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SWANS — THE GLOWING MAN (June 17, 2016)

SWANS — THE GLOWING MAN (June 17, 2016)

   SWANS — THE GLOWING MAN (June 17, 2016) SWANS — THE GLOWING MAN (June 17, 2016) ≡•   Čtrnácté album Swans.                                                  © Swans, Photo credit: Fionn Reilly 
Location: New York, New York
Album release: June 17, 2016
Record Label: Young God Records / Mute
Duration:     56:53 + 61:31 => 118:23
Disc One
1. Cloud of Forgetting     12:43
2. Cloud of Unknowing     25:12
3. The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black     14:27
4. People Like Us     4:32
Disc two
5. Frankie M.     20:58
6. When Will I Return?     5:26
7. The Glowing Man     28:50
8. Finally, Peace     6:15
Chart (2016)
≡•   Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)     #39
≡•   Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)     #69
≡•   Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)     #49
≡•   German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)     #29
≡•   UK Albums (OCC)     #61                           © Michael Gira of Swans performs in Berlin on July 5, 2015
→  Here’s a list of the principal players on the record (complete credits and words to the songs available on request):
≡•   Michael Gira — vocals, electric and acoustic guitar;
≡•   Norman Westberg — electric guitar, vocals;
≡•   Kristof Hahn — lap steel guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals;
≡•   Phil Puleo — drums, dulcimer, knocks, vocals;
≡•   Christopher Pravdica — bass guitar, vocals;
≡•   Thor Harris — percussion, vibes, bells, dulcimer.
Hit Man and 7th Swan:
→  Bill Rieflin — drums, piano, synth, Mellotron, bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals.
Guest Musicians:
→  Jennifer Gira sings the lead vocal on ‘When Will I Return?’
→  Okkyung Lee, The cello solo on ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ was graciously provided by the ferocious improviser.
→  Bach Norwood  Double Bass 
→  Buffi Jacobs  Cello, Musician 
→  Joakim Toftgard  Trombone 
→  Kaela Sinclair  Vocals, Vocals (Background) 
→  Katrina Cain  Vocals, Vocals (Background) 
→  Daniel Hart  Violin 
→  Stuart Mack  Trumpet 
→  Gerald Jones  Banjo, Mandolin 
→  John Congleton  Engineer, Water Bowl 
→  Charles Godfrey  Second Engineer 
→  Don Gunn  Engineer 
→  Martin Bisi  Engineer 
→  Doug Henderson  Engineer, Mixing 
→  Ingo Krauss  Engineer, Mixing 
→  Jen Turner  Engineer 
Notes by 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 World Looks Red / The World Looks Black’ uses some words I wrote in 1982 or so that Sonic Youth used for their song ‘The World Looks Red’, back in the day. The music and melody used here in the current version are completely different. While working up material for this new album, I had a basic acoustic guitar version of the song and was stumped for words. For reasons unknown to me, the lyric I’d so long ago left in my typewriter in plain view at my living and rehearsal space (the latter of which Sonic Youth shared at the time) and which Thurston plucked for use with my happy permission, popped into my head and I thought “Why not?” The person that wrote those words well over three decades ago bears little resemblance to who I am now, but I believe it remains a useful text, so “Why not?”. Maybe, in a way, it closes the circle.
→  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.”  — Michael Gira 2016
→  The Glowing Man was recorded at Sonic Ranch, near El Paso, Texas, with John Congleton as recording engineer. Further recording was made at John’s Elmwood Studio, in Dallas, Texas, and at Studio Litho (Seattle, WA) with Don Gunn, engineer, and at CandyBomber (Berlin) with Ingo Krauss, engineer. The record was mixed by Ingo at CandyBomber and by Doug Henderson at Micro–Moose, Berlin. Doug Henderson mastered it at Micro–Moose.
→  “In 2009 when I made the decision to restart my musical group, Swans, I had no idea where it would lead. I knew that if I took the road of mining the past or revisiting the catalog, that it would be fruitless and stultifying. After much thought about how to make this an adventure that would instead led the music forward into unexpected terrain, I chose the five people with whom to work that I believed would most ably provide a sense of surprise, and even uncertainty, while simultaneously embodying the strength and confidence to ride the river of intention that flows from the heart of the sound wherever it would lead us — and what’s the intention? LOVE!
→  And so finally this LOVE has now led us, with the release of the new and final recording from this configuration of Swans, The Glowing Man, through four albums (three of which contain more complexity, nuance and scope than I would have ever dreamed possible), several live releases, various fundraiser projects, countless and seemingly endless tours and rehearsals, and a generally exhausting regimen that has left us stunned but still invigorated and thrilled to see this thing through to its conclusion. I hereby thank my brothers and collaborators for their commitment to whatever truth lies at the center of the sound. I’m decidedly not a Deist, but on a few occasions — particularly in live performance — it’s been my privilege, through our collective efforts, to just barely grasp something of the infinite in the sound and experience generated by a force that is definitely greater than all of us combined. When talking with audience members after the shows or through later correspondence, it’s also been a true privilege to discover they’ve experienced something like this too. Whatever the force is that has led us through this extended excursion, it’s been worthwhile for many of us, and I’m grateful for what has been the most consistently challenging and fulfilling period of my musical life.
→  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.”
Back Beat Seattle Album Review: Swans’ The Glowing Man (May 26, 2016) 
→  Nick Nihil.  It’s both amazing and not too surprising at this point that a band as visionary, talented, and experienced as Swans can continue to evolve and deepen their uniquely monolithic attack. They’re certainly not the only band identified by heavy, droning dirges that find meditative peace within force and volume, but they’re the most compelling, versatile, and purposeful. I know how giddily I gushed about their last record, To Be Kind, calling it perhaps the finest record they ever made, which is particularly impressive considering their record before that, The Seer, could well have made that claim. Apparently their default setting is to make the best, most ‘Swans’ record ever with each new release. Geez guys, are you too cool to make something ‘meh’ once in a while? My reviews are getting redundant. Swans — The Glowing Man This record finds them dialing back the frequency of their ground–shaking crescendos, but not the power, developing the kinds of ethereal textures reminiscent of their early ‘90s work (reminiscent, but not repeating) and taking some surprising stylistic left turns. The melancholic prayer of an opener, “Cloud of Forgetting,” shuffles in......AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson;  Score: ****
→  Following the unprecedented critical and commercial success of Swans’ double–album masterworks The Seer and To Be Kind — the latter of which reached the Top 40 of both the U.S. and U.K. album charts — Michael Gira announced that the existing iteration of the band would only produce one more album and tour. The Glowing Man, as with its predecessors, is a sprawling two–hour epic containing lengthy compositions that the band developed during their momentous tours (and documented their progress on limited double–CDs released on their website in order to raise funds for the proper albums). The Glowing Man contains fewer tracks than the group’s previous albums (only eight this time around), and most of them are well over ten minutes each. This looks daunting on paper, but it doesn’t seem indulgent at all to anyone who has witnessed the group’s performances, which are moving experiences for the musicians and audience members alike. Gira is less a songwriter than a summoner, channeling unspeakable amounts of energy into ritualistic spectacles. Many of the songs start out with tension–building drones, often utilizing lots of percussion (and Okkyung Lee’s furious cello freakery on “Cloud of Unknowing”) before ebbing and flowing with intense bursts, and eventually reaching ecstatic, trance–inducing states. Other pieces have more constant rhythms, starting out slow and calm and building hypnotically before freeing themselves and floating in space. With lyrics concerning hard drugs (“Frankie M”) and abusive relationships (“When Will I Return,” sung by Michael’s wife Jennifer Gira), The Glowing Man seems sadder, gloomier, and more disturbing than the more hopeful To Be Kind, but the band have always embraced many positive and negative elements in their work, and they all add up to an extremely powerful expression of nearly every human emotion. Unlike the album which ended the previous incarnation of Swans, the collage–like Soundtracks for the Blind, The Glowing Man isn’t a bold excursion into unknown territory compared to the group’s previous works. That isn’t to say that it feels like a formulaic retread, however. Especially considering how all three albums’ longest (and best) pieces evolved from each other through touring and rehearsals, it seems best to view the group’s post–2010 run as one extended ever–evolving work, and this is just the intended conclusion of that. There’s no way this type of boundless energy can simply be retired or silenced, though, so the album serves as another exhilarating portal into the unknown. →  http://www.allmusic.com/
Label: http://younggodrecords.com/
Website: http://swans.pair.com/
Bandcamp: https://swans.bandcamp.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwansOfficial
Studio albums
  Filth (1983)
→  Cop (1984)
→  Greed (1986)
→  Holy Money (1986)
→  Children of God (1987)
→  The Burning World (1989)
→  White Light from the Mouth of Infinity (1991)
→  Love of Life (1992)
→  The Great Annihilator (1995)
→  Soundtracks for the Blind (1996)
→  My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky (2010)
→  The Seer (2012)
→  To Be Kind (2014)
→  The Glowing Man (2016)→  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →  →

SWANS — THE GLOWING MAN (June 17, 2016)



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