Posted by & filed under Six Organs.

Hello. It’s been forever since I’ve posted. Finishing the book up and going on tour kept me more busy than I have been in years. But I am happy to say that the book and the cards are finally finished. I can’t believe it.


Cards and book



I was happy to have these on the recent East Coast/Midwest/Canada tour and will have them for the upcoming UK/Brussels/Amsterdam tour. If you are looking to pick them up but won’t be in future touring places you can get the cards and book directly from Drag City. Drag City also has some bundle deals if you want to get the cards and the book, or the book, cards and LP/CD, so it’s worth looking at what they have going on.

The big news for the Six Organs site is that I’ve added some pages to the menu above for the Hexadic System. The Resources page will be an ongoing project with links to areas of interest to those working with the Hexadic System. There are also JPGs of templates that one can download to use for the system. The Sound page will have samples of music created by people working with the Hexadic System. I’ve already got a few wonderful clips up there. Looking forward to seeing what people come up with.






Posted by & filed under Six Organs.


Enough comparisons to Eno’s Oblique Strategies have been popping up in reviews of Hexadic that it has made me wonder: have I been too oblique myself in describing the Hexadic system? Let me explain some differences (and similarities).


– The Hexadic system presents the actual notes that one plays (or can play: they represent possible notes). It also determines the time allowed for such notes to be played. The cards may also determine intensity factors.

Oblique Strategies does not present any notes. It presents creative ideas with the intent to change specific conceptual strategies.

Oblique Strategies initially existed as special cards that were unique to themselves.

– The Hexadic system uses regular playing cards that can be found anywhere.

– The Hexadic system relies not only on chance, but also on combinatorial methods. In that way it is much more aligned with Gysin than Eno.

– The main influence on the Hexadic system is the thought of Gaston Bachelard, and in particular his ideas of rupture. 


Though Eno has mentioned he was concerned with the idea of habit, my thoughts on habit deal specifically with guitar and are more influenced by this interview with Jun Kosugi, Maki Miura, and the late great Yasushi Ozawa.

It is true that we are making our own set of playing cards. These are a regular deck of poker cards that one could use to play cribbage with their mother if they wanted. There will be special markings on the cards that are aligned with the system, but you certainly don’t need them to use the system. The aesthetics of a deck of cards has always appealed to me. The fact that tarot was born from a standard deck of cards, the history of the ace of spades, the divinatory past of games, these are all exciting things to me. Making these cards is way more influenced by the Jeu de Marseille. It is funny that some folks have implied that the record was designed to sell the cards. That would be sort of like manufacturing a car because one has a great idea for a bumper sticker.

I could go on but I’ve got to get going with my day. If anyone would like to talk with me about this sort of stuff, I’d love to. I guess I will just end by saying that though I admire the systems of Cage and Eno (and Zorn), they are not the only artists that have used chance and games. For instance, Mozart was throwing dice around in 1787.  If anyone is interested in diving deeper into systems that deal with combination, chance, language and music, this essay is great: Words Made Flesh. Hexadic is not new, but neither is playing the guitar and putting out records.



Posted by & filed under Six Organs.

Some worlds that intersect with Hexadic



An interview with Bachelard that my friend Mathieu translated. If you click the CC you will get english subtitles.


An article on how Bachelard’s dynamic imagination might be used for art psychotherapy. It does a nice job explaining some of Bachelard’s concepts.



Nice Coil interview


Robert Duncan reading Apprehensions


Never forget:








Posted by & filed under Six Organs.


Hexadic Cover


A few weeks ago we announced a new Six Organs of Admittance record, Hexadic, to be released Feb 17th, 2015 on Drag City. This release is the result of years of working on a new way to compose music. We’ve been using the word “system,” but it would probably be more accurate to describe it as an “open system.” It is very malleable. The particular songs on this record were bent toward the idea of rock music. I composed 30 pieces using this system. Of those 30 songs, I chose 9 that could best be worked into a rock format for Hexadic. I wanted to make a rock record. So there you have it.



As I talked with Drag City about how the record was created, they encouraged me to take my notebooks and systematize them into book form so that others might be able to use the same methods for themselves. That has been keeping me busy the last four months or so.


Cards:Notebook (dragged)
                                                             page 47 of notebook


The system itself consists of different aspects, or correspondences, that can interact with each other or exist on their own. There are game, graphic, and language aspects that intersect with the plane of tonal relationships in a way that creates a unique assemblage. In fact, all of the words on the record were written using the language aspect of the system. The game aspects of the system can be played for fun or used as a compositional method. They can even be used as a performance in itself if the players are confident enough.

The work draws inspiration and uses ideas from three figures: Ramon Llull, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, and Gaston Bachelard.

Because the system uses a deck of playing cards as the ur-ground that most of the aspects of the system are born from, we (Drag City and I) will also be making a special Six Organs deck of playing cards. These cards will be a regular deck of poker cards that can be used in any way a deck would normally be used (since the system doesn’t need any special deck). However, the Six Organs deck will have markings on specific cards that are used for specific aspects of the system. For instance, the spades will have a +/- sign designating them as cards used in alternate tunings or as “intensity” signifiers for tonal fields. There will also be markings on the cards that are used for a special figure that is used for composition. In addition, the face cards will also have symbolic representations of figures who populate the Six Organs universe. I worked closely with Steve Quenell, the artist behind many Six Organs record covers (School Of The Flower, RTZ,  Sun Awakens, to name a few), to create the deck. Here is the raw art for Stéphane Mallarmé, who is the King of Spades:




In this card we can see the die and the ship, directly referencing Mallarmé. The outer form delineates the spade. The lighter blue of the background represents air, which is the element of the spade (spades = swords = air). The curled cross bars form a mustache, representative (along with antlers) of the kings (whether or not the real figure had a mustache or antlers) in the deck. The moth is the symbol (death) that is shared with this card’s partner in the Hexadic System, namely, the Queen of Clubs (Leonora Carrington in this deck), which has the same moth.

So this is the total project.

The record has Noel Von Harmonson (Comets, Sic Alps, Heron Oblivion) on drums, Rob Fisk (Common Eider, King Eider, Badgerlore, ex-Deerhoof) on bass and Charlie Saufley (Assemble Head in the Sunburst Sound, Meg Baird, Heron Oblivion) on bass. They made the record so much more than I thought it could be and I owe them big time.

Anyway, very excited to get all of this out there and tour as well. I will be putting the tour dates up on this website ASAP. In the meantime you can check the Drag City tour page. We will announce an exciting support musician for all the US shows soon.

Posted by & filed under Chris Smith, Hermit Hut.




Announcing the second record on Hermit Hut: Australian musician Chris Smith’s Bad Orchestra, coming out October 14th. This release is the first vinyl issue of a record that originally saw life as a small CD run in 2007 on Death Valley in Australia.


Chris Smith


From the moment I got the CD years ago, I’ve had it on repeat constantly. As with Tashi Dorji, Chris is one of those musicians I couldn’t believe wasn’t more well known. The CD seemed impossible to find. It also screamed to be released on vinyl. It’s just one of those records that’s made to be flipped over. When you hear it, you will know what I mean.


Bad Orchestra weaves all sorts of home-made late night destructo-ambient guitar works into a bad-trip haze and adds a couple rockers for good measure. Here’s a rocker:


Chris Smith – Bad Orchestra will be out October 14th and Distributed through Revolver USA.

for press inquires contact press <at>

Pre-order the record on the Hermit Hut page.