Release Date: Jan 20, 2009
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Experimental
In a 2003 interview for a Wire magazine piece in which David Keenan ostensibly coins the term “New Weird America” while depicting its denizens as aesthetically disparate and largely indefinable, Ben Chasny paints his vision of the amorphous movement with broad, toxic strokes: “a web of inspiration and beauty that will bypass all of the mundane aspects of whatever we call art, like museums and galleries and eBay and bullshit record collecting. ” Perhaps “bypass” was too strong a word: the combo of prolific outputs and material necessity has forced Chasny (one man, Six Organs of Admittance,) and the good majority of his out-folk contemporaries to have their limited-run LPs and hand-made CD-Rs wrapped up in the “bullshit record collecting” that seems contrary to their sub-market egalitarian ethos. What, then, do we make of RTZ, a 2-CD/3-LP collection of Six Organs rarities with a sumptuous layout and a relatively modest price tag? There’s a clue in the title: RTZ is named for the “return-to-zero” reset button on a Tascam 484 four-track.
Commitment. Everything about Six Organs of Admittance’s latest release smacks of it, starting with mastermind Ben Chasny’s recording its entirety at home on a Tascam cassette 4-track recorder. RTZ stands for “Return To Zero”, the button that allows the user to quickly return to the beginning of the track. These are not humble little bedroom tapes, but ornate, epic collages of sound and song that speak of real devotion: to the Eastern- and psych-tinged melodies and instrumentation that flavor 6OOA’s folk symphonies, to home recording, to active and involved listening.
RTZ rounds up four out-of-print releases from the back end of Six Organs Of Admittance’s catalog, adds one never-released performance, and spreads it across two CDs or three LPs. That last fact clues you to a key aspect of Six Organs’ ephemera. Ben Chasny, the man behind the curtain of Admittance, isn’t one to hand out a four-minute-long outtake or a b-side to anyone asking for a compilation track.