Tag Archives: Swans

The Beautiful Days – How I Got Into the Swans

I’d like to take you on a journey through my past and into the realm where no time or space exists. Lets visit a realm of energy, music and passion. This is the realm I go to when I visit the land of the Swans. It is a dark realm in each of us; you can only visit it, if you are willing to face yourself, face me and see the dark and the light without prejudice and with overall equanimity.

I want to show you the very beginnings of my journey into the music of Michael Gira and the Swans. I want to share some of my first pivotal experiences and explain what revelations this brought about.

I started listening to the Swans at around the age of 19. I was exploring some old interviews with Maynard James Keenan from Tool; when I found an interview on JJJ Australian radio. This was an interview where they explore the songs which the particular artist found inspiration. Two of the songs were from the Swans: Time is Money (bastard) and Coward.

I found both of these songs stirred deep dark feelings inside me. They were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. My first inclination was to dislike it, because it wasn’t what I was used to thinking of as music and it scared me; but I became intensely curious, so I decided to buy every album of the Swans I could find, so I could explore this all in much greater depth.

When I got ahold of the albums, my exploration first gravitated towards their compilation album called Various Failures. The songs on this album were more melodic and upbeat, which I found easier to enjoy and relate to, since I had not yet developed my taste for their more exotic work from the earlier, darker, years. At that time period, playing the older, more dark and depressing albums, was like opening pandora’s box to me. I seldom did it for very long and when I would listen to a full album with my full attention, I would inevitably have an enlightening experience.

The first such experience I can remember, is while I was still living at home. I was probably around 18-19 years old at the time. I was at that point in my life where the lie that everything is, started to be made manifest in my perception. I started to realize that the world we are in today, tends to transform everything and everyone into meaningless corporatized crap. Even the so-called alternatives were often as meaningless as that which they purport to replace.

Having this reality dawn upon me was most unsettling indeed, as I had spent years thinking that things were, not necessarily great, but well enough in the world. I was beginning to realize what a tub of filth the world had become over the preceding decades. This was the rotten, empty, forsaken world I was emerging into, in which I would spend the rest of my life.

During one evening, when I was at home alone and had a particularly depressed feeling come over me, I decided to play a live album called The Swans are Dead and take a nice long bath. Little did I know that this experience would be remembered years down the road as a turning point in my relation to this world.

I turned on the music and I just let go, as much as I was capable at the time. I let the emotions it would evoke in me flow as I gave it the full attention of virtually every aspect of my being. The performance started with the song Feel Happiness, which was slow and then gradually layered on this new reality, adding layer upon layer as the moments progressed. I still remember the first lyrics of the performance and how it reverberated in me.

I’m truly sorry,
for what I never did,
but I forgive you, too;
for your indifference.
You’re a lonely child,
laid open to the world,
and when I looked in your eyes
I saw myself there too,
So please forgive me now,
for what we never had,
Although its useless to say,
I wish you happiness.
I wish you happiness,
I wish you happiness,
happiness…

I felt as if it said everything my soul was yearning to say; but had kept bottled up inside for so long, unable to express, unable to really understand or acknowledge. It is difficult to describe with words how powerful that was, especially in the context of experiences I was having. In fact, words and descriptive language could not do it justice; it simply must be fully experienced in ones own life, to be understood.

Even to this day, almost 10 years later, I still find this song and the album in which it is contained, to be one of the most powerful tools for understanding and accepting the great depths of emotions I often feel, deep underneath it all; beneath the facade of personality I must wear each day in order to make my way in this godforsaken world.

After I got a couple of songs into the album, I found myself surrendering completely. I simply gave in and let the music carry me to realms I had never visited. It was a tour de force of everything I was needing to face in my life and in my very being.

It’s was kind of like sex in a way; but it lasted much longer, involved my entire being through and through, and didn’t end in an energy drain. More specifically, I’d say it is like tantric sex with a partner who really knows themselves, the kind of sex where you savor the experience and are truly present at every moment; not letting it drain you by letting go to a climax.

This kind of experience is like a transfer of energy and awareness and since it doesn’t happen in a blip, like a climactic experience, it is able to transfer much more for a sustained period of time.

When the album was all over, I felt like I had really connected with something mysterious and amazing. I felt the deepest depths of depression, met with my shadow self, gained a renewed understanding and learned something of who I really am underneath it all. After all of this, I felt a great elation. I was now far more aware of aspects of myself that I had little experience in knowing and understanding.

I realized that, while this is a dark and distorted world and I live a dark and distorted life, it isn’t something to be afraid of or upset about; nor is it something to avoid. No, it is something to relish and experience to the fullest; because life can teach us many things, whether those lessons are from the dark or light aspects of our being.

If there is darkness, it is there for a reason; it isn’t just happenstance that things are the way they are. If we let ourselves have those experiences and don’t avoid them, despite the fact that they may not be pleasant, we will ennoble ourselves on a very deep level indeed. It is often the darker lessons, involving our shadow selves, that teaches us the most and helps us to make greatest leaps in our edification.

Even if you are a relatively unevolved life form, living in a primitive society like the western world of today, populated by spiritually blind — though technologically savvy — imbeciles, your life can still be just as rich, interesting and enlightening as if you lived in Shangri-La. Your life will just be enlightening in a different way; because there are different sets of lessons to learn in each kind of world. One advantage of living in a dark, unevolved world, such as ours, is that the potential for growth is truly remarkable.

When, when we were young
We had no history
So nothing to lose

Meant we could choose
Choose what we wanted then
Without any fear
Or thought of revenge

But then you grew old
And I lost my ambition
So I gained an addiction
To drink and depression

(They are mine
My only true friends
And I’ll keep them with me
Until the very end)

I’d choose not to remember
But I miss your arrogance
And I need your intelligence
And your hate for authority

But now you’re gone
I read it today
They found you in Spain
Face down in the Street

With a bottle in your hand
And a wild smile on your face
And a knife in your back
You died in a foreign land

And they found my letter
Rolled up in your pocket
Where I said I’d kill myself
If she left me again

So now she’s gone
And you’re both in my mind
I’ve got one thing to say
Before I am drunk again:

God damn the sun
God damn the sun
God damn anyone
That says a kind word

God damn the sun
God damn the sun
God damn the light it shines
And this world it shows

God damn the sun

Some of the greatest beauty you will ever experience in this life is bittersweet. It is sorrow coupled with understanding and acceptance of who you really are at this stage in your evolution. It is the source of all good art, music and poetry.

I Lose My Mind Beneath The Sea: The Golden Boy Swallowed by the Sea

And The Endless Crowds Of People
They Walk Upon This Stone
Where Will Their Memory Go
Where Did Their Minds Come From
And I Was Only A Child
When I First Looked In Your Eyes
And Saw Your Body Rise Over The Ocean

We Saw The Golden Boy Bleed Love
Onto The Sand Like Rain
While We Were Injecting Colours
Into Our Open Veins
And Deep Beneath The Water
The Dead Black Silence Crawled

Far Away Across The Ocean
The Golden Boy’s Beneath The Sea
The Golden Boy Swallowed By The Sea

And Love Is Sometimes Violent
And Violence Has No Constraint
And I Can See Inside You
Yes I Can Feel What You Think
And With This Knife Of Silver
I Will Release Your Soul
And Throw It Out Into The Ocean

Nine Million Miles In A Straight Line
In A Place Just Like This
In A Ship On The Water
Where No Dimensions Exist
My Hands Are Holding Your Picture
And The Image It Shifts
I Tear It Up And Scatter It Over The Ocean
The Golden Boy That Was Swallowed By The Sea

~swans

What is usually thought of as love
Is actually its opposite
The destruction of diversity
The antithesis of compassion

It is this idea that I must make you exactly like me
I must assimilate your mind, into my way of thinking
So that we may all be mere copies of one another
Without a single difference between us

Its all meaningless rote and ritual
Devoid of any fruitful existence
Stands between us, like a raging inferno
Burning anyone who gets too close to our boundaries

Are we really so different, at the core of our being?
Is not most of what we seek, one and the same?
But there is this mechanism in our conditioning
Often stifling our ability to extinguish the blaze

You’ll never know, you’ll never know anything at all

And nothing is written in the book, reality is made by you
And every lie that you pursue, eventually turns true
And I was told that your eyes would shine, a light up into space
And infinity would then consume this ordinary place
You know nothing, you know nothing at all
How could you know, you’ll never know anything at all
You’ll never know, you’ll never know anything at all
You know nothing, you know nothing at all
I saw you standing in the fire, beneath a crimson moon
The ocean whispered on the sore, and echoed in the ruins
Inside your body is a clear blue light, and time was made from this
Your shadows swallow everything it feels. You punish us with bliss
You know nothing, you know nothing at all
How could you know, you’ll never know anything at all
You’ll never know, you’ll never know anything at all
You know nothing, you know nothing at all

— swans – White Light from the Mouth of ∞

We Will Fall Apart

I won’t remember what you were when you were young.
You were no one then and you’re nothing now.
Do you remember what you denied me then.
Do you remember what you deny my body now
I do, oh I do….

When I feel your heart we will come undone,
We will fall apart…

Will you deny me when I get down on my knees
You’re nothing now,
Your body’s burning down
Do you remember how cruel you used to be.
Do you remember what you deny my weakness now.
I do, oh I do….

When you remember who you are,
We will come undone.
We will fall apart…

~Jarboe

This is Mine

This Is Mine
I Own It
I Own This Thing
I Hate Everything
That I Don’t Own
I Own This
I Own This Hole
It’s Mine
Get Out Of My Hole
It’s Mine
It’s Mine
When You Touch My Things
You Spoil Them
When Things Get Dirty
I Spit Them Out
I Own This
I Own This
It’s Mine
It’s Mine

~Michael Gira

Swans: Blood Promise

Lyrics by Michael Gira

When silence falls
And light remains
And time is born
Beneath the sun
I’ll hide your name.
Inside a word
And paint your eyes
With false perception
And I feel your mind
In everything
And every breath
Destroys a sound.
And I will follow
A false sensation.
And I’ll always believe.
Your blood promise
And every breath.
I stole from you
And I never will see
Your perfect body
And you never have spoken
An unclear word
And I’ll never betray
Your blood promise
Continue reading Swans: Blood Promise