# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Swans - The Seer

  by Andrew Carver

published: 12 / 9 / 2012

Swans - The Seer
Label: Young God Records
Format: CD X2


Lengthy, but convincing and compelling double album from New York experimentalists, Swans

Swans were born from New York’s abrasive No Wave scene in the early 1980s, and earned a reputation for audience punishing performances of thundering percussion and lyrical self-loathing. As the years went by, Michael Gira’s brainchild became lusher and more meditative. In 1997 he wrapped up Swans and began recording and performing under the Angels Of Light name. Two years ago Gira elected to resuscitate Swans, at least in name, with the well-crafted ‘My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky’. It was followed by a live album in 2012 and now by ‘The Seer’, which Gira proclaims a culmination of all that has gone before. It certainly extends musical repetition further than any Swans effort before - not a bad thing, since it gives the entire album a feeling of a trance-inducing religious ritual without lapsing into tedium. A song like ‘Mother of the World’ may clock in at nearly 10 minutes, with one two-note riff at its center for the first 5 minutes (sounding remarkably like finish rockers Circle as it does), but there’s enough vocal oddity, breathing sounds and a mid-mark switch to keep things lively. Even leviathans like the 32-minute title track keep things interesting by throwing in just about every mode Swans have attempted, making the leap from order to chaos with both motorik drumming and painful dissonance.Longtime Swans fans will enjoy hearing Gira’s female foil Jarboe returning for the coruscating noise and Christmas bells of ‘Piece Of The Sky’. Also on hand are Ministry’s Bill Rieflin and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O, who takes alead vocal turn on the Cowboy Junkies-flavoured ‘Song for a Warrior’. At two hours, ‘The Seer’ isn’t The Swans longest album (the patchwork ‘Soundtrack For The Blind’ is a good 15 minutes longer), but it is certainly Gira’s most cohesive, pensive, ecstatic and worthwhile.

Track Listing:-
1 Lunacy
2 Mother of the World
3 The Wolf
4 The Seer
5 The Seer Returns
6 93 Ave. Blues
7 The Daughter Brings the Water
8 Song for a Warrior
9 Avatar
10 A Piece of the Sky
11 Apostate

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Interview (2013)
Swans - Interview
Paul Waller talks to New York-based experimental musician Michael Gira about taking his abrasive band Swans back out on the road again and their recent album, 'The Seer'
Interview (2010)
Interview (2010)

live reviews

KOKO, London, 15/11/2012
Chrisn O' Toole watches reformed American post-punks Swans play an intense, but brilliant set at the KOKO in London
Academy, Manchester, 30/10/2010



The Glowing Man (2016)
Overwhelming but repetitive double album and the final one in the present line-up of Swans before it calls it a day
White Light from the Mouth of Infinity/ Love of Life (2016)
To Be Kind (2014)
The Great Annihilator (2002)

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