There is a beauty in controlled cacophony, and Michael Gira has been searching for that beauty continuously since forming Swans in 1982. More often than not, he’s found it. And with Swans just-released double-album “To Be Kind,” he’s perfected a high-decibel onslaught, a wall of sound marrying resonant drones and heart-rending melodies. It’s an aural assault that, somewhat paradoxically, comes across as loving and even – gasp – accessible.
Gira always has been a confrontational artist, one whose earliest workings in experimental music greatly affected the subsequent development of post-rock and the heavier aspects of industrial music. He comes across as a serious, intense man, and the music of Swans is certainly both serious and intense. It’s also loud. Incredibly loud. For Gira, volume is not just a side effect of the combined sounds of amplified instruments, but is rather part of the compositional process.
Swans broke up for more than a decade, but since reforming in 2010, Gira has led the band from strength to strength, to the point where “To Be Kind” might more than reasonably be considered one of the very finest of the 13 Swans albums to see release since 1982. Guests like St. Vincent and Bill Rieflin certainly add to the dense, sometimes squalling, but always darkly compelling songs. At the heart of it all stands Gira, an iconoclastic musician and composer who has followed a singular path with dogged integrity.
For the second time since its reformation, Swans perform in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.) for a show at 8 p.m. Saturday. Xiu Xiu will open the show. Tickets are $15 advance, and $18 on the day of the show (box office, Ticketmaster).