Over the years, former Seattle resident, Ben Chasny has been involved with a myriad of bands, including Current 93 and Badgerlore, but his primary output has come via Six Organs of Admittance, which he formed as a solo project back in 1998. He had been kicking around town for quite some time, before relocating East, but I believe that I only caught him performing in the city twice–once as a solo act, opening for The Dead C, and another time as part of the duo 200 Years, featuring Elisa Ambrogio of Magik Markers. The first performance was as Six Organs and featured Chasny interweaving technical, yet organic, acoustic guitar lines throughout more dissonant and distorted electronic elements. This technique of blending the delicate with the ominous, chants with subtle melody, has allowed Chasny‘s Six Organs work to breath deeply, conjuring thick to whispering soundscapes of drone, isolated deserts, crackling trees, impending doom, inevitable light… emotion. On that night he often delivered more of his swirling storm clouds and descending hell crows than the shimmering lake at dusk vibe, but it was something to behold–all that sound by one man, stoically sitting in the eye of his own personal tornado. The 200 years show that we caught was one of the first–if not thee first–performances by the duo and came as the opener for Baby Dee the night that we interviewed her (Chasny has been drinking at the venue bar with us all prior to the show). It still contained an experimental bend to it, but showcased the more subdued sides to both of the members, with Ambrogio‘s fragile voice laid gently over co-mingling guitar work and harmonium. Next week (October 3rd) Chasny will return to the city that he once called home and, if his newest release is any indication, this show again promises to be an entirely different animal. Fortunately for you goons, our friends at the Crocodile have provided us with 3 pairs of tickets to giveaway.
When we interviewed Ben last year, it was around the release of Asleep on the Floodplain (Drag City), considered to be his 13th official LP under the Six Organs moniker. Not only did it show the prolific songwriter/guitarist creating some of his strongest material to date, but it was a return to home recording with more of a stripped down acoustic sound, his first use of harmonium on a Six Organs release, and some really gentle and beautiful guitar compositions. This was the type of material that draws that psych folk label for Chasny, and understandably so, but his material has always been much more complicated to pinpoint than just that. Last year also saw the release of the 200 Years self-titled debut, as well as a collaboration with Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls), who shares his penchant for intricate Eastern guitar work. Along with Six Organs School of the Flower (2005) album collaborator, free jazz drummer Chris Corsano, the two guitar virtuosos released a blistering effort collectively as Rangda. The first half of that album is like the sonic equivalent to the end of days, complete with a shrieking blanket of locusts and rape-thirsty soul consuming demons. It’s the sound you hear when the curtain is drawn and the rack comes crashing down.
Aside from everything else, Chasny was also well known as a member of the tremendously well received psychedelic noise ensemble Comets on Fire. After touring through 2008 in support of their final album Avatar (Sub Pop, 2006), Comets on Fire went on an indefinite hiatus, with frontman Ethan Miller concentrating on his project Howlin Rain and the electronics/echoplex manning Noel von Harmonson joining up with the Bay Area garage outfit Sic Alps. With all of these projects thriving and Chasny still finding outlets for heavily distorted chaos via projects like Rangda, there didn’t seem likely that there would be any new Comets on Fire material arriving anytime soon. And while there still technically hasn’t been, a pleasant surprise came to fans of the group when it was announced that the brand new Six Organs album and touring formation actually features the full Comets on Fire lineup. Having listened to the release repeatedly, I can honestly state that any enthusiasm was completely justified and this is without a doubt one of the best releases that we’ve heard all year. Chasny has proven his versatility time and time again, but now he seems to be taking everything that he knows and, not only implementing it all into this one release, but implementing it remarkably well and with amazing cohesion. Now with a solid wall of sound around him, he’s utilizing those impressive twisting guitar lines and wrapping them in and out in amazing fashion, soaring through tracks on a rocket of beastly energy. This thing is a masterpiece; at times you’re speeding through deep space dodging asteroids, at others it’s like pure volcano steam. Tranquil rivers geyser up into a brilliant explosion. It’s intense and rejuvenating, meditative and empowering. It’s nuts. It’s brilliant. It’s great. And, if you’re on point, it might even be free to see these jokers perform this material live.
HOW TO ENTER:
We’re giving away 6 tickets of admittance into this upcoming show. That means 3 pair and it also means 3 chances for someone to win themselves one of those pair. Over the next few days, leading up to the show, we will be posting videos of various Ben Chasny related projects (eg. 200 years, Comets On Fire, Rangda, etc.) on our facebook wall. Follow us on FACEBOOK and/or TWITTER to keep track of when we do and then be the first person to contact us through MonsterFresh@gmail, tweet us back, or comment on the Facebook post telling us that you want them.
Show is being held at The Crocodile on Wed. October 3rd.
Master Musicians of Bukkake open.
Remember, people are slow, so if you haven’t seen us post that we’ve picked a winner yet, assume that you might still be the first to contact us.
Make sure that you’re easy to contact and that, if you’re getting a hold of us through facebook, your account receives messages.
We’ll have to place your name on the list, so, if you don’t think that you can make the show, please don’t enter and take those tickets from someone else that can use them.