18.3.10

Omar-S in Boston / Never Say Never

1/8/2010 Never Say Never
Good Life, Boston

Under the 8-bit guise of Omar-S, Alex O. Smith has hand-numbered and cursed his way from the GM factory to Beatport center screen. Prolific and outlandish since 2003, the latest offering from his FXHE pinball galaxy is the Plesetsk Cosmodrome EP, named for a Russian spaceport that launches military satellites. The label depicts a mysterious island beyond intended orbit. Further, Side-A’s “Kosmos 1402” has a spiral finish and recalls two launches from the early eighties: 1) The nuclear-powered Soviet satellite of the same name that went rogue and 2) The Roland Corporation’s TB-303 "Bass Line" synthesizer. Once again Omar-S has catalogued a bizarre and nonetheless endearing voyage of the analog imagination.

Having driven from headquarters, the quizzically Detroit-spurning ambassador of “back to the raw” sauntered into Boston’s Good Life bar one Friday night. Hat down-turned, with a red Ryu vs. Ken Street Fighter II shirt and heavy-lidded countenance, he proceeded to rein in the jacking tempo of Never Say Never’s sweaty prologue. Mark Ingram vs. Alex from Queens had previously burst out of the gate with vocal classics and calculated backspins. The guest of honor had no choice but to smooth out the “Shake and Pop” agenda, as his selection was comparatively subdued, with stuttering highs and sputtering lows. This was true though: “My House Is Your House” played well to the downstairs sauna, winter clothes discarded in its darkened corners.

From icy downtown crossing, guests funneled into the ground floor galley. To the left, the side bar bustled; to the right, a glass-walled outlet, broadly lit by the street and flat screens TVs that projected the latest winners and losers. Bradford James, star of Seed In The City, stood cramped but involved in the corner with a laptop and a dubious monitor. Whereas local DJ/historians stood back with beer and lemon, waiting for atmosphere to take hold, such unabashed pairings as Silk Shirt vs. Denim Jumper had nothing to wait for. Generally, those aware of Omar’s repute and those ignorant shared the same excitement and sloshed drinks onto each other before they knew it.

Below, pressed against the concrete bar, regulars and irregulars from the weeklies and monthlies had a borrowed mystique. Waxy curls and white dreadlocks obstructed the view of the dancefloor with no discernible sweet spot, but one could see a group of buttoned-down ex-collegiates who had no idea whatsoever about “Techy Alexander,” in the middle, lulled into a house trip. Clear from any viewpoint, the night was highly charged. Never Say Never was a significant pre-heat for Boston’s Together festival in February, and an example of unofficial camaraderie to be repeated.