M. Gira, The Milk of M. Gira: Selected Solo Home Recordings 2001-2010

Philip Sherburne

By Philip Sherburne

on 11.27.11 in Reviews
Michael Gira and his guitar, stark and unadorned

If it’s an audience with Michael Gira himself you seek, this is the record. Taken from limited-edition CDs sold to the band’s super-fans, the proceeds of which helped fund the recording of studio albums by Swans and Angels of Light, these songs are nothing but Gira and his guitar, recorded at home with a single stereo microphone. “Just a casual performance in my office at home,” he has explained, noting that many of the songs were recorded immediately after writing them (and originally intended as demos for his collaborators to learn from). Stark and unadorned, they make for quietly harrowing listening, and they really come alive when compared to their eventual realizations by Swans and Angels of Light; listening to the fleshed-out songs and then Gira’s demos feels like tracking a river back to its source high above the tree line, where water courses unbounded over jagged shale.