Above: Page from article on Om in Arthur No. 22, published May 2005. Photograph by Lars Knudson, design by W.T. Nelson. Bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros on left. Drummer Chris Hakius, pictured right, has since left the band. Note Black Sabbath altar.
Ah! The closing instrumental cut from the forthcoming Om album, God Is Good, out September 29 via the great Drag City Records of Chicago. Emil Amos, of Grails fame, is Om’s new drummer…
A new song by Six Organs of Admittance, “Bar Nasha,” is featured on Al Cisneros’ multi-artist 2009 compilation for Arthur, Transmissions From Sinai, now available from Arthur’s easy-to-use mail-order store. Also featured on Transmissions is “Kopernik Trip Note,” a new song by Lichens, who will be opening for Om and Six Organs on the aforementioned East Coast swing, and “Acid Rain,” by Grails. Yeah!
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Who was Charley Harper? Ben says: “Charley Harper was this incredible artist from Cincinnati. He did all sorts of nature screen prints and basically took nature’s organic forms and made them into very basic geometric forms. He saw the complexity of nature and explained it in the simplest of forms. Charley did a lot of art in science books for elementary school children and you might even recognize his stuff from way back then. He also wrote some really beautiful thoughts on man and nature. In his book Birds and Words he has a whole chapter on birds that were either going extinct or were already. On the Eskimo Curlew, across from his beautiful depiction, he wrote:
In Autumn the Eskimo Curlew fueled up on berries and snails and flew the Atlantic non-stop, from the New England Coast to South America; in spring the breeding instinct drew him back to the Barren Grounds of Canada via the Mississippi Flyway, where he fueled on insect pests. Both ways he ran the gauntlet of a hunter army, which stalked him from state to state to provision meat counters by the wagonload. One hunter downed 28 Curlews with a single blast to become the 20th Century’s Man of Extinction.
“Charley Harper passed away on June 10, 2007.”
The Ballad of Charley Harper appears on Luminous Night, the new Six Organs of Admittance album out August 18 through the good people of Drag City — more info here.
Chasny has been featured in Arthur many times over the last five years, including a profile by Tony Rettman in Arthur No. 7, a cover feature in Arthur No. 15 and in a special dialogue with Al Cisneros (Om, Shrinebuilder, Sleep) in Arthur No. 27. All issues are available from the Arthur Magazine Store.
Whoa. Stop the presses and grease up the download slide… Howlin Rain/Comets on Fire bro Ethan Miller has posted lost electric Six Organs album recordings at his Silver Currant blog:
It was made during the ‘Field Recordings From the Sun’ rehearsals. Ben Chasny decided that he wanted to do an electric project with some of the Six Organs songs. He wanted a mellow groove oriented backing band as a platform and a foil for wild guitar and the Six Organs narrative and asked Comets On Fire to be the band…. MORE MORE MORE
My favorite story about Om, the bass and drum duo of Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius—the rhythm section of now defunct drone metal icons Sleep—takes place on the back patio of Los Angeles club The Echo. It’s a cool winter night in 2007 and we’re all gathered here—hippie goners, young punks, indie rock squares—to take in a few breaths of fresh air before the band takes to the stage inside. One group stands out from the crowd: two women and a guy who are having a whale of a time, gesticulating wildly and laughing like crazy. At one point the dude approaches a hipster who’s nervously dragging on a toothpick joint. Our man offers his flask to the young fellow and a confusing exchange takes place: I can tell that he’s looking to swap quaff for toke, but for some reason he’s having trouble communicating this. I catch on about the same time the stoner does, giving up the doobie to the guy and his gal pals: They’re deaf, this happy trio of Om heads. That’s how deep the band’s sensual, mantra-like music goes.