Meditative acoustic guitar prayer, of sorts. Over a gentle, deliberately descending lick, Ben Chasny floats his tremulous voice, interwoven with some elusive electronics. The guitar, moving neither too fast nor too slow, has a palpable presence in the song; given the echoey vocal effects, the other subtle sounds in the mix, and sparse lyrics that are mere clouds of suggestion, the guitar feels like the only solid object on display—the guitar, and Chasny’s fingers as they ply the strings, which are all but visible as the string work continues.
Hands become central to the experience. The paradoxical-seeming choral directive is “Hold but let go.” Hands in prayer position come to mind. “Hold but let go” is mostly all Chasny has to say here beyond what his hands are saying, hands which hold the guitar and let go of the music latent within it. There is more to the song than the notes he plays, than the words he sings; there is a power that accrues through the deliberate repetition, the attentive playing, the life-affirming nature of the central message. We can all benefit from this, from holding but letting go.
Chasny has been recording as Six Organs of Admittance since 1998. He is based in Northern California. “Hold But Let Go” is a song from the album Asleep on the Floodplain, coming out next week on Drag City Records. MP3 via Drag City. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.