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One of my favorite musicians, Ben Chasny (AKA Six Organs of Admittance) joins me on AEWCH to discuss the occult properties and relationships of tones, chords, and intervals. We don't just discuss them, Ben plays them, and we see what happens; in particular we use Rudolf Steiner's lectures on music (starting at 32:00) and the evolution of consciousness to lead us. Also, on the four occult bodies, feeling the music versus allowing music to grow out of itself, why we need to listen to and through the entire body, Billy Idol and Francoise Hardy, Deleuze and repetition in songs, Ben's Hexadic system for composing, and why music makes us feel the way it makes us feel.
There are four (yes, four!) musical performances on this episode. Here are the songs and when they happen:
Journey Through Sankuan Pass: 59:20
Elk River: 1:20:30
Word for Two: 1:22:30
• We originally recorded at Mystery Train Records in Amherst, MA, but there was a slight problem with the sound (there's STILL a slight echo on the sound on this episode, but I think it sounds way better, and actually lends itself to Ben's songs in the episode). Mystery Train is great and weird, and you should definitely go there.
• I've made a spotify playlist of 10 Six Organs of Admittance songs for anyone who's new to Ben's huge repertoire.
• Ben mentions the UK magazine The Terrascope, which is still going strong and strange.
• Lots of mentions of the incredible, magical musician Daniel Higgs on this episode. Dan used to be in a loud band that emanated branches of occult power, Lungfish, which we also mention. I also reference "Jesus Christ" by Dan's band with Asa Osborne. Here are the lyrics:
You hang on high in the hanging sky
Upon a crown that you expel
from your womb bright,
from your bladder and your brain
Like a silver tear
from an ancient flood
of alien blood
that we must drink to bathe
our compound face
O, Jesus Christ
Pure and polluted,
you’re the devil in a fable
a corpse at the banquet table
You’re stuffed with the first fruits
of the quasi-evoluted
You can not be refuted
You can not be explained
You can not be worshipped
You can not be contained
You’re a trail through the trackless
and a toil for the taskless
You’re a carnivorous tree
A cyclopean star
You’re a plesiosaur
A crested wave
You destroy what you save
And then you save it all again
Establishing the end of all mental mind signs
O, Jesus Christian
on a magic mission
with your mammary glands, one at sea and one on land
You irrigate the ashes.
You communicate in flashes.
O, Jesus Christ.
• If you haven't yet listened to the episode of AEWCH with Tim Kinsella, it's one of my favorites. In it, I mention the book Meditations on the Tarot, which is one of the most profound books on the occult around, and is also
• Ben brings up Keiji Haino (who he introduced me to, and who I now love). An excellent podcast appearance with Ben talking about the music that influences and inspires him is here via ATTN: Magazine.
• If you don't feel like listening to "Tequila" again, here's "The HIV Song" by Ween.
• The Rudolf Steiner lectures that we use to guide us are from "The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone" (you can also listen to the lectures here). Here's the man himself, pictured below:
• If you want to read more on Pythagoras and music, there's a series of good, short, videos on it, starting here.
• Maybe I should've entitled this episode "Fingers in Your Pain." Feel free to name your band that.
• Most of Ben's music is available from Drag City, and you can also buy his book, Hexadic System there.
Until next time,