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Six Organs Of Admittance : Ascent

Ben Chasny was releasing music under the pseudonym Six Organs Of Admittance long before the kind of dusty psychedelia he generally practices became inescapably fashionable around a decade ago, and you can’t help but feel he’ll still be going strong after the hordes of acoustic guitar-wielding bandwagon-jumpers have run out of ways to make fret-buzz and finger-picked strings sound interesting; but casual fans often forget that Chasny is also an integral part of one of the best – and most criminally overlooked – jam bands of the internet age, Comets On Fire, who went on hiatus in 2008 with four blistering albums (two of them featuring Chasny) under their belt. Ascent – that’s album number thirteen folks, and the sixth for the esteemed Drag City label – is a two-fold treat for faithful fans: not only is it the first long-player under the Six Organs banner to feature a full, electric backing group, it just so happens that the group in question is comprised of Chasny’s Comets On Fire colleagues, meaning this is not just a departure from the usual acid-folk fare but also something of an unexpected reunion to boot. Of course, with their usual roles reversed and Ethan Miller playing sideman to Chasny’s bandleader, this is a very different kind of Comets album: lead single “Waswasa” (below) and “Even If You Knew” may find the pair (along with third guitarist Noel Von Harmonson) trading gnarled, needling hooks, but they are anchored by more traditional structures than the freewheeling freak-outs born of the band’s last trip to Tim Green’s Louder Studios six years ago. In fact, whilst the additional guitars (and rhythm section Ben Flashman and Utrillo Kushner) add Crazy Horse muscle to the likes of “Close To The Sky” and “One Thousand Birds”, there’s no mistaking the fact these are Six Organs – rather than Comets On Fire – songs. Whereas Comets’ jams always felt a little unhinged, Chasny’s are more restrained, more composed, and here – especially on the raga-like “They Called You Near” and bluesy slow-burner “Visions (From Io)” – the two compliment each other perfectly. If Comets most often came across as a group of perpetually spaced-out, plaid shirt-wearing day-trippers, Six Organs is the crumpled suit jacket and sunglasses Chasny can slip on to help him weather the comedown, but on the basis of this low-key reunion we can only hope this outstanding bunch of musicians decide to go shooting stars together again soon.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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