Monday, October 27, 2008
It all begins at the beginning.
A good place to start…or begin, rather.
Aural punishment in the form of a slow metallic drone.
The band’s name being a peephole into their sound-apartment, the place looks like your weed dealer’s room in college.
But more metal, less Marley. An amplified and evil Raga, intent on hypnosis through a dredging, methodical bass dirge.
But this text is not about Om. It just begins here. Remember?
Om’s new drummer is a member of the Portland, OR band, Grails.
I saw Om play recently and was reminded of Grails's tumble into one of my mind’s many chasms. So I dug the sucker out and what did I find?
A delicious bit of musical wonder.
[And we’ve arrived at this text’s subject. Welcome to it.]
Grails are one of those 14,000 bands that come tumbleweeding across my daily mindspace that I simply forget to follow-up on.
But then, Om.
A band whose album, or rather two song mediation, Conference Of The Birds, causes me capture within a plodding parade of mystical lemmings through the sands of time. Yea.
Om was the string tied round my finger reminding me to investigate Grails.
If Iggy Pop wrote repetition into Fun House as a response to Detroit’s automotive assembly lines, Om wrote repetition into Conference Of The Birds as a manifestation of our brain waves during dreamstate - slow, repeating, beautifully frightening, echoing throughout.
Where Om limits itself to one stream of consciousness, Grails incorporates collective width including: Popul Vuh, Zeppelin, Hawkwind, Melvins, Gong, Ali Akbar Khan, Ash Ra Temple, Acid Mother’s Temple.
Sounds like it could be an introspective nightmare…but what separates Grails from lesser-awesome groups is their ability to break from the conventions of meditative music up toward a much more, for lack of a better word, rocking zone.
They take the groundwork laid in place by the groups mentioned above, and instead of regurgitation, they fuse and push. Building the meditations into loud, forward-moving celebrations around bonfires with tribal intoxicants made from local frog’s pancreas.
This is psychedelic celebration music.
The inorganic builds of Mogwai and Pelican aren’t found here, but instead the growth comes as a band improvising. These songs aren’t composed. They are planted, tended to and grow as the sun hits the leaf. This is organic psychedelic.
But it’s too well-versed to be hippie music. This is musician’s scripture. Music produced by the lovers of great music (that great music being produced by lovers of great music before them)
If you made it through that…here’s Grails - Burning Off The Impurities. Enjoy Friend-O.