Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recording Day 4

Recording for me is a process for which I have a bunch of mixed emotions. On one hand, it is a great feeling hearing the music that you wrote playing through speakers for the first time; on the other hand is an excruciatingly detailed process that is a mind numbing and soul sucking experience.

Tracking was really strange for this album. I do love the sounds that Joe captured, and I definitely enjoyed the playing some of the tracks. I am happy with most of what I recorded, save for a couple of bits; but bands are indeed all about compromising with the other members that do round out the collective group, which can be exhausting in a completely democratic situation (there can never be 100% consensus 100% of the time).

Some of my personal recording highlights of this day include recording "My God", "9000 Reasons", and finally hearing "...(the Emissary)" after almost 7 years of it kicking around in the ether.

I was exhausted after this took me around 12 hours to do all of my tracks and spent way too much time on some extraneous bits that I thought were huge pains to get stuck on considering how small they were.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recording Day 3

So Day 3 of recording sees us recording my brother's guitar parts. It is a long day and though it is not uncommon for bands with larger recording budgets, we are blown away as his guitar tracking takes more than 12 hours. the end of the day we are completely exhausted and ready for a break, but we did finish all of his tracking.

I started getting my guitar sounds at the end of the day in preparation for the next day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Recording Day 2

Day 2 of recording sees Gholas completing scratch tracking and drum tracks. I will admit that I was surprised that we only completed drums by the end of day 2, but I have to say that the drums sound a million times better than our EP's drum sounds. Dave played really well, and Joe did a great job of recording the drums.

Chris started getting sounds for his guitar tracks but did not start really recording anything. Tomorrow is going to be a long recording day.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recording Day 1

Drum sounds blow... but we got them tonight and then were able to record 2 drum tracks (with several takes a piece). Pictures to follow later. The plan is for the boys to finish as much as they can tonight but I have work at the ass end of dawn.

Damn it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Here are some updates:

1. That Michael Gira record is sold out (you snooze you lose I guess)

2. Cars blow

3. Shady Mechanics blow

4. Into my third week of this Grad class, and I cannot wait to be done.

5. listening to a ton of Swans lately, but a bit of Nadja and Lotus Eaters as well

6. The wife's tattoo shop is picking up; I believe we are heading to the Detroit tattoo convention at the end of Feburary.

7. Gholas is recording this weekend. I will be attempting to document this process here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More on the new Swans album

Pre-orders are up for I Am Not Insane, Michael Gira's solo CD/DVD, which is going to raise money for the recording of the new Swans album:

Hello There,

I Am Not Insane - Michael GiraThis handmade CD/DVD package is being sold specifically to help raise funds for/help defray the considerable costs of recording and promoting the upcoming new Swans album (more on the reactivation of Swans below). There’s a number of ways you can help support this effort, above. Thanks very much, and I hope you enjoy.

Most of the songs on this CD were recorded by me at home using an Audio-Technica AT 825 stereo microphone, sitting at my desk in my office. There were no overdubs. The first 11 songs on the CD are rough versions of some of the songs (not all) under consideration for the new Swans album (hopefully due Fall 2010). There’s a few extra songs here on the CD - “Promise Of Water” and “Failure”, and they were recorded by Jason La Farge at Seizure’s Palace Recording, Brooklyn NY.

The songs are here in their raw state, as I present them to the band. I have a concept in mind of how each one should sound ultimately, but I’m sure that as usual, once I begin working with my cohorts, things will change considerably from the initial plan, and for the better. I haven’t been as excited (and I admit, intimidated) by a project in years. Let’s hope that whatever beast is created in the process rears itself up on its’ hind legs, swipes furiously at the sky with its’ claws, then bends down and rips my head off with its’ razor teeth. That would make me very happy.

This is from Gira regarding the Swans reconstitution:

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, there was a point a few years ago during a particular show when I was on tour with Angels Of Light, with Akron/Family serving as the backing band. It was during the song The Provider. Seth’s guitar was sustaining one open chord (very loudly), rising to a peak, then crashing down again in a rhythm that could have been the equivalent of a deep and soulful act of copulation. The whole band swayed with this arc. Really was like riding waves of sound. I thought right then, “You know, Michael, Swans wasn’t so bad after all...” . Ha ha! It brought back – in a flood – memories, or maybe not memories, more a tangible re-emersion in the sensation of Swans music rushing through my body in waves, lifting me up towards what, I can only assume, will be my only experience of heaven. It’s difficult – and probably pointless – to try to describe this experience. It’s ecstatic, I suppose – a force of simultaneous self negation and rebirth. Really, I probably only experienced this a handful of times to such an extreme extent during the entire 15 year history of Swans. All the elements have to align perfectly, and you can’t force it, though you might constantly strive for it. I don’t mean to be too lofty here, but it’s a fact. I’m talking about my own experience of the music (though I’d hope people in the audiences along the way might have experienced a similar episode). When I ask myself if I believe in God, I start to say NO, but then I remember that sensation, and I’m not so sure. So I want more of that, before my body breaks down to such an extent that it won’t be possible any more. So I’m doing it.

Naturally, some of the material for this new record will be songs, centered around the voice and words. Other parts (I’m hoping) will be reaching for what I’ve described above. One thing I want to point out right now: THIS IS NOT A REUNION. It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. 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. I’ll be using what I learned in the last several years to inform the way this new material develops, while carrying forward from where Swans left off with its final album Soundtracks For The Blind, and in particular, Swans Are Dead. If you have expectations about how Swans should be, that’s your business, but it would be a disservice to both of us if I were to make music with your needs in mind, and the music would certainly suffer as a result. In any event, I certainly never thought this day would arrive, but it’s inevitable, it’s here, it’s fate, so I’m succumbing to it.

Helping me in this quest are the fantastic musicians and friends listed below. I’ll enter the studio with the songs, we’ll hash them out together, someone will come up with something unexpected, then that will lead to new ideas, the song will take a different trajectory and the material will grow on its’ own. This is what I’m hoping, anyway.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


...Are in order for the wife. She is no longer an apprentice and is now a full time tattoo artist. It was a crazy year, but she completed the apprenticeship.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last class...

...if I complete this satisfactorily, I will have attained my Masters. YES!

Also day 2 of my most recent Swans addiction.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Swans...Are No Longer Dead

Somewhere in the last few years, Swans became a major obsession of mine with their visceral and uncompromising early material straight through to the eerie beauty of the latter part of their discography. As those close to me can attest, I enter long periods where I obsessively and dangerously listen to Swans alone; exclusively listening to any artist for an extended period of time can be hazardous but with the breadth of their oeuvre, I find it happening often with Swans.

So, as of yesterday Michael Gira, principle of Swans, announced that Swans will not only be touring but will be releasing a new album.

The song “Jim” recently added to the playlist is an acoustic demo (solo at home)
recording by michael gira. this, and many other new songs recorded in the same way comprise many of the new (rough versions) of songs under consideration,
to be fleshed out on the coming new swans album. a cd of these acoustic versions, as well as a live (2 shows) dvd of m.gira will be for sale very soon as a hand made (by gira) package called I Am Not Insane (CD/DVD). this package – in a limited edition of 1000 - will be sold in order to raise money for the swans recordings/offset the huge costs involved... check back here or at for ordering details and more information...coming soon...coming soon...

principal players on the swans album are (and there will be many special guests):

Michael Gira / gtr / voice / mendicant friar act (original swans)

Norman Westberg – Guitar (original swans)

Christophj Hahn – Guitar (mid period swans and most angels)

Phil Puleo – Drums, percussion, dulcimer etc etc (final swans tour and most angels)

Chris Pravdica – Bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din)

Thor Harris, Drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, etc etc... (angels, now also with shearwater)

Angels Of Light is temporarily on hold while gira pursues his “new” project...

Friday, January 1, 2010

The New Year is here

The new year is upon us. I don't think that I accomplished anything that I set out to do last year, but it was the pursuit of these that drove me to what accomplishments however meager they may be.

On tap for this year...

Recording at least one album...four if I can help it

Completing My Masters degree

Writing things of worth to someone if only myself.