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  • Swans | Soundtracks for the Blind | Review

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    CMJ Jackpot | Megan Framptontheir last studio release as SwansThroughout their 15-year history, Swans have continually dabbled in excess, and this double-CD (their last studio release as Swans, they claim), is no exception. Although this release is titled as a soundtrack, and there are plenty of wandering, loosely constructed tracks, the songs themselves are filled with abrasive, grinding percussion that would be too intrusive to be used as a background in a film. This aesthetic—long, drawn-out, slower-than-slow songs that are harsh and ominous—has epitomized Swans songs since lead Swan Michael Gira first matched music to his menacing lyrics. This set includes the aforementioned soundtrack-style tunes, some live material and studio songs which have been processed and reconfigured by Gira, as well as songs written by the other permanent Swan, Jarboe. When paired with the ubiquitous dirgey drones, the once innocent samples take on a new creepy dimension that leaves the listener feeling vaguely perverted, merely by listening. Always disturbing and now at the end of their current incarnation, Gira and Jarboe live up to everything they've ever promised, both in creativity and fear....

  • Swans | Soundtracks for the Blind | Review

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    The Wire | Biba KopfSwans always wrote every song like it was going to be their lastThe Swans always wrote every song like it was going to be their last. Even so, the announcement that this is finally it, after some 15 years of honing word, gristle, rhythm and half-melody into some of the finest, most enduring, if (unsurprisingly) somewhat unfairly overlooked works in the whole rock cannon, comes as a shock. That they've decided to submit to cold economic reality and call it a day rather than face another soul-destroying struggle with media indifference and a diminishing fan base is sensible enough. But what is truly sad about the whole Swans saga coming to an end now is the fact that the music they've been making these past three years is every bit as powerful as the extraordinary, torturously slow, delayed-drop gallows rock with which they announced themselves at the start of the 80's. These last Swansongs, spread over two CDs (which, appropriately enough, last a lifetime) cap and conclude all the major Swans concerns. At the same time, the instrumental fragments and interludes that punctuate the fully developed pieces hint at all the Swansongs that now will never......

  • Swans | Soundtracks for the Blind | Review

    ()

    The Wire | Biba KopfSwans always wrote every song like it was going to be their lastThe Swans always wrote every song like it was going to be their last. Even so, the announcement that this is finally it, after some 15 years of honing word, gristle, rhythm and half-melody into some of the finest, most enduring, if (unsurprisingly) somewhat unfairly overlooked works in the whole rock cannon, comes as a shock. That they've decided to submit to cold economic reality and call it a day rather than face another soul-destroying struggle with media indifference and a diminishing fan base is sensible enough. But what is truly sad about the whole Swans saga coming to an end now is the fact that the music they've been making these past three years is every bit as powerful as the extraordinary, torturously slow, delayed-drop gallows rock with which they announced themselves at the start of the 80's. These last Swansongs, spread over two CDs (which, appropriately enough, last a lifetime) cap and conclude all the major Swans concerns. At the same time, the instrumental fragments and interludes that punctuate the fully developed pieces hint at all the Swansongs that now will never......

  • Swans | Soundtracks for the Blind | Review

    ()

    The Wire | Biba KopfSwans always wrote every song like it was going to be their lastThe Swans always wrote every song like it was going to be their last. Even so, the announcement that this is finally it, after some 15 years of honing word, gristle, rhythm and half-melody into some of the finest, most enduring, if (unsurprisingly) somewhat unfairly overlooked works in the whole rock cannon, comes as a shock. That they've decided to submit to cold economic reality and call it a day rather than face another soul-destroying struggle with media indifference and a diminishing fan base is sensible enough. But what is truly sad about the whole Swans saga coming to an end now is the fact that the music they've been making these past three years is every bit as powerful as the extraordinary, torturously slow, delayed-drop gallows rock with which they announced themselves at the start of the 80's. These last Swansongs, spread over two CDs (which, appropriately enough, last a lifetime) cap and conclude all the major Swans concerns. At the same time, the instrumental fragments and interludes that punctuate the fully developed pieces hint at all the Swansongs that now will never......

  • Swans | Soundtracks for the Blind | Review

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    Detroit Metro Times | Thom Jurek* * * * * starsWith the issue of Soundtracks For The Blind, their 15th album in as many years (along 12"s and side projects), Swans are calling it quits. There's one final tour planned and then the band enters the palace of rock and roll memory. For me, this is difficult, because on a pop scene filled with transience and trend, Swans have always been present if not always visible, ever looking forward. They are, in both ambition and excess, a true voice of resistance to an "alternative" music that consumed its own corrupted flesh in the mid-1980s. I won't spend time talking about the legion of bands they influenced—most of whom have gained in stature and economic status as a result of Swans' renegade aesthetic and unbreakable spirit—it leaves too bitter a taste in my mouth. And though I know both Gira and Jarboe are far too driven to give up working—there are books, films and duo and solo recordings planned—I will miss the persona that was so singularly Swans. As a title, "Soundtracks for the Blind" is filled with irony. Never have Swans been so focused on their particular strengths as they......

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