Taking a cue from Grayson Haver Currin’s list of psych-folk songs for Pitchfork, and the upcoming vinyl issue of Dust & Chimes, I decided to make a playlist of psych-folk songs that inspired the very early years of Six Organs of Admittance. This is the psych-folk I was listening to in 97-99 (I was listening to classic non-psych-folk stuff too like NNCK, K-Salvatore, Loren Connors, Organum, NWW, etc – which maybe I will make a future list of).
I think it can also double as an Autumn playlist. I always listened to these bands in the Autumn.
Ghost – Guru In The Echo. This version is different than the one that shows up on their first s/t. Kurihara totally destroys on a wah solo at the end so hard that I distinctly remember laughing out loud the first time I heard it. This song created a template for many Six Organs songs that would begin folky and end with a distorted wah solo (Thousand Birds, Creation Aspect Fire, etc).
Bröselmaschine – Schmetterling. My favorite track from this German acid-folk masterpiece. I was particularly drawn to the vocals, which ended up inspiring the vocals on Manifestation. There’s something so peaceful about this song. Then it kicks into that killer acoustic jam.
Comus – Diana. One of the truly deranged songs (bands) of the psych-folk cannon. This band represented the type of psych-folk I was interested in: fucked up, dark and psychotic. The record itself actually has more hooks than any other psych folk record too, which I suppose makes it even more demented.
Current 93 – All The Stars Are Dead Now. My love of Comus brought me to Current 93, whom I had heard were influenced by Comus. Thunder Perfect Mind was my first C93 record and at first listen I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. It sounded nothing like Comus, or psych folk, or anything I had ever heard. Little by little I fell into it though and became fairly obsessed with their world and records. That experience seemed to form the template for getting into whatever was the newest Current 93 record: at first I would be slightly disappointed that it didn’t sound like what I thought it should sound like (usually whatever the previous record sounded like) and then the new work would eventually be my favorite. This track, from their Thunder Perfect Mind release, is a great example of leader and singer David Tibet’s outsider ecstatic vision(s). There’s only one David Tibet in this world and he truly is the hardest working man in outsider-visionary-gnostic-folk music.
Brainticket – Radagacuca. I was in love with the first Brainticket, Cottonwood Hill, so I decided to explore more. This particular track sounds nothing like the rest of the record it is on (which gets into more Sabbathy type songs) but the beauty of the melody with the doubled vocals hit really hard. One of my favorite psych-folk songs of all time.
Incredible String Band – Creation. John Allen (WFMU DJ, New World Of Sound record label owner) turned me on on to a lot of great music when I was younger. John released an LP of my band Plague Lounge (with Holy Mountain records) in ’97 or so and through him I heard about all sorts of strange bands I never would have known about due to living in the backwoods of Humboldt County. Bands with weird-ass names like “No Neck Blues Band” and “Brother Love.” But he also turned me on to some classics. ISB was one of them. This song had an immeasurable amount of influence on the Six Organs sound.
Sun City Cirls – Eye Mohini. The 7″ that this song was on blew my mind. I was a fan already but this one shows a sensitive side to these characters I hadn’t heard before. One of my favorite SCG tunes.
L – Holy Letter. I’ve already written quite a bit about this record (especially in its liner notes on the reissue) so I won’t say much more. This record knocked me out. I was obsessed with it. The original came in a gatefold 7″ package with a CD on one side and a 7″ on the other. If ever a whole physical/musical “thing” could transport me, it was this.
Mikami, Haino, Yoshizawa – The Sea. I was already a big Haino fan, but when I got this CD things made a little more sense as to how to make music. Takes a while to get going. It’s live. It’s a song Mikami wrote and sang years before. If it came down to it, I’d say this is probably my favorite song of all time, ever.