M. Gira Writes Letter Re. Swans Reformation
, January 19th, 2010 06:00
Reunion is "not a reunion"
As previously reported on The Quietus, Michael Gira has reunited the legendary Swans to record new material, a project that will be funded by a collection of demos and a DVD on Young God Records.
Gira has explained the release in an open letter, and also mused upon his reasons for reuniting the band. We've reprinted his missive in full below:
I have decided to focus my energy on Swans once again. I'm reactivating that project. A new album is in the works, and touring will follow in fall of 2010. In order to help raise funds / help defray the considerable costs of recording and promoting the new album, I have made a special CD/DVD limited edition handmade package called I Am Not Insane available exclusively at the YGR website. You can read about the CD/DVD, and my decision to reactivate Swans at this link.
Here’s a few comments below from the page at the link above. I’d certainly appreciate your providing this link if you decide to write about this incredible, earth shaking news.
About Reconstituting Swans:
....there was a point a few years ago during a particular show when I was on tour with Angels Of Light, with Akron/Family serving as the backing band. It was during the song The Provider. Seth’s guitar was sustaining one open chord (very loudly), rising to a peak, then crashing down again in a rhythm that could have been the equivalent of a deep and soulful act of copulation. The whole band swayed with this arc. Really was like riding waves of sound. I thought right then, "You know, Michael, Swans wasn’t so bad after all..." . Ha ha! It brought back – in a flood – memories, or maybe not memories, more a tangible re-emersion in the sensation of Swans music rushing through my body in waves, lifting me up towards what, I can only assume, will be my only experience of heaven. It’s difficult – and probably pointless – to try to describe this experience. It’s ecstatic, I suppose – a force of simultaneous self negation and rebirth. Really, I probably only experienced this a handful of times to such an extreme extent during the entire 15 year history of Swans. All the elements have to align perfectly, and you can’t force it, though you might constantly strive for it. I don’t mean to be too lofty here, but it’s a fact. I’m talking about my own experience of the music (though I’d hope people in the audiences along the way might have experienced a similar episode). When I ask myself if I believe in God, I start to say NO, but then I remember that sensation, and I’m not so sure. So I want more of that, before my body breaks down to such an extent that it won’t be possible any more. So I’m doing it.
Naturally, some of the material for this new record will be songs, centered around the voice and words. Other parts (I’m hoping) will be reaching for what I’ve described above. One thing I want to point out right now: THIS IS NOT A REUNION. It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. After 5 Angels Of Light albums, I needed a way to move FORWARD, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans is allowing me to do that. I’ll be using what I learned in the last several years to inform the way this new material develops, while carrying forward from where Swans left off with its final album Soundtracks For The Blind, and in particular, Swans Are Dead. If you have expectations about how Swans should be, that’s your business, but it would be a disservice to both of us if I were to make music with your needs in mind, and the music would certainly suffer as a result. In any event, I certainly never thought this day would arrive, but it’s inevitable, it’s here, it’s fate, so I’m succumbing to it.
Helping me in this quest are the fantastic musicians and friends listed below. I’ll enter the studio with the songs, we’ll hash them out together, someone will come up with something unexpected, then that will lead to new ideas, the song will take a different trajectory and the material will grow on its’ own. This is what I’m hoping, anyway.
Here’s the main musicians (though probably a lot of guests on the recording). These are the people best suited – in terms of my relationship with them and their particular musical attributes - to help move the music forward :
Michael Gira / guitar / voice / mendicant friar act (original swans)
Norman Westberg – guitar (original swans)
Christoph Hahn – guitar (mid period swans and most angels)
Phil Puleo – drums, percussion, dulcimer etc etc (final swans tour and most angels)
Chris Pravdica – bass and gadgets (flux information sciences / services/ gunga din)
Thor Harris - drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, curios, keys, etc etc... (angels, now also with Shearwater)
Thanks Very Much, and God Bless You,
Michael Gira / Swans / Angels Of Light / Young God Records