Swati’s guitar work on her eponymous debut album is something that demands attention like a siren or a baby crying. The sound of her guitar, which is “a twelve-string guitar fitted with eight strings,” is loud and pronounced; each string shouts when it sings. When all of the strings form chorus in chords, they wail with the power of actual voices, however many hundred voices there might be in a sustained riff, and this wail gives a sublime feeling of vastness, that there are so many voices, so many possibilities for sound, all within one guitar.
Swati doesn’t simply rely on the sheer power of number to make her listeners’ ears turn before their heads do, for each string shouts when it sings. In less populated melodies, each string screams through the silence that lies beneath every song, turning what would normally be spaces between sounds into space in sound, the silence screaming almost as loud as each string. Swati does not stop there though. She plays with distortion throughout the album that filters her hard percussive guitar, sharp strings singing in abundance like sand in a desert, into something more pervasive and ethereal, like sifting sand into water.
Swati’s guitar bridge is bigger than most. She can go more places with her guitar than other people can, and most certainly goes there. Swati is sure to give every place she can a good once over, seeing where she can benefit in percussive sounds, distorting effects, and simple proficiency. She does not produce her songs like houses in a development, but creates each song differently from the last, incorporating all of the things she’s seen from her journeys with the guitar to bring us listeners something genuine and exotic to live in for about four and a half minutes each.
Ani DiFranco – Dilate
Melissa Ferrick – Willing to Wait
Kaki King – Everybody Loves You