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Sounds | Swans, It's Coming, It's Real

September 6, 2019

Een eerste voorsmaakje van het nieuwe album Leaving Meaning. Toen Swans in 2017 aankondigde ermee te stoppen, wisten vele fans dat het gewoon het einde betekende van die versie van Swans en dat weldra een nieuwe incarnatie zou ontstaan. En dan is het nu zo ver. Deze eerste track It's Coming, It's Real heeft heerlijke achtergrondgezangen van Anna en Maria von Hausswolff. Een zeer rustig nummer naar Swans normen, wondermooi begeleid door de Zweedse zusjes. We kijken dus uit naar het album dat op 25 oktober verschijnen zal.

 

Voor de fans, vergeet ook zeker niet de documentaire over Swans te bekijken als het kan. Meer info over screenings vind je hier.

 

website

 

Een stukje P.R.

 

leaving meaning. is the first Swans album to be released since I dissolved the line up of musicians that constituted Swans from 2010 – 2017. Swans is now comprised of a revolving cast of musicians, selected for both their musical and personal character, chosen according to what I intuit best suits the atmosphere in which I’d like to see the songs I’ve written presented. In collaboration with me, the musicians, through their personality, skill and taste, contribute greatly to the arrangement of the material. Here below are the primary contributors to leaving meaning:

 

Yoyo Röhm – Yoyo came to my attention through his work with Kristof and Larry in Berlin. In addition to his excellent bass playing, Yoyo’s ears were invaluable in helping to sort out many of the arrangements. Yoyo plays with numerous left field musicians around Berlin and also works with Mick Harvey on his Serge Gainsbourg recordings and tours. Yoyo, Larry, Kristof and I rehearsed in Berlin for 3 weeks prior to recording. Yoyo is a true Berliner – gruff and determined on the outside, a marshmallow inside. He was a great musical resource for this record.

 

The Necks – I have been an avid Necks fan since I first saw them perform at a Big Ears Festival in 2010. They subsequently played with Swans at a few shows in Australia. Their live performances and recordings are just about any superlative you can think of – mesmerizing, transcendent, sublime. Their music is entirely improvisational – it’s my understanding that they have no idea what they’re going to play before they start. And yet, mostly using rudimentary jazz trio instrumentation, they manage to fashion burgeoning and ever-evolving, immersive clouds of sound that utterly envelop the listener as the music unfolds. I’m beyond honored and humbled that they agreed to perform the basic tracks for 2 of my songs (The Nub, and Leaving Meaning).

 

Anna and Maria von Hausswolff – Choral backing vocals. Anna is blessed with a soaring voice, lyrical acuity and increasing facility with the church organ. I was impressed recently to learn that she often travels around Europe and visits churches unannounced, where she talks her way into being allowed to use the resident organ – some of them rather massive, I imagine – and plays and explores for hours. Her searing records and live shows reflect the courage of her imagination and have garnered her increasing, much deserved recognition. Maria is an accomplished Swedish cinematographer and director of photography. In 2017 I heard Anna and Maria singing together at a sound check for a special song they were doing in Anna’s set, was instantly enthralled, and resolved at that moment to ask them to participate together on a Swans recording. 
 

Ben Frost - Guitar, synthesizers, sound manipulations. Ben’s adventurous sound-craftings, sometimes harrowing and sometimes delicate and quite musical, and his powerful live shows, have afforded him much recognition of late. I’ve also been highly impressed with his soundtrack work for the HBO series, Dark. He’s an extremely talented arranger and composer. His mission for this record was intentionally ill defined. I basically wanted his ears and sensibility, with no particular part or instrument in mind. I arrived at his studio in Reykjavik, Iceland, put up the songs, and he played what he thought a song needed. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his unique approach to the electric guitar as well as his synth work.

 

Baby Dee – Dee has released numerous records (one produced by Bonnie Prince Billie, I think), and if you don’t know them, you should! The first time I saw her she was riding a unicycle in circles outside the now-defunct Avant club, Tonic, in NYC, playing a ukulele (or accordion?) and singing with great mirth. I saw her set that night and was won over. She’s since toured with Swans several times. Her music could loosely be called neo cabaret, but more accurately she’s totally unique and a great performer and songwriter, graced with a powerful voice and high-end ability on the piano, accordion and more. I wrote The Nub specifically for her to sing. I was stymied for words to the main guitar figure to the song, and suddenly she popped into my mind, floating through the universe in diapers, sucking milk from the stars. The song wrote itself.

 

Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost – Together, Jeremy and Heather comprise the band A Hawk and a Hacksaw. (Jeremy played at one time with the bands Neutral Milk Hotel and Beirut). Again, if you don’t know their music, you should! They’ve released several records. It’s Balkan/Gypsy influenced, somewhat psychedelicized, with great singing, playing and melodies. They’re each multi-instrumentalists and they intrepidly travel the world, both touring and simply exploring the Balkans, in search of adventure and master musicians of the region, some of whom they simply befriend, others whom they record. They toured with Swans a while ago, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind to ask them to record on a record since. I travelled to their home studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented the songs, and did the same thing I did with Ben – I said, “Now what?” You can hear them on several songs on the record, sometimes subtly, at other times more pronounced. In any event, it’s great to have such a pair of wonderful humans on the record.  

 

 

 

 

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