Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So, today, my iPod (yes, I still have one of those) was on shuffle, and lo and behold, the following song, "Blind," started playing. I'd first heard it in 1995 when Drainland came out, which was technically a Michael Gira solo album. The song later turned up on various other Swans compilations.

I was living in Amherst, Massachusetts at the time on North Pleasant Street at a place we affectionately called "the white house." It still stands there today. I was living what I recognized even then as a deeply aimless existence, working part-time as a computer technician at an Apple computer store in Northampton. In retrospect, life wasn't so bad. I had a few friends, a fair amount of free time, drank a lot, discovered an enormous amount of new music, went out a lot, etc. In those barely-internet days, it seemed totally random that Michael Gira would release a solo album. And it made no sense that it sounded totally like late period Swans. But whatever. I taped Drainland on a cassette and listened to it a lot. Not sure if I liked the whole thing, but this particular song, "Blind," always stood out.

Someone somewhere mentioned how the song slowly fades in as if it had been playing forever and at the end it fades out as if it will play on forever. That's a perfect encapsulation of the whole thing. It has a mournful tone, unlike much of Gira's stuff which is more maudlin than mournful. He seems genuinely emotional in this one, not distanced away from feelings. It's shockingly intimate for him. But even if you know nothing about him, this is an adult song in the truest sense of the word. Beautifully done.

Oh, nowadays, I am an academic and teach in a small-ish private university here in New York. Yesterday the powers that be informed me that I am tenured. No longer a minion here, I suppose. Not sure if this song below, "Blind," is perfectly appropriate or completely irrelevant. Either way, it's on my mind today.