Thursday, September 10, 2009

six organs of admittance - luminous night (2009)

Six Organs of Admittance, AKA Ben Chasney, is back with his new album, something like... his nineteenth official solo release? Not counting split albums? On Luminous Night, Chasney continues to expand the variety of sounds he incorporates into his music, this time collaborating with musicians in his new base of operations, Seattle. His last album, the excellent Shelter From the Ash, saw him working with San Francisco musicians, including members of Comets on Fire (Noel Harmonson, with whom Chasney also collaborated with on the harsh noise album NVH/CHASNEY, in addition to their work in Comets on Fire together), The Fucking Champs (Tim Green), and Magick Markers (Elisa Ambrogio, his then-and-maybe-still-now girlfriend?). This time he worked with ex-Pearl Jam and Tori Amos drummer and current session musician Matt Chamberlain, violinist Eyvind Kang (Secret Chiefs 3, Laura Veirs, guest spots on Animal Collective and Sunn0))) records), flautist Hans Teuber (who has worked with Ani DiFranco, Kayo Dot, Sunn0))) and Secret Chiefs 3), Tor Dietrichson on tabla (Diga Rhythm Band), and pianist/electronics musician and album producer Randall Dunn (who has appeared on albums by Sunn0))), Mayhem, Wolves in the Throne Room, Earth, Grails, and many more). I don't usually pay so close attention to who the guest musicians are on an album, but I tend to in the case of Six Organs of Admittance- the reason being that Ben Chasney has been performing for so long, and released so much, under this moniker, that his recent albums have each represented a new incarnation and sound for the band. While Luminous Night isn't a major departure from his older work, it continues the trend of higher production values, more varied instrumentation, and more compact songwriting (side B of the album The Sun Awakens excepted) that has been true for his Drag City releases so far. Side A of Luminous Night is probably his most streamlined, "rock" oriented release yet, although that's not saying much, and Side B definitely takes things down a dronier path. But many songs feature Chasney's vocals, and most songs are around the five minute mark; for indie rock fans who are unfamiliar with Six Organs of Admittance, this album would be a pretty good place to start. Older Six Organs fans have probably made up their mind about the direction the band has been going in over the last few years- if you're a fan of the drone and raga, solo guitar-style Six Organs, this might not be for you (although you might like the track "The River Of Heaven"). But if you've dug the last couple of albums, you'll certainly like this one.

Six Organs of Admittance - Anesthesia
Six Organs of Admittance - Cover Your Wounds With the Sky

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