album reviews

Six Organs of Admittance
101 Distribution (2012)

Kindred spirits: P.G. Six, Sun City Girls, Comets on Fire.

Guitarist Ben Chasny is involved in several projects: the new-folk Six Organs of Admittance, the psychedelic Comets on Fire, and the experimental rock Rangda. Where Six Organs of Admittance has typically been influenced by John Fahey's acoustic guitar work, the latest Six Organs album, "Ascent", blurs the line with the noisy rock of Comets on Fire.

The sonic influence is genuine. All four of Chasny's Comets on Fire bandmates appear on "Ascent", and the smoky, frenzied track "Even If You Knew" started out a decade ago as a song Comets on Fire performed live. Chasny and his collaborators know how to rock: The album-opening instrumental, "Waswasa", leaps out with a fiery riff, while the bass-driven "One Thousand Birds" finds a heavy groove with guitar solos snaking out from a rumbling drone.

But Chasny doesn't completely abandon the typically mellower sound of Six Organs of Admittance. "Your Ghost" is a simply plucked acoustic folk song that complements his whispered warble, while album closer "Visions (From IO)" has a laid-back, trippy vibe. Most memorably, "They Called You Near" features a rippling drone and trancelike chant that gives birth to a haunting, fluttering guitar riff.

"Ascent" is a mesmerizing hybrid between Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 30 November 2012.
.: Ascent on