Angels of Light to descend upon the Launchpad

Albuquerque Journal | Kenn Rodriguez

Among avant-garde music fans, songwriter Michael Gira is legendary.

Gira's Swans were known for their aesthetic as well as surreal approach to making music. Gira's Swans were known for their gothic feel, droning sonic industrial noise as well as asymmetrical, non-pop-song approach to song writing.

Gira disbanded Swans in 1996, throwing himself into spoken word tours and travel before returning with two new musical projects: the more experimental Body Lovers/Haters and the band-orient-ed The Angels of Light

The group's new album, "New Mother," released on Gira's Young God Records, is as ornate and complex as anything Swans did in its 15-year run. Gira says the project was taxing.

"I like the music, but just putting it together was the usual nightmare of budget - running out of money, begging, borrowing, stealing, cheating to put it together," he told Alternative Press recently.

"In the process of recording I actually had to solicit investors."

The resulting fragmented approach to recording seems to have had little effect on the stark, unified sound of "New Mother." But Gira was quick to point out that he's enjoying the creative freedom he's now afforded.

"I'm glad to move beyond Swans," Gira says. "It was like an ever-tightening noose, basically."

The freedom Gira attained by discontinuing Swans is especially noticeable in the difference in approach as well as sound of his two projects.

Gira says he finds the divergence in his work to be totally natural.

"I don't have any particularly prejudicial agenda musically, other than excellence. So I can simultaneously do something like Body Lovers and Angels of Light with no psychic ill effects."

The live aspect of The Angels of Light is something that Gira says he finds especially appealing.

"It was quite liberating when I ended Swans to be able to think (another) way," he says. "With the Angels of Light, there's nothing programmed ... everything is completely organic and played by human beings in a room.

Just deciding to work that way - narrowing the possibilities - is quite liberating."