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.

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