Six Organs of Admittance - Ascent 12"
Ascent, the latest Drag City album by Ben Chasny's prolific Six Organs of Admittance, opens with "Waswasa" and a full-bodied electric riff that's about as delicate as kickstarting a vintage Harley. From that first moment on, the album makes plain that Chasny has made another of his trademark directional shifts, this time affording himself a backward glance before training his eyes back to the horizon. The album represents Chasny's semi-reunion with Comets on Fire, the much-beloved acid/noise group which has been on extended hiatus since 2008. The core of Comets on Fire-- guitarist Ethan Miller, bassist Ben Flashman, drummer Utrillo Kushner, and multi-instrumentalist Noel Von Harmonson-- are all present here, and together they help Chasny pummel some new tracks and reconfigure several from his vast back catalog. The Six Organs of Admittance concept has always been open-ended enough to include pretty much whatever and whomever Chasny wants it to at any given time, but Ascent is clearly the work of a full-fledged band. Though the results are perhaps not as heady as some of Chasny's best acoustic-based work on 2011's Asleep on the Floodplain or 2005's School of the Flower, and it is not as monumentally heavy as Comets on Fire at their peak, it is an invigorating detour and one of the most naturally fun records in Chasny's discography.