Monday, November 29, 2021

Swans: Soundtracks for the Blind 1996 - Die Tür Ist Zu 1996 EP (3CD Deluxe Set) 2018

One of the most uncompromising rock bands of all time, Michael Gira's Swans are renowned for their

constantly evolving sound, ranging from bleak, brutal noise-rock to spiritual, ethereal folk, as well as their intensely loud, transcendent live performances. Emerging from the downtown New York music scene during the early '80s, the group became notorious for their violent, confrontational shows and dissonant, hypnotically repetitive records such as 1983's Filth.

Starting with the dirge-like industrial of 1986's Greed, the group's sound became more atmospheric, partially due to the addition of vocalist Jarboe, who gradually became a greater presence within the band.

Albums such as 1991's White Light from the Mouth of Infinity were significantly more melodic and

elaborately produced than earlier works, even while the band's concerts remained profound spectacles. By the time the group disbanded in 1997, following the previous year's ambitious double album Soundtracks for the Blind, Swans had become an incalculable influence on countless experimental, noise, post-rock, industrial, goth, and metal acts, and their reputation only continued to grow.

After spending the late '90s and all of the 2000s making apocalyptic folk as the leader of the Angels of Light, Gira re-formed Swans (without Jarboe) in 2010, this time with a largely stable recording and

performing lineup. This incarnation of Swans, while just as intense and uncompromising as previous ones, unexpectedly produced the group's most critically acclaimed and even commercially successful work, with 2014's To Be Kind reaching the Top 40 in both the U.S. and U.K. Gira decided to end Swans' stable lineup in 2017, subsequently working with a revolving cast of participants on 2019's Leaving Meaning.

Soundtracks for the Blind is the tenth studio album by Swans. It was released as a double CD in 1996,

through Young God Records. Soundtracks for the Blind was intended, as suggested by the title, to function as a sort of "soundtrack for a non-existent film." It was the last studio album released by the band until 2010's My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky. A reissue of the album was released on July 20, 2018, marking the first time Soundtracks for the Blind was released on vinyl.

Soundtracks for the Blind has been met with acclaim by critics. Alternative Press wrote that "Swans' out-and-out noise may have receded into quietude and somnolent hypnoscapes, but this monster of an

album will leave ripples pulsing out for many years to come." Nick Terry of Terrorizer magazine wrote, "Gira has painstakingly recorded and produced this magnus opus with a ferocious attention to detail. Above all, it sounds phenomenal". The magazine later included it in their list of the "100 Most Important Albums of the Nineties".

[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 ]



Michael Gira - vocals, guitar, samples, sounds, loops, producer (all tracks except "Volcano")
Jarboe - vocals, sounds, loops, producer (on "Volcano")
Norman Westberg - additional musician
Algis Kizys - additional musician
Bill Rieflin - additional musician
Christoph Hahn - additional musician
Clinton Steele - additional musician
Larry Lame - additional musician, mixing and recording

Guest Musicians


Joe Goldring - electric guitar, bass guitar (on tracks 3, 5, 9, 12, 14, 19, 24, and 25)
Vudi - electric guitar, acoustic guitar (on tracks 3, 5, 9, 12, 14, 19, 24, and 25)
Larry Mullins - drums, percussion, vibraphone (on tracks 3, 5, 9, 12, 14, 19, 24, and 25)
Cris Force - viola (on "Animus" and "YRP")

Swans / Soundtracks for the Blind/Die Tür Ist Zu 3CD Deluxe Set
Label: Mute – CDSTUMM421, Young God Records – YG61
Format:    2 x CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered
CD, EP, Reissue, Remastered
All Media, Compilation, Digipak Aug 3, 2018
Country: Europe
Released: 1996    
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Industrial, Post Rock, Experimental, Ambient

CD1. Silver Disc


01. Red Velvet Corridor    3:04
02. I Was A Prisoner In Your Skull    6:39
03. Helpless Child    15:47
04. Live Through Me    2:31
05. Yum-Yab Killers    5:07
06. The Beautiful Days    7:49
07. Volcano    5:19
08. Mellothumb    2:45
09. All Lined Up    4:48
10. Surrogate 2    1:51
11. How They Suffer    5:52
12. Animus    10:42

MP3 @ 320 Size: 172  MB
FLAC  Size: 404 MB

CD2. Copper Disc


01. Red Velvet Wound    2:02
02. The Sound    13:11
03. Her Mouth Is Filled With Honey    3:18
04. Blood Section    2:39
05. Hypogirl    2:44
06. Minus Something    4:14
07. Empathy    6:45
08. I Love You This Much    7:23
09. YRP    7:46
10. Fan's Lament    1:28
11. Secret Friends    3:08
12. The Final Sacrifice    10:27
13. YRP 2    2:09
14. Surrogate Drone    2:09

MP3 @ 320 Size: 165 MB
FLAC  Size: 380 MB

CD3. Die Tür Ist Zu 1996


Die Tür ist zu (German for The Door Is Closed) is the fifth EP by the American rock band Swans, initially released in 1996 only in Germany as a CD, and later released worldwide on vinyl on Record Store Day 2018.

It is particularly notable for its unusual combination of both studio and live recordings in a wide variety of contexts. Specifically, it contains early, German-language versions of two songs on the then

unreleased Soundtracks for the Blind album, two studio outtakes ("Surrogate Drones" which would also appear later on Soundtracks for the Blind, and "You Know Everything (reprise 1991)" recorded for White Light From the Mouth of Infinity and already released on the "Celebrity Lifestyle" CD single), a radio performance excerpt from the VPRO session on 14 December 1994, and two live songs from the Astoria, London, 1995.
01. Ligeti's Breath / Hilflos Kind    22:16
02. Ich Sehe Die Alle In Einer Reihe    4:47
03. Surrogate Drones    2:56
04. YRP    8:51
05. You Know Everything (Reprise 1991)    4:26
06. M/F    3:52
07. Soundsection    7:56

FLAC  Size: 315 MB


  1. Thank you Kostas !
    I have 3 cds of the Swans including
    2 do-cd's but i haven't had them yet.

  2. Kostas, i would like to draw your attention to something and of course others if they are interested.
    The blogger from WILFULLY OBSCURE has put a very interesting 4 cd box THE IODINE BOOK 1967-1972 on the internet for download. There are only 20 of this ultra rare box.
    You can see more from the text itself.

  3. Got all 3 ALL ABOVE EVE from your archive today with many others. How nice !!!
    Exactly the right thing for me.