On the same day, two important figures in Kurt Swinghammer’s life passed away. If you’ve ever experienced the tragedy of losing someone influential in your world, you know the heavy feelings that come along with it. But as much as the significance in loss was, the significance is gain was the same. Swinghammer was inspired by the personal experience to write.
What came about was the first piece in an eventual record. The song: “Jack Layton and Grace Appleton”. Jack Layton, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party and his passing, was announced to the artist by newscast early one morning. Grace Appleton was passed that afternoon, and is Swinghammer’s mother.
An interesting element of the song is that the lyrics clearly drive the song. They illustrate what happened, who Jack Layton and Grace Appleton were, their careers, and cleverly includes a hook that mentions the two were never mentioned together, but have a somber connection. The music video includes an animation of 1200 hand drawn frames by Swinghammer and is really quite moving.
In 2011, Swinghammer was invited to be the first Artist in Residence at the National Music Center in Calgary, Alberta, in which he received access to their world-renowned collection of synthesizers. The single features a synthesizer from 1952, and part of the track’s exotic sound is because of the unique synth.
One of the synthesizers was associated with composer Brian Eno. Eno’s “Music for Airports” was the only album Swinghammer played for his mother while she was in care up until her final days, and was an important aesthetically inspiration to reflect on her life. The album art features a visual reference to Eno’s “Another Green World”, as well as a portrait of Appleton. “Another Another” is the record, Swinghammer’s 13th indie release, anticipated May 12th.