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Six Organs of Admittance - RTZ

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Artist: Six Organs of Admittance

Album: RTZ

Label: Drag City

Review date: Mar. 11, 2009

RTZ rounds up four out-of-print releases from the back end of Six Organs Of Admittance’s catalog, adds one never-released performance, and spreads it across two CDs or three LPs. That last fact clues you to a key aspect of Six Organs’ ephemera. Ben Chasny, the man behind the curtain of Admittance, isn’t one to hand out a four-minute-long outtake or a b-side to anyone asking for a compilation track. Nope, he’ll give you an album side.

Fans ignore these efforts at their peril, since Chasny’s long-form efforts are often his best. Take “Resurrection,” the nineteen-minute-long opener. Originally released by Time-Lag records in 2000 as part of a multivolume tribute to Popol Vuh, it sounds from a decade’s remove more like an extended love letter to the Sun City Girls’ better qualities. You get the novel sonorities, the “Which part of the world are we in? Er, make that which world?” vibe, and the commanding guitar picking, but none of the sarcasm or audience abuse. In place of misanthropy lies a certain cosmic earnestness; Chasny has never aligned himself with hippy revivalism, but he shares that ’60s penchant for conflating exoticism, spirituality and hedonism. Hey, it takes a potent cocktail to get you in the right frame of mind when your goals are beyond.

The next sidelong epic takes that pursuit further. “Warm Earth, Which I’ve Been Told,” which originally appeared on a split CD that also featured Vibracathredral Orchestra and Magic Carpathians, combines eyes-rolled-back chanting, barbed guitar accents, and a gently ascending organ passage into a solemn pagan reverie. “You Can Always See The Sun” presents Ben Chasny, the guitar hero who runs with bulls; his feverish acoustic picking streaks through an obstacle course of flank-goring electric noise.

“Punish The Chasms With Wings,” the previously unreleased track, is no throwaway. It opens with a sprawling episode of low-end rumble and high-end glint that, if pursued for album length, could have opened the door for Chasny to hang with Touch sound sculptors like Rosy Parlane. But then he abruptly shifts into a rave-up that answers the question “What if Sandy Bull had gone for a speed-fueled Count Five vibe instead of narcotized Chuck Berry?”

The second disc resurrects Nightly Trembling, an album already released twice on lathe-cut polycarbonate and vinyl. It’s very much off a piece with the material on the first disc, starting with a desolate chant and ending with a brain-scouring jam that sounds like Ron Asheton sitting in with Taj Mahal Travelers. Rave on.

By Bill Meyer

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