Though most musicians repeat the claim that they are creating music outside of what’s expected of them, few seem to follow through. But by winding easily through disparate genres and styles with the only connection being the strong presence of guitar, Six Organs of Admittance does. Ben Chasny, its founder and only notable member, uses his virtuosic skill on that instrument to create albums that function as a complete idea — a rare occurrence these days when individual songs are only important as part of the work at large.
For Chasny, touring is tough yet rewarding. “If I don’t do it for a while, then I totally have an itch to do it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to do, but I like to do it.”
Chasny’s aforementioned skill on the guitar clearly shines through his work. Acoustic or electric, his music always sounds rich and layered for a simple reason: “It’s just what I’ve been playing for so long.”
Nonchalant and modest as Chasny is, Six Organs of Admittance is something quite important. Through it, Chasny is a summative representation of the history of rock and roll, mining its crevices for anything that suits his goals. Though what you’ll hear is similar to what you’ve heard before, it is never mimicry as he filters each genre and, through his talents, creates something that is totally original yet oddly familiar.
What might be most interesting is how Chasny uses lyrics. While he is not averse to long instrumentals, or transfigured pop songs for that matter, he uses them at times but seems to favor creating compositions without singing. For him, the songs “just kind of write themselves.”
Finding lyrics somewhat unnecessary, Chasny has an interesting approach. “I’m not writing stuff like Kris Kristofferson or Bob Dylan or contemporary indie rock,” he said. “I’m more interested in sound and music than songwriting.”
Creating a complete piece of music is paramount for Chasny. “The records aren’t a collection of songs that I have written. The records are conceived from beginning to end,” he said.
This approach could sound antiquated with the existence of iTunes and pay-per-track software, but Chasny does not seem to care.
“I’m not going to change because iTunes is super popular,” he said, regardless of the fact that he enjoys what it has to offer. “I make mix comps all the time. It’s just not how I think of my own personal music. But I love songs, and I love singles. It’s just not what I’m doing right now.”
Don’t miss Six Organs of Admittance at Canopy Club Thursday, Feb. 5. Tickets are $8 in advance, and the show starts at 9 p.m.