‘The Blessed Glow of Labour: Independence, Style and Process in the Music of Swans’

Lockwood, Dean (2019) ‘The Blessed Glow of Labour: Independence, Style and Process in the Music of Swans’. In: Mute Records: Artists, Business, History. Bloomsbury Academic, London and New York, pp. 155-167. ISBN 978-1-5013-4060-4

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Item Type:Book Section
Item Status:Live Archive


The experimental American band, Swans, formed in 1982, have twice signed to Mute Records, a label which has consistently embraced diversity, refusing to be limited to any one style, aesthetic or ideological viewpoint. In this chapter, I suggest that Swans have developed an ethos in which their music is identified with a work of ceaseless mutation. I draw out their ethical and political sensibility of musical labour as a utopian endeavour. Mute has accommodated this sensibility, finding space alongside its more commercially successful acts for Swans’ less lucrative, speculative attitude towards independent music, which places the premium on performance as much as, if not more, than record production.

Keywords:Independence, Labour, Musicking, Style, Exemplary Agency, Post-punk
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
L Social studies > L200 Politics
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:35340
Deposited On:08 Apr 2019 11:19

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