I’ve been refining the criteria for the perfect work soundtrack over the past few years of work from home as standard and have narrowed the requirements accordingly. Anything with lyrics is too prone to distraction, and while binaural beats are okay for a while, they aren’t very engaging. My ideal instrumental music would be a seamless blend of bursts of guitar supported with a non-intrusive rhythm section and fun wibbly electronic elements. Basically, the description of Sepulcros de Miel.

This album is credited to the Omar Rodríguez-López Quartet and was initially available as a free Bandcamp download, with an option to donate to the “Keep Money in Schools” programme. This was also the case with Omar Rodríguez-López & John Frusciante, which had been released just a month prior; both are now available for regular purchase. And like that album, John Frusciante appears as a guitarist with the Quartet, along with Juan Alderete on bass and Marcel R-L playing his usual component of keyboards and drums.

Eight movements form a continuous piece over a tight thirty minutes that gradually builds from minimal to sprawling spacerock and back again. “Part I” is a table-setting movement, introducing the clicky motif heard throughout. “Part II” progresses into a Funkadelic-adjacent groove, and my notes for this section were that this was Old Money…in…spaaace. “Part III” continues this trend and then throws some more into the mix; it’s adjacent to the keening guitar midway through “Cygnus…Vismund Cygnus” but with a soupçon of De Facto in the beat, like making a giant smoothie of all the things I love without it becoming a sludgy nightmare. “Cygnus…” reappears later in the bassline during “Part IV” and ramps the intensity up with a liberal dose of thick-cut shred. “Part IV” ebbs and flows in pulses of funky interlude to set up “Part V”, which picks up the intensity with an added layer of shrillness; despite the extra layers, there is also a lot of space, making it texturally lighter.

“Part VI” returns the focus back to the guitar, and the ebb and flow of the intensity shimmers dreamlike, again very reminiscent of Old Money. “Part VII” is where it really starts to rock, and where I’m typically pulled out of whatever it is I’m working on to pay attention, because the key to my heart is guitar-shaped, maybe even more so than snacks (give me both, and I’m yours forever). A false fadeout sets up the final movement “Part VIII”, with the bass pushing its way over the layers of effects and while slightly atonal, not actively discordant. The clicky leitmotif re-emerges as the instruments and other effects tiptoe away for an extended outro that again pushes repetition just up to the point of tolerance before a thrumming and abrupt stop.

Some of the effects heard on Sepulcros de Miel echo those heard on Xenophanes, minus the jarring vocal effects, and the evident influences from other albums are incredibly comforting. It’s excellent music to work by, giving me just enough to capture my attention without blowing my concentration; I also suggest it as an ideal soundtrack for your dream blunt rotation. 

I can’t in good faith separate any one individual track to feature like I usually do, and I’m certain everyone’s overall narrative will differ, so here’s the full album playlist, with the individual movements split into the relevant tracks. 

Track listing:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII