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The Burning World

Swans Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.13 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

The Burning World was originally released in 1989 and marks the first and last major label record for Michael Gira's Swans. The album was produced by Bill Laswell, a pairing that Gira claims was not a good fit and was forced upon him by the label. Despite Gira's own distaste for the record, its reputation has grown over the years and is now considered a fine effort from one of the most important and longest lasting New York post-punk groups. Long out of print on CD and fetching ridiculous sums on eBay, Water is proud to bring this title back into print and allow a new generation of Swans fans to hear it for the first time. Tracks:1. The River That Runs With Love Won't Run Dry 2. Let It Come Down 3. Can't Find My Way Home 4. Mona Lisa, Mother Earth 5. (She's A) Universal Emptiness 6. Saved 7. I Remember Who You Are 8. Jane Mary, Cry One Tear 9. See No More 10. God Damn The Sun

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodious masterpiece of many moods July 25 2008
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
The Burning World pays tribute to author Paul Bowles as is evident from titles like Let It Come Down and the mention of "sheltering sky" in the lyrics of Saved. The album is a classic by default; the artists were of the opinion that producer Bill Laswell didn't understand what they wished to achieve, hence their problematic view of The Burning World.

Still it is a work of great beauty. As far as accessibility goes, this is the one Swans work that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people with different musical tastes - from the Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Joy Division fan to those who love atmospheric rock or eastern-influenced world music sounds.

Swans gave up the ghost in the late 90s with an awesome legacy in their own albums and side-projects like World of Skin. An acquired taste, the band has on various albums explored extreme emotions and extreme music. This gentle, melodious album also has its moments of intensity like the devastating God Damn The Sun where Michael Gira out-Cohens Leonard on a tale of despair with a twirling seductive tune.

Another breathtaking track is their interpretation of Steve Winwood's Can't Find My Way Home, hypnotically and spookily sung by Jarboe over the eerie instrumentation, as is I Remember Who You Are which turns Jarboe's expressive voice into a medium of tenderness, empathy and reassurance. The tuneful track Saved with its spiritual undertone is another highlight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a teriffic hated and underrated album! May 29 2004
Format:Audio CD
even the swans themselves hate this wonderful thing.
although it can't be compared with all the amazing stuff that came after it, especially in terms of richness of arrangements, the songs and the deliveries are very, very strong indeed.
sometimes an album has to be judged WITHOUT comparison to other ones of the same artist. and this one is simply great by itself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the greats Jan. 10 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
One of the greatest rock cds ever released, this little-known gem is stunningly packed with brooding, hopeless lyrics that tell us that nothing is left, nothing matters, and there is no release.
God Damn the Sun and (She's A) Universal Emptiness are two of the most desolate, powerful songs I've ever heard.
Outstanding cd without a weak track.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Burning World may have been a commercial failure, but it was an artistic success Oct. 12 2006
By Internal Abbatoir - Published on Amazon.com
Burning World was "the album" where the Swans started to focus more on the other end of the musical spectrum. The heavy, dissonant guitars are completely gone. They have been replaced with a more transcendental acoustic folk music sound. Overall, this album was probably a major shock to their fanbase back in 1989, and they were probably accused of the ultimate underground music taboo of "selling out" (Burning World was also the only Swans album to be released on a major label and produced by an outside source). But, who cares... this album is still really good, even though at times it doesn't sound like Swans (because of the production, I imagine). Some of these songs are strikingly beautiful.

This album is much more immediate and relaxing than the rest of the Swans' catalogue.

And, with that in mind, I think it stands out as their most unique album.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tuneful and atmospheric March 24 2005
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Burning World pays tribute to author Paul Bowles as is evident from titles like Let It Come Down and the mention of "sheltering sky" in the lyric of Saved. It's a work of great beauty and wide accessibility, being the one Swans work that ought to appeal to musical tastes ranging from Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Joy Division to the fans of atmospheric rock and even eastern-influenced world music.

The style has been called über-folk; acoustics guitars and strings - violin, viola and cello - are prominent while the tabla is one of the main contributors to the engaging rhythmic textures. Judging by the quality of the melodies, lyrics and arrangements, The Burning World is one of the most outstanding works of the 1980s.

Swans mark I disbanded in the late 90s with an impressive legacy of own albums and side-projects like World of Skin. An acquired taste, the band has on various albums explored extreme emotions through extreme music.

Their early 1980s work explored harsh industrial/extreme heavy metal sounds, then Children of God (1987) blended softness & severity whilst Love Of Life & White Light from the Mouth of Infinity (both 1991) & Great Annihilator (1995) provided powerful guitar rock and Soundtracks For The Blind (1996) investigated the drone & atmospheric electronics.

Underneath the tuneful songs and gentle delivery of Burning World runs an undercurrent of melancholia and desolation which turns to utter despair on the devastating God Damn The Sun where Michael Gira out-Cohens Leonard on a tale of woe set to a churning seductive tune.

Hauntingly sung by Jarboe, their cover of Steve Winwood's Can't Find My Way Home equals their two interpretations of Love Will Tear Us Apart. Jarboe's tremulous vocals reinforce the oneiric feel of I Remember Who You Are whilst the tabla lends a hypnotic quality to Mona Lisa, Mother Earth. The beautiful lilting love song Saved blends the wry and the romantic in an arresting way.

After the demise of Swans, Michael Gira would explore terrain not too far removed from The Burning World in his Angels of Light project which created masterpieces like New Mother and How I Loved You.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Swans discover tunes June 17 2006
By russell clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Once upon a time listening to the Swans was about as enjoyable as sticking knitting needles in your ears and the effect was often the same. Relentless pulverising beats without the vicarious thrill that a band like say Big Black could give you. Also without the warped humour of The Butthole Surfers, this was bleak humourless fare. Up until this album the Swans were industrial noise-nicks you lump in with Skinny Puppy and Front 242etc."Time is Money (B******)" was the rape scene in "Irreversible" set to music. Then out of nowhere came "The Burning World" and although the world view is obstensively still as bleak as ever suddenly it's set to a gorgeous lush musical landscapes. A couple of the songs actually feature la la, s. Gira goes pop. "Burning World" is The Swans in collision with The Chills while the Waterboys look on.

And goddam as Gira would say, if there isn't a little optimism in here. Opening track "The River that runs with love won't run dry" is a statement in itself. But add in the warm washes of violin and perfectly picked guitar notes with Jarboes honeyed backing vocals and you have a song so uplifting Westlife could cover it...if they had any taste ....or talent.

"Let it come down" is more like old style Swans. "I will drown in flames" sings Gira portentously in his cavernous vocals to a stumbling deluge of charcoal bass, percussion and wheezing strings. Jarboe sings a beautiful version of Steve Winwoods "Can't find my way home" backed by tabla, mournful strings and random guitar notes sprinkled like diamonds on a tar pit. The tabla provides rhythmic propulsion to "Mona Lisa(Mother Earth)" with suitably eerie backing vocals. "Saved" is another song suffused with uncharacteristic hope. It has a sumptuous melody, twinkling guitars and more opulent backing from Jarboe., who sings wonderfully again on "I Remember who you are" a string smothered ballad of fevered brow intensity. On "Jane Mary cry one tear", "Everything is a cause for sorrow" which may explain the funereal arrangement something it shares with the pitch black (She's a )Universal Emptiness", while "See no more" is two paced, starting with urgent spiky guitars and tumbling percussion until Giras vocals pull in the reins." See our sun go black because we made one mistake" he grumbles. It ends with ardent tipples of bazouki before "Goddam the Sun", a ballad of jaw dropping bleakness with contradictory fervent strokes of guitar and strings.

Overall despite the inevitable themes of death, despair and torpor this is musically a rich and textured album, with many moments and songs of outstanding beauty. Don,t let the granite faced disposition of Mr Gira fool you. Within him sit's a heart that beats in time with the rest of us. His world may be burning but he's prepared to concede that for us it may still be a place of hope and wonder.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a teriffic hated and underrated album! May 29 2004
By ilan bahar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
even the swans themselves hate this wonderful thing.
although it can't be compared with all the amazing stuff that came after it, especially in terms of richness of arrangements, the songs and the deliveries are very, very strong indeed.
sometimes an album has to be judged WITHOUT comparison to other ones of the same artist. and this one is simply great by itself.
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