Fans of brutal music, here’s a chance to own a piece of history. Swans sold one of their master reels from their Holy Money sessions in 2010, and, citing a friend’s financial hardship, the buyer is offering it for sale once again. View the auction here.
This is my prized possession, but a friend is in a dire situation so I’m listing this for sale.
This the original master reel for Swans’ masterpiece, “Holy Money”. It’s one of a kind (obviously) and you will never see this again unless whoever purchases this one decides to sell it. The majority of these master reels are still in the possession of Jarboe, from whom I purchased this particular one.
This is an 1/4 track Ampex 406 reel. It has no inner sheet but the box has the full info written on it. Michael Gira’s handwriting is what is on the outside of the box. The reel box has “Swans” etc in black marker in Michael Gira’s handwriting. You are getting an attached signed letter of authenticity from Jarboe. It is stamped in blood.
To PLAY this reel (and it is 25 years old) you would have to do what is called “bake” the reel. And sometimes that works and other times it doesn’t work. It just depends on the condition of a particular old reel. I don’t know what kind of equipment is used to bake reels but some engineers know how to do it.
This reel has been stored for years in NYC and was at one time in Swans rehearsing studio on the lower east side. It is a part of history.
There you have it. If you wanted it four years ago and lost out, your second chance is here.
Holy Money came at a pivotal period in Swans’ development. Their debut EP was a straightforwardly No-Wave record, and they quickly morphed from that into a monstrously brutal machine, with menacing tribal drumming and punishingly slow and noisy guitar riffs underscoring the horrifically self-abasing lyrics of singer/visionary Michael Gira. The Young God EP is representative of the period, and is completely awesome (it contains the notorious “Raping a Slave”).
But perhaps feeling painted into a corner, Swans began casting about for new sources of inspiration. Bassist Algys Kizys and singer Jarboe were added to the band, and the new lineup experimented with keyboards, tape loops, acoustic instruments, and frankly, restraint. Holy Money and its sister/predecessor LP Greed were both recorded in the same sessions, and contain alternate versions of some of the same songs—there’s a very good reason both albums were reissued on CD as a single package (bargainously, along with Young God and the Cop album). These are transitional albums leading to the stunning fruition of the band on Children Of God, which was THE must-have Swans recording until the recent The Seer. But often, transitional albums are the most interesting, and Holy Money remains my favorite by the band. Check out the four tacks from the reel for sale:
Swans - “Fool (#2)”
Swans - “Another You”
Swans - “Money is Flesh (#2)”—the track that permanently cemented me as a fan
Swans - “Coward”
More live Swans after the jump…