If you like The Mars Volta you’ll like anything their members have a hand in separately, but don’t mistake this as saying everything Volta-related sounds the same. There is a certain level of creative genius in all the band members that they carry into everything they do, and an eclecticism of influences in which fans of good music can find something they relate to.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the less vocal half of Volta, has pushed the boundaries of what we call rock with A Manual Dexterity, an album that has been his lifetime in the making as you’ll learn after listening. Considering the album has very few spoken words on it, even less that are even in English, there is an indescribable emotive quality to the music that makes it clear to listeners that this really is the soundtrack of his life.

The songs definitely have the experimental, distorted, weird-rock element that makes them distinctively Rodriguez’s, and Volta fans will directly find parallels. Rodriguez draws on everything from classic rock to traditional Spanish music as his base, giving the CD a familiarity while still being like nothing else you’ve ever heard before.

A few things are for sure about this CD. It’s not mainstream friendly, and it’s not something you can listen to on repeat for days at a time. That’s not what it was meant for, but damn if it’s not killer mood music, rife with atmosphere and ambience. It’s not for the rock radio kids who like to blast hit singles in their new Honda Civics either. But taken as a work of art, as an aural creation from the Picasso of modern rock, this album is a masterpiece.

Grade: A

A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack, Vol. 1 is currently available.