Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Surprising, funky Pop from Prophet Omega

Prophet Omega surprises in several ways. The melodies have an old school feel to them, in the same way that The Strokes or Jet feel like throwbacks. At the same time, the production and instrumentation have a modern feel, kind of like Beck. It’s a potent combination and as I went through P.O.’s 2006 release, The Natural World, I found myself growing more and more impressed.

...and there was the entire band, playing his drum kit.

...and there was the entire band, playing his drum kit.

As I started thinking about what I would write in recommending them, I got to wondering who they were. Have any of the guys played with anyone else I know? Where are they from? Who produced the album? The answers to all of these questions surprised me. Turns out Prophet Omega is one guy: Joe Magistro, a drummer from New York. The entire album was written, played, and produced by him alone in his home studio.

On his website, Magistro says, “It’s definitely a one-guy-with-no-life-holed-up-in-his-home-studio record. I really locked myself away and went into my own little world.  I was doing everything myself—writing, playing, recording, setting up the mikes, putting beats down.  I had my computer, keyboards, bells, melodica and various different doodads in one room, and my guitar amps in my bedroom.”

Magistro was actually embarrassed by the results and was reluctant to play it for anyone. Everyone he DID play it for, however, had a positive reaction and urged him to shop it around. Within 2 months, he had record deal offers. A remarkable story.

I have pulled 7 tracks from this release and I encourage you to just go buy the disc, rather than picking and choosing tracks. There is more meat than filler on it.

  • The Right Thing – This was the single and has a video – a very disturbing video. Anyway, the pounding beat is relentless and the melody is incredibly catchy. I can’t place the musical reference in the final 20 seconds of the song and it’s kind of driving me nuts. If someone knows it, please leave a comment.
  • Hit the Deck – Fuzzy guitar and a warbling keyboard back up another simple but infectious melody.
  • Dear Satellite – Magistro is a drummer by trade who has played with some famous acts. It shows on all the tracks because the percussion is never boring. Even a song with a pretty straightforward beat like this one has cool fills and a swinging rhythm.
  • Watchin’ TV Ova Here – Tracks like this are why you just want to pick up the whole release. At 1:20, you don’t want to pay $0.99 for it but it’s a great little instrumental piece.
  • Get By – Listen to the variety in what he lays down here. A funky clean guitar riff, wandering bass line, and an inventive horn arrangement. I was amazed that there was only one musical voice here. Usually, one-man projects end up sounding a little flat.
  • Criminal – This is almost in the beat poet tradition, but again, the rhythm is fantastic and the other instrumentation is just so creative.
  • The Natural World – This track makes me think of Beck. It would be right at home on Midnite Vultures, though Magistro’s vocals sound nothing like Beck. In fact, I would say that Magistro doesn’t have a great voice, but it is very expressive and drips with personality.

Now he just needs to find a band so he can go on tour.



June 2, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative, Popular, Rock

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