Clearly influenced by the guitar stylings and noodlings of John Fahey, The Sun Awakens is another fine collection of guitar-folk ballads from Ben Chasny’s Six Organs of Admittance outfit. For his second full-length on Drag City (School of the Flower was released last year), he conjures up some good old animal-meets-desert imagery, in a life-comes-full-circle sort of way. The thing with Chasny is that he makes albums meant be listened to as albums — from start to finish, in one sitting. Otherwise, you’ll miss the subtle points he’s making.
Chasny, who’s also a member of Comets on Fire and Current 93, uses his Six Organs outfit to connect with his more naturalistic self — and The Sun Awakens adds quite nicely to his already established line of “rustic-ness.” He does so not with lyrical references (although there are bouts of words on a few cuts) but with the blurring of various guitar sounds and his song titles. Jazz artists have been doing this for decades, and if you use song titles such as “Torn by Wolves,” “Bless Your Blood,” and “The Desert Is a Circle” as reference points, the album starts to have a very organic feel to it. (In this instance, the basic life-circle is birth, learn to kill so you can eat, eat, wander around for things to kill, then die.)
Abstract conceptual musings are clearly Chasny’s thing, but if the above paragraph hints at any hippie overtones, don’t fret. He compensates his thematic abstractions with a sound that revolves around folk ballads that throw a bit of psych drone in here and there, culminating in this case with the twenty-three-minute droner “River Of Transfiguration.” Ultimately, Chasny continues to challenge himself and listeners in ways that are understated. In other words, The Sun Awakens‘ sparseness has a deepness to it that requires spending time with the album in its entirety in order to truly understand it.
Streaming audio: http://www.myspace.com/sixorgans