Sunday, November 2, 2008


Turn off the lights. Curl up in the corner. And turn the speakers up as far as they go.


The band formed in the early 80s in New York City, one of the final children born from No Wave's short heyday. Although to pigeon-hole Michael Gira's vision into just one city or "scene" would be a total disservice. SWANS went through several organic stages of development- complete nihilistic crush, to more textured meditations on god and self, to soaring soundscapes of staggering beauty.

This recording compiles material from 1985's GREED Lp and 1986's HOLY MONEY Lp. These songs utilizing the slow, almost physically painful musical base of the early albums while incorporating more complex song structures and a greater range of instrumentation. The addition of Jaboe on backing vocals and keyboard further deepened the resonance of the music. Just listen to the song "BLACKMAIL" for evidence of the power her voice holds.

Lyrically and thematically Gira is interested in the dichotomies of power and helplessness, dominance and submission, love and hate. Not simply setting such elements against each other; rather exposing how they are, truly, one and the same. It all crystallizes, at least for me, on the song "A HANGING".

As fas as I know the songs for both albums were written and recorded around the same time. The progression of one song to another on this compilation enhances the overall effect of the album.

Well over 1/4 of my music collection is SWANS or related. My favorite band.


Terska said...

Thanks a lot. Up until now I've been concentrating on the earlier stuff. Has Swans (or Gira) ever appeared on any soundtrack?

Terska said...

ok, apparently there was a thriller called Two Small Bodies (1993) which had some music by Swans.

ido said...

Terska, very very pleased that you are enjoying this. I have just about everything SWANS did. Mostly on out of print cds. Only can dream of that vinyl. I was just born too damn late.

There will be lots more where this came from.