The scribe, a sonic ritual attended - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #122

Awaits the ritual, prepares for transportation,
Anticipation prevents any slightest fear,
Return to ritual, ascend the ivory steeple,
Take astral flight to understand creation,
Aspire to spiritual conflagration,
Breathe the oneness of percussion,
Touch the sky, receive the precious beating
Perish on the shores of the all-distorted sea.
Hold a vigil, become a single being.
OM mid-astral flight

I’ll start at the end because all products of a medicinal value start at the cure. I left Stereo, Glasgow’s sweetest hidden lil’ bunker basement rock n’ roll survivors shelter and emerged into a spitting Glasgae Friday night. Years of stable excessive noise junkieism have meant a severe persistent case of tinnitus whistles in me ears perma-like and I was just dazed, blown sideways by the genuine religious post-Sabbathian experience I’d just hipped, and the gen-yoo-ine Sabbath they were playing in the bar when we finally extricated ourselves from the sweaty stygian sub-basement. I crawled out onto the back streets of Glasgae stoned, doped, whirling shoeless and doubtless grinning the loon. And I ain’t jiving ya, I came out with a glowing candlewick ember of Enlightenment, over my whole being, smiling from the middle of myself at the world. Not the true enlightenment, obvs, but a momentary approximation. Natch, it faded quickly; total spiritual oneness and awareness evaporated within a coupla blocks but I can sense the inner warmth and joy will sustain me for weeks. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want anything, I am at peace, no longer chasing a pleasure fix. All this was because of the music of Frisco’s finest drum n’ bass duo (playing as a power-trio with the ethereal Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – ‘Lichens’ to the likes of you peasants) had finally leeched into a darkened corner of God’s country. OM had come at last to Scotland, and they’ll be back presently, so high priest Cisneros communicated to us.
Meditation, preparation and release; attunes to access light of celestial form

This wall for me to fling my poo at has had quite a bit of OM worship over the years (and one severe OM kicking that concluded “I recommend [Live Conference] to you only if you need to buy a wedding present for your ex”) because their particular post-Sleep’s post-Sabbath riffage and Tibetan byzantine chanting is conduit one to higher understanding and their records have been progressively approaching the zenith that their latest work, Advaitic Songs, has finally summited and now looks over the whole of creation on the right hand side of the Godhead. As such, seeing OM now, at the height of their meditative spiritual powers is a coup for Glasgae and high priests Cisneros, Amos and Lowe brought the thunder with such righteous and right-on attitudes and achieved and sustained an enlightened state as one and communicated that power through their Orange amps to the masses gathered to stand vigil on their ritual; OM have always been a band of rural darkness, no urbanite could truly grasp their power and their fans hold to this, separate and disparate and coming together only for rituals composed of their heroes, only coming to stand as guardian and observer to these three men who together through the power of massive noise and genuine deep religious terror would transcend physical form and become a single entity; to bear witness to the astral flight.
Al Cisneros, 'towards someone who works with swans' - alternative rock idol fifty feet tall
OM had always been about percussion. The entirety of Sleep’s Dopesmoker masterstroke was built around the percussion, the pilgrims’ tramp through a thousand miles of sonic Sinai and the OM extension of that magnificent meditational metaphor is to build an entire band, ostensibly just Spartan in its instrumentation but actually myopic in its focus. The vocals and certainly Cisneros’ telegraph wire bass is all percussion; jolts and punches so that listening to an OM record at anything like approved volume is akin to being permanently boxed. And yet once Emil Amos replaced old Sleep hand Chris Hakius the band evolved beyond the rugged stripped-down post-Sleep sound they’d toyed with for three records (and a ton of monstrous EPs) into vineyards of hitherto-unexplored yawp worship with the central percussive elements of the percussion group now wonderfully limbered and organic, loose and free-form. It’s all freerock now, with vocals to mask the fact. Emil Amos (looking decidedly square but drumming like a titan) is the beating heart in the chest of the band and gives Cisneros his leads; his performance is a staggering solidification of why a brand of ‘best drummer currently drumming’ and not having sold out to unrighteous causes is certain; his neverending tribal drum solo work throughout is pure mad genius. ‘Lichens’ is revelatory; producing some of the most beautiful and chilling emanations. His shrieks are unsurpassed. The performance of Cremation Ghat from God is Good was the highlight, and the closer of Bhima’s Theme out-and-out Iommi worship demonstrated a band at the very height of their telekinetic powers. Amos’ drumming is visceral, natural, there; fibrous.
The transcendancy, the state of non-return, time and space fall abandoned
I have written at great length about front men. Iggy of Pop fame, Balt’s the Garn, Mammoth Mammoth’s Mickey, Adam Black Savage for a variety of smart bands. Cisneros has always been the opposite. In interviews he folds himself away, a small thin man curled in his own nervousness and awkwardness despite being an icon in the eyes of a great many Sleep and OM heads; well now Cisneros is larger, a Bodhisattva who can’t curl up in the corner of a party and stands on the stage looking seven feet tall; but his is still that nervous hipster; his opening address was careful, “thanks Glasgow, thanks for coming out”. He appears nervous and uneasy in the spotlight and asks for the stage lights to be turned down. His vocals are careful, gentle and quiet. Nevertheless, his rock god status is not in dispute, his bass rumble wobble as he grooves out is unique and his quiet and contemplative presence has an eerie commanding ability and he holds forth for over an hour. I even witness at the beginning of the set fleets of insects from the roof descend and hover dutifully in front of his face, throughout the show he flicks out his tongue and consumes them; or perhaps I dreamed that. A deep peace is what OM communicate throughout their ritual. All three are at peace and quiet, despite the whirlwind of volume coursing around them. Thankyou for coming to Glasgae.
Final abiding image of OM in Glasgae
With sonic ritual attended,
And insight gained into empty comprehension,
From the parapets cry for absolution,
Build the world around the newfound understanding.

Written under duress by Steven. All photographs by Steven.

Post script – one confirmed sighting of (Kosmik) James, though he seemed spaced beyond the power of conversation.

1 comment:

setsoru said...

and i missed the chance to see them in London.

wonderful review

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