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Baker's Dozen

Bleak Psychedelia: Michael Gira Of Swans' Favourite Albums
Joseph Burnett , November 13th, 2012 06:56

Michael Gira's mighty Swans play live at London's Koko this Thursday, 15th November. In advance of the show, Joseph Burnett speaks to the man himself about thirteen of his favourite albums, from Miles Davis and Gorecki to Throbbing Gristle and Pink Floyd

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Michael Gira and Swans have cast long shadows over 2012, via two critically hailed albums (one live, the other the monumental The Seer) and an extensive series of tours and gigs. Whether appearing solo or with the full backing of his near-legendary band, Gira projects an incomparable aura onstage, an intensity so potent it transfixes the imagination.

As we discovered while quizzing the man on his thirteen favourite albums (or the thirteen he thought of when contacted - he's keen to stress this isn't a definitive top thirteen) on the eve of Swans' performance at OFF Festival in Poland, that intensity doesn't just apply to his shows or records, but to interviews as well. It's rare that talking about music is this scary...

Click the image below to begin browsing through Michael Gira's favourite albums, and go here to listen to a Spotify playlist from the 13.


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Nov 13, 2012 12:57pm

As ever, the Baker's Dozen strand just keeps giving. Combining that and MG is a great read. You really get a feel for what counts in the music that sticks with him, even across such varied genre choices. Especially pleased to see Pärt & Górecki in there too. Good work all round.

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Nov 13, 2012 2:15pm

Brilliant! The Ummagumma-Seer connection makes loads of sense. Thank you, Quietus.

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Nov 13, 2012 4:35pm

could this not have been put on 3 or 4 pages? I takes aaaaaaages to load and read!

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Nov 13, 2012 4:36pm

could this not have been put on 3 or 4 pages? I takes aaaaaaages to load and read!

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Nov 13, 2012 5:59pm

What an exceptional day--this wonderful read, coupled with Thor Harris' "How to tour in a band or whatever" earlier. This made me pull out some classics, and add to my list some albums I'd never heard. I loved Gira's observations. (And yes, there's a problem with load times between pages.)

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Nov 13, 2012 6:16pm

In reply to :

Have an option to put all on one page, loading 14 pages=no fun

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Nov 14, 2012 9:53am

nothing at all bleak about that list, just like there is nothing angry about the Swans record,
you people need to listen more closely...

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Nov 14, 2012 1:30pm

Gira is also living legend like authors and performers he choose...but Bowie had also fantastic works during his last 10 years, actually, Outside album has quite the same concept like some of the Gira's works and it's a brilliant work too...

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Nov 14, 2012 11:41pm

My mother used to listen to Blood On The Tracks when I was a child. I remember being utterly embarrassed, but cannot remember why. Maybe because it was so uncommon and different to what my peers parents in young Hilda Ogden style listened to.

Now Blood On The Tracks is reminiscent of home.

And those times.

Howlin' Wolf is pure raw.

And Pink Floyd always reminded me of those bearded 70s/80s guys with grey knit jumpers and pink geometric shapes. (Please tell me who the fuck brought Beards back ? I'm constantly having ... flashback seizures)

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Nov 14, 2012 11:45pm

Also, Swans in 87' or so was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. A new exposure to hidden parts.

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Nov 15, 2012 8:10pm

yep pretty much the best album of this period of Pink Floyd (pre-Dark Side) though I am still fond of Meddle and an odd piece the ST to the film More - Ummagumma covers both the musical crescendoes also seen in the best of The Swans as well as some more wierd and whimsical turns

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Jan 22, 2013 5:45pm

I asked Gira what his favourite Dylan album was a couple of years ago and his response was "no favourite". Yet more indication that he makes it up as he goes along.

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Feb 23, 2013 7:31pm

what an interesting motherfucker.

i'm going to see these guys in april.

I probably won't survive, but that's fine.

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