When: Sat., Nov. 17, 10 p.m. 2012
Om began in 2003 as the duo of Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius, aka the original rhythm section from superheavy sludge pioneers Sleep (the third member, guitarist Matt Pike, got faster and meaner in his band High on Fire). Hakius departed in 2008, to be replaced by Emil Amos (Grails, Holy Sons), and since that change Cisneros's particular flavor of deep hippie-shaman weirdness has increasingly seemed to drive the band—thankfully, it's a thing of beauty most of the time. Om's fifth full-length and second with Amos, Advaitic Songs (Drag City), also sees the addition of former Chicagoan Robert A.A. Lowe as a proper member, contributing backup vocals and tambura; the album also piles on guest musicians, who play cello, violin, flute, and tabla, invoking Middle Eastern and Asian traditions. The resulting stew of trippy space metal sounds a bit like Spirit Caravan, except juiced up with world music that frequently wouldn't sound out of place on a Loreena McKennitt album. Is Om overreaching? Oh yes, but I admire that more than underreaching. Will this meditative, bottom-heavy loveliness sound completely amazing live? I'd all but guarantee it. If only you could smoke a hookah in the Empty Bottle. Cisneros and Lowe also perform Fri 11/16 at Soccer Club Club (2923 N. Cicero) as part of the 8 PM opening reception for an art show by Stephen Eichhorn. —Monica Kendrick Daniel Higgs and Bruce Lamont open.