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Swans|Soundtracks for the Blind

Soundtracks for the Blind

Swans

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Choosing to extinguish the band name under which Gira and Jarboe had worked together for so long must not have been an easy step, but when they decided to end Swans with one last studio release as a prelude to a farewell tour, they did so with what turned out to be their biggest and best album ever. Interestingly, the double-disc, two-and-a-half-hour long Soundtracks makes no pretensions at being a uniform creation like The White Album or Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; Gira's own notes indicate the song sources as being from "hand-held cassette recordings to found sounds, to samples, to loops, to finished multitrack recordings," recorded with ten different musicians. Everything from raging electric music in extreme to the gentlest of acoustic strums can be found here, ultimately being a perfect encapsulation of Swans' sound -- as much as any greatest-hits anthology could ever have been. "The Helpless Child," the epic-length Gira-sung piece previewed on Die Tür ist Zu, amazingly gets an even more brilliant revision here, while another similarly lengthy track, "The Sound," at once roars and whispers over its length in a way that early Swans -- much less many other bands -- could never have done. Other tracks continue Swans' then-recent practice of mixing random taped conversations with exquisitely arranged performances: "I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull" is especially noteworthy as the clear forerunner of Godspeed you Black Emperor!'s entire musical approach. Jarboe's own tracks are all winners, from the fractured, tempo-shifting techno of "Volcano" to the howling live version of a solo album track from Sacrificial Cake, "Yum-Yab Killers." Ending on the unexpected yet appropriate "Surrogate Drone," Soundtracks lets Swans bow out from recording on the highest note possible.
© Ned Raggett /TiVo

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Soundtracks for the Blind

Swans

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1
Red Velvet Corridor
00:03:05

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

2
I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull
00:06:39

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

3
Helpless Child
00:15:48

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

4
Live Through Me
00:02:32

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

5
Yum-Yab Killers
00:05:07

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

6
The Beautiful Days
00:07:50

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

7
Volcano
00:05:19

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

8
Mellothumb
00:02:45

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

9
All Lined Up
00:04:49

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

10
Surrogate 2
00:01:52

Jarboe, Composer - Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

11
How They Suffer
00:05:53

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

12
Animus
00:10:42

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

DISCO 2

1
Red Velvet Wound
00:02:02

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

2
The Sound
00:13:12

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

3
Her Mouth Is Filled With Honey
00:03:19

Jarboe, Composer - Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

4
Blood Section
00:02:39

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

5
Hypogirl
00:02:44

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

6
Minus Something
00:04:15

Jarboe, Composer - Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

7
Empathy
00:06:46

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

8
I Love You This Much
00:07:24

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

9
YRP
00:07:47

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

10
Fan's Lament
00:01:28

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

11
Secret Friends
00:03:08

Jarboe, Composer - Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

12
The Final Sacrifice
00:10:28

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

13
Yrp 2
00:02:09

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

14
Surrogate Drone
00:02:09

Swans, MainArtist - Michael Gira, Composer

2001 Young God under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited 2001 Young God Publishing (ASCAP) under exclusive licence to Mute Artists Limited

Resenha do Álbum

Choosing to extinguish the band name under which Gira and Jarboe had worked together for so long must not have been an easy step, but when they decided to end Swans with one last studio release as a prelude to a farewell tour, they did so with what turned out to be their biggest and best album ever. Interestingly, the double-disc, two-and-a-half-hour long Soundtracks makes no pretensions at being a uniform creation like The White Album or Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; Gira's own notes indicate the song sources as being from "hand-held cassette recordings to found sounds, to samples, to loops, to finished multitrack recordings," recorded with ten different musicians. Everything from raging electric music in extreme to the gentlest of acoustic strums can be found here, ultimately being a perfect encapsulation of Swans' sound -- as much as any greatest-hits anthology could ever have been. "The Helpless Child," the epic-length Gira-sung piece previewed on Die Tür ist Zu, amazingly gets an even more brilliant revision here, while another similarly lengthy track, "The Sound," at once roars and whispers over its length in a way that early Swans -- much less many other bands -- could never have done. Other tracks continue Swans' then-recent practice of mixing random taped conversations with exquisitely arranged performances: "I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull" is especially noteworthy as the clear forerunner of Godspeed you Black Emperor!'s entire musical approach. Jarboe's own tracks are all winners, from the fractured, tempo-shifting techno of "Volcano" to the howling live version of a solo album track from Sacrificial Cake, "Yum-Yab Killers." Ending on the unexpected yet appropriate "Surrogate Drone," Soundtracks lets Swans bow out from recording on the highest note possible.
© Ned Raggett /TiVo

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