Ben Chasny’s, Six Organs of Admittance, always seems to catch my undivided attention. When I first heard his project back in 2001, I fell hard for his finger-plucked acoustic guitar playing and soft instrumentation. Reminiscent of sounds like John Fahey, his was a sound I didn’t quite understand at the time, but I felt a strong connection to it. I assume that it’s because I found the project at the height of my own acoustic guitar playing days, and Dust & Chimes (2000) had me questioning my own abilities and striving for improvement as a player. I digress.
The way I saw it, and the way I still see it today, a band is only as good as the place their sound takes you to. Well, with Six Organs of Admittance, I’m endlessly trudging upward on a desert dune with an empty water canteen and an angry sun pointing its finger at me. Their sound is biting and lush with bright moments that drift and dart from one note to the next, stringing you along with its distant melodies. However, last night, when Chasny took the stage at Baby’s All Right, he spread his wings further than I ever could’ve expected. There wasn’t a second that went by that had him standing still. He’d walk, but more like float, across the stage to the other members of the band, wailing on his guitar, pulling on his strings, wincing at his drummer to play louder, harder and faster.
There was no acoustic guitar in sight. The sound that once had me traveling to the vast wasteland of sand and heat had been mangled and transformed into a sound that had me gazing into the center of an exploding sun. As I surveyed the crowd, realizing everyone came prepared with earplugs, I retreated to the back of the room where the messiness of the distorted noise reverberating off the venue walls could actually take a solid shape. And when it finally did, I forgot all about the desert dunes and began to gawk at the spectacle of total planned destruction and frenzy.