Swans | Soundtracks for the Blind | Review

Sound Views Subterranean Music & Culture | Chesley H.

it's something of a masterpiece

Thematic and nonbattering yet still penetratingly eerie sound, from these veteran noise minstrels. It's a two CD set, released on the eve of their supposedly final tour, and yes, it's something of a masterpiece. Repeating melodies, twisted through tangles of effects and grandiose drama, weave a creepy epic that follows through from beginning to end, occasionally with vocals, often without. A few tracks feature samples of a phlegmy voiced man talking about some order of sordid exploit, while others about illness and loss of vision. I'm not sure to what end these literal segments means, but regardless, the whole still encompasses a relentless ominous sense. Track number seven on the first disc comes in the form of an idiosyncratic dance number—indicting a certain overly exposed, insatiable media beastess. Curiously, each word of the refrain in that song ultimately contorts into the word "whore." Considering that it comes from Jarboe, the velocity of many years experience inside the dirty machinations of rotten rock, adds pressure to the words' impact. As a whole, this record is a testament to time and toil that interlaces aesthetic and substance together in one subtle, brash and uncomfortably good design.