Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – ‘Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)’ (Dindisc DIN40-12), 1982

The re-energised Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark will soon be releasing their second album since they returned to active duty, ‘English Electric’. The emerging picture points towards something that may revisit the spirit of 1983’s left-field wonder that is ‘Dazzle Ships’. Certainly the recently released cover artwork for the album harks back to Peter Saville’s angular design for that work.

'Maid of Orleans' front cover design 1

^ ‘Maid of Orleans’ front cover design 1

Focusing on another now iconic Peter Saville OMitD sleeve, ‘Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)’ on 12″ got the deluxe treatment, foil finish and all, when it was released in early 1982 and it is very much a thing of beauty. At least some copies got the foil treatment – I’m aware that some sleeves were on plain card instead with there being two further variants of the ‘stained glass’ design – one silver ink/grey reverse (akin to the 7″ design, the front anyway) and one white print/white reverse. Plus, of course, there was the ‘coin’ design sleeve as well (coming in another post).

'Maid of Orleans' front cover design 1 - detail

^ ‘Maid of Orleans’ front cover design 1 – detail

These original versions of the sleeve famously printed one of the B side titles as ‘Experiments in Vertical Take Off’ – a track that hadn’t been written. The white sleeve variant did correct this to some extent, but got the name slightly wrong, listing it as ‘Of All The Thing’s We’ve Done’ instead.

'Maid of Orleans' rear cover design 1 - detail

^ ‘Maid of Orleans’ rear cover design 1 – detail

The music is rather faultless though – the A side easily one of the band’s finest, while ‘Of All The Thing’s We’ve Made’ would eventually be promoted to end the ‘Dazzle Ships’ album. ‘Navigation’ is a personal favourite of mine, so I was glad when it finally appeared on CD format (even giving its name to the title of OMitD’s B sides collection). It has also since appeared on later CD issues of ‘Architecture & Morality’ but edited down slightly to excise the ticky-ticky noises that fade out at the end.

'Maid of Orleans' label design 1 - side A

^ ‘Maid of Orleans’ label design 1 – side A

The label design is something of a Peter Saville signature style, first coming to light on Factory releases such as Joy Division and New Order. (Saville was of course by this time the house designer for Dindisc.)

'Maid of Orleans' label design 1 - side B

^ ‘Maid of Orleans’ label design 1 – side B

One Response to “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – ‘Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)’ (Dindisc DIN40-12), 1982”

  1. Mark says:

    Nice. I’ve got the silver ‘medal’ sleeve one.

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