Swans / Seer, The
Album: Seer, The   Collection:General
Artist:Swans   Added:Sep 2012
Label:Young God Records  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2012-09-21 Pull Date: 2012-11-23
Week Ending: Nov 25 Nov 18 Nov 11 Nov 4 Oct 28 Oct 21 Oct 14 Oct 7
Airplays: 2 5 5 6 3 4 5 8

Recent Airplay
1. Jul 20, 2019: on the warpath
The Seer
4. Mar 23, 2017: Reckless Burning
The Apostate
2. Oct 20, 2018: Narnia
Mother Of The World
5. Aug 20, 2016: Narnia
Mother Of The World, Avatar
3. Aug 05, 2017: Narnia
6. Apr 02, 2016: Narnia
The Apostate

Album Review
Adam Pearson
Reviewed 2012-09-20
Pounding drone rock. Michael Gira describes the new record as the “culmination of every previous Swans album,” a summation of all the music he has ever made, and a 30+ year effort. In a way this is very true. On The Seer, one can hear the studio trickery and tape manipulations from Soundtracks for the Blind, the aching melodicism from the Angels of Light era, and even the driving rhythms from the infancy of this confrontational, brutal, post-no wave NYC band. The touring sextet from Swans’ 2010 album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky contributes again as the principle band members and throw in the whole kitchen sink with instrumentation. The bulk of the material here developed and evolved in the live setting on the last tour. These expansive pieces are rhythmic and urgent; they are physical trances where the words are primitive shouts in response to the repetitious, (Gira now says chord changes bore him) protracted grooves.

In addition to his impressive band, Gira has brought in a cast of guests to realize his vision (which includes but is not limited to): Alan and Mimi from Low providing vocals on the opener, Jarboe(!) returning for vocals on “A Piece of the Sky” (which also features Akron/Family) and “The Seer Returns,” Big Blood providing some noodling instrumentation, and Karen O taking a lead vocal on the gentle “Song for a Warrior.” As dark as their music is considered, Gira reveals that his goal all along has been to reach ecstasy with his music, and I don’t think this has been as apparent for the listeners or the performers as it is here. Perhaps more than ever, Swans have created something that taps into all that is pure, muscular, and visceral. Stunning.

1. Rolling, looped dark typical Swans build with distinct gang vocals featuring Alan and Mimi of Low. (6:10)
2. Mathy, warped looped ugly plod with Gira panting along in time. (9:59)
3. Noisy field recordings and ambiance back a near-a capella treatise. (1:37)
*4. Epic. Moves from dissonant bagpipe walls of sound to crashing noise to doomy strumming and cymbal crushing to harmonica twang. Finally, Gira begins snarling on an Eastern, hypnotic “song” structure with 4 minutes left. (32:15)
*5. Sexual bob jaunt rhythm, ringing swirling dreamy “song.” One FCC. (6:19)
6. Eerie free jazz-ish avant formless noise. (5:23)
7. Dark, stripped-down version of Gira’s twisted Americana. (2:41)
8. Warm, pleasant Karen O-led Angels of Light ballad. (4:00)
*9. Bells lead a thunderous groove and vocal melody that is doubled on guitar. Urgent. Ends on a frenetic, thrashy reprise. (8:51)
*10. Field recordings, drones, and Jarboe screechings tied together before dropping into a “post-rock” section and finally, gorgeous Angels of Light longing to end. One FCC. (19:10)
*11. Absolute highlight - looping guitars give way to apocalyptic bursts of noise and finally settle on a doomy, ecstatic groove during which Gira shouts, stomps, and barks like a spitting wildman while saxophones squeal. Unfortunately a few FCCs (although they aren’t really understandable), but definitely a go for safe harbor. (23:00)

Track Listing
1. Lunacy   6. 93 Ave B Blues
2. Mother Of The World   7. The Daughter Brings The Water
3. The Wolf   8. Song For A Warrior
4. The Seer   9. Avatar
5. The Seer Returns   10. A Piece Of The Sky
  11. The Apostate