Six Organs of Admittance
Six Organs of Admittance / Asleep on the Floodplain (Drag City)

Six Organs of Admittance is the brainchild of nimble-fingered guitarist-singer-soundscapist Ben Chasney, a multihued musical sage who also heads up such rock-into-the-ether combos as Comets on Fire, Current 93, Badgerlore, August Born and Plague League. Largely self-played and produced, Chasney’s new Six Organs disc, Asleep on the Floodplain, pulls a light blanket over the darker implications of its surreally misty dreams in languidly droney excursions built on flickering acoustic guitars, enveloping harmonium pumps and distant ambient fields of looped 12-strings, clanky percussives and plucked piano innards. On past efforts Chasney’s were deceptively lulling tales of mystery and imagination that brought a healthy tension to the sound of wonder, which, as on ‘09’s darkly intense Luminous Night, exploded furiously in one’s face from time to time. But Asleep seems determinedly, genuinely mellow, not exactly blissed-out but sort of grateful for the opportunity to be heard. Lilting, tumultuous and expansive, brief instrumentals like “Above a Desert I’ve Never Seen” and “Saint of Fishermen” reveal Chasney’s ongoing fascination with the modal-mode John Fahey/Sandy Bull steel-string reverie. Wrapped in vague sonic sheets like a train’s brakes and animal whoops, “Dawn, Running Home” has a strange but not uncomforting vibe, like cooking beans in a can ‘round a hobo’s campfire. Chasney’s all about how to do the back-to-the-country schtick without being a deluded corndog about it; in his version of rural simplicity, hints of coming shock loom like clouds on the horizon, which Chasney likes to demonstrate with the surprise sour chord thrown in to shake up the folk idioms he explores. “Brilliant Blue Sea Between Us” offers sensuous washes of harmonium and a rolling varispeeded guitar figure looping through acoustic six-string plucks; sweet vocal harmonies and spare synth counterpoint “Hold But Let Go.” At times this all implies something big and epic, as in “River of My Youth” (“I’ll meet you on the other shore…”), where giant fog banks roll over the loping wagon-train guitar, and it doesn’t go anywhere, yet it does.