Essential New Music: Six Organs Of Admittance’s “Burning The Threshold”

Ben Chasny, the singer/guitarist/sole consistent member of Six Organs Of Admittance, is hardly the first musician to strive to avoid repeating himself. But few go so far as to develop and publish a scheme designed to thwart old habits, as Chasny did with his Hexadic system. After two records where Chasny literally forced himself to consult cards while composing the tunes, he’s back to unfettered synthesis and expression on Burning The Threshold. Despite the presence of musicians associated with experimental electronics and improvisation, it’s a mostly acoustic affair steeped in the lilting folk/blues of Bert Jansch and Davey Graham. There’s plenty of fluid picking to appreciate, but he keeps his quivering croon up front, the better to allow listeners to appreciate the easy grace of his melodies. After two records of compelling-yet-confounding struggle, it’s great to hear Chasny trusting his instincts again.

—Bill Meyer