Head here to submit your own review of this album.

From the start, there is something a bit off about Hexadic--the newest album by the scarily prolific Ben Chasny, alias Six Organs of Admittance. It might be the lack of discernible time signatures, or the myriad moments of uneven syncopation, or just the absence of basic song structure. Do a little digging, and you'll discover that Hexadic is the product of years of (admittedly impressive) theoretical experimentation by Chasny. In a statement on his website, he details the creation of a musical "system" which: "consists of different aspects, or correspondences, that can interact with each other or exist on their own." In context, it isn't entirely clear what this means. The result is a smattering of mismatched sounds which have a specific, but enigmatic, relation to one another.

The album opens with 'The Ram', ostensibly three minutes of inconsistent noodling around on traditional rock instruments. A lone bass note or an oddly timed drum fill occasionally accompanies Chasny's stark and reverb-soaked guitar. Instances of cohesion are few and far between. What, then, is the basis for the system to which Chasny apparently adheres? According to him: "There are game, graphic, and language aspects that intersect with the plane of tonal relationships in a way that creates a unique assemblage." Gone are the days in which Six Organs could safely be classified under an experimental, freak-folk banner (see: 2003's 'Compathia'). Currently, Chasny's brand of innovation veers toward the esoteric.

'Maximum Hexadic' is a fierce muddle of noise-rock tropes complete with primal screaming, but cathartic as this free form hardcore might be, it's hard to connect with. 'Hesitant Grand Light' is another mixed bag, though this time it is easier to see elements of Six Organs' previous stylistic preoccupations--namely, vintage guitar sounds, particularly of the sun-dappled surf variety. Here, Chasny's glimmering chords are undercut by single-note strumming on an acoustic guitar and the slapdash addition of lone bass notes. The sluggish tempo of 'Future Verbs' makes it something of a standout track; tense intervals linger for so long that it's impossible not to be unnerved. By the time the song transitions into 'Vestige', Chasny has entered full-on drone territory.

As Hexadic progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer that the creative process behind it is something of a collage. The "game" aspect of Chasny's system features a deck of playing cards that help determine certain elements of a song's composition, like its tuning or the intensity of a particular tone. Presumably, the randomized order of the deck is responsible for some of the sonic disparities across Hexadic. Special Six Organs of Admittance playing cards are reportedly being manufactured by Drag City, Chasny's record label, but until those are released much of the album's structure (or lack thereof) will remain inscrutable.

Six Organs of Admittance has rightly earned a reputation for innovation, but with Hexadic, Chasny risks straying too far from the realm of palatable sound. Granted, the man did draft an entirely new system for musical composition, but barring a full understanding of its workings, Hexadic might be too cryptic to be accessible.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.