SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE
Album review: "Asleep on the Flood Plain"
When Ben Chasny began Six Organs of Admittance 13 years ago, he revealed a gentler nature. The one-man-band's rippling acoustic guitar and occasional murmured vocals offered a respite from the racket Chasny made (or was to make) with such groups as Comets on Fire and Rangda. "Asleep on the Flood Plain" continues in that meditative, unabashedly spiritual mode. The West Coast musician named his project, after all, after a Buddhist term for the five senses plus the soul.
Half of the album's 10 selections are guitar-based instrumentals, ranging from one-minute sketches to intricate, multipart compositions. Chasny still emulates such psychedelic-folk pickers as John Fahey, Sandy Bull and Bert Jansch, and he prefers an intimate sound. But some "Flood Plain" tracks add droning harmonium and synthesizer, suggesting traditional Asian trance music. And the 12-minute "S/word and Leviathan" builds to an unhurried but clamorous coda that's raked by electric-guitar feedback.
The most accessible songs are "Light of the Light" and "Hold but Let Go," which feature the guitarist's double-tracked vocals and some of his prettiest melodies. These homilies on accepting life's ephemerality show that Chasny wasn't kidding when he associated his pensive art-folk with a Buddhist concept.
--Mark Jenkins, Aug. 12, 2011