Six Organs of Admittance
School of the Flower
ome clichés are better than others when describing music. Which is why it doesn’t exactly make me feel comfortable in saying that Six Organs of Admittance’s School of the Flower feels like all of his material released to date: mustily mystical. It runs rampant throughout the meandering guitar lines, the entrancing ragas, the wordless humming, and the myriad other instruments that creep up throughout. It comes as a small surprise, though, because School of the Flower is Ben Chasny’s first Six Organs release to be recorded completely in a recording studio.
It shows in the crisply recorded guitars on most tracks, but Chasny’s vocals usually do the trick of throwing the listener back into the arena of uncertainty about the recording’s origins. His plaintive voice is usually effected in such a way as to make him sound as though he’s sitting in another room from the guitar or, on “Saint Cloud,” the basement underneath. Recorded in the summer of 2004, it sounds like it—a record for the creeping darkness of a hot summer night in which the night seems to last forever and the heat, the same.
The record opens up with “Eighth Cognition/All You’ve Left,” the former piece being a cloud of drum fills and droning that open up into the latter, which pits Chasny’s vocal against a folksy guitar melody. That latter portion is echoed in the follow-up “Words For Two,” “Home,” and the Gary Higgins cover “Thicker Than A Smokey” with slight variations in each.
It’s “Saint Cloud” and the title track that sound out here. Both gradually build their resources into smoldering masses, but “School of the Flower” uses eight more minutes to build to a larger and more fervent climax that eventually yields wild guitar work and a throbbing drum accompaniment, while “Saint Cloud” merely fades into the ether before it ever has time to truly explode.
School of the Flower is Chasny’s first for the Drag City label, a recognition of the fact that his stock has grown by leaps and bounds since 2000 on the strength of a schedule of nearly one new release per year. Couple this with Chasny’s new gig as a full-time member of the psych-rock outfit Comets on Fire and it seems like the future is bright. Not to mention the present, as long as his music keeps sounding like the shadowy past.
Reviewed by: Michael Bennett
Reviewed on: 2005-03-02