Ben Chasny is a restless creative spirit, bringing his guitar and intellectual curiosity to numerous projects over the past two decades, chief among them Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire. He’s dabbled in instrumental acoustic folk and turned-up rock, and even invented a parlor-game approach to composing music on the guitar called “Hexadic.”

What began as a formal exercise to shake off tired habits has nearly blossomed into a way of life, including a book and two records (one noisy and one quiet). Chasny is so active that he even has days like Friday, when he played a solo acoustic show as Six Organs of Admittance at SPACE Gallery in Portland on the same day he released a shaggy rock record with his band Rangda.

The performance – which came coupled with a Hexadic workshop the following Saturday afternoon – was intimate and engaging. Chasny is as accomplished as you’d expect a player who invented a new system for guitar composition to be, and his songs flickered easily between fragile fingerpicking and more dense, heavy passages. The songs primarily spanned the early part of his career, including “Hollow Light, Severed Sun” from his 2000 album “Dust and Chimes,” and “Bless Your Blood” from his 2006 album “Days of Blood.”

The songs tell surreal stories with vivid, almost mythological imagery. They recall a time when British folk music was infused with a dark, mysterious and almost pagan feel, offering thematic content that was closer to Black Sabbath than Bob Dylan. Coupled with an opening set by Massachusetts folk artist Tongue Oven, who occasionally played his banjo with a bow to jarring, powerful effect, the evening offered a deeply Gothic mood.

This sensation was augmented by the feel of SPACE Gallery’s Annex space, which was adorned by the art exhibition Trail Off. This installation by four local artists features elements of nature and decaying household items, with a dash of mystical symbolism. Skeletal tree branches drape low from the ceiling along with slender chandeliers, causing viewers to feel as if they are in a wintry forest or an abandoned home. It was an ideal setting for Chasny’s songs about crumbling towers and senseless fires, even if he remarked briefly about how off-putting it was.

The installation was created in part by Greg Jamie, who fronts the band O’Death and was responsible for the much-loved, now-defunct venue The Oak and the Axe in Biddeford. Through that room, Jamie was able to lure some surprisingly high-profile independent and experimental musicians off the beaten path. The current SPACE Gallery Annex, through the art and bookings such as this one, acts as an extension of The Oak and the Axe and affirms Jamie’s artistic gifts and keen curatorial sense.

The show would have been nice without the seating arrangement that pushed many people to the back, but it was this arrangement that allowed for such a quiet, contemplative performance. This also made tickets somewhat scarce – and the show more of an event. On a night with cold weather and excellent live-music options around town, it speaks well of Portland’s appetite for experimental music to see people turned away at the door for an artist such as Chasny.

Robert Ker is a freelance music writer in Portland.