|"And it was thiiiiiis big!" -- John the Baptist|
Over the years and releases, the sound Om had produced changed dramatically, but still kept some of the same qualities as well. Starting with their 2007 release Pilgrimage, Om dropped the distorted bass riffs for more melodic clean bass playing for half the album. The droning enveloping sound was still there, it was just a calm form rather than an overbearing monster of noise. Come 2009's God is Good, the calmer sounds were more of a focus of the album, rather than an embellishment, and the spacey and transporting qualities of the music were enhanced by the addition of guest musicians manning the cello, flute and tambura. God is Good also had Hakius replaced by a new drummer, Emil Amos. Emil brought a more dynamic drumming style to he mix with his relatively laid back rhythms, but vicious, powerful fills.
Advaitic Songs pushes the elements of God is Good even further. 6 guest musicians come and go over the course of the albums 5 songs, with two cello players, a flutist, a violinist, tabla player, and an additional singer on the opening track, "Addis". The small string section gets to step into the spotlight a few times as the album trucks along, and personally, I find these sections my favorite parts of the album. The melodies, harmonies, and counter melodies played by all of the strings and Al's bass really create a beautiful and enveloping atmosphere. Things sometimes twist, turn and reveal oriental or middle-eastern themes or tones which really seem to embody the theological and philosophical subject matter covered by Cisneros' lyrics.
|Al Cisneros stoned out of his mind. In other words, just Al Cisneros.|
Because of the electric bass guitar and two cellos going at it on this album, things do get very thick and bassy, but fortunately, nothing gets muddied up in the mix. I don't know what production wizardry they managed to pull off, but every individual instrument is clear and audible while still maintaining that warm and rounded tone of the album.
There's not much I can criticize Advaitic Songs with, because I'm a big fan of Om's recent sonic direction. If you're looking for catchy, hooky tunes to get your blood pumping, you'll find none of it here. This is an album you toss on when you're tired as hell and want to relax, or if you're feeling all contemplative and soul searchy.
On a Playlist With: Sleep (Dopesmoker), Faun, Musk Ox
Advaitic Songs is another bomb-ass release by Om. It's got the perfect blend of loud and quiet dynamics and the larger focus on the guest instruments really pushes this album to standout among the stoner/ doom crowd. Listening to this release sends you on a journey to another world. And quite frankly, I'm not sure if I want a return trip.
That's all for now, folks!