Swans – Love Of Life / Amnesia (1992)

This little remix EP accompanied the release of the Love of Life album by Swans back in 1992. It makes things a touch confusing whilst researching online as both 12″s have the same title. It takes two tracks from that record, and pairs them alongside “long versions”, which are essentially drawn-out, more atmospheric takes on the classic original tracks. This “single” isn’t particularly rare, but at the same time it isn’t very easy to find either. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but don’t expect these to fall off trees. Despite this, you can still get it fairly cheap (expect to pay around £15). I found my copy buried in among all the crap at Kelly’s Records in Cardiff market, much to my delight. This will eventually go inside my Love of Life black box set, which to date is still missing a record (White Light). When I get a copy of White Light I’ll do a separate review for that as well and then do the Love of Life album review + box set overlook in another post, probably as something special like the 1000th post or something (2020 edit: the 1000th post didn’t end up being Swans related).

The title track remix doesn’t really offer much, just drawing out the track a bit more and adding a weird funk to it, as well as a strange dance beat. When it kicks in proper, it has more time to unfold that the 3-minutes-or-so album version, but it does get a bit repetitive after 6 minutes. The “Amnesia” remix however is totally brilliant. It takes the drum pattern and extends it, filling the void with hellish screams, horns, mysterious sounds and Jarboe’s haunting vocals. The original version of “Amnesia” is so short and to the point for a Swans song, so this creepy atmospheric version definitely feels more like the real thing!

Both remixes were done by a guy called Martin Bisi, who runs a recording studio in New York with Bill Laswell (the guy who produced The Burning World (2020 edit: and a general all round genius)), and the 12″ was put out by Gira’s own label, Young God Records. You check out both extended remix tracks below. Get in!