The Sway Machinery - Purity and Danger


Purity and Danger, the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2011 release The House of Friendly Ghosts, is The Sway Machinery’s third full length album and the clearest articulation of the band’s mission to date. The new album presents The Sway Machinery’s unique sound that emerges from the intersection between past and future.

Bandleader Jeremiah Lockwood says about the music that, “The Sway Machinery is on a mission to liberate the ghosts. We refuse to keep the enmity of dead men alive. Instead, we mine the past to resurrect the joys and myths of our friends, the ghosts. We claim their songs as our rightful inheritance, and offer them to you to be used as tools of liberation.”

Coming with a collection of headbangers culled from the vault of century-old sacred Ashkenazi Jewish melodies, The Sway Machinery offers its most detailed and precise evocation of the soul of the past. The record displays the band’s trademark sound that mines the world’s popular musics for gold in which to set the jewels of Cantorial melodies. The record features a set of fresh material, as well as a handful of unrecorded classics that have been honed for years on stage.

The Sway Machinery’s incomparable musicians are a brotherhood of artists with decades of experience in NYC’s afro-beat, neo-funk, experimental and blues scenes. The players are members or sidemen in popular contemporary groups such as Antibalas, Iron and Wine and Arcade Fire.

The Sway Machinery’s new album represents a ritual gesture that welcomes the listener in with a spirit of love. Purity and Danger projects a sound equally at home on the festival stage, the dance floor and the deep listening space of your stereo or headphones. With this latest installation of the band’s ongoing trajectory, The Sway Machinery has created its most chiseled enunciation of its foundational concept.

"All these incongruous influences are present, in varying degrees, in the group’s upbeat new record, “Purity and Danger.” On it, Afro-pop horn parts and Lockwood’s intricate vocals (often sung in Aramaic or Hebrew) are held together by the standout beats of the group’s drummer, John Bollinger." --Dan Kaufman,The New Yorker

"In a return to Afro-pop infused cantorial traditionals and modern blues myth-making, The Sway Machinery comfortably resettles into its epic vision, though this time with even more variance in vocals, guitar styles, and layered and progressive sound structures."--Hillel Broder, The Forward

"The Sway Machinery obliterates borders not just of cultures and eras, but of sensibilities. There’s a lot to be appreciated in the seamless combinations. Or you can just enjoy the grooves."--Steve Hochman, Southern California Public Radio

"There’s no band in the world who sound remotely like them. Mashing up hypnotic Saharan duskcore, biting postpunk, Afrobeat, funk and ancient Hasidic ngunim with a searing, guitar-fueled undercurrent, they’re one of the most individualistic and consistently exciting groups to emerge from this city in this century." --New York Music Daily

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