THE SWINING & RED RAW AND SORE
RERELEASED ALBUM CLEOPATRA RELEASE: NOVEMBER 2, 1999 REVIEW: NOVEMBER 9, 1999
"The Swining", originally released in 1993 on Alfa Records in Japan, is one of the maddest, finest and most eclectic moments of Raymond Watts' career. It's been out of print for a long time, but has finally been reissued together with the even harder to find 1994 Alfa EP "Red Raw and Sore", on one CD.
As for "The Swining", it's one of those rare albums that is almost entirely flawless. It spans a hysterical amount of genres. From the church choirs that meet rushing drum machines in "The Fountain of Miracles", over the sampled mambo jazz in "Black Mambo", to the epic twelve minute finale "Symphony for the Devil". Of course almost every song is packed with the hardhitting orchestral samples Watts has made his trademark. Total innovation that pushes the boundaries until they break. Just listen to the way he incorporates a snippet of Grieg in "Find It Fuck It Forget It".
What makes "The Swining", and Pig in general, stand out from many other experimental artists, is Watts' stunning songwriting talents. Every song has pop hooks that most bands would kill for, in the middle of all the genrebreaking mayhem.
"Red Raw and Sore" is no exception. Featuring some remixes, amongst others a raw, funky reworking of "The Fountain of Miracles" by Watts himself, it's a well fitting complement to "The Swining". But the real treat is the two exclusive songs, "Red Raw and Sore" and "One Meatball". The first is a piece of sampler boogie that combines harsh rhythms and sweet melodies in a way only Pig can. The latter is even better; a bluesy jazz tune with incredible brass and vocals that sound like they're recorded in a sleazy New Orleans jukejoint.
This reissue is a blessing and a must for anyone who has ever been the slightest attracted to Pig's world of tequila, black humour and rock'n'roll.