Major Organ and the Adding Machine
The Movie, The Music, The Mythos
Imagine, if you would, some of the most compelling bands to ever come out of one single moment in music history combining for one massive project that defined them individually and collectively, and then creating a film out of it. That’s what many suspected happened with The Elephant 6 Recording Company and its omnibus effort, known as Major Organ and the Adding Machine, released in 2001 on Orange Twin.
Or was it? Although one could clearly hear the likes of Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), Julian Koster (The Music Tapes), Will Cullen Hart (Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System), and Kevin Barnes (of Montreal), among others, nobody really knew who was behind the Major Organ project. When the short film was screened in 2008 during the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour, many songs from the album were performed afterward, but the mystery and allure of Major Organ only deepened with masks and bearded old folks.
Now, with the film finally being released this week with a remastered version of the album on Orange Twin, we at Tiny Mix Tapes, who thought highly enough of the original album to have it placed in our favorite 100 albums of the decade, sought out the secrets of Major Organ and the Adding Machine. What we discovered surprised us, yet it also enlightened us to what Major Organ means, and more importantly, what it means to the past, present, and future of Elephant 6.
• Part I: The Movie
Interview with Eric Harris of Elf Power and The Olivia Tremor Control
• Part II: The Music
Interview with Will Cullen Hart (Circulatory System, The Olivia Tremor Control) and Andrew Rieger (Elf Power)
• Part III: The Mythos
Interview with Julian Koster of The Music Tapes and Neutral Milk Hotel