7/12: The Ballad of Ben Chasny

six_organs-rtz_insideSix Organs of Admittance is the primary project of guitarist Ben Chasny. Over the course of 11 full-length records, innumerable singles, and the odd EP or two, he has created a mass of psychedelic sound that flirts with mysticism, marries acoustic drone music to hallucinatory folk balladry, and utilizes rock ‘n’ roll’s immediacy like an electric hammer. His new album, Luminous Night, is set to drop on August 17th, 2009 on Drag City. Eyvind Kang is one of a number of contributors appearing on Chasny’s latest, which has a radically different sound that I can’t fully explain yet and certainly did not expect. If you’re unfamiliar with Chasny’s work, click on some of the following videos and get familiar with his twisting, sometimes rambling recordings. He draws from American and Eastern musical sources in almost equal measure and infuses his vaguely folk-ish stylings with everything from noise and collage techniques to jazz, new age, and ambient tropes. Up until his latest, Chasny dealt almost solely in transcendent American music touched by the often psychedelic sounds of East Indian music (you can definitely hear guys like John Fahey, Sandy Bull, and Ravi Shankar in his work), but his latest is another story. Where associations with Jodorowsky and the mythical American West made sense in the past, Six Organs most recent work flirts with European classical styles and a (perhaps imagined) imperial stateliness. I’ll be playing a song or two from Luminous Night on my next show…

It’s worth mentioning that Chasny has a string of east coast tour dates listed on his website right now. He’ll hit New York on October the 11th and the end up in Boston on the 12th before heading back down the coast into North Carolina and Georgia. Adding joy to excitement is the fact that Chasny is touring with both Om and Lichens. I’m sure many of you know who Om is, but Lichens deserves more of your attention. AKA Robert Lowe, Lichens was one of my top 3 favorite performers at the Brainwaves festival last year (and that festival had more astonishing performances than you could shake a stick at). I posted a video of him performing in Paris some time ago that received a lot of positive response, so I’ll post it again for all of you to enjoy. Make sure you sit through the whole thing; at some point it appears as though Lowe is possessed and attempting to exorcise a demon for the enjoyment of the audience. Needless to say, if you attend any of these shows there is a slight chance that your soul will float out through the top of your head and ascend into various spiritual realms, the existence of which you have likely doubted in the past.

If you’re looking for a good place to start with Six Organs, check out the 3xLP/2xCD comp released this year called RTZ. It collects a lot of hard-to-find material and comes with some superb artwork by collage artist Steve Quenell (featured in this post).

Six Organs videos:

“Sum of All Heaven / Black Needle Rhymes” (live) from Six Organs of Admittance (1998) and Dust & Chimes (1999)
“Redefinition Of Being (Featuring Creation Aspects Fire, Air, Water)” (live) from Nightly Trembling (2000)
“Elk River” (live) from For Octavio Paz (2004)
“Eighth Cognition / All You’ve Left” from School of the Flower (2005)
“Words for Two” (live) from School of the Flower (2005)
“The Desert Is a Circle” from The Sun Awakens (2006)
“Alone with the Alone” from Shelter from the Ash (2007)
“Shelter from the Ash” from Shelter from the Ash (2007)
and… a random jam with Richard Bishop of Sun City Girls and many other things. Not sure what this is…

Lichens live at Miroiterie, Paris (wait until night and turn out the lights for this one).

Thanks for listening. I’ll be back on the air on the 26th. Hope you’ll tune in.

LISTEN: Laughter, 6/12, HOUR ONE

LISTEN: Laughter, 6/12, HOUR TWO

01. Sonic Youth “Anti-Orgasm” from The Eternal (2009) on Matador

02. Iggy and The Stooges “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” from Raw Power (1973) on Columbia

03. Wavves “California Goths” from Wavves (2009) on Fat Possum

04. Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark “Bunker Soldiers” from Peel Sessions 79-83 (2000) on Virgin

05. Black Moth Super Rainbow “Iron Lemonade” from Eating Us (2009) on Graveface

06. Moloko “Mother” from Things to Make and Do (2000) on Echo

07. Big Black “Passing Complexion” from A Rich Man’s Eight Track Tape (1987) on Touch and Go

08. Angels of Light “New City in the Future” from How I Loved You (2001) on Young God

09. Six Organs of Admittance “A Thousand Birds” from Dark Noontide (2004) on Holy Mountain

10. Luna “Bonnie and Clyde” from Live (2001) on Arena Rock

11. Polvo “Snake Fist Fighter” from S/T (1995) on Jesus Christ

12. Robert Hampson “Ahead – Only the Stars” from Vectors (2009) on Touch

13. Dead Letters Spell out Dead Words “Lost & Losing” from Lost in Reflection (2009) on Killer Pimp

14. The Residents “Silver, Sharp And Could Not Care” from God in Three Persons (1988) on Rykodisc

15. I Heart Lung “Interoceans III (Undercurrent)” from Interoceans (2008) on Asthmatic Kitty Records

16. Tim Friese-Greene “01” from 10 Sketches for Piano Trio (2009) on LTM

17. Rafael Anton Irisarri “Watching as She Reels” from Hopes and Past Desires (2009) on Immune

18. Jim Haynes “:::” from Sever (2009) on Intransitive

19. Xela “Gilted Rose” from The Illuminated (2009) on Dekorder

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One comment

  1. I just found your blog looking for “info” on the new Six Organs Of Admittance album. I’m glad I did, it introduced me to Lichens which sounds great. I’ll try to catch your next show.

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