As he who owns the voice of God, we let Michael Gira introduce Swans himself: „I started Swans in 1982 in NYC. At the time, I had no musical skills whatsoever, just instinct and a need to make something happen. The music changed constantly over the years, and I’m gratified it reached, and continues to reach, a fair number of people. After 15 years, I decided to end Swans, as the name had become a burden and the associations no longer fit with what I wanted to do into the future.”
Fast-forward 13 years, after pursuing Angels of Light and recording and producing a diverse roster of artists for his Young God label, Michael Gira decided to reconvene his legendary group Swans: „After 5 Angels Of Light albums, I needed a way to move FORWARD, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans is allowing me to do that.”
There are signs that Gira himself has mellowed out over the years, although this shining veneer may simply be a sign that he’s learned to tame his demons into a more defined shape. What could once be described as thick, black clouds of baritone angst which — although I’m no Deist myself — sounded like being yelled at by God, Gira’s style has muted into something much more shamanistic than apocalyptic. Although admittedly still the tsunami of sound that it will always be, the live experience of Swans is a well-orchestrated torture chamber of chance, shadowed with a seductive layer of fear, upon which every sound builds itself, mutates, and then destroys itself into a collage of everything you will never find on the album. The confusion will set you free.
The Glowing Man, announced as the last album release of Swans’ current incarnation, will be followed by an extensive tour. “Going forward, post the touring associated with The Glowing Man, I’ll continue to make music under the name Swans, with a revolving cast of collaborators. I have little idea what shape the sound will take, which is a good thing. Touring will definitely be less extensive, I’m certain of that! Whatever the future holds, I’ll miss this particular locus of human and musical potential immensely: Norman Westberg, Kristof Hahn, Phil Puleo, Christopher Pravdica, Thor Harris, and myself mixed in there somewhere, too.” – Swans, Bandcamp.
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A note on the album from Michael Gira:
“I wrote the song ‘When Will I Return?’ specifically for Jennifer Gira to sing. It’s a tribute to her strength, courage, and resilience in the face of a deeply scarring experience she once endured, and that she continues to overcome daily.
The song ‘The Glowing Man’ contains a section of the song ‘Bring The Sun’ from our previous album, To Be Kind. The section is, of course, newly performed and orchestrated to work within its current setting. ‘The Glowing Man’ itself grew organically forward and out of improvisations that took place live during the performance of ‘Bring The Sun’, so it seemed essential to include that relevant section here. Since over the long and tortured course of the current song’s genesis, it had always been such an integral cornerstone I believe we’d have been paralyzed and unable to perform the entire piece at all without it.
‘Cloud of Forgetting’ and ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ are prayers. ‘Frankie M’ is another tribute and a best wish for a wounded soul. ‘The Glowing Man’ contains my favorite Zen Koan. ‘People Like Us’ and ‘Finally, Peace’ are farewell songs.”
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For support will be the beautifully haunting singer, songwriter, and pianist Anna von Hausswolff. She will be performing new songs from her newly released album The Miraculous.
Swans + Anna von Hausswolff
Tuesday, 18th October 2016 | 19:00 CET
Huxleys Neue Welt | Hasenheide 107 | 10967 Berlin/Kreuzberg