Swans' Michael Gira on The Seer, Released Today: "Once It's Done, It Just Sounds Like Dead Matter to Me" | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Swans' Michael Gira on The Seer, Released Today: "Once It's Done, It Just Sounds Like Dead Matter to Me"

See also
Swans' Piercing Assault on Respectable Street, September 14, 2011

Today marks the official release date of the Swans' extraordinary

two-hour journey into delicate sounds and furious din with The Seer.

The New York-based group's figurehead, Michael Gira, resurrected Swans

in 2010, after the band had officially broken up following a farewell

tour in 1997. However, the Swans sound reemerged in his writing --

such an irrepressible beast that it is -- and he felt obliged

to follow it.

With his post-Swans project, Angels of Light, now

on hold, Swans has released a second album in its resurrected form, The Seer, an epic exploration of songcraft. With hammered dulcimer, slide guitar, tubular bells, and industrial-strength drumming, a better union is hard to find. The

return of Swans has been nothing short of triumphant. The band has accrued the largest

audiences in its history, and the soaring majesty of its recordings is receiving almost universal respect. We spoke to Gira about the new

album and the band's return for what will certainly be a second brilliant South Florida show in only one


New Times: The Seer is indeed a masterpiece.

Michael Gira: Ho, ho, ho, ho! Thank you.

I really think it's like one of the greatest things. It's those long passages that take their time. Like you say, it's a journey.
My ideal for an album is a total experience, having in my young age listened to music from the '60s. I was born in '54, so I was 12 when it was the golden age of the album, when albums started being a work of art or something, and that's what I gravitate towards.

And this is going to be what, like three vinyl records?
Yeah [laughs]. Paradoxically, the best way to listen to this from beginning to end is digitally because then there's no breaks in it. Even on CD, it's two CDs. It's a strange thing because I'm not a big fan of digitized iTunes experiences. But I think the best way is if somebody can get high-quality files from the music they buy, I emphasize, then listen to the entire album through their computer in a stereo system, or something like that.

So this will be available in FLAC files?
I think so, yeah.

It is ironic, because iTunes shoulders part of the blame of breaking up the album.

Oh, really? [laughs]

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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos (indieethos.com) if not in New Times.

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