Personnel: Al Cisneros (vocals); Chris Hakius (drums).
Recording information: Prairie Sun, Cotati, CA.
Om is the rhythm section of stoner rock wig-out band Sleep -- bassist Al Cisneros and drummer Chris Haikus. There are two long cuts on this slab totaling a little over 33 minutes. While it's true that having two instruments play repetitive droning grooves over and again leaves room for little true variation, it hardly matters. Conference of the Birds has the ability to get underneath the skin of the listener and keep burrowing. There are small rests in each composition, with cosmic, acid-drenched lyrics: "traverse the Cheopian field/Rides out from the red sun high above...." Yeah, but so what. These guys have Syd Barrett's sense of efficacy -- slow, slower, slowest -- clear Sisyphean trudges toward some unholy and unseen peak that ends pretty much in the same place they began. It's in between that counts. And here, slowly skittering snares and drums creep mercilessly along to a bass playing a melody line that offers itself as a bassline. Psychedelic? Yep. Boring as all get out? Only if you take the parts separately. While "At Gina" suffers a tiny bit from the seaminess of the vocals, it still slithers along to displace time and space. Yet it's "Flight of the Eagle" that actually carries the ever-darkening day, simply by the sheer force of that bass. It's a pure, wide-range, low-end throb that pushes no agenda other than sonic mantra, cleaving itself inseparably into the melting brain of the listener who becomes not only a willing participant, but also an active supplicant at the altar of an eternal shadow of the transcendent expando-flex mind -- or some such twaddle. Conference of the Birds rocks terribly, terribly slowly and maniacally in a lazy, trance-inducing way; it will melt your inhibitions -- or send you screaming from the room -- without the use of drugs or alcohol. ~ Thom Jurek
The Wire (p.60) - "[The] songs aim for transcendental oblivion, and play like metaphysical mantras stretched out across an undulating backbeat of elastic bass and carefully constructed drum patterns."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.47) - "There's beauty, grace and subtle power here...A transcendental tour de force."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.103) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "'Flight Of The Eagle' rumbles into a heavenly trance...digging deep into their own irresistible heads-down grooves."