John Coltrane
Om


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
April 25th, 2012 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1968 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Meditative voyage exploring the realms of not only the music at hand, but a personal odyssey where the musicians discover their full potential, and then go even further.

There is a sublime quality within this album, a spiritual transcendence. In fact the name, "Om", is the sacred syllable in Hindu religion, which symbolizes the infinite or the entire Universe. Coltrane described Om as the "first syllable, the primal word, the word of power". The composition also contain spoken chants from the Bhagavad-Gita. There is indeed a cathartical yearning within this album that reflect John Coltrane's own interest in spirituality. The first sections of the album displays an avant-garde orchestration, there is no unity within the instruments, releasing dense layers of polyrhythms that create an anarchical atmosphere. But as the first section approaches it's climax, a piano section slowly begins to dominate, and the other instruments begin to revolve around it's lead. Due to the spiritual presence within this album, it's orchestration could be a representation of human nature in regards to religion. The piano may perhaps symbolize religion, and how when one recognizes it's presence, it brings order, a purpose within one's life.

As we enter the second part of the album, the piano section slowly loses control and the other instruments begin to follow their own path. The anarchical presence now returns, and a barrage of sounds reign over the music. There are eruption of solos from John Coltrane, but the music doesn't synchronize with the other instruments, it's just chaos. I suppose this loss of order could represent how often human beings contravene religious doctrine, by falling to temptation or other factors. The final spoken verse, speaks about divine spiritual cleansing, perhaps expressing that sins can always be forgiven by divinity. Though Om makes references to Hinduism, John Coltrane never truly associated himself with any particular religion, experimenting with numerous religious doctrines and even philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle. This album is merely a reference to the yearning for that sensation of ecstasy felt during spiritual cleansing. That thirst to be pure, to be innocent, and at peace with the world around us.

This was one of John Coltrane's final albums and it displays some of his most experimental work yet. It's orchestrated in an avant-garde fashion, unconventional in structure. This isn't just some mere recording session, this is a journey to see just how far these musicians can go, and we have a front row seat to witness it all. The musicians follow their own philosophy- Ignoring all the laws of music, and simply playing their instruments to harness the mystical language of music itself. It's all about how far they can go, what new realms could be explored musically by pushing themselves, and their instruments, to the final limit.



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user ratings (45)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


4501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I will say this now, Om is not for just anyone and even the most admiring enthusiast of Jazz music may find this album unappealing. This is an album that has to be approached with an open mind to truly grasp.

ThroneOfAgony
April 25th 2012


3485 Comments


Awesome review dude

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


7275 Comments


@ PaperbackWriter

Good review, pos.

I see that you review a lot of jazz.

Have you listened to Jan Garbarek by any chance?



Some minor corrections:


The composition also contain spoken chants

contains


within this album that reflect John Coltrane's own interest in spirituality

reflects


The first sections of the album displays an avant-garde orchestration

display

Digging: Doomsquad - Total Time

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


4501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Throne and Captain

Thanks guys.



@Voivod

I have but I haven't listened to any of his work, could you recommend any?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


7275 Comments


The only Jan Garbarek I have listened to is his latest album, titled In Praise Of Dreams, which is excellent.

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


2897 Comments


cheeky rating raze.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


4501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Voivod

I'll check him out. Thanks.

Manic_
April 25th 2012


447 Comments


i feel like i read this before, good review though.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2012


4501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Manic_

It's a re-upload. I really didnt like my original, it didnt do the album justice so i decided to do it again.

liledman
April 26th 2012


3828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i think this is better than the last one from what i can remember, nice work.

17WordHaiku
April 26th 2012


247 Comments


Good review! Om is sick.

VlacDrac
August 21st 2012


846 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This album would be so much better without those voice,it sounds like they recorded it in an Exorcism.

eternium
August 21st 2012


16354 Comments


This is some free fucking jazz.

VlacDrac
August 21st 2012


846 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

^^ I know, to me this isn't a remarkable album.

Storm In A Teacup
November 13th 2016


19283 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't know if i'm going to get through this without smoking

Storm In A Teacup
November 13th 2016


19283 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ohhhhh myyyyyy goooooooood I have a feeling this probably shouldn't have been my first foray into John Coltrane

Frippertronics
November 13th 2016


9629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dude wtf



there's like a dozen other albums you could've chosen lmao



check A Love Supreme, Blue Train or Africa/Brass

Storm In A Teacup
November 13th 2016


19283 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this has been rough, yeah I'm going to do A Love Supreme next. this particular album just happened to pop up on sputnik somehow and I checked it out lol

altertide0
November 13th 2016


2376 Comments


Is this album worthwhile if I've listened to the entire Coltrane-approved Coltrane discography (including live albums) and found nothing besides Ascension and MAYBE A Love Supreme and Meditations particularly interesting?

Digging: Jute Gyte - Ghost Sickness

Frippertronics
November 13th 2016


9629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah, this is a very hard one to crack



some great stuff on here, but it could be better



stuff like Ascension, Meditations and Expression are great if you want his batshit insane stuff



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