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SWANS "Soundtracks For The Blind" 3xCD

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This double CD album has everything in there – all the ideas from Swans’ 15 years of work. There’s some contemporary recordings of the band as it existed in ‘96/7, with Larry Mullins on drums/percussion, Jarboe singing and playing keyboards, Vudi playing electric guitar, and Joe Goldring playing bass and electric guitar, and me singing and playing electric and acoustic guitar, but there’s also a huge amount of sounds and recordings that I (and a few by Jarboe here too) collected over the years. These are reassembled, looped, mangled, and in many cases overdubbed upon to create new pieces of music. Being the “artist” in this case, it’s hard for me to talk about this one, because the memory is so laden (or burdened!) with the experience of making this thing. I guess what I’m trying to say here is I almost had a heart attack making it (slightly kidding here). It was just overwhelming. I really set my own trap, dug my own grave on this one. There was SO MUCH material to deal with, to sift through (whole trunks full of decomposing, moldy cassettes and discs with samples and sounds), and the task of making it into something coherent was at times debilitating. Really like climbing up a mountain of sand. I don’t remember why I set this goal for myself, to somehow incorporate such a ridiculously disparate amount of material. I think maybe it was so I could justify throwing all that crap into the local dump, which is what I did when I finished the album. But in the end, after centuries of picking at this huge iceberg of material with a toothpick, my trusty engineer Chris Griffin and I managed to sculpt something out of it. It actually breathes, seems to live, in most places I think. There’s a press release below written by Kurt at Atavistic (Swans label at the time), and some reviews too, which might give you a better idea of how this sounds. Anyway, in the end, I was elated with this music, both because I liked it and because finishing it meant I could finally lay Swans to rest after 15 years. In my case, I’m always happiest when I’m leaving. – Michael Gira/Young God Records 2008
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