Six Organs of Admittance, Vienna Arena, 12 November 2009

Excellent evening of high-intensity rock from the gifted Ben Chasny and his group. The paradox of Chasny is that, even as he plays the guitar with raga-like flourishes that effortlessly and emotionally recall Indian sitar music, he conjures up sounds that seem to point towards a new, daring and thrillingly original future for rock. It’s a remarkable and highly original combination, and it works magnificently.

Joining Chasny were Elisa Ambrogio on guitar and devices, Andrew Mitchell on guitar and Alex Neilson on drums. On the two previous occasions I’ve seen Ambrogio play (both with Chasny, in fact), I’ve been hugely impressed by her overtly physical approach to the guitar. She seemed to take a while to get going tonight – her presence for much of the set was rather subdued. But once she hit full stride she was unstoppable, her endless squalls of drones and feedback forming a powerful complement to Chasny’s glistening satori-heavy modes. Alex Neilson, meanwhile, was a sweeping and generous presence on the drums, his oceanic patterns weaving and diving around the interlocking vectors of the three guitars. Mystical and transcendentally inspired, but without the slightest hint of hippy tosh, Six Organs of Admittance are harsh and beautiful.

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