Slowly radiating out from the redwoods that surrounded Ben Chasny's tiny hometown of Arcata, California, like some mysteriously lit mists, his initial recordings as Six Organs of Admittance in the late '90s embraced both earthly and ethereal realms. Chasny laughs about that notion, though, as when he pressed up his first record, the reaction was lukewarm at best: "For people in my hometown, I couldn't even give them away there." His earliest sides and singles, be they clear vinyl slabs with etchings of the sun on one side or lathe cuts, were scarce and sacredly whispered about upon release. Tumultuous drones and black monk chants mixed with acoustic lines as soft and dappled as the afternoon sun through pinecones, the end result like some sort of Dead Sea scroll.

Okay, perhaps not that hallowed, but Chasny cops equally to being both into steel-string Buddhist Robbie Basho and New Zealand's finest export since Kiwi polish, lo-fi rock devastators the Dead C. Such a wide range of influences, from nearly New Age guitar meditations to visceral, gritty noise gave the music of Six Organs of Admittance a schizophrenic quality. The extended tracks had an impact not unlike nature's speedball, shots of espresso mingled with hashish smoke, and the resulting meditations were fidgety yet spaced-out.

There is a questing quality to Six Organs of Admittance often mistaken for mere spirituality; from the name itself to the primal images evoked by the artwork and song titles. But rather than take the acoustic guitar to the tepid extremes of New Age guitarists (who also followed in Basho's footsteps), Chasny is more in the spirit of Alan Watts, grasping both Zen and a bottle of Jack. His technique takes a backseat to his fire, disregarding a clean tone for grime and dissonance. Once content to record everything in his bedroom on four-track, Chasny has created the past two Six Organs records (made for Drag City) in the studio. But whereas the studio usually serves as a means to capture pristine versions of completed songs to tape, for Chasny, the studio merely serves to document "what I'm thinking of at that moment. I just go in... there's a lot of improvisation, even in the songwriting. It's more of a snapshot, right there, of what was going on." For that reason, he rarely revisits his old records. These days, Chasny even eschews the acoustic guitar: "I just want to play louder music now. The solo acoustic thing, I just got tired of it... It's a lot more fun to play music with other people and interact with them."

For someone who began in such an isolated state, Six Organs has found more allies. "Maybe it's coming from a small town or something, but I always wanted to reach out," Chasny explains. "I don't really believe in a local scene. My community is people that make similar music, and it doesn't matter where they are in the world."

The past two years alone have had Chasny teaming up for tours with Joanna Newsom and Will Oldham's Superwolf, while last year's protean School of the Flower featured Providence free-jazz pummeler Chris Corsano. Chasny also has collaborated with Japanese drummer Hiroyuki Usui (an iconoclastic player on the Japanese noise scene for decades) as August Born, and appears on Current 93's Black Ships Ate the Sky, where his guitar provides a steely intensity to match David Tibet's apocalyptic iconography. Oh, and he also plugs in for a pretty sweaty guitar band as well, Santa Cruz's Comets on Fire.

Many of his bandmates also appear on The Sun Awakens, the most actualized and sonically coherent fusion of Chasny's diverse influences yet. Allies like Noel Von Harmonson and Om's Al Cisneros help realize Chasny's vision on the disc (recorded by the Fucking Champs' Tim Green), also revealing a man quarreling with himself, trying to do the best he can between Saturday night and Sunday morn. Gorgeous ballads like "Wolves' Pup" appear as a calm between the seething turmoil of songs like "Black Wall" and the epic "River of Transfiguration." Seeking enlightenment, Chasny plumbs dark spaces to get there. "Once the record's done, then I really don't ever go back to them," he says of such cathartic recording experiences. "I got it out of my head and now it's like snake poison or something; just get it away."