Sunday, March 11, 2007

CIRCUS MORT - Self-titled (EP, 1981)

Before they graced us with the monolithic Swans, Michael Gira and Jonathan Kane released this curious relic of bash-you-up NY postpunk called Circus Mort. Sharing a musical approach not so terribly unlike their peers, Circus Mort were able to carve their own pint-sized niche by taking the basic angular, bass-driven postpunk formula, and injecting it with a good dose of grit and gravel resulting in something that might best be described as Wall of Voodoo smacked in the face with a Big Black shovel. This self-titled EP is the band’s one and only studio recording, and although only fourteen minutes long, it promises to bend your mind and body with it’s commanding presence and sour disposition. Gira’s trademark vocal style of testosteronian grunts is already in full force here, and if you listen closely you can almost hear a feathered white beast angrily wading through the music’s chunky, jagged no-wave underpinnings. From the dangerous pitter-pattering of “Swallow You” all the way to the super fun, slaphappy “Watch The Puppet” this EP will have you in state of blissful confusion - trapped somewhere between the dance floor and the moshpit.

DOT #7

19 comments:

Curious Guy said...

Never heard this one before so big thanks! I really like your writing. Now if more visitors would show some appreciation for what you do.

noinim said...

Well thanks much! Yeah, I don’t seem to have many readers just yet, but I sure do appreciate the few I have captured thus far. I’m a Capricorn… persistent and stubborn… so I won’t be throwing my arms up in defeat anytime too soon. Which reminds me... I should add a some kind of counter to this thing. Any suggestions?

Curious Guy said...

Statcounter is free and easy to put up on your blog. Has a lot of features like popular page, from where your visitors come from (eg. another blog or forum), visit length, search engines and even a google earth map to see from what region they come from.
http://www.statcounter.com/

English Paul said...

Nice One noinim - I hadn't heard this previously either. It's a long way from "Cop"

Bogdan said...

great stuff... thanks... is this ripped from vinyl or was it reissued on cd?

noinim said...

Unfortunately, Mr. Gira says he has no interest in reissuing this splendid creation; which is hard to understand, since SWANS fans would surely eat it up. I guess he's unjustly ashamed.

noinim said...

Oh, Bogdan - Do you have a blog of your own that you might like to share?

Anonymous said...

There is a full length live bootleg of Circus Mort
making the rounds that is truly amazing. Definitely an undiscovered gem of a band.
sounds like early swans on crystal meth.
-deedee

Princess Sparkle Pony said...

Circus Mort were very cool.

I interviewed Michael Gira during the Swans' "Children of God" tour, and hooo boy, was he ever an asshole! That was a little disappointing. So defensive!

Anonymous said...

dam, I missed out on this one. Anyone have another posting?

noinim said...

re-upped

popoloitaliano said...

grandissimi Circus Mort.
this record is at the level of
"An ideal for Living" by Joy Division

Marko GĂ©lido said...

repost this pleaseeee

Anonymous said...

Man, thanks so much for posting this up. I'm a Gira sycophant and had never heard this (I've heard probably everything else his done with Swans). I'm thrilled to hear it! That person that said there was a Circus Mort live bootleg doing the rounds, where??!!!! I've been hunting and no luck.

cheers,

Adam

Anonymous said...

adam,
i was the co-founder, bassist and co-songwriter of Circus Mort and i can tell you that no bootleg of the live stuff is making the rounds. i have all the masters and they are not in release. it's true there is a fantastic live tape of one of our last shows in boston in 1981 but no one has it but me. it's too bad, we evolved into a great band but all things come to an end, i was also in the Swans for a short period of time. there are a number of reasons that mike does not speak well of the band, some valid, some not...any questions feel free to email me (circusmort@submarine.com) i think it's great that people are digging this stuff. our best songs we're never heard.
cheers,
dan B

Trans said...

I live in Medellin, Colombia, and I have been a great follower of your Blog since I firs encounter it. Swans was one of the first groups that I get hook on, way back at the end of the 80’s, and since, I have been a better person, he, he… anyway, thank you for the time, patience and passion that you put into this, and most of all, for share this things with other people…
Thanks…

dearly.
WOLFGANG

Chris said...

I've just started getting into the blog thang for the first time. Funny to see this on here. I have a copy of the vinyl, but never got around to digitising it. Circus Mort isn't as bad as Gira would have it. I'll even venture to say that Swans' first EP (now out-of-print) is better as an album listening experience in 2009 than the rest, oh, until about Children Of God, when the whole "Flex your muscles!" testosterone work-is-slavery schtick gave way to much more interesting lyrical themes. (I'm sure they were mind- and bodyblowing live, but I wasn't around for that.) Gira makes his best music post-Swans, no doubt about it.

Now, if I could only find a download of Living '02...

Anonymous said...

thanks! i remember hearing "Watch The Puppet" on a french radio in 1981! some good old memories

dj mojo said...

I played in the firs lineup of SWANS w/Gira, Jhonathan Kane, Sue Hanel..I had this record stolen from my collecton and the fact that you have it available on your blog is just stupendous. Good work.