I make it a policy not to abuse substances while reviewing CDs, on the theory that I should be at least as alert to the twists and turns of the music I'm critiquing as I would need to be to drive a car. However, the OM Trio's new CD, Globalpositioningrecord, makes me wonder whether I shouldn't make an occasional exception.
The OMmers comprise Brian Felix on keyboards and organ, Pete Novembre on bass and Ilya Stemkovsky on drums and other percussion, and their goal is to lay spacey, deep grooves so their audience will relax their minds and enter a freer consciousness. Felix's keyboards mostly sound off in remote, pallid tones, yet he's far from aloof when his improvisations take the fore. Stemkovsky mimics drum 'n' bass textures with his own two sticks and throws occasional changeups and fastballs. Novembre provides sonic oomph from deep in the ensemble. Sometimes they hand-generate sonic exotica, like the stutter-skip of the three "Shant" tracks or the rubbery explosions on "Fives & Sevens." That's about it.
It makes for a pleasant enough listen. But there's a cosmic transcendence you want from records like this: a groove so heated it begs for blistering improvisation, a melody so haunting you love to hear it twenty-seven times, a rhythm that drives you past any other questions. There's precious little of that transcendence on this OM opus. And there's only one way you're going to get it, which leads back to my initial quandary.
But friends don't let friends buy music drunk, so I must warn you: Don't buy Globalpositioningrecord unless you're willing to supply the substance(s) for OM's music.