Thursday, 1 July 2010

Michael Gira




An unflinching, uncompromising character, Michael Gira is best known as the founder of Young God Records and the leader of Swans, one of the most brutal, relentless and downright loud bands to ever exist. Musical legend tells of the walls of venues quaking as they cranked up the volume of their early live sets in the 1980s, and of fans vomiting as the sheer noise pummeled their organs. Definitely an acquired taste, Swans are justly infamous for their music, but Gira also masterminded the artwork for all their releases over the years, which deserves recognition in its own right. Simple, stark and powerful, it reflected the bleakness and brutality of the band's music and has stood the test of time as a great example of band identity and sleeve design. Using large sans serif typeface and slabs or bands of colour, coupled with simple, iconic symbolism, Gira, together with Paul White of Me Company in the early years, created an aesthetic which he has carried through his twenty-plus years of music. After folding Swans, Gira took this pared down identity to his next band, The Angels Of Light. There's a recognisable evolution to the design over the years, which leaves you in no doubt who is behind the music
Not all of the sleeves were effective, but shown below, in vaguely chronological but by no means complete order, are some of the standouts. Such consistency over so many years makes for one of the strongest bodies of album artwork of the last few decades.
For all his cynicism and bleakness, Gira is not averse to the odd bit of wry humour, the lyrics of his songs occasionally raising a smile, as do the sleeves to Feel Good Now or the strange rabbit-men on the Love Of Life and White Light... covers. He recently announced he is restarting Swans since he longs to be subsumed by noise once more, so it will be interesting to see how the art and identity of the new album appear.


Swans, 1984



Cop, 1984



A Screw, 1986


Greed, 1986


Greed, reverse, 1986



Holy Money, 1986



Holy Money, reverse, 1986



Public Castration Is A Good Idea, 1986



New Mind, 1987



New Mind, reverse, 1987



Feel Good Now, 1989


White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity, 1991


Love Of Life, 1992


Celebrity Lifestyle, 1994


The Great Annihilator, 1995



Filth/Body To Body, Job To Job CD reissue, 2000



Filth/Body To Body, Job To Job CD reissue, reverse, 2000



Swans Are Dead, 1998



Swans Are Dead, reverse, 1998



Children Of God/World Of Skin CD reissue, 1997



Soundtracks For The Blind, 1996



New Mother, 1999



How I Loved You, 2001



Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home, 2003



Praise Your Name, 1999



A portrait of Gira on the reverse of Praise Your Name, 1999





1 comment:

  1. Hair wigs of all kinds have been worn throughout eons of the clip in hair extensions. They have been worn by many different people of many different cultures all over the world. As a matter of fact, it has been noted that virgin brazilian hair have been worn from ancient times. Royalty, of course, the best-known of these individuals being Queen Elizabeth I, commonly wore elaborate lace front wigs uk. Queen Elizabeth's wigs have become well known and have remained quite memorable - but she was not alone. Virtually all of the elite wore lace wigs uk or elaborate hairstyles during this time. As a matter of fact, both men and women still do wear full, decorative lace wigs uk at times in Rome, England, and elsewhere. Hairpieces were also very popular among the elite for luxurious hair styles. In the history of theatre there are many, many kinds of costume wigs, especially because in earlier times women were not allowed to perform on stage.

    ReplyDelete