thu 07/07/2022

CD: OM – Advaitic Songs | reviews, news & interviews

CD: OM – Advaitic Songs

CD: OM – Advaitic Songs

Spiritually slanted psychedelic minimalism that moves beyond rock

OM's 'Advaitic Songs': exotically perfumed

The sacred word 'om' is spoken in different ways according to its context. Elongated, it can be stretched over multiple syllables. As a musical unit, OM work with building blocks that are similarly minimal, yet drawn out for maximum effect. And like the origins of their name, their heady, psychedelic music is heavily indebted to cultures which lie to the east.

California’s OM were originally vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros and drummer Chris Hakius. Both used to be in drone/metal outfit Sleep. After a late-2007 five-hour live set in Jerusalem, Hakius left and was replaced with Emil Aros. Although Advaitic Songs is OM’s fifth album, they’re not massively prolific. Its predecessor, God is Good was issued in 2009. Like Dylan Carlson’s Earth, time has moved them far from their rock roots. Their music is closer to a LaMonte Young drone than anything else. Tabla and cello supplement the core sound and drums move things forward, but it’s the tonal undertone which colours the album. Cisneros’s vocals are chants in keeping with the recordings of religious recitations that smatter the album.

Despite the image of Christ on the album’s cover, pieces that explore the expulsion from Eden and the sojourn in Gethsemane, Advaitic Songs – like the duo’s name – also draws from the Hindu. The Advaitic embraces the concept of the whole, which once found leads to liberation. It's impossible to approach this album without recognising the serious intent. Even so, immersing yourself in these five pieces without succumbing to the spiritual aspect of this music is possible. The music itself stands on its own. Especially the closing piece, “Haqq al-Yaqin”, a cousin of Led Zeppelin at their most eastern, most exotically perfumed. Whichever way Advaitic Songs is seen, it’s a trip.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the trailer for OM’s Advaitic Songs


Like the origins of their name, their heady, psychedelic music is heavily indebted to cultures which lie to the east

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