Astral Swans is Matthew Swann – a human song-maker specializing in abstract narratives of lonerism, frailty, absurdity, and whimsy, all told with darkly comedic empathy, and helpless concern.
This self-titled record is Swann’s most upbeat, catchy & immediate album to date. Each song operates as an absurdist short story filled with Swann’s wry observations of the sad beauty of mundane moments. The songs range from affirmations of joy amidst dread, composed in the streets of Shimokitazawa Tokyo (The Wind In A Mindless Universe), to ballads of disoriented uncertainty set against the backdrop of early quarantine (Spiral). Songs about birds heckling the anxious and heartbroken in Vondelpark Amsterdam (Bird Songs), to a cover of the Cat Power classic Cross Bones Style, sung as a duet with Julie Doiron (Eric’s Trip, Mount Eerie). The album closer I Was Awake For Awhile is an interrogation of somebody who is trying to piece together the events that transpired over many days of, well… being awake.
Astral Swans (ST) was produced and engineered by Paul Chirka (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra), and Brock Geiger (Reuben and the Dark), with Swann functioning as a third producer. Sonically it is rich and spacious, and features a diverse array of sounds ranging from delicate string arrangements, to atmospheric synth freak outs, and deconstructive guitar solos. All the while, seated atop all the instrumental beauty and chaos floats Swann’s uniquely haunting voice which effortlessly warbles and swoons through its natural range and into Swann’s trademark falsetto. Astral Swans ST brings with it an arts commune worth of fantastic collaborators. Guest performers include: Julie Doiron (Eric’s Trip, Mount Eerie), Cassia Hardy (Wares), L.T. Leif, Scott Munro (Preoccupations, Chad VanGaalen), Shalom Toy (Silvering), Laura Hickli, Minami Taga (Mako Puri), Swann’s childhood friend Carolyn Sweet, Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards, Weakerthans) and more. Each guest adds their own unique addition to the sound, bringing their own bit of the world into Swann’s solipsistic compositions.
Listen on Bandcamp
Videos on YouTube