Three years after 2017's relatively low-key and largely organic Burning the Threshold, Ben Chasny nudges Six Organs of Admittance back toward the brink on the exploratory Companion Rises. Over the two previous decades, the California native's prolific project has shifted back and forth from a collaborative full-band experience to a deeply focused solo endeavor espousing its creator's current philosophies or passions. Composed, performed, recorded, and mixed entirely by Chasny, Companion Rises falls squarely in the latter camp, though it's certainly not without a sense of spontaneity and chance. Offsetting nimble acoustic guitar patterns with synths and rhythm-generating algorithmic programs, the arrangements ripple with wild energy, coating the more earthbound elements in swathes of hyper-digital space dust. Album-opener "Pacific" sounds like a lightning rod pulling in dense synthesized waves of sound from out of thin air before segueing into the more structured "Two Forms Moving," a slippery missive whose laid-back West Coast folk feel belies the churning electricity and buzzing static that surround it like a cloud. This element of sonic chatter is a constant presence throughout Companion Rises' nine tracks, sometimes taking the form of a distant aerial synth sweep or a crashing electric tide, often within the same song as on the standout "Haunted and Known." Another highlight, "The 101," captures a sort of bright, frenetic current that's both invigorating and white-knuckled, placed as it is after the more meditative title track. Thematically, Chasny's antennae remain tuned to matters both metaphysical and cosmic, covering concepts like panspermia and casting out lines like "I'd say the cosmos is in need of a friend." Frequently immersive and occasionally revelatory, Companion Rises feels utterly modernistic in its uneasy blend of earthy stability and distractive ambience, mirroring what for many is the normal mode of 21st century existence.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger