Soundtracks for the Blind

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Soundtracks for the Blind
Studio album (double album) by Swans
Released 1996
Recorded 1981–1996
Genre Experimental rock, post-rock, ambient, drone, electronica
Length 141:37
Label Young God
Swans chronology
Failure/Animus
(1996)
Soundtracks for the Blind
(1996)
Swans Are Dead
(1998)

Soundtracks for the Blind is the tenth studio album by Swans, and the last released until 2010's My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. 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", and was at the time by far Swans' most varied studio effort and is, to date, the group's longest record.

Background[edit]

The album showcases various musical styles, ranging from stark, nearly gothic minimalism ("Empathy", "All Lined Up") to epic compositions in the vein of Glenn Branca ("Helpless Child"), musique concrète ("The Beautiful Days"), cinematic post-rock as later popularized by Godspeed You! Black Emperor ("The Sound", "I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull"), electronic dance music ("Volcano"), ambient music ("Surrogate Drone", "Red Velvet Corridor") and even punk rock (the live track "Yum-Yab Killers").

On the composition of Soundtracks for the Blind, frontman Michael Gira said in 1997:

I've always been interested in different sounds like that and listened to Brian Eno and different kinds of music that use non-musical sources often, and as I made this record I had a lot of that material: those loops and things I'd made from '81; I had vocal loops that Jarboe had made in 1985 on a little sixteen second digital delay unit which was actually the first sampler... we had these tape narrations we'd been collecting, that she got from her father's desk when he was an FBI agent – surveillance tapes; I interviewed my father because I'm interested in his life, and took a little snippet of his experiences... then we had new things we'd recorded with our 'band' from the last tour; and some stuff we did for a soundtrack for a film. I threw all those into the computer and assembled it that way. So, in some things, there's something from 1981 playing simultaneously with something from '85 playing simultaneously with something from 1996. It's cross-faded and blended and mixed so to speak in the computer, cut-up and sometimes looped and reversed.[1]

"YRP" is a significant re-working of "Your Property" from Cop.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Michael Gira, except "Yum-Yab Killers", written by Jarboe and "Surrogate 2", written by Gira and Jarboe. 

Disc one (Silver)
No. Title Length
1. "Red Velvet Corridor"   3:04
2. "I Was a Prisoner in Your Skull"   6:39
3. "Helpless Child"   15:47
4. "Live Through Me"   2:32
5. "Yum-Yab Killers"   5:07
6. "The Beautiful Days"   7:49
7. "Volcano"   5:18
8. "Mellothumb"   2:46
9. "All Lined Up"   4:48
10. "Surrogate 2"   1:52
11. "How They Suffer"   5:52
12. "Animus"   10:41
Total length:
72:06
Disc two (Copper)
No. Title Length
1. "Red Velvet Wound"   2:02
2. "The Sound"   13:11
3. "Her Mouth Is Filled with Honey"   3:19
4. "Blood Section"   2:39
5. "Hypogirl"   2:44
6. "Minus Something"   4:14
7. "Empathy"   6:45
8. "I Love You This Much"   7:23
9. "YRP"   7:47
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"   2:06
Total length:
69:31

Personnel[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[3]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Terrorizer 5/5 stars[5]

Soundtracks for the Blind has been met with acclaim by critics. Terrorizer magazine wrote, "Gira has painstakingly recorded and produced this magnus [sic] opus with a ferocious attention to detail. Above all, it sounds phenomenal".[5] AllMusic called Soundtracks for the Blind "[Swans'] best album ever".[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]