Om's earliest works incorporate musical structures similar to Tibetan and Byzantine chant, as heard on the debut album Variations on a Theme. The band's name itself derives from the Hinduistic concept of Om, which refers to the natural vibration of the universe.
On January 31, 2008, Chris Hakius left the band and was replaced by drummer Emil Amos of Grails. On the last tour with Hakius songs that would later become "Gebel Barkal" and "Thebes" were being performed live. 
On August 15, 2008, Om released a 7" 45 entitled Gebel Barkal for Sub Pop's Singles Club. A live vinyl-only LP, Conference Live, followed in 2009 on Important Records.