Six Organs of Admittance – School of the Flower
Drag City, 2005
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006
Six Organs of Admittance's Ben Chasny is kind of like Jim O'Rourke's kid brother. Not in the sense that they have a working relationship, but in comparison to O'Rourke's acoustic guitar based records which never sacrifice his love of experimental music. Chasny tends to veer toward the folkier side of things, however. He had a track on the excellent Freak Folk genre-defining compilation, The Golden Apples of The Sun, and what he does can easily be lumped in with what Wikipedia calls “New Folk.” I kind of like that. I've been saying neo-folk for years, but New Folk seems more straightforward. And really, what's more straightforward than folk music? That is, on a base level. Mind you, he also plays in the psych-stoner-rock band Comets on Fire, so some of their dronier, spacier aspects carry over to his solo stuff. It's a little more out there than your average singer-songwriter. I should also mention that Chasny is one of the better guitarists you're going to come across these days. His fingerpicking ranges from rather traditional to avant-garde, depending on the mood of the track. “Saint Cloud,” for instance, is a gorgeous, cyclical tune that relies on the introduction of some spaced out synthesizers droning in the background and hums (or maybe chants) going along with the guitar. Actually, for the most part the guitar playing is fairly traditional (with the exception of a track or two on side two, when the electric guitar shows up and wails), but everything going on in the background is often either experimental or near-experimental. It's a gorgeous record, and none of the experimental aspects ever overshadow Chasny's guitar work. Also, when this is done I'm going to go through and figure out which record label dominates my collection, because I'd put money on it being Drag City. I've got even more Drag City stuff on the way, too. So I'd say they've got the edge.