Let’s put all the gear news aside and consider – people are doing wonderful things with sound live. Consider the duo of Giant Swan, whose intense multi-layered performances seem to fuel the same transcendent energy of their releases.
The Bristol-based duo of Robin Stewart and Harry Wright has a lot of hype fuel behind them – or had, anyway, before the whole music world went into hibernation. But you know those stories of “what were the last big shows you saw before lockdown?” These two. Just all about these two. It’s that the power and dynamism of their sets just never lets up – heavy sonic layers at full force, constantly shifting rhythmic drives, timbral invention. It’s somehow even more listenable now, in that it’s music with real urgency.
Well, just watch/listen. I actually notice that even if I don’t watch and only listen, I really get a feeling for how much improvisation and movement there is in this set:
For those of us who do play live, here’s what to practice in lockdown. That’s a proper workout video. It’s the Fitness+ / advanced Runkeeper of electronic music.
There’s a bit of everything on that table, too – Elektron box, modular, effects pedals, mixer, Roland/BOSS looper. It’s not really about the gear, then, it’s that these are full-on instrumentalists, both.
Simon Tucker put out a thoughtful review of their debut outing last year, for Louder Than War. Here’s where I would never really declare myself a music critic; I’m just a producer, so enthusiastic about stuff I love. Eventually I’ll drop the pretenses and just declare, “more, please, of that, that’s delicious, like a … uh… fried steak.”
Simon describes that debut as being “a gut curdling and ugly record that feels like barbed wire being wrapped around your throat.”
So, uh… I guess I like barbed wire wrapped around my throat? Just like a warm blanket.
This year apart from the Boiler Room live show they did start out with an extended version of the excellent “55 Year Old Daughter”:
But here’s something to look forward to in 2021 – you know, apart from vaccines and that bit:
Do Not Be Afraid Of Tenderness is promised for February, on the label Keck. “Silkworm,” above, is out now along with the requisite Bandcamp preorder.
The Quietus has some more information:
Giant Swan’s other half, Robin Stewart, adds: “I found the writing process incredibly difficult because we weren’t able to see one another. An unusual lack of contact meant that mixing the tunes felt very raw and reactionary, which I felt actually made the experience an enriching one.”
From last month –
I’ll be waiting, for sure.