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October 19th, 2009

Empty The Sun



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July 22nd, 2009

Six Organs of Admittance: The Naturalismo Interview


NATURALISMO: You have been playing under the Six Organs of Admittance name for over ten years now. At that time, what was happening in your life and in your mind that made Six Organs the right vessel to express yourself?

BEN CHASNY: I was living in Eureka, California, were I grew up. My life was one of boredom stacked on top of indolence, occasionally punctuated by sleep. At that time there were a lot of crazy mystery LPs coming out that really got me revved up – Stuff like the NNCK jams on sound@one, the Brother JT records that he was putting out himself, the L record that Hiruyuki Usui put out himself, Ghost, Heroin Glowbugs with E-Ball on electric saz, Richard Youngs & Simon Wickham Smith, Solid Gold (totally insane spazz conga via Brutus Eco), Fuzzhead (Sun Ra garage rock via Cleveland), and weirdo reissues like Vulcan’s Meet Your Ghost, and anything by labels PSF or Poon Village , among others. It was a good time for underground music and I wanted to be a part of it.

N: Six Organs of Admittance has achieved a special place in the world of contemporary pysch and folk music. When someone picks up a Six Organs record, they want to enter a specific mindstate, a certain atmosphere, an unmistakable aura. With that said, do you ever feel constricted by the preconceptions people have created for Six Organs? Do you ever find it difficult to compose new songs with your audience’s expectations in mind?

BC: Not really. It seems like every time I try to do something different it just sounds like Six Organs so I don’t worry about it. I guess there was one time when I made Six Organs into a rock band (and by rock I mean we were goin’ for a Rallizes meets Keneko Jutok thing, not just plugged in like the Band or something) and we toured up the west coast and bummed people out left and right, but mostly I just accept the fact that some people are gonna dig it and some people aren’t. Some people like the songy stuff, some like the extended jammers. Can’t make everyone happy.

N: In the early part of this decade, how did you feel when journalists began bandying your name around as a type of  “harbinger” of experimental folk music? Did you ever feel that the folk label was apt in any way, or was it just a convenient crutch for lazy journalists? How do you define folk?

BC: I don’t recall anybody saying anything like that. If they did I would have to assume that they were ignorant of the entire current of underground music that has existed way before me. Zines like Ptolomaic Terascope, Broken Face from Sweden, Hay Fever from Germany, and 200 Pound Underground from Jersey were documenting folk influenced music way before I even started playing. And then there were bands like Hall of Fame, Tower Recordings, Stone Breath, Jeff Fuccillo’s Wham-O, Joshua Burkett, PG Six, Un, Charalambides, Iron Kite and bands of that ilk that were already tearing up the music scene and putting out great underground folk influenced music. None of these bands would describe themselves as Folk though. I wouldn’t either. But yeah, the idea that “folk” came back was a very self congratulating idea for the indie media because they got to pretend like they discovered something. What about Kicking Mule records in the 80s? That was real folk, not of the underground variety I just mentioned, but I didn’t see the indie media talking about that. It’s sort of like when the White Stripes came onto the scene (yes, I am that old) and the media stated that rock and  guitar was back, as if Wayne Rogers and Kate Biggar hadn’t been putting out the the most fucked up and destroyed rock records for years with Major Stars, Vermonster and Crystalized Movements or that High Rise never existed.

N: You were making music in the late 90’s and very early 2000’s, long before any journalist or marketing whiz ever propagated the idea of a folk revival or movement. And today, you are still writing music. With the media’s feeding frenzy on acoustic artists subsiding, can you reflect on what reasons, if any, the idea of a 21st century “folk revival” resonated so profoundly in the independent music world?

BC: I think what you are really talking about is pop music that is labeled folk because it holds hands with certain folk tropes, such as beards, singing about nature, floppy wizard hats and dirty Mexican blankets worn as jackets. Is it just a coincidence that the Harry Potter movies began to take off right as the major indie media started to proclaim the rise of their own invented scene that featured a similar wardrobe?  Once it had a certain “look,” it was a lot easier to market to kids. Cue photo shoots.

Harry Smith, whom one could argue is the man most responsible for bringing American folk music to the popular masses, used to go to Cro Mags shows and record them just as if they were some jug band. I mean, “Who’s that riding, John the Revelator?” and “If AIDs don’t get you than the warheads will” are pretty much the same sentiment, eschatologically speaking (a fact which I’m sure didn’t escape Harry Smith). If you take into account that Harley Flanagan was the true spiritual son of Harry Smith (his mother “spiritually” married Harry in a ceremony in NYC involving her kissing a series of downtrodden Bowery winos) than one could make the argument that the true spiritual heir of so called folk music is not the form that Dylan and his cronies propagated with their use of tropes (funky train conductor hat, singing about the working man and hobo songs) but NYC hardcore instead. People have a choice to connect the obvious and easy dots that are laid out in front of them by others or they can participate in their own cultural hermeneutics and define the word (and World) for themselves.

N: It has been two years since your last record, Shelter From The Ash. What experiences between then and now inspired the songs on Luminous Night?

BC: Oh, I think it’s all in the music. One geographical change is I moved to Seattle.

N: On Luminous Night, you are joined by musicians such as Randall Dunn, Eyvind Kang, Hans Teuber, Tor Dietrichson, Matt Chamberlin, and Dave Abramson. What was the group dynamic for writing and recording these songs, and how does outside contribution affect the way your raw songs are molded into a final incarnation?

BC: Well, those guys are all geniuses on their respective instruments, so it was nice to let them take over on melodic duties, such as replacing a guitar melody line with a flute or something. Or just have them improvise and do their thing. It made it a bit less of a guitar record, which is something we were going for. Plus, Eyvind is thinking about music on a whole other level, so having him on the record was a real honor and learning experience. That is dude fuckin’ nuts!

N: How has your own personal musical taste evolved in the last ten years? What artists are you listening to today that you weren’t when Six Organs first appeared?

BC: Honestly, it’s pretty much the same, except there are a lot more bands that have sprung up to listen to, like Shogun Kunitoki (hell, anything on Fonal) and Blues Control. And Russ turned me onto Kurt Vile, whom I think is pretty bad-ass. It was a relief because I kept hearing bands that were supposed to be new and good and I kept thinking, “Really? This sounds like Simon and Garfunkle. Or the Cars, or Thinking Fellers” and I thought I was just turning into a cranky old man so it was nice to hear someone who is getting a lot of attention that I can actually see why. Wheeeew! Looking at the stack of Cds here on the desk I have been jamming I see Onna, Stefano Pilia, Organum, Philip Jeck, Alvin Curran, Thomas Koner and Goblin, if that answers your question.


[ stream ] “Ursa Minor” from Luminous Night, hitting stores August 18 on Drag City.

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June 17th, 2009

Ben Chasny Takes Requests

From Ben:

“I want to mention that I am currently making a Six Organs guitar TAB book. I’m not really sure how big it is going to end up but I am thinking about 15 songs from the whole catalogue. What I am wondering is, are there any requests for any particular songs for me to TAB? So far I have already done Hallow Light Severed Sun, Words For Two, Elk River and Home. i was thinking i would probably do School of The Flower as well. After that, I am not sure. So basically I am taking requests. Any jams anyone might be interested in having me TAB? If not, it’s all gonna be basically what’s easiest for me to do!”

Head to the Six Organs MySpace and send a request via message!

[ Six Organs MySpace ]


February 27th, 2009

Lost Six Organs Of Admittance Album

Comets On Fire

Taken from Silver Currant

This is the unreleased Electric Six Organs record. It’s a short record because the tape ran out on one song. I think of myself as fairly unsentimental. I am much more of a “fuck the good old days” kind of guy but listening to this for the first time in years the other day took me back for a moment to May 22, 2002. Usually when I listen to a record I’ve made or even happen upon a bygone rehearsal tape I can’t for the life of me imagine what I was thinking, where I was or why it was done this way. Perhaps it is because this tape is so raw and off the cuff but when I listened to it again I could really see the room, remember where everyone was standing, the lighting, the kind of beer we were drinking, for once I could understand where, why and how we did it.

It was made during the Field Recordings From the Sun rehearsals. Ben Chasny decided that he wanted to do an electric project with some of the Six Organs songs. He wanted a mellow groove oriented backing band as a platform and a foil for wild guitar and the Six Organs narrative and asked Comets On Fire to be the band. We set out with the idea of doing a few short rehearsals and then record an album with my Otari 8-track. The album was recorded but never released and in fact these recordings are from a 4 track reel to reel in what I believe was the first rehearsal. In the end the 8 track stuff just never had the same energy we captured that first time so that is why you are hearing that instead of the 8 track recordings, these would have been the release. Unfortunately the tape ran out on the end of “Even If You Knew”. Fuck it. We did tour Electric Six Organs alongside Comets on Fire on the U.S. West Coast including Canada. But this was before Field Recordings came out and really very few people saw us. I think Chasny even designed a record cover for the LP release of this album but at some point it fell from his grace or just fell to the back of the burner and then off the stove completely, I’m not sure which.

Electric Six Organs
Recorded in San Francisco, May 22, 2002

1.1000 Birds
2.Close To The Sky
3.Even If You Knew

Ben Chasny: Vocals & Lead Guitar
Noel Harmonson: Bells and Rhythm Guitar
Ethan Miller: Rhythm Guitar
Ben Flashman: Bass
Utrillo Kushner: Drums

[Download] Lost Electric Six Organs Album


February 19th, 2009

[Exclusive Radio Sessions] Six Organs, Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective

March 19, 2004        

These sessions were recorded at KVRX in Austin, Texas.  I came across them while digging through CD’s at the radio station. There are no photographs from the Six Organs or Animal Collective sessions.

Six Organs of Admittance, 11 May 2004

This one was recorded around the time of For Octavio Paz and Untitled CDR. It’s just Ben Chasny and steel string guitar. Need I say more?

  1. Thousand Birds
  2. Journey through Sankuan Pass
  3. Black Needle Rhymes
  4. Drinking with Jack
  5. Birds and Sun and Clay
  6. The Manifestation
  7. Somewhere Between
  8. Hlao-Roo
  9. Khidr and the Fountain
  10. Lisbon

Devendra Banhart, 19 March 2004

Devendra’s set was recorded in between the release of Black Babies and Rejoicing in the Hands. The tracks hearken back to the era of Golden Apples of the Sun, and include two well placed covers along with some entertaining banter.

  1. Onward the Indian
  2. Michigan State
  3. This Beard Is for Siobhán
  4. Little Monkey
  5. It’s a Sight to Behold
  6. Marigold
  7. Soon is Good
  8. Todo los Dolores
  9. Colorado Girl
  10. The Body Breaks
  11. Maybe I Should Have a Glass of Water
  12. Green Rocky Road

Avey Tare & Panda Bear, 11 July 2003

Avey Tare and Panda Bear played this set on acoustic guitars. The sound is filled out slightly by some recorded sounds and features vocal harmonies that wander into an a cappella bit at the end.

  1. Pilot (Through Crash)
  2. You’ll Be Alright
  3. College
February 17th, 2009

Arthur Benefit CD: Transmissions From Sinai

Artwork by Arik Roper

“Here are sixteen reports, differing approaches that, through their own individualized methods, access the one ground. It’s a privilege and blessing to have known many of the musicians on this disc, to have shared in song with some, and stages with others. In all cases I have been the healed recipient of their craft sitting alone with my headphones… Here is their auditory journal.”

—Al Cisneros February 2009

1. Lichens – “Kopernik Trip Note” (previously unreleased)
2. Linval Thompson – “Wicked Babylon”
3. Grouper – “Everyone in Turn”
4. Current 93 – “Mockingbird”
5. Quixotic – “The Breeze”
6. Scott Kelly – “The Ladder In My Blood”
7. Hush Arbors – “The Valley”
8. Mia Doi Todd – “Night of a Thousand Kisses”
9. Six Organs of Admittance – “Bar-Nasha” (previously unreleased)
10. Holy Sons – “Drifter’s Sympathy”
11. Pantaleimon – “At Dawn”
12. Grails – “Acid Rain”
13. Sir Richard Bishop – “Almeria” (previously unreleased)
14. J. Mascis – “War” (previously unreleased)
15. Wino – “Silver Lining”
16. Alpha & Omega – “David and Goliath”

All proceeds go to supporting Arthur Magazine’s mission.                             Curated by Al Cisneros (of Om, Sleep). Edition of 1,000.



February 6th, 2008

redwood gathering posters!!



January 10th, 2008

folkYEAH! presents: the redwood gathering


“Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked at from the Peak of Darien, this is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look” – Henry Miller

An incredible opportunity to see a slew of amazing bands playing in the bucolic forests of Big Sur. Find some friends, bring a tent, build a fire, take in the tunes, breathe in the air – it’s going to be a mind-blowing weekend.

Fernwood Resort, Big Sur, CA
Friday, February 22 9pm
Saturday, February 23
plus special guest, TBA

Weekend Pass: $20.00

[ticket info] click here


January 4th, 2008

Six Organs Launches U.S. Tour



Photo (c) by Alissa Anderson

A rare treat. Ben Chasny hits the road next Thursday in Los Angeles to support his new LP Shelter From the Ash. I know I’m going to be at The Echo.
– Tyler
More Tour Dates after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »

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