Recently, the singer-songwriter Antony Hegarty has been inspired by a peculiar out-of-body sensation. It's triggered by what he calls "swanlights ... the reflection of light on the surface of the water at night and the moment when a spirit jumps out of a body and turns into a violet ghost."
Next Tuesday, his band Antony and the Johnsons will release the Swanlights EP --- it's an extension of the full-length album by the same name and it includes two new b-sides, plus a remix of the title track by Oneohtrix Point Never. (The EP came out on vinyl two weeks ago for Record Store Day.)
All that talk of ghosts reminded me of Antony's visit to Studio 360 a few months back, when he told us about his long-time obsession with butoh. The Japanese modern dance form was a response to World War II. Performers make slow, deliberate movements, often channeling the more grotesque aspects of human nature. Many wear white body makeup, their darkly-lined eyes staring eerily at the audience, looking not at you but through you.
Antony described a performance by butoh master Kazuo Ohno that continues to haunt him --- in a good way: "The word butoh translated means something like 'the dance of darkness' or 'the descent into darkness,' but with Kazuo, he characterized an almost opposite trajectory. He embodied a kind of whiteness, very ghostly and otherworldly."
Although we'll have to wait until next week for the Swanlights EP to hit iTunes, we were able to snag a track for you to enjoy now.
Listen to "Swanlights (OPN edit)":
Watch the video for "Swanlights," directed by Antony's sister, Sara Hegarty: