A new album by Ben Chasny always puts me under a great stress. It’s a good stress, it comes from high anticipation, as Chasny, aka Six Organs Of Admittance, is one of my all time favorite musicians, and I’m always curious to hear what he holds in his magic bag of drones, folk and psychedelic.
Ever since his 2004 Manifestation album, I’m following him wherever he goes and whatever he does, weather it’s his own solo albums or his collaborations or other bands he joins (and on the same subject, what’s up with Comes On Fire these days?).
So the new album of Six Organs, titled Asleep On The Floodplain has been played over and over and over here, until all his guitar chimes became dust. I always give myself a month of constant listening, when Six Organs Of Admittance holds a new album.
Chasny started his recording career with a series of albums full of instrumental drones and foggy psychedelia, and slowly evolved to be a songwriter. His songs, always dark thanks to his mystique, velvet voice, were always beautiful and you could see the progress he made as a songwriter and singer, from School of the Flower onwards. The pinnacle of those song based albums was his 2009 Luminous Night, which I loved very much, but I felt as if he reached to an edge, maybe one step too much for him. It was a beautiful album, but I had a hunch, that sooner or later, he’ll go acoustic again, and will meet himself in the middle – between the drones, and the fine songwriter he is.
And I was right. Asleep On The Floodplain finds Chasny in the right place for him, between the finest songwriter around and the creator of some of the darkest acoustic moods around. That’s why this album is a masterpiece and left me speechless, just like I was when I first heart (the song) Shelter From The Ash.
The new album is partly songs, quiet and introspective like the hauntingly beautiful Light of the Light or the ancient chant of Hold But Let Go. And it also contains the tuned down acoustic guitar that is played by his wonderful fingerpicked technique, like in Above a Desert I’ve Never Seen and the meditative S/word And Leviathan.
Asleep On The Floodplain is, to my ears, one of Chasny’s best albums in his long respectful career, it shows an artist who feels he’s in the right place, confident and alert. A constant traveler and searcher for new sounds, an everlasting vagabond, a hero.