Tuesday, 23rd January 2018. 10:48:48pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Michael Gira- I Am Singing to You from My Room


Artist: Michael Gira
CD Title: I Am Singing to You From My Room
Label: Young God Records
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Date: 8/7/04

Michael Gira (of Swans and Angels of Light fame) has just released his second collection of material recorded, as the title suggests, in his bedroom at home. Accompanied only by his sparse guitar work, he sings versions of both Swans classics and new material for future Angels of Light releases. Gira’s vocals are of course the main attraction; deep-voiced and morose, he alternates between singing and a sort of half-singing/half-talking effect, a little like fellow New Yorker Lou Reed but not so off-key. “My Sister Said” is a lovely little murder ballad, while “Purple Creek” take a breathless voyage into mosquito-maddened backwoods psychedelia. “Lena’s Song” meanders off into country-folk, like Johnny Cash in slow motion. Two untitled sketches see Gira adopt a bluesy, twanging moan, and the stripped-down reworkings of older material allow the songwriter to experiment a little more with his voice. The version of “Blind,” for example, sees him lilting upwards on the chorus and humming through the bridge.The guitar playing on this collection is deceptively simple, but Gira knows how to create a mood through subtle changes in pace and volume. The muffled strumming of “Destroyer” adds weightiness to the apocalyptic lyrics, while the soft squeak of fingers on fret board give “Provider” an eerie immediacy. Of everything here, “Michael’s White Hands” is most reminiscent of classic Swans material; Gira’s guitar sounds vast and oceanic, and the song builds to a nice crescendo reminiscent of songs like “Saved” and “See No More.” As an added bonus, this disc also includes a live segment from an Angels of Light performance of “All Souls Rising” and three children’s songs written for daughters of a friend. With lines like “I am crooked Monster Mike/And I ride a crooked trike,” these are cute curiosities to lighten the mood after an hour of Gira’s usual bleakness.

Packaged in a limited edition, hand-decorated cardboard sleeve, this CD and other Gira-related curiosities are available at www.younggodrecords.com.


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