Six Organs of Admittance

Luminous Night

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Following his retrospective RTZ compilation, Ben Chasny continued his 2009 work with Luminous Night, yet another in the string of compelling, moving releases under the Six Organs of Admittance name. It is almost too easy to describe it as simply "yet another Six Organs" album, given that Chasny's wide-ranging, continuously unstable artistic palette thrives on constant shifting between modes, whether talking simply about the arrangements of songs -- or even their core melodies -- or the shifting from stark solo performances to towering full-band arrangements. Luminous Night, though, lives up to its striking cover art and title just so -- a brightness surrounded by dark shadows. (Not for nothing is the elegant first song called "Actaeon's Fall (Against the Hounds)," referring to the Greek myth where a hunter spied the goddess of the moon bathing and was killed by his own dogs for his troubles -- and not for nothing is the final song, certainly the most unsettled-sounding on the whole album, called "Enemies Before the Light.") In some ways Luminous is also one of his most rural, reflective releases -- after the stressed anger of Shelter from the Ash, there is a turn to the mystic and soothing at many points, in the distant, strange squalls of noise on songs like "Anesthesia" and the ritualistic-sounding, violin-tinged slow moodiness of "The River of Heaven," as fog-bound and mystic as anything by Ghost. Perhaps the album's most elegant point is the blending together of the stately progression of "Bar-Nasha" into "Cover Your Wounds with the Sky." The latter's rough feedback crumbles set against distant piano suggests, without fully cloning, the majestic work of Flying Saucer Attack, providing yet another instance of how well Chasny works from numerous touchstones to create his own striking syntheses.

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