by Dave Segal
on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM
The drone-metal duo OM are poised to drop their best album yet, Advaitic Songs (out July 24 on Drag City). They’ve aired out the sound and let in some tamboura, strings, and beautiful foreign-languaged female vocals (check album opener “Addis” for the latter). Al Cisneros’ bass is no longer so brow-furrowingly dense and and Emil Amos’ drumming reveals a more lithe versatility than did Chris Haikus’ more stolid style. The overall mood is still as serious as an ancient religious text, but the music’s fluid grace and subtle power make it a compelling listen for people of any sect or for pagans.
“Gethsemane” is one highlight of many, recalling Joe Henderson and Alice Coltrane’s “Earth” in its laid-back funkiness and sinuous, soul-inflating tamboura purr. Cisneros’ stern intonations sound like the most important lecture your history of religion prof never gave. "Sinai" is fairly similar, but a keyboard drone replaces the tamboura and it flings you into an exalted state of calm amid the bass and drums' understated, heavy funk machinations. The hand-drum- and string-driven "Haqq al-Yaqin" closes the record on a note of suitably solemn grandeur. This is music grand and transportive enough to soundtrack a pilgrimage to a holy land, with a minimum of trampling.
OM’s last album, 2009’s God Is Good, was very good; Advaitic Songs is great, a liturgadelic masterpiece. Lord (if you exist), let OM play Seattle this year.