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Circus Mort


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A New York City-based band formed in late 1979, by Michael Gira, brothers Dan and Josh Braun, Rick Oller and drummer Angelo Pudignano. Future Swan member Jonathan Kane was the third drummer. When the band broke up in 1981, Gira formed Swans, later joined by Kane. Dan Braun was also
a short lived member of Swans whose only recorded appearance is on the Body to Body, Job to Job compilation album. The Brauns joined The Del-Byzanteens (with future director Jim Jarmusch), then went on to form Deep Six.

On the earliest material, the band started out almost as a straight no wave band, with Don Christensen of The Contortions on bass. The band was originally called Metal Envelope before Circus Mort.
When the Brauns met Oller and Gira, they stepped in on bass and keys. The sound was very raw but very intellectual and theatrical with song titles like “Updown”, “Floor rising”, “Excitement”, “This Frustration” “Require, Require” . The sound was a mix of punk and no wave, kind of like Wire. The band’s original sound was quite unusual.

At some point a friend of the band’s manager, Susan Martin, suggested the band stop playing all in unison on every note and try some syncopation. The suggestion was disastrous: the band responded and quickly turned into a herky jerky Talking Heads-influenced embarrassment. The band trudged on till one fine day Mike Pedulla (RIP), the second drummer decided to suddenly quit the band. When Kane showed up to audition. It was a revelation.


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