CD REVIEW Omnia Opera

Band : Omnia Opera
Album Title : Nothing Is Ordinary
Label : Self-release
Distributor : Self-release
Release Date : 2011
Review : CD

I was really happy to open my mailbox and find this hard to find digi-pack awaiting me. The band sent me a copy and this space bastard thank them very much for that because I really enjoy this third cd from extraterrestrial quintet Rob Lloyd ( guitars), Neil Spragg (drums &electronics), Andy Jones (bass and vocals), Libby Vale (vocals) and Captain Bagley (synths). I've had this disc for more than two months now, it has been in my CD player nearly nonstop, and by rights should have been reviewed sooner than this. Omnia Opera is a space rock band from UK initially active from 1985 to 1997 and again since 2006. After releasing some tapes, Omnia signed with Delerium and debuted with their first self titled full-length in 1993. It took almost a year to record and finalize their second Red Shift which took its toll on band morale. Unhappy with the situation Neil agreed to finish the recording but would leave after it was finished. The band dissolved and Red Shift sat on the shelf until 1997 before being released. After a long hiatus. the band reunited for a clutch of English gigs and decided to make their re-formation permanent. Last year they released the double cd Nothing Is Ordinary which presents a whopping 120 minutes of music, that brings back loving memories of the early 90s Delerium ages (Krel, Mr Quimbeys Beard, Ozric Tentacles, Dead Flowers, Nukli, Psychomuzak and even Porcupine Tree) From the opening track til the last one, the band is musically adventurous, expanding its space rock with reggae, punk, kraut, ambient, wave and electronics.

Omnia Opera plunges into the void with the rocketing booming track “Destroyer of worlds” They then launch into "Second skin" with its pounding rhythm of punky space rock, spaced out synth melodies. Lots of swirling electronics and crushing guitar place this track squarely in the Hawkwind space cadet camp. Among my favorite tracks of the double set are the title track, what an amazing track. What we have here is a truly masterly combination of atmosphere, brilliant vocals by front-lady Libby and main composer Andy Jones, crunchy bass and dreamy, emotional passages. “Supernova” is a heavily Ozric-influenced tune that builds the pace and intensity to smokin’ psych-rock levels. Very cosmic and accessible music that you can chill out to, or even dance to. It makes the body want to move. “Liquid underground” is a Gong influenced and one of the coolest tracks on the CD and benefits greatly from the sax soloing. "Malgi" is one moment floating, the next searing acidic psychedelic. Mix in lots of alien fx wizardry, beautiful vocals and wild synth patterns and you get a wonderfully chaotic mindfuck track. “Under the sun” is another nearly 10 minute track, which starts very dreamy, with lush synths and programmed beats and deep bass playing as the layers speeden up!! "Pictures on the news" is a rousing rocker with great bashing guitars. “Big brother” is again more aggressive, alternating between a stately guitar fanfare, an abrasive driving riff, and a quiet bridge section full of experimentation.and spoken words; The spirits of Hawkwind, Here and Now and particularly early Gong are all over this track, as are some krautrock, dub and wave influences. Wow...  Even lighter and shorter songs, like “Mr sludge” that didn't grab me all that much, have an ethereal quality and the trademark Omnia Opera outer space atmospherics. On the quiet part, there's the pleasant closer “Leaning backwards”, the soothing ambient of “Genus of angels”, “Corridor of crows” and “Umbilical” and the dark unsettling mood of “Clouds gather”.

The way in which the songs are put together, the flow of the double album (18 tracks) from passage to passage, from song to song, is rather breathtaking and quite rewarding to the listener, well worth recommending. This is one of the best surprise comebacks of the last years and I hope that it will not pass unnoticed.
Stunning double cd, packaged in a lovely high quality eco-friendly recycled-card triple gate fold cover, full colour glossy booklet included and a must have for every space rock addict!  Press that repeat button again and enjoy! It's too bad that I just got this recently as it would've certainly been on my top 3 list for 2011.
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