Friday, June 04, 2004

No Wave Friday

"I don't think music should be heavy handed like so many bands in New York. It should be physically moving, and at the same time invoke a certain claustrophobia or state of fear." -- Michael Gira

Not strictly speaking a part of the No Wave thing, Circus Mort was Michael Gira's band shortly before he formed Swans. I'll do a day (or two, or three) on Swans soon, but they're well-covered in Allmusic and the Trouser Press. I like them a lot. After Sonic Youth, they're probably the most successfulful (or at least well known) band to bear a strong No Wave influence. Thurston Moore played in an early version of Swans, and Gira played in one of Glenn Branca's guitar orchestras.

Gira doesn't like Circus Mort, and he's made it pretty clear that he has no intention of reissuing their EP. That's too bad, because it's neither great nor awful but, because it's out-of-print and never-on-CD, Swans fans will probably keep paying more for it than they should. I did notice that there's a website for the label that originally released the EP, and it seems to be saying that they're planning on reissuing it, but it's kind of hard to tell.

Anyway, Gira's lyrical style is already pretty much in place ("Gira says put your ass on the ground! Gira says move your body! Gira says you are filth!") but the music is more like dark 'n' danceable post-punk. I had this theory that if you play the EP (a 45) at 33, you get Swans, but I forgot to test the theory before I sold my copy. Maybe someone else can try it out. From the EP, here's Swallow You, Children Remember and Watch The Puppet.

You know, given the nature of Swans, I was kind of expecting an early album that Gira hates to be a pretty embarrassing disaster. All things considered, Circus Mort isn't bad at all. I especially kind-of-like Children Remember, which has some echoes of Gang of Four, and if you're just going to download one track, that's the one I'd pick.

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