Omar Lopez

Forever Red (n / a)

Texas Platters

Omar Lopez

Forever Red

The classical training of Austin's worldly violinist Omar Lopez shows in his fiery technique, sweet tone, and this debut set list ("Ave Maria," "Pachelbel's Canon"). With a little help from his musical cohorts, locals Matson Belle, Dreamsound Orchestra, the Brew, and Pieces of East, Lopez attempts to tie it all together on Forever Red. Half of the 10 electro-fusion-classical cuts are instrumentals, and with most clocking in at more than five minutes, Lopez doesn't dwell on his lighter, more New Age side. Approaching his third decade, Lopez's themes – transition, impermanence, transformation – find him engaged in deeper issues than the typical party concerns of some of his cohorts. Sadly, the preponderance of midtempo songs belies his youthful vigor, the organic camel caravan flow of "Exodus" being an exception. At times rhythm instruments are too violin-subservient (the upbeat title track and "Resurrection"), tarnishing an otherwise fine sonic production. And while the electric violin's onstage practicality is well known, why not use the rich and wide open sound of the old-fashioned acoustic instrument to capture Lopez's strong bow strokes in the studio? In the end, Lopez should be proud, since Forever Red demonstrates a manifest talent taking hold.

**

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