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Kinder Gottes auf der Bühne,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Feel Good Now (Audio CD)
This live album was compiled from performances during the band's 1987 tour of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. It was originally recorded on a Sony Walkman by the sound engineer and remastered in 2002.
Studio versions of all these tracks are found on Children Of God, where the astonishing juxtapositions that first emerged on Holy Money and A Screw attain remarkable cohesion. Keyboards, acoustic guitars and gentle vocals become haunting vehicles of the band's eerie torment, serving as startling contrasts to the abrasive Beautiful Child and New Mind. Thus the music gains an even more unsettling quality than the relentless industrial grinding and pounding of their 'no wave' beginnings.
On Feel Good Now, the emotional extremes still find expression in ferocity and volume, heralded by the primal shouts of the introduction. With the exception of Blackmail and Blood & Honey, the most fragile songs from Children of God appear with rough edges or in feral form with propulsive rhythms.
However, it's anything but 'Children of God on the crest of no wave'. Within a framework of bludgeoning drums, swirling keyboards and polyphonic bass/guitar patterns, churning textures arise that accommodate both the bellowing voice of Gira and Jarboe's exquisitely articulated soprano and contralto. Multiple dimensions and intriguing depth are the result.
Besides hollers and howls, the blistering nineteen minute long Blind Love includes roars, bawls, shouts, yells, whoops, and yelps like those of Alan Vega. Categorising these cries from the event horizons of rage and despair sorely taxes the vocabulary. One of the mutations might be a demented yodel.
Children of God's exquisite Like A Drug becomes a high wired metallic gallop, whilst New Mind gains hypnotic power by its speedier, even tempo and ends as if it were sucked into a black hole. With Jarboe on lead vocals, Blood and Honey's slow pace and droning resonance have a subtly sinister effect.
The intro to Sex, God, Sex might be mistaken for a snatch of Edgar Varèse after which it takes a mournful, meandering course, more anguished than angry. In these ten and a half minutes, the male and female vocals weave a spellbinding tension that overpowers the sound of the instruments.
Frenzied drumming opens Beautiful Child where Gira again finds himself in extremis, which is followed by Jarboe's shimmering Blackmail. She holds the notes towards the end for what seems like an impossibly long time, which adds to the magic.
The intoxicating interaction of female/male vocals returns to adorn Children of God with its dense wall of sound and the spacious Beautiful Reprise Backstab. The album provides 75 minutes of the band at their ferocious and disquieting best.
Feel Good Now is highly recommended to Swans fans, particularly due to the radically different interpretations of familiar tracks which make it much more than just another "live" album.