Interesting article about Michael Gira by Alan Licht in Wire 233. I didn’t realized Gira had any connection to Glenn Branca. Maybe I should just assume that connection exists with anyone downtown with any proximity to a guitar from 1977-1987.
I guess you could make the argument that the Swans were part of a American tradition of emphasizing sound, timbre, physicality of presence over form etc. that includes Cage, Feldman, Oliveros.
Ironically, Gira, Throbbing Gristle and Laurie Anderson could be seen as being in the same historical groove, crossing performace art with rock.
I recall liking the Swans as a teenager because of the extremity and slowness. I only heard the records, though. Now I wonder what the live shows were like.