Industrial Duo Azar Swan Purges Righteous Anger With 'Territorial'
If you stare into darkness long enough, your eyes adjust to the hidden corners, and begin to understand that whatever lurks was always there... waiting. Azar Swan's first two albums roamed in these corners of industrial-pop, inspired by Coil and Front Line Assembly, hypnotic in bleak and cutting electronics co-produced by Joshua Strawn and Zohra Atash, whose breathy-but-forceful vocals center the duo's music.
You can feel the thud and clank of "Territorial" unlike anything else in Azar Swan's catalog. That's due, in large part, to the duo trading in software for hardware instruments. "The goddamn sun is a golden knife," the duo sings. "The goddamn sun is a dead bird smeared across the sky in violent light." It's an arresting image seared into gossamer synths that almost choke the atmosphere. If 2014's And Blow Us A Kiss sounded like Azar Swan's industrial take on Robyn's desperate and bright electro-pop, then Savage Exile is primed to be a caliginous chasm coiled in righteous noise.
The New York duo has always been politically outspoken, but in the past year their music's content has begun to match its sonic rage, beginning with a choice pair of covers — David Bowie's "This Is Not America" and Leonard Cohen's "The Future" — and with the two-track release The Golden Age Of Hate; what they called "our most immediate reaction to the dark turns the world has taken recently." With the forthcoming Savage Exile, Azar Swan says in a press release that "this time it's a beautiful purging of anger."
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