“In 2009 when I made the decision to restart my musical group, Swans, I had no idea where it would lead. I knew that if I took the road of mining the past or revisiting the catalog, that it would be fruitless and stultifying. After much thought about how to make this an adventure that would instead led the music forward into unexpected terrain, I chose the five people with whom to work that I believed would most ably provide a sense of surprise, and even uncertainty, while simultaneously embodying the strength and confidence to ride the river of intention that flows from the heart of the sound wherever it would lead us – and what’s the intention? LOVE! And so finally this LOVE has now led us, with the release of the new and final recording from this configuration of Swans, The Glowing Man.”
So, the circle is closing, for another time. The musical life of Michael Gira and his Swans (mainly his creature) has always been characterized by a sort of circularity, in which every sign has been taken as a first step to create music, a new experience for his audience, a new form of learning by playing, living and suffering. From no wave to post punk, from industrial to gothic, from ambient to folk music, the expressive urgency of this troubled artist has led him to explore all the territories of despair, violence and negativity, vomited in lyrics and disturbing sounds. During the years his need to express himself in a more quiet way has created some elegant and “digestible” albums, such as To Be Kind (2014).
Circularity returns also in the new The Glowing Man, in which, beside the noise and the obscure lyrics you can find dilated beats, circular structures, a voice that reminds a mantra. So listening to this songs becomes a double experience of abandon and alienation. Songs like “Cloud of Forgetting”, with its long weave of guitar carpets and its style as it was a prayer, the dark ambient of “Cloud of Unknowing”, the celestial guitar in the folk of “When Will I Return?”, the noisy creature from outer space represented by “The Glowing man”, they all give the sense of a recovery from the pains of the brutal side of our existence, made of awareness and strain. And it’s ironic, if seen from Michael Gyra’s point of view.