Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Organs Of Ecstasy: Ben Chasny’s Favourite Albums

Questing experimental guitar hero Ben Chasny, aka Six Organs Of Admittance, tells Ben Graham about 13 records that influenced his playing and shaped his worldview, from psychedelic Japanese noise rock to American Primitive acoustic fingerpicking

Photo by Elisa Ambrogio

Although best known for his prolific solo project Six Organs Of Admittance, Ben Chasny is also a keen collaborator. It comes as no surprise that he’s worked with several of the artists on his Baker’s Dozen list, some for one-off projects and others at greater length, such as drummer Chris Corsano and guitarist Sir Richard Bishop in the band Rangda, or Current 93, of which Chasny was a member for several years in the noughties.

Waves, his latest collaborative venture, finds Chasny partnered with Rick Tomlinson, a long term friend and fellow guitarist in the contemporary neo-psych and acid folk fingerpicking underground, perhaps better known by his Voice Of The Seven Woods and Voice of The Seven Thunders aliases. Credited simply to Ben Chasny and Rick Tomlinson, Waves was taped at Tomlinson’s Todmorden home in 2017, the gap between it being recorded and coming out more consistent with Tomlinson’s notoriously spare discography than Chasny’s rapid turnover of releases.

"I didn’t want to push him because he put it out on his own label," Chasny says. "I have other things happening and every once in a while, every year or so I’d check in: hey how’s that record coming? ‘Oh yeah, I’m maybe thinking about getting it mastered soon’. Yeah, he just kind of works at his own pace. It’s funny because my record label is called Hermit Hut, but I feel like he’s much more of a hermit than I am."

Chasny’s album selection also reflects his desire to constantly seek out new modes of expression, whether on the guitar, his own chosen instrument, or via other means. Running the gamut of folk, punk, avant-garde and the American Primitive fingerstyle tradition he’s often considered a part of, for Chasny it’s about the mood and feel of a record rather than the genre it’s slotted into. Drawn towards music from the margins, often privately pressed, Chasny responds to the passion and unique vision required to get these sounds out into the world in the first place.

"The list is maybe not that indicative of what I’m listening to right now, but I made a list of things that were heavily influential to me, when I was forming my musical identity, and deciding what I wanted to do with music, and a lot of these things taught me what music could be," he says. "It’s funny because I can just imagine people that I knew 20 years ago being like, oh man, doesn’t this guy listen to anything new? But this is stuff that really will forever be super important to me."

Ben Chasny and Rick Tomlinson’s new album Waves is released on 16 June via Voix. To begin reading Chasny’s Baker’s Dozen, click the image of him below.

First Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today