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Number One of Three | The Body Lovers | Review

Williamette Week | John Graham

...everything from dense, sludgy dirges to airy, orchestrated hymns with a sense of disturbance…

As the unquestioned leader (dictator?) of Swans, Michael Gira imbued everything from dense, sludgy dirges to airy, orchestrated hymns with a sense of disturbance--even the tamest of his works were fraught with melancholy and menace. Now Swans are gone, but this Body Lovers project is an incisive continuation of his past obsessions; in fact, Number One of Three is, for all intents and purposes, Soundtracks for the Blind (Swans' last album) without the singing.

The full-album opus, first in an intended trilogy, is divided into 10 sections. Part One sets a claustrophobic tone as drones swarm about in threatening clouds. Part Two offers respite via accordion, acoustic guitar and throaty sobs from Gira's partner, Jarboe. Then it's back to a slow burn climaxing midway through Part Four, wherein atonal piano chords stomp down a deserted hallway, later filled with electronic chirrs and a whirring, rattling machine. Parts 8-10 relax with sedate spaciousness and major-key accents. After lulling the listener into a trance, the album ends abruptly--it stops mid-note--leaving one parched in anticipation of the follow-up. Bring it on, my ears thirst for more.

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