Ben Chasny came into his own on 2005's School Of The Flower, a disc that crystallized his psychedelic Six Organs Of Admittance. But he trod water on last year's Sun Awakens, and he continues to do so on the new Shelter From The Ash. As usual, Chasny's Robbie Basho-like ragas take center stage, but his gravel-on-velvet voice haunts the metaphysically dour "Strangled Road," and he thickens his modal mysticism with the Mahavishnu Orchestra-meets-Crazy Horse eruption of "Alone With The Alone." It's ironic that Drag City's own reissue of Red Hash—the 1973 album by obscure folkie Gary Higgins, whom Chasny covered on Flower—has rendered most of Chasny's subsequent output a bit redundant. Still, Shelter bleeds enough drone and bliss to make a pretty smear of reality.

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