Bad news from the Om camp. The San Francisco drone group remains a duo, but bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros is now working with a replacement drummer for Chris Hakius, who has left the band. According to a message from Cisneros in a press release, "Om is continuing forward with a new drummer and working on a new recording... A live vinyl-only LP, Om: Live at Jerusalem, will be forthcoming. This is Chris Hakius' final release with the group."
I have to admit to not only being heartbroken over the split but a bit torn about the decision to forge on without Hakius. I am, however, glad that I took the time to drive down to San Francisco and Brookdale in January to see them.
I'm having trouble envisioning a new drummer bringing Hakius' passion and intensity to Om. One of the reasons that Om works so well as a bass/drum duo is a result of the several years Cisneros and Hakius spent together in Asbestos Death and Sleep. That's undeniable. How on earth will Cisneros be able to capture those same elements again?
I know. I should trust Al's decision to keep the project going. He will inevitably find a formidable replacement. But I can't help feeling that this may be a better time to move on and leave the legacy of Om as is. Don't get me wrong. I'll surely embrace Om's further efforts but right now I am a bit skeptical. What Om created seems too special to simply plug another body in behind the drum kit. Am I the only one feeling this way?
Nonetheless, here's Om live @ the Knitting Factory on March 19th, 2005. It's an older set consisting of "On the Mountain of Dawn," "Kapila's Theme," and "Flight of the Eagle."