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Six Organs of Admittance - The Manifestation

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Artist: Six Organs of Admittance

Album: The Manifestation

Label: Strange Attractors Audio House

Review date: Aug. 19, 2004

This is the most beautiful, satisfying and riveting Ben Chasny project disc to date. It consists of two long tracks, the first of which, “The Manifestation,” was released as a one-sided 12” on BaDaBing in 2000. Presumably recorded in close proximity with Dust and Chimes, “Manifestation” melds all of those hippy but hip avant-folk musings we’ve come to love most about the Six Organs version of Ben Chasny.

An opening tremolo-soaked and vocal-drenched drone, as might be found on Dark Noontide, commences the title track, a gorgeous psychedelic suite lasting some 22 minutes. Chasny travels through Eastern-tinged folk, electronic sound manipulation, delicate tinkling chimes and hand drums reminiscent of Angus Maclise (although these are never too intrusive). Chasny’s lyrics, sung in his familiarly wispy tenor, complement beautifully his guitar and percussion work. The second section of “Manifestation” sports a good deal of the tribal octave chanting and rhythmic percussion so pervasive on Chasny’s most recent full-length, Compathia, but those who find that record a bit on the bland side may hear those same elements gelling very nicely in this new setting. Each section is tight, concise and silky smooth around the edges, the fades seamlessly executed.

The second 23-minute epic features Chasny at his most novel. His playing, acoustic throughout, harkens back to the shorter tracks on the recently re-released Octavio Paz 12”, but underneath hisses the unmistakable sound of needle on vinyl. Chasny has used the etched side of the “Manifestation” LP – a picture of the sun – as a bed for his guitar. The pops, crackles, plucks and strums come to deconstruct each other, almost to grow out of each other and exist in symbiosis. The vinyl takes on ever-shifting rhythmic characteristics, like a scaled-down version of Ligeti’s symphony for 100 metronomes. David Tibet of Current 93 intones a fitting word-piece over the top, redolent of the celestial and the mundane, of man worshiping chickens and of the cosmos.

A wonderful disc, then, one which every Chasny fan should treasure and which could make as good an introduction to his work as any. A great inauguration for the Strange Attractors’ Ressurection Series.

By Marc Medwin

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