Posts Tagged ‘ swans ’

Album Review: Skullflower – Strange Keys to Untune Gods’ Firmament

Place this release along earlier Skullflower works such as Last Shot at Heaven (put out seventeen years before) and it really puts it in perspective how the project has developed. Certain elements have remained – the discordant whistle of guitar drones, the bleak, black atmosphere – but somewhere along the line the use of rhythm and bass-driven groove was phased out in favour of something more free-flowing and grotesque. Whilst some may yearn for a return to the more rock-based slow motion jams that conjured up Swans comparisons and influenced the likes of Godflesh, this gorgeous double disc leaves me feeling extremely thankful for the way in which Skullflower has evolved.

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Album Review: Michael Gira – I Am Not Insane

“SWANS ARE NOT DEAD”. This is what was displayed on the Swans’ official myspace page last month. What an exciting little announcement it was. Better still was the further news that a new album was in the works, and that frontman Michael Gira was to release I Am Not Insane – a limited edition CD of the songs up for consideration in their primitive state of vocal and acoustic guitar – in order to fund the recording process.

I’ve tried to ensure that my critique of the music isn’t swayed by just how gorgeous the I Am Not Insane package is. Gira has hand-painted the artwork for every album in this 1000-copy run, tucked in a personalized thank-you note and included a DVD of live acoustic performances. It seems as though every attempt has been made to ensure that this isn’t just viewed as a cobbled together money-spinner to wring the funding out of the mindlessly fanatical fans. Additionally, I’ve kept in mind that these tracks represent the songs in their most basic form; Gira is renowned for gathering up countless collaborators during the writing process and transforming his acoustic sketches into full-band renditions with vocal harmonies, organs, strings, glockenspiels…you name it. No doubt these initial ideas will be blown out of recognition by the time the actual release comes around. Continue reading

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