Ottmar Liebert: The Scent of Light
2008. The guitarist — an itinerant mariachi with international connections — sits in the cell of an abandoned state prison near Santa Fe, bare feet in the rubbish left behind by the riot in 1980 which killed 33 inmates. It’s a contradictory image, where the filtered stagelight of the artist’s performance milieu has been supplanted by reality, the indifferent light of history. A place of confinement now becomes a sanctuary, a spiritual kiva defined by the unpolluted light of the unseen desert. A concert for ghosts becomes a ritual purification. But what is this xeric staging? The Scent of Light, Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra: the best album by the band since their seminal 1990 platinum release Nouveau Flamenco? Or could it possibly be better?
And now a review of the review… So many things in that review made me laugh! I guess that if you asked many people to describe a particular track of music you’d end up with all sorts of interesting descriptions, but many of these were oddly colorful, like: “”Firelight” with its slicing rasqueos and flamenco funk could be Earth, Wind & Fire run through a Spanish laundromat.” LOL – I don’t quite get it, but it sure paints a picture! Otherwise, the review did bring up a lot of technical details about the album and was very flattering of the overall achievement and quality.
My own personal feelings about the album… It’s just simply Wow! Ottmar and the band shifted into a whole new gear with this. And that’s not to say this is IT, as in THE new definition of them. It’s more an appreciation that the sound IS uniquely “Ottmar Liebert + Luna Negra” AND it’s totally fresh! That’s a great thing to experience as a fan and I’m just really enjoying this album!
Another thing about the CultureCourt review… It seemed to me that the reviewer’s approach to the album was that it was impressionistic in its inspiration. I suppose that as soon as you name a song there is the risk that the listener will say, “Oh, so that’s what that is about” and then that colors their experience of it. My first listen through of this album I didn’t pay attention to what the tracks were called, so when I read this review I felt like it didn’t click at all with my experience of the music. Of course, I can’t say what direction the inspiration flows for an artist, but as a listener I think I enjoy not tying the music to a concept but instead just seeing where it resonates inside.
Victor: some people just look at a painting or listen to a song, others like to know what kind of title the artist chose. I admit that I do usually take that step forward in a museum to look at the plaque that shows the artwork’s title.
Music is an impression of feelings, the title is an impression of the music, a review is an impression of the music and the title combined through the lens of the reviewer, and your comment is an impression formed by the music the title and the review etc. etc…
I enjoy CultureCourt’s reviews exactly BECAUSE they are impressionistic. I dig the writing and I dig that the writer read “Xiao Rem” as a city in China, when it means “Little Rem”. I find that ambiguity can be a good thing in music/art… it let’s the listener’s (or viewer’s) mind go to a thousand places…
It’s ALL impressions anyway, everything. I find an impressionistic or subjective review more honest than one in which the author pretends to remain objective.
It gets better with each listen. This will be another CD for me like “Innamorare” — it took me awhile to warm up to “Innamorare”, or perhaps to “get it”. Now, it’s probably my favorite OL+LN CD.
I commented to my wife that OL always makes music his way — he produces the work of art first and then goes out to see who will buy it. Totally opposite of others who don’t play a note that’s not carefully calculated on its sales appeal.
I can’t believe that I ordered it on Friday and received it in the mail on Monday.
See you in Santa Fe for the late August Indian Market.
i hope no one ever makes me pick a favorite album of yours :-) i have all of them and there is a top 6 probably…One Guitar is one of my absolute faves, but i also love La Semana, The Hours Between Night and Day and Opium. i’ve only listened to your new album online, but will purchase it soon! i looked at the titles and explanations and enjoy some of the background, but like with all of your music, i just let myself enjoy the music, no real words needed.