It has been somewhat of a break for the normally prolific Ben Chasny’s Six Organs of Admittance. The last release was 2012’s more aggressive noise filled electric guitar assault of ‘’Ascent’’. Prior to then there were explorations into acoustic folkie, other worldly pysch, with my two particular favourite albums ”The Sun Awakens” (2006) and ”Shelter from the Ash” (2007), to name but a few. So, as with every Six Organs of Admittance release, you are never really sure which direction Ben is going to pursue, and this new album is no exception. While there has been a two-year silence he has been doing anything but putting his feet up. In fact, not just content with writing music he has invented a new system of musical composition.
This new system of going deeper into the mechanics of the writing process has been named the Hexadic system, hence the title of the album. I wish I could explain exactly how this new process of creating music works but there have been limited details revealed. However, it’s not a case of it being a close kept secret because a book is reportedly going to be released about this project, also by the eclectic Drag City label.
So, how does this all translate into a listening experience? Is it a pleasurable one? Well, this is an album for those who are interested in the extreme side of experimental music and look beyond the more traditional and conventional song writing structures. There are guitar noise and feedback on tracks ‘Wax chance’, ‘Hollow river’, guitar and drum fury on ‘Maximum Hexadic’, and the occasional vocals which sound like they are recorded and played backwards, or at the very least, are bursts of phonic sounds rather than words as on ‘Sphere path code C’.
To counteract the extreme noise elements there are quieter compositions. The opener ‘The Ram’ sets the tone of the feeling we are being led somewhere off kilter and ‘Future verbs’ also creates this other worldliness, eeriness sound, while ‘Hesitant grand light’ is the nearest we get to anything resembling previous folkie territory.
I do have admiration for artists who want to push the musical boundaries and have no interest in commercialism and celebrity. Like recent Scott Walker works they are interesting because you never know where they will take you but may not be pieces of music you will want to return to frequently, if ever again. ‘’Hexadic’’ is a challenging listening experience and is definitely in the required taste category, but like most new systems, the first attempt may not be the best so the “Hexadic” system masterpiece may still await us.