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In retrospect, this for me is the best of the solo work. It bristles with the pathos of Leonard Cohen whilst retaining some of the dissonant anger of The Swans. Retrospective, wistful and twisting with spiteful melodies. He wrangles hope from cynicism.

So as the the brute force of I Crawled gradually diminished the anger never completely faded. Instead of painting the world in black and white, Michael slowly introduced other colours into the palette. Still performing with a naked soul he introduces us to "My Suicide" as a psychological catharsis instead of an ideation plan. If that fails to shift inner blockages, nothing will ever work.

Whilst shoveling a crate of Pills, bottles of Citalopram or IVing bags of heroin freezes a problem, here he takes a dive. The pictures of his parents on the cover provide the emotional clues.

Engaging with himself like no other artist, he articulates a mundane horror, stretching over the resonating palette. Whilst some took his insights as SAW VII, a chainsaw heaven, schlokkk hurrah, Michael cut deeper and heavier into the sinew than any other artist to reveal himself. By doing this "act" he reveals the human soul. So outpours "My true body."

So when he asks you to peer into his personal abyss and into "Two Women" he takes you to his cave. Dark folk - a link to the Swans but with a sombre acoustic overcast as the electric drones rise to provide an anthemic finale. But within the mainframe he mourns relationships and the need for connection. Song for Nico laments another loss, the talent of someone who went into the darkness and trudged through the night.

Untitled Love Song dreams along like the latter part of the Velvet Underground and you expect Mo Tucker to chime within.

Probably the first of the solo work to buy before you proceed onto the others.
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on 12 April 2001
Exquisite.Michael Gira's voice is more haunting than ever and it rises on a wave of the purest music imaginable. If that is not enough it's actually the lyrics that will undo you. This is quite simply astounding ,it will leave you breathless.
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Angels Of Light's second album opens with the melodious Evangeline which is grave, somber and simultaneously uplifting somehow. These complex sound sculptures comprise conflicting emotions - characteristic of all Gira's work - but they're not necessarily impenetrable or inaccessible to those unfamiliar with his oeuvre. In fact, I can easily see a track like Untitled Love song being appreciated as just that - a simple love song.

Less easy to grasp, "My True Body" represents the third in a trilogy initiated by Where Does A Body End (on Great Annihilator) and Where Does Your Body Begin (on Drainland). Poetic expressions & lyrical twists abound, like these wry words in Public Embarrassment Blues:

"Tell me you love me
But not very much
Don't bother with reasons
Just go."

The stanza echoes the sentiment of the song "Green Eyes" on Nick Cave's album The Boatman's Call.

Overall I find How I Loved You less satisfying than New Mother. Only the tracks Evangeline and Two Women rival the magnificence of his masterpieces like The Garden Hides The Jewel, Song For My Father, Angels of Light, This Is Mine and Forever Yours on the first album.

The aforementioned two songs however are reason enough to acquire this album since they radiate Gira's magic at its most moving. As one of those heretics who consider The Burning World one of the best albums Swans ever made, I am pleased with the direction Angels Of Light have taken.

I also recommend the 2008 album We Are Him and of his earlier work, Ten Songs for Another World by World of Skin, Swans' Various Failures and for the intrepid prepared to venture into the experimental, Number One of Three by The Body Lovers.
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on 8 June 2016
my favourite album at the moment
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on 24 July 2015
Luscious, resonant production of fairly obvious/ordinary progressions. It would still be OK except for the vocals which are frankly rather flat. So I'd give it 2 Stars but accept that those who have not heard this kind of thing done better might be impressed, and so have given 3.
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