LA REALIDAD DE LOS SUEÑOS means “the reality of dreams” – and there is no title more fitting for this box-set. This represents a dream come true for the many, many loyal fans of progressive alternative rock giants, The Mars Volta, across the world. Working intensely with Omar Rodríguez-Lopéz, Clouds Hill has brought out an all-encompassing and wonderfully designed vinyl box-set.
The vinyl only set contains the debut EP TREMULANT (2002) and the six studio albums from DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM (2003) and FRANCES THE MUTE (2005) through to their last work NOCTOURNIQUET (2012). Everything has been newly remastered specifically for vinyl by Chris von Rautenkranz. And you can hear the difference: Chris explains, “We have taken care to give the sound more space. To make it sound more lively and organic than the original, which was mastered for digital formats.”
This box-set includes the first ever release of recordings that fans of the band have long seen as The Mars Volta “holy grail” – shrouded in myth and rumour. This mythological beast, the “lost album”, is known as LANDSCAPE TANTRUMS. It was created when the band recorded previous versions of the pieces that Rick Rubin later produced for DELOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM. Omar Rodríguez-López kept the master tapes of these sessions under lock and key. “It is the right time, to open these recordings up to the public”, he says. “As an work of art in its own right, this set also needs to be seen as the end of a story. Now we start looking ahead.” The recording of LANDSCAPE TANTRUMS reveals a sound that is more raw, more emotional, more tightly coiled. “Anyone listening to these tracks will get a glimpse into that time, into Omar’s soul” explains Johann Scheerer from Clouds Hill, who produced the box set in collaboration with the band. Rodríguez-López responded to the end of his post-hardcore band, At The Drive-In by founding The Mars Volta, but the LANDSCAPE TANTRUMS sessions reveal a confidence and sensitivity that brings this legacy into The Mars Volta. “It is a central part of the band’s history” reports Johann Scheerer, “the recordings prove just how much this band had to share, even so soon after its founding.
But they also show just how much force this music could have if you didn’t have a producer like Rick Rubin behind the mixing desk.” This is not to take away from Rubin’s contribution. Listening to DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM as remastered for vinyl reveals just how this “Rubin spirit” drove the band forward, particularly in how vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala found his voice, and how Omar developed so much self-confidence in his working with Rubin that he produced the subsequent masterpiece FRANCES THE MUTE on his own, complete with the sounds and structures that remain hard to believe to this day. For everyone who can’t get enough of DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM sessions, the recordings of the two ‘lost songs’ “A Plague Upon Your Hissing Children” and “Eunuch Provocateur” are being released in this box set for the first time. Included in this fabulously designed set is also a hardcover book specially put together by Omar Rodríguez-López and the Clouds Hill team with unpublished ‘behind the scenes’ photographs from their early days. The photos bring us into a world of a band that put everything it had into its music – recognizing LA REALIDAD DE LOS SUEÑOS… the reality of dreams.