I was gonna start this review off with something about how Devendra Banhart called Ben Chasny, a.k.a Six Organs O’ Doo-Dah, the “king of psych folk,” but I thought going down the “awesomeness by association” route sold Chasny’s prolific brilliance a wee bit short. Dude’s put out a lot of seriously tripped-out goodness, and Strange Attractors has done us all the favour of re-releasing what might be his best work, plus more.
In 1999, BaDaBing released the song “The Manifestation” on a clear, one-sided 10” vinyl. The song is over 20 minutes long and goes through multiple movements, apparently based on our distance from the sun. It’s all laid out in the liner notes, and if you can make any sense out of it, well, uh, congratulations. The song itself is one of Chasny’s more claustrophobic journeys, moving from dark drones to dense acoustic guitar ragas, with extra vocals by Jennifer Juniper Stratford, who wins my award for “most Syd Barrett-lyric-esque name.” It’s the Dark Noontide album all rolled into one song, but maybe a little bit better.
Also, the b-side of the original vinyl simply featured Mike Mills’ vinyl etching of the sun, the sound of which Chasny recorded, adding only a short vocal appearance by fellow folk weirdo David Tibet, and some of his most gorgeous guitar work yet. It’s simple and direct, making it the perfect breath of fresh air after the first song, and this time it’s the key changes that are based on our distance from the sun. See, that’s what makes Chasny the king. Some people see psych as adding some trippy noises to their songs, while some people see it as a lifestyle choice.