Omar-S The Best

[FXHE; 2016]

Styles: house, “deep”
Others: none!!

“Further, what can there be more clear, and more certain, than a true idea as a standard of truth?”
– Baruch Spinoza, Ethics, pt. 2, prop. XLIII, sch.

I had to sit on this one for a while before I felt I’d anything to write about it. It may the subtlest record ever to call itself The Best. Having basically nothing to prove of its author, already a Detroit house legend in spite of an ongoing anti-public relations campaign, this one resides in imponderable brilliance and creeps down to us like those mono sweeps three-quarters of the way through “Take Ya Pik, Nik!!!!!,” the weird flute recording laid over the second half of “Chama Piru’s,” the flamboyant synth violin wedged in the middling seconds of “Seen Was Set,” the compounding acidic resonance of the bass line of “Bitch…. I’ll Buy Another One!!!,” the stabs cutting with recklessly modulated sharpness into “Buggin Out,” the open hi-hat ring through the ascending chamber of “On Your Way,” or the high end of the piano loop asserting its way into the view of “Heard Chew Single.”

All of those things above bear a figurative rather than a conceptual relation to the divine. For an infinite moment under the influence of Omar-S as atemporal geometer, there are no more of the lords and peasants of the space of conceptual inwardness. We are all peasant-lords of something real, forging itself in the world as a happening only within a space defined by our outward togetherness. Here, veering away from the Charybdis seeking to deprive me of knowledge adequate for expression, I’m getting dangerously close to the Scylla of speaking openly about things best discussed in private, or rather in a public not known to the written word. The Best lives partly in a certain crispness of recollection, bouncing in the ecstasy of a Seen (sic) that is and Was (so!), set along principles that escape in indifference our lyrical efforts at legislature. I get by on the silly idea that there’s some standard for truth hiding somewhere outside true stuff.

This record is tagged “Deep House” on Discogs. Sometimes, I wonder what it is that’s “deep” about this shit. Are these 11 tracks, like, digging down to something?? Some new depth, closer to the (True, Good) core of things than the surface world? Nah. I’m p sure my fav moment of each one of these tracks involves a knob somewhere in the real world. A proximate knob. Maybe one I’ll see someday. All empirical histories of The Best lead to the same place — namely, that knobby, buttony place of authorial power. Don’t even get me started on modular synthesis. The rectangular image chosen to awkwardly cover The Best takes its place in a long line of images of men delicately manipulating a web of patch cords emanating from some massive, rectangular module, like a dorky, Millennial Atlas, hoisting the celestial spheres of Being through the manufacture of productive entanglement. This figure of the Man-Individual, unlike our other Atlases, has wonder in greater abundance than pain and greater joy than consternation at the weight of His task.

His Bestness is that of a twiddling, surgical subjectivity, a lord of ugly, plastic substance and still a peasant in the face of its remainder: a discourse with the divine and an ecstatic possibility. Of flowers, intoxication, and company. Knobs would be twiddled all night without consequence in a world where bodies didn’t act on one another in different ways, assembling virtual ecstasies into the web of complex form. As explained in Sound on Sound’s helpful online guide, “Synth Secrets, Part 6: Of Responses and Resonance”:

Almost without exception, all physical objects resonate. Or, to put it another way, almost all objects will vibrate naturally at certain frequencies. If the object in question is a stretched string, the lowest such frequency is the fundamental pitch produced when the string is plucked. But what happens if you don’t pluck it? In isolation (of course) nothing.

The job of The Best is precisely to erase isolation and to create the scenic conditions for something to happen to the string that isn’t plucked, whose parts retain relations of movement and rest directed by their own logic. Bringing the string to be plucked by God. And what’s in a pluck? What ecstasy is there apart from this anticipatory resonance game, this fidgety turning of knobs? You’re “On Your Way” to somewhere, but don’t expect it to be any higher or lower (“Where’s the drop???”, &c.) than where you are right now. This house is of dubious depth, in that it insulates us from the true coordinates of the deep unknown. The indistinct hope of “Ah’Revolution” is clouded by the mundane annoyances of life in the unforgiving, architected manifold, like not having any money for gas to traverse it. Its lyrical voice (one of the few here for whom Omar-S, who used to work in a Ford Motors factory, has any patience) asks not for perfection from another world, but calls about his invocation a percussive fog of happy becoming.

I burned this album onto a CD-R so I could listen to it while tied up in Phoenix-area traffic, alone in the air-conditioned chamber of my Altima and yet in navigational communion with other motorists. Living with machines does not have to mean celebrating loneliness. Sometimes, when I drive into a very powerful sunset, I can see only indistinct forms. Those around me begin to drive much slower. Some of them can definitely hear the kick pounding. I look around, embarrassed, and then embarrassed for having been embarrassed. As if someone can participate accidentally in a rhythm, as if a rhythm can be mine.

In isolation (of course) nothing.

Links: Omar-S - FXHE

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