A Certain Ratio – ‘Waterline’ (Factory, FAC 52) UK 12″ single

What a brilliant single this was – an absolutely killer bassline, thumping and skittering around and anchoring this along with Donald Johnson’s crisp, precise drums and percussion workout. Atop was some seriously haunted horns and tape echo/electronic manipulations, with the dual vocals of the short-lived Martha Tilson bringing an ‘almost there’ presence and (presumably) Simon Topping in vocodered form. Something of a lost gem though – it hails from the same sessions as the ‘Sextet’ album, recorded late 1981 and released early 1982, but in somewhat typical Factory fashion of the time, it did not appear on that LP. Curiously, it has proved elusive in later reissues too – it can be found on 2002’s ‘Early’ CD compilation, but oddly was neglected from the ‘Old and the New’ compilation and various re-issues of ‘Sextet’.

A Certain Ratio - 'Waterline' 12 inch single, front design

^ A Certain Ratio - 'Waterline' 12 inch single, front design

As for its wrapping, this Ben Kelly designed sleeve cross-references ‘Sextet’, even though the song never appeared on it, with the painting used on ‘Sextet’ (itself merely a detail from a larger, religious-themed work) reduced to a small detail against the bold blue block colour, with the delicate lines of the typeface Bernhard Cursive for its minimal textual details.

Waterline - rear sleeve/label design

^ Waterline - rear sleeve/label design

A Certain Ratio - Waterline label A side design

^ A Certain Ratio - Waterline label A side design

Waterline - side B label - Funaezekea

^ Waterline - side B label - Funaezekea

Waterline - front cover detail

^ Waterline - front cover detail

Waterline - FAC52 - rear sleeve detail

^ Waterline - FAC52 - rear sleeve detail

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