS” hits that raw note perfectly. It’s built around a gummed-up and rippling riff on “black cow” melody. With each interweaving part, the melody becomes more dizzying and butterflies outward. Named after the Temptations’ song, “The Further You Look – The Less You See” has the same pleading (and melancholic) tone. It’s pretty damn affecting for a minimal Detroit track and one definitely worth seeking out.

colin s  on November 18, 2008 at 7:10 AM

Agreed – this is a great record. I didn’t know I could get an Omar-S Ice Cube tray!

hutlock  on November 18, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Yeah, good call on this, Nate. “Gummed-up” is a great description of the sound. Oh, and if you purchase $20 of vinyl from his site, free shipping. I’m there.

Krul  on November 18, 2008 at 11:43 AM

sweet sweet record. never heard it out before though..

Krul  on November 18, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Also, I’m not really sure how to say it. but it simply begs for someone to do something with that melody, the part in the beginning where it goes “acid” at the 1min mark sounds so eclectic!

todd  on November 18, 2008 at 10:50 PM

i never know what to expect from omar’s stuff, sometimes i think he’s the one guy who could make a song that every human being could connect with.

peder  on November 19, 2008 at 7:52 AM

yeah, it’s a solid release and quite different i think from his older stuff – slicker, almost more italo sounding. the drums are far less distorted than the oasis/”just ask the lonely” era… kinda prefer that stuff but different strokes for different folks and all that

Karl  on November 19, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Am really feeling this tune, much more so than Psychotic Photosynthesis which I thought was good but not as good as a lot of people seemed to think.

todd  on November 20, 2008 at 12:15 AM

i wouldn’t describe what he’s doing as zany antics, there’s something far more real and in your face about what he’s doing.

Count Drugula  on November 20, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Finally! I’ve been shocked by the underwhelming response to this record which, both sides included, actually surpasses ‘psychotic’ for me. Was lucky enough to score a demo pressing of this earlier in the year from the homie himself–and I agree with Todd, no antics here, just a severely earnest musician–and thought this record would catapult alex into the dance music upper stratospere. I feel like this is a step up from the ‘just ask the lonely’ era, as well as a logical continuation. More soul, more streamlining, more excellence!

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds » Little White Earbuds November Charts  on April 5, 2009 at 6:16 PM

[…] (buy) 09. Margaret Dygas, “See You Around” [Non Standard Productions] (buy) 10. Omar-S, “The Further You Look – The Less You See” [FXHE Records] […]

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