Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Omar Bowing, an experimental alternative rocker with a compelling body of work that has been expanded with his latest endeavor, ‘Amen.’ The emotional, even haunting piece delves into some eerie, but consistently intriguing places, all accented by a superb production. Let’s dig into the new song.
Bowing considers himself a “progressive alternative rock” musician, and I’d say that classification is fairly apt. There are a great many influences cascading throughout ‘Amen’ in a remarkably interesting way. Bowing attempts to create natural harmonics and different sound waves in his music, something he partially attributes to his usage of a hybrid guitar instrument called a ‘Guitarviol.’ There feels like there is a classical basis for ‘Amen,’ especially as you notice the sonic intricacies and littered string sections. That said, the sound is predominantly alternative rock, perhaps even drawing lines toward Nine Inch Nails or Alice in Chains.
Bowing’s lyricism is quite good, albeit very sparse. The song seems to catalog the fall of a man, alluding to substance abuse and excess. The lyrics aren’t particularly the strongsuit of ‘Amen,’ though they are suitable for the sound. Bowing’s vocals are definitely something different; his vocal harmonies and layering, especially in the latter half of ‘Amen,’ utilize his vocals as an instrumental extension of the composition. They reside within the piece; they don’t seem to ever take the spotlight or demand attention on a different level. This is nice; it doesn’t feel ostentatious or outrageous. The sound is all-encompassing for Bowing, and he’s as much of an equal part as any other piece of the composition.
The production is the defiant highlight of Bowing’s new tune. On a quality sound system, the song’s subtleties and excursions through dramatic sonic landscapes are immensely rewarding. The mix perfectly highlights each of the moving pieces like an aural experiment through alternative rock. I so love this, because it makes ‘Amen’ have a dynamic level of layers that other pieces in the independent scene lack. It feels like a championing of meticulous recording and composition. The pendulum of the indie scene has sided back with low-fi and garage productions as of late. This is anything but, which is refreshing. Go check out the song; it’s worth your time.