Six Organs of Admittance – RTZ (Drag City)

It’s taking me some time to come to the realization that it’s been ten years since Six Organs has come into fruition and become the man to blame for everything from Davandra Banhart to the decline in hair clipper sales. Not that I think it ‘feels just like yesterday’ since I first made acquaintance with the Six Organist on that grassy knoll in Amherst Common or anything. In fact, as I sit here and really think about it with brow furrowed and chin stroked, it doesn’t really feel like anything. It just feels like time has passed like it’s supposed to and you and me and Chasny have all swam many a lake of phony fire stoked by our own self indulgence, so who gives a fuck? It’s life…if we all learn to live with it; we’ll get it over with that much sooner.

The set contains six sides of 600A rarities. Some of this stuff you might have resting on your prized trophy shelf while some of it you might have slept on (Or perhaps no one ever SENT you the records in the first place…but I guess that all matters in how you look at it) Sitting down and looking at the whole package makes me wanna sit down and take a whole afternoon with it and really mull it over. I didn’t really have much to do today, so what the hell…

The set starts off with a suite named ‘Resurrection’ that sat on a split with Charalambides released way back in that beautiful age we called 2000. Right off the fucking bat, the distinction between Ben and the many that have come in his wake is smack dab in front of your face; the bastard can play. The gnarled intro of ‘As Voyage, In Voyage’ (Hey Ben, is that like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?) leads us on a much patented 600A journey lost between the fence hole of cohesion and self-induced trance. Both this side and the one that follows (‘Warm Earth, Which I’ve Been Told’) show Chasnys’ gods of Basho, Youngs, Bolan etc. were highly prevalent in his mind at the time.

The 2nd record starts off with a jam done for one of those Three Lobed subscription series CD’s that are meant to be collected like pogs or chewing gum wrappers. Hey…if that’s not enough, for an extra fifty bucks, you can have a box to keep all those pogs in! Thanks man, that’s awful white of ya… Anywhos, the track (entitled ‘You Can Always See The Sun’) acts like the logical step it is in Chasny’s development in the early 00’s. Undercurrents of surging drones billow and puff below some of the sweetest playing Ben has ever done. Pretty soon, the sweet playing, the drones, the winds, the dank (the dank!) etc. all congeal into one big ball of roar that sounds like Quicksilver rolling into ‘Mona’ after some full frontal lobotomies and Lysol-dipped joints. Nice!

The gem in this 3 record set for my money is all the unreleased shit on Side 3, which is abuncha of stuff recorded between ’98 and ’01. The non-guitar based stuff here is what really gets my neck-a-twisting. Side opener ‘Keep the Cold’ and in-betweener ‘From the Flesh’ fully deliver the barely there creep that Ben was more than likely gobbling down at the time by White Winged Moth and maybe (maybe) K-Group. The acoustic jams on this side sorta clash with the hazy ambience of the fore mentioned tracks, coming off like some angry soul digging into dark soil. As a whole, the five jams that make up this side don’t really gel too well, but taken as a hodgepodge of the ideas twisting around a wildly obsessive young man’s brain, it’s the tits.

The final vinyl dosage here is ‘Nightly Trembling’ which was originally a lathe cut done up in ’99 and then a real record on Time-Lag somewhere in 2004 and it has always been a personal favorite of mine from Ben’s cannon. I recall blasting the original scratchy sounding lathe of this thing through the headphones in the backroom of my apartment in Jersey City where I could hear cats screwing and hoodlums talk shit to one another from the window. I remember the lock groove séance of the first side transcending me nightly into a numbness I needed all too well in those thin skinned days of mine. The second side I found so disturbing and erratic that I rarely played it unless I knew I had nowhere to go.  Listening to it now, it sounds like a wrestling match between dementia and hope. Since Ben is still kicking and breathing today, I guess we can call the match a draw.

Overall, this thing is a motherfucker to behold. The package and sonics fit perfectly together and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate all the amazing shit that’s spilled out of Ben’s brains and fingers in the past ten years. But let’s not take this set as some sorta celebration of the past. Anyone worth a dingle dangle knows Ben’s last full length ‘Shelter from the Ash’ ( a release I’ll admit dismissing at first) was as naked and beautiful a statement as any of the shit he was cooking up at the video store in ‘98. The dude will do you no wrong. He never will. Where many are the mirror, he is the figure they view themselves from. Long may he been seen and heard through the Humboldt fog.

by TONY RETTMAN on 2/10/2009 in Features, Reviews | Tags: , , ,