The Mars Volta 'Tremulant' 12"
From the very beginning, The Mars Volta was conceived as more than simply a new vehicle for Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. The group was to be a rebirth, a redrawing of their creative frontiers, a repudiation of the stylistic provincialism that had ultimately spelled the end of their previous band, At The Drive-In, a year earlier. So, as The Mars Volta’s debut release, 2002’s Tremulant EP had much to accomplish within its three tracks and 19 minutes: to define the group’s ambitions and their possibilities, to sketch out a limitless horizon for their future adventures, and to shake loose the macho following they’d accrued with At The Drive-In’s final, breakthrough LP Relationship Of Command, the dudes in the moshpit who just wanted to slam-dance to post-hardcore riffs.
Tremulant put this uncompromising ethos into play from the very off, first track Cut That City opening with two minutes of amplifier hum, synthesiser scree and drum-machine pulse. “That introduction was immediately going to weed out all the posers,” says Cedric. The music that followed, meanwhile, announced The Mars Volta’s visionary new sound, an embryonic version of everything that would follow. The fearless rhythms drew from the traditional Caribbean and Latin music Omar was raised on, its staccato guitar riffs accompanied by Ikey Owens’ infernal organ stabs, Eva Gardner’s canny bass-lines and Jeremy Michael Ward’s inventive sound manipulations, its frenetic, restless panic-rock given to exultant breakdowns, like Omar’s beloved salsa. Cedric, meanwhile, was stretching beyond the fiery bark he’d established with At The Drive-In, singing more than screaming, and singing often in Spanish.
Catalogue number: 4250795605027
Label: Clouds Hill