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Ohm - 'Live' On KPFK 90.7 FM  CD (album) cover



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5 stars At the risk of appearing like a five star slut, I again give this OHM release the highest possible rating (with the willingness to go far beyond). I base this rating not on my own rabid adoration of their accomplishments, but rather on the Prog Archives definition of 5 stars, meaning "essential" and "masterpiece". I am, at this point in my life, fully versed in the long and wonderful tradition of Jazz-Fusion, recognizing the founding masters like John McLaughlin and vital figureheads like Allan Holdsworth. I place this album in the halls of fusion fame because it belongs there. It is perhaps, thus far, the apex of what fusion set out to accomplish over 20 years ago.

The second release of the criminally unrecognized power trio, OHM, showcases the talent and precise execution of impossible designs. If you thought that their original self titled release "Ohm" was a fluke, or the product of crafty engineering and studio trickery, think again. Live on KPFK demonstrates the real-life chemistry and vibe these boys produce. Recorded live as they were aired in the Los Angeles area, this sophomore effort is nothing short of a milestone in fusion history.

While it can be said that they have "mainstreamed" the sound, and narrowed the average fusion track to 3.5 minutes in length, this is not a disappointment. Poland has been quoted himself as labeling the sound as "Pop" fusion. Realizing "Pop" evokes the most staggering of stomach cringes, it should be noted that this is still fusion... it is just as ignored as its predecessors by radio and critics alike. What it has accomplished, however, is the trimming of what some of fusion's harsher critics refer to as "mindless noodleing" and condensed the style into striking and multi-layered compositions.

Listening to this release even as I write this review, I am still amazed that it is a live recording. I will refuse the temptation to give a track by track review, and leave my comments as they stand. Surely, I already sound like a blindsided devotee who can't give an unbiased opinion. Let it be so. Though I will say this; if you have you have yet to experience the groundbreaking work these artists are producing, and consider yourself a true fusion admirer, then you are shortchanged and ignorant to the full scope of what has been unleashed since Bitches Brew.

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Posted Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permalink

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