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Thread: The Mars Volta

  1. #1
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    The Mars Volta

    I dug out Frances The Mute this weekend and after a couple of spins, found I quite liked it.

    Some of it was a bit too full-on at times, and some of it was noise and dubious sound effects stretching out an album that could have worked better with a shorter running time. But, overall I thought it highly original and worth keeping in the collection.

    So, bearing in mind my misgivings, which albums should I try next?

  2. #2
    De-loused in the Comatorium maybe?

    To be honest, I was hardcore into Mars Volta circa Frances the Mute but each subsequent album had pretty big drops in enjoyment for me.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    De-loused in the Comatorium maybe?

    To be honest, I was hardcore into Mars Volta circa Frances the Mute but each subsequent album had pretty big drops in enjoyment for me.
    I have to agree.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Valen View Post
    I dug out Frances The Mute this weekend and after a couple of spins, found I quite liked it.

    Some of it was a bit too full-on at times, and some of it was noise and dubious sound effects stretching out an album that could have worked better with a shorter running time. But, overall I thought it highly original and worth keeping in the collection.

    So, bearing in mind my misgivings, which albums should I try next?
    IMO, the first three do everything that MV ever did well (frankly, the debut covers about 80% of everything that they would do well, but I'm still mostly enthusiastic about the ways that albums 2 and 3 do them, too).

    There's some good stuff on the last three but they're not as important to have, IMO.

  5. #5
    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    This 2 CD reconstruction of Frances the Mute by the awesome blog "albums that never were" might be of interest to Mars Volta fans. Sorry if this was already posted. OP may find it of interest

    http://albumsthatneverwere.blogspot....-mute-2cd.html

  6. #6
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    I think there's excellent material on Deloused, FTM, and Amputechture. But after that, you might be better off exploring a bit of Omar Rodriguez Lopez's catalog. It's daunting, but if you're curious I enjoy:

    Self-titled (2006)
    The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange (2007)
    Se Dice Bisonte, No Býfalo (2007)

    ...are good starting points.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  7. #7
    Member Wounded Land's Avatar
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    De-loused is usually the Mars Volta I recommend to people just getting into them, but I think my favorite is Amputechture. It has a psychedelic haze that I really like.

    I got off the boat after the The Bedlam in Goliath because things got a little too samey for me, but whenever I pull one of their early albums out I always enjoy it.

    NP: Blind Guardian Nightfall in Middle-Earth

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    Genuine and honest question: Why do prog fans like The Mars Volta?
    I'm as baffled over prog fans liking them as I'm sure many prog fans are over the love some prog fans have for Cardiacs.

    What is it in Mars Volta music that appeals to prog fans? Is it the odd instrumentation, the tempos, (is it math rock?), the herky jerky feel or what?

    I tried to like them and had the De-L in the C album, but I just couldn't get into them, I just got irritated when listening to them. For me they sound like a mix between a noisy, angular version of Muse and a less heavy version of System of a Down.
    Last edited by PeterG; 12-01-2015 at 10:23 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by gpeccary View Post
    I have to agree.
    Me too. Frances was their highlight to me. After that it got too excessive with his vocals and intensity in the music. Just not my cup of tea.

  10. #10
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    But it was announced today that At The Drive-In are re-forming to do some dates!!!

    Always preferred them to The Mars Volta. More song-driven, I guess.
    The Prog Corner

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by SRS View Post
    This 2 CD reconstruction of Frances the Mute by the awesome blog "albums that never were" might be of interest to Mars Volta fans. Sorry if this was already posted. OP may find it of interest

    http://albumsthatneverwere.blogspot....-mute-2cd.html
    Oh cool, thanks. I did like some of the Pink Floyd "what if Syd had stuck around?" experiments on the site.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: https://ephemeralsun.bandcamp.com

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    frankly, the debut covers about 80% of everything that they would do well.
    Sums it up for me. But even then I'd have to say that I found TMV one of the most overrated "contemprog" bands of the last decade. There was just so insanely much creative musicmaking going on with the bands in Chicago, Philly and N.Y. (Brooklyn, specifically) that I felt TMV to fall short.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    is it math rock?
    No.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Sums it up for me. But even then I'd have to say that I found TMV one of the most overrated "contemprog" bands of the last decade. There was just so insanely much creative musicmaking going on with the bands in Chicago, Philly and N.Y. (Brooklyn, specifically) that I felt TMV to fall short.
    I mostly see them as heirs to Physical Graffiti/Presence-era Led Zeppelin. Amped way up, and with a bunch of other influences as well, but much of what they do seems determined to make louder/heavier/faster/more psychedelic versions of 'Achilles Last Stand.'

  15. #15
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    I bought Deloused 'cause of all the fuzz made about it.

    Found it to be rather boring stuff with awfull vocals. I think I even bought another one (their 3rd I think) 'cause still
    everybody told me how good they where. Didn't like that to much either, but a little more than the debut.

    Totally overrated from my point of view...

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    Member Haruspex Carnage's Avatar
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    Cedric has always been a huge influence on me lyrically...definitely has an ear for the surrealist/absurd/dadaistic/beat cut-up style.

    That being said, there isn't a TMV album i don't enjoy; they're also good SONG writers, strong demented melodies with solid grooves...Noctourniquet was the weakest of the batch with the drumming and electronica aspect being pretty weak...although it still has some great cuts like In Absentia, Vedamalady, title track, and Zed.

    Omar albums are hit and miss; mostly miss...i do wish they'd cut the bullshit and get back to big band formations, release the other two El Groupo Nuevo albums, but $ i suppose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    I mostly see them as heirs to Physical Graffiti/Presence-era Led Zeppelin. Amped way up, and with a bunch of other influences as well, but much of what they do seems determined to make louder/heavier/faster/more psychedelic versions of 'Achilles Last Stand.'
    That certainly explains De-Loused very well. I have not heard the subsequent ones.

  18. #18
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    I mostly see them as heirs to Physical Graffiti/Presence-era Led Zeppelin. Amped way up, and with a bunch of other influences as well, but much of what they do seems determined to make louder/heavier/faster/more psychedelic versions of 'Achilles Last Stand.'
    For me it would be ...much of what they do seems determined to make louder/heavier/faster/more psychedelic versions of... Abraxas.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by 100423 View Post
    For me it would be ...much of what they do seems determined to make louder/heavier/faster/more psychedelic versions of... Abraxas.
    I'm hesitant to lean too much on Santana, because this seems like an obvious crutch due to their heritage. I hear some Abraxas-era stuff in there, amidst the other things, but not as much as I've seen referenced by others.

    FWIW, the band has never mentioned Santana as being among their influences, although they have been asked frequently over the years, and they have offered names as disparate as Beefheart, Zeppelin, King Crimson, Can, Bjork, Mahavishnu, Larry Harlow, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Brian Eno, and many others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valen View Post

    Some of it was a bit too full-on at times?
    I find them too 'full-on' all the time, it's their Achilles' heel. I'm not sure if that's down to the mastering of their work or their music itself, but restraint would be welcome whoever is to blame.

  21. #21
    Member Haruspex Carnage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I find them too 'full-on' all the time, it's their Achilles' heel. I'm not sure if that's down to the mastering of their work or their music itself, but restraint would be welcome whoever is to blame.
    Live for sure. Discipline would be an asset to their approach but they've always been punks; they don't give a shit what you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    I'm hesitant to lean too much on Santana, because this seems like an obvious crutch due to their heritage. I hear some Abraxas-era stuff in there, amidst the other things, but not as much as I've seen referenced by others.

    FWIW, the band has never mentioned Santana as being among their influences, although they have been asked frequently over the years, and they have offered names as disparate as Beefheart, Zeppelin, King Crimson, Can, Bjork, Mahavishnu, Larry Harlow, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Brian Eno, and many others.
    The band has never mentioned Santana as an influence because he is not one of them. It has been reviewers and fans that have said that Santana is an influence because whenever they hear/listen to something latin in a rock band, they quickly think it's Santana as if there is nothing else in the Latin/Hispanic world to be influenced about. I remember reading several reviews when 'France The Mute' came out that Santana was an influence on that record. Well, it so happens that Omar Rodriguez Lopez is a Puerto Rican from my hometown of Bayamon and there's a distinctive influence of Puerto Rican jazz and both Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa on that album. The album even includes the legendary Larry Harlow, who was the pianist and producer of probably the most important Salsa group ever, The Fania All-Stars, playing piano at the end of the song "L'Via L'Viaquez" after which you can hear the chants of the Puerto Rican coqui (a small frog species native to the island) when the song ends. Of course, being Puerto Rican myself I identified those influences right away but there's certainly are other influences on the album like Pink Floyd, for example. Overall, I really like the first four albums but, personally, 'Frances The Mute' is my favorite.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
    The band has never mentioned Santana as an influence because he is not one of them. It has been reviewers and fans that have said that Santana is an influence because whenever they hear/listen to something latin in a rock band, they quickly think it's Santana as if there is nothing else in the Latin/Hispanic world to be influenced about. I remember reading several reviews when 'France The Mute' came out that Santana was an influence on that record. Well, it so happens that Omar Rodriguez Lopez is a Puerto Rican from my hometown of Bayamon and there's a distinctive influence of Puerto Rican jazz and both Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa on that album. The album even includes the legendary Larry Harlow, who was the pianist and producer of probably the most important Salsa group ever, The Fania All-Stars, playing piano at the end of the song "L'Via L'Viaquez" after which you can hear the chants of the Puerto Rican coqui (a small frog species native to the island) when the song ends. Of course, being Puerto Rican myself I identified those influences right away but there's certainly are other influences on the album like Pink Floyd, for example. Overall, I really like the first four albums but, personally, 'Frances The Mute' is my favorite.
    Yes, that's what I was driving at with my comment. People who don't know a lot about Latin music might be too quick to throw Santana in as a reference, because he's probably the most recognizable rock figure of Latin heritage who used those sounds in his music. I have no idea how much they were into Santana and, by their omission on the matter, I guess the answer might be "not much."

  24. #24
    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    De-loused in the Comatorium maybe?

    To be honest, I was hardcore into Mars Volta circa Frances the Mute but each subsequent album had pretty big drops in enjoyment for me.
    Ditto. De-loused and FtM cover anything/everything I need to hear by them nowadays.

  25. #25
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    I like Amputechture more than Frances because there seems to be more music and less sound effects. Also, I liked the addition of sax and the tunes are just nifty.
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