I had Lichens' last release (I believe), "The Psychic Nature of Being," but somehow lost it. I remember it being mysterious, calm, and pretty weird. That's what I came in expecting with Ömns, and I think that's exactly what I got. These chilled-out soundsmiths have an absolutely amazing control over the tone of their music, and however they managed to create these great textures and soundscapes (most likely trial and error), they sound great.
There are few artists that use the human voice truly as an instrument. It's one of the things I seek out, so I have lots of examples in my library, but on the whole I find that the voice is just that, a voice. It's recognizable and celebrated for what it is. But I find Lichens and a few other bands (Howard Hello for one) use the voice as something more basic: basically, a string to be bowed. The first song, "Vevor of Agassou," reminds me of parts of The Wind-Up Bird's Whips in the way it layers voices as Joseph Grimm layers strings. It never reaches the saturated level of that artist's excellent release, but it has the same
strange power. "Faeries" takes the voice-scape idea to another level, as the track contains almost entirely layered voice. "Bune" reminds me, if anything, of the beautiful soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man," which is almost entirely solo guitar by Neil Young. Lichens has absolutely nailed the tone of the guitar, and the track is nearly 9 minutes devoted to exploring its rich, strange sound. "M St r ng W tchcr ft L v ng n Sp r t" is a little more traditional-sounding, if you don't count the 10-minute wilderness and birdsong solo at the end. "Sighns" is a beautiful, beautiful track; its only flaw is its short runtime. It's another tone experiment, and the closest thing I can come up with to compare is one of Sir Richard Bishop's older releases, recorded softly with a sort of sonic halo about the notes. I imagine it's what the world sounds like after you've drowned.