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Swans - Time Is Money (Bastard) CD (album) cover



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Prog Sothoth
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Technically the first release of the 'dollar sign' era, this EP marks the transition from the pummeling sludge of their Cop/Young God days to their equally dark yet more industrial and experimental explorations. "Time Is Money (Bastard)" opens violently with a looped nail-gun resonating like a jack-hammer while Jarboe screams like a banshee before the song segues into a rhythmic, danceable clamor. This would be Jarboe's memorable introduction to her presence in the band, but only later would her role really expand regarding their work. Ronaldo Gonzalez's live drums combine with Gira's programming to make for one hell of a cool percussive racket while he recites some of his most provocative lyrics in a ferocious manner. Rarely has he ever sounded this angry and unhinged.

The 'mix' version of this song can also be found here, with an extended length and some alterations, including the lack of Jarboe's caterwauls. A slightly shortened version of this track is what can be found on reissues and compilations concerning the Greed/Holy Money era. It actually bugs me that some versions of their early songs on their original releases are so hard to come by these days, with the reissues changing certain things up and omitting a couple of tunes.

The other track, "Sealed In Skin", is more of a slow ominous dirge, in which Gira uses a deep low voice, which was actually rather novel at the time. Even more notable was the strong presence of a piano carrying the tune along with the drums, in which this was apparently the first time a piano was used in their music.

It's an interesting release in that it bridges the changes the band was undergoing while still possessing plenty of harrowing characteristics, particularly the original rendition of the title track. Certainly something to check out for those interested into digging into the band's 80's material.

Report this review (#1136611)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This single marks the first move away from the Swans original slow and sludgy sound and the first time that Jerboe appears on a Swans record. Everything previous to this was ultra-heavy and thick noise sludge rock. The first version of "Time is Money (Bastard)" has a more industrial dance sound to it, much lighter than their music from before. The rhythm on this is created by drums and a nail gun. Gira's vocals still have that angry sound to them nevertheless, but we are seeing a move away from that sludge metal from before and it is a first step to the excellent progressive rock that they would later adopt.

The 2nd track is called "Sealed in Skin". This one is much slower, pretty much the same slow plodding beat that they were known for on previous recordings, but this time, the wall of noise is not there. Gira's vocals are all in a low register, almost grumbling, and the music is dark and disturbing, but not sludgy like before. Even though this is more similar to their earlier music, it is also an indication that those noise rock days are done. This is also the first time piano was used in Swans music.

The last track is an alternate mix of "Time is Money (Bastard)". It is a also a longer version at just over 7 minutes. This is where Jerboe makes her debut with the Swans making the screaming noises heard throughout the track. It starts out with a quick looping sound of the nail gun before settling into the upbeat industrial rhythm, and Gira is repeating some words. It's all beat and vocal loops at the beginning, then Gira starts with his non-melodic vocals. The beat is more unrelenting and heavy this time around. Unfortunately, it is less interesting than the other two tracks since there is much else going on here than what was described.

Of course, this is a sought after item for Swans fans because of the limited availability of the tracks. I don't really see that it will be that appealing to anyone else, but it is a landmark recording for the band because it marked the move away from their extreme music from before. It has 2 great tracks and one long repetitive track. 3 stars.

Report this review (#2151339)
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2019 | Review Permalink

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