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Om – Addis/Gethsemane dubplates

Drag City

Om - AddisUK digi-dub veterans Alpha & Omega have taken on the task of remaking Om‘s track “Addis” from their recent Advaitic Songs album, transforming the original’s hypnagogic swell of doomy bass and mournful cello into a dub workout in two parts. Side A weighs in as “Ababa Dub,” Kate Ramsey‘s haunting vocal lifted into the echo chamber while the strings vibrate below, riding on a coasting undercarriage of sampled drums and bass.

Alpha & Omega snip out a syllable which sounds exactly like “Om” and send it bouncing off on a trail of delay while other sounds emerge as haunted sirens, and as far as dub mixes go, they could hardly have found better source material. On the reverse, “Addis Ababa” continues the meditative mood almost seamlessly (apart from the need to flip over the vinyl). Here the words are foregrounded more, while the cello takes on the lead melodic role to a much greater extent while the rhythm sways and drives matters forward.

Together, both sides make for a remix which could easily run for much longer (and would work excellently dropped into a dub DJ set) or as part of a series of remixes at album length. Fortunately, the next instalment of Alpha & Omega’s Om remixes follows in the shape of the “Gethsemane” dubplate.

Om - Gethsemane DubplateHere, the remix coasts in on an easygoing bass and drum track, nodding away like a camel train headed for the titular destination, shaking trails of dusty echo off its ever-circulating feet. As with the best dub tracks, there is a constant sense of forward motion, but also of time being held in abeyance; a bit like the aforementioned camel ride, really. Soon enough, the original vocal by Robert AA Lowe eventually glides in, and is only partly treated by obvious effects – again, a slight tweak of the delays are applied, but not in any overwhelming way, and the tune meanders along nonchalantly until the end of side one.

On the flipside, “Garden of Dub” takes the same basic rhythm – and if listened to straight after the other version, it’s perhaps all a bit too familiar, too much of the same even, at first – as is to be expected. But here the dub tricks are wheeled out, with false stops, vocals sliced and fed through far more echo alongside the melodic elements, making for the more stoner-friendly version of the track, especially when the reverberating repeats are allowed to build and rebound to ever-increasing amounts. With both sides clocking in at a shade over ten minutes each, it’ll be more likely a matter of deciding which rather than both with “Gethsemane” – where “Addis flowed over bother side, this is by far an either/or proposition. While both versions are excellent, the dub side ultimately has more to offer in terms of how Alpha & Omega show off their production skills, and it’s very good indeed at that.

-Linus Tossio-

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