Published Mar 01, 2005The idea of Six Organs of Admittances main man Ben Chasny recording in a proper studio for a well-known indie label seems a bit frightening considering his previous recordings; from modern psych-folk classics like Dark Noontide and Dust & Chimes to the freewheeling worship of The Manifestation, theyve all been self-recorded at home by the man himself. But put aside your fears School of the Flower is an excellent album that perfectly balances Chasnys serene side (masterfully strummed to life on the ghostly "Home and the brief and lovely "Words for Two) with his mystical one (the mind-melting "Procession of Cherry Blossom Spirits and epic hypnosis of the title track). Chasny recorded much of the album, accompanying his signature acoustic guitar work, with an assortment of string instruments, organ, and of course his peaceful voice, but is notably backed by free-jazz drummer Chris Corsano on a couple of tracks, making for a few truly beautiful doses of orderly chaos. School of the Flower might not be the most crucial of Chasnys recordings so far, but it is definitely his most delicate and sweet, and a sure indicator that Chasny is still in the early stages of his life-long career as one of our times most relevant mind-blowers.
How did you react to recording in a proper studio? It was really great, man, because the studio was the kind where I could just stay there for a week, so I slept there. There was really nothing to do in the town, so it was pretty much like being in lockdown for a week, and I would just wake up and start recording at like one in the afternoon all the way til four in the morning. And the people I recorded with [Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffens] were so amazing and just open to experimentation.
Were a lot of the songs on the new album ones you had already mapped out, or was it more spontaneous than that? It was pretty spontaneous. I just had this notebook I had maybe the title track, I had a couple riffs, I just kind of had an idea of how I wanted to put it together, and I just had a couple kind of pieces of music and all these ideas just jotted down in this notebook. I didnt tell Drag City that, they just booked me studio time, and I was like "Oh, Im ready! Im ready! I didnt really tell them it was going to be pretty much improvised, you know, put together right there in the studio, but it worked out pretty good I think. (Drag City)