Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 24/7/2012
Label: Drag City
State of Non-Return 6:09
Haqq al-Yaqin 11:25
Total running time: 43:39
Om, a duo formed in San Francisco in 2003, after the mighty ‘Sleep’ disbanded. Bass player Al Cisneros and Drummer Chris Hakius decided to do something a little different, though not trailing too far from their stoner/doom roots. They basically set out to create a type of drone, avant garde/ambient sound based loosely around Tibetan and Byzantine rhythms and chants. But back in 2008, drummer Chris Hakius left the band only to be replaced by Emil Amos, a friend and former tour companion from the band ‘Grails’. They are now also joined on vocals and various instruments by the very talented Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe from ‘Litchens’ a solo project and also from ’90 day men’. After four full lengths and also a series of splt singles and live recordings they release their fifth studio album ‘Adviatic songs’.
Current Line up
Emil Amos - Drums
Al Cisneros - Bass, Vocals
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion
Addis has a wonderful introduction with a female vocal chanting and singing an ancient Indian Sanskrit, a tambourine keeps the beat as cello and guitars wander in and out with these fabulous vocals, provided by Kate Ramsey. That was definitely a great opening track with a cool sweet eastern vibe. State of Non-Return starts with Al Cisneros providing a nice grooving bass line, fat as fuck and heavy and low. Violin and Cello make for a nice bridge, but I can’t get over how well the bass and vocals mix together, when the verse comes back in. It ends with a quieter interlude with piano and strings and I get looking at the artwork, a well drawn holy image. I think it’s John the Baptist? holding his hands out, as if he is about to receive a toke on a big fat joint. By the way, the name Om is taken from the Hindu syllable known as the vibration of the universe, often used as a mantra (a rhythmic ritual word that Hindus use and repeat for a long time when getting in trance mental states).
Gethsemane the third song and chalking up at over ten minutes, continues with the holy theme where Gethsemane, (a garden at the foot of the mount of olives in Jerusalem) and famous as, according to gospels, Jesus and his crew are said to have prayed the night before his crucifixion. I think this is where Robert A.A. Lowe comes in with the Tambura, making for some nice good rhythms with great drumming, good mix.
Sinai another ten minutes plus song, and I'm thinking this is not as quite as heavy as Om's previous records but we all know you don’t need to be down tuned and overdriven to be ‘Heavy’. This is an awesome record and I love the chanting mantra’s and general eastern feel, but as usual the Bass tone is very well presented.
Haqq al-Yaqin is complemented with Robert Lowe on the tabla’s, and wonderful cello and violins, which make for a wicked groove and forgive me for even trying to imagine those from The Mighty Boosh doing some kind of formulated dance. This is a great closer for the album, clocking up at an impressive eleven and a half minutes. The acoustic guitars, not sure who’s playing them but they are sweetly accompanied with pretty much all the other instruments featured on this album. What a cool vibe Om have got going on and for that reason this is a must hear album. Brilliant stuff.
Written by: John Slaymaker
Please support this amazing band and check out the links below. Thanks as usual to Lauren Barley for the hook up. It is a brilliantly diverse record. Buy here