The Beggar

Mute • 2023

With his band project Swans, Michael Gira seemingly interprets the dimension of time in a completely different manner than usual in comparable musical contexts. Their singles have always been at least six minutes long, their albums barely fit on a double album – if at all – and that’s still the case 40 years after their debut. Their 16th studio album, »The Beggar Lover (Three)«, features an incredible 44-minute monolith of a song that flows in all directions like a collage and magma, pushing all kinds of human sensitivities in front of it like a sluggish force of nature, ultimately crushing and devouring them.  

At 69, his own transience (»Michael Is Done«), the inevitability of death and what might come afterwards are obvious concerns for Gira. However, »The Beggar« is not a typical swan song like David Bowie’s »Blackstar« or Leonard Cohen’s »You Want It Darker«, but by Swans standards almost irritatingly optimistic. Industrial and country-folk, drones and gospel choirs, lots of slow progressions and a handful of brachial eruptions are still the devices of choice. Whether the whole thing is just outdated music by old white men or timeless sound art is something you have to decide for yourself – in any case, devoting two hours of your life to »The Beggar« can be a very rewarding experience