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It's hard to break down what OM is not because it is so complex, but because it is so simple. Music journalists are absorbed by terminology and context. We see a band like OM featuring the bass player (and, in a sense, the heartbeat) of Sleep, Al Cisneros, and immediately want to suggest "stoner" connotations. We hear the chant like pieces featured in the duo's songs and want to call it "eastern" or "Byzantine." I personally like to refer to the band as being "pantheistic meditation-metal."
This is fine. We are writing through the lens of a very rational and precise culture and we want to have strong frames of reference when we communicate things to other people.
However, these terms are not rigid. You can whittle away at their definitions in a Socratic fashion all day to the point where you aren't focused on what the music does for you so much as you are focused on where music exists in the framework of how you try to understand the world. It becomes noise. A distraction like one of those endless forum or YouTube comment arguments about the difference between "doom" and "sludge" metal or something.
Talking with OM, I wasn't able to pry a precise definition of what its members do, at least not one that would fit into the typical lexicon of musicology. I received no crash course in Hindu philosophy or references to Orthodox mystics. Instead, I received answers that seemed to eschew cultural constructions of music and focus instead on music's holistic aspects. Somewhere in all that swirling, spiritual/sonic nebula, OM resides.
"It's devotional music in the sense that all life is devotional and music is a reflection of life," Cisneros says, addressing the spiritual aspects of the band. "So if you take music on its own and say that it is devotional music, it's only a partial explanation. It is all of our lives; it is a reflection of the heart." -- Mike Bogumill
423 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ