Album from Secretly
Canadian; book by Abrams Image; meanwhile, Bjork turns up on a track.
By Blurt Staff
Antony and the Johnsons
will release their new album, “Swanlights”, on October 12th (a week later from the original date announced) in
via Secretly Canadian. Abrams Image will simultaneously release a
special edition of “Swanlights” which
will include the CD inside a 144-page hard cover book containing Antony’s paintings,
collages, photography and writing.
album only version of “Swanlights” on
Secretly Canadian will also include the song “Flétta”, a duet with Björk. The
album and book are a continuation of Antony’s
work exploring his connection to the natural world.
you can read what the label has to say about the eagerly awaited project:
While I Am a Bird Now is
compelling in its vulnerability, and The
Crying Light is a masterpiece of
austerity, Swanlights may be Antony’s most wide-rangingly emotional work
to date. It is a record that is at moments heartbreakingly tender, and at
other times has a joyful gleam to its teeth. Unlike previous work, which was
often quite sparsely voiced, on Swanlights the vines in the garden are overgrown and the sound palette has
become more exotic; strange percussive elements, John Cale-esque string drones,
heavily distorted guitars and symphonic winds and strings thread the song
“Everything is New” opens the album with a newborn piano melody that
quickly gathers in momentum and excitement. Strings and bursts of percussion
carry the song forward in a feral cacophony of sound. Later on the album, the
title track “Swanlights” finds
us navigating a primordial and hallucinatory world of hazy guitar tones. The
enigmatic layered melody of “Swanlights” emerges from a glistening soundscape.
A central image on the album, Antony
explains what he means by the word “Swanlights”: “It’s the reflection of
light on the surface of the water at night. It’s the moment when a spirit jumps
out of a body and turns into a violet ghost.” On “Thank You For Your
expresses a soul-infused sentiment of gratitude, but the song progresses into
urgency, leaving behind the 4/4 rhythmic structure and breaking into an
emotional gallop that reveals an underlying pathos.
The Swanlights book is a
collection of thought-provoking paintings, drawings, collages, photography, and
writings. Dreamlike and often bleakly environmental, Antony depicts a natural and spiritual world
under siege. Much of the work aches with a forlorn romanticism. In some pieces,
the artist draws together fragments of the past, the present and the future to
create a ghostly sense of omniscience. One image features a portrait of the
artist with his great grandmother’s face projected upon his own, creating a
ricochet through time and genealogy. Found images of natural landscapes
are stained with scrawls of ink, indicating invisible presence and movement.
Some pieces are more conceptual; in “Cut Away The Bad”, the artist removes
corrupted elements in an attempt to restore balance. In pieces like “I
Want To Help” Antony
sews a torn landscape back together with a magical intent.
Music and visual art intersect in these two presentations
of Swanlights to create an arresting vision of the
world through the artist’s eyes.
2. The Great White Ocean
4. I’m In Love
7. The Spirit Was Gone
8. Thank You For Your Love
9. Flétta (with Björk)
10. Salt Silver Oxygen
11. Christina’s Farm