Archive for the ‘Factory’ Category

Side by side: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Electricity (FAC 6)

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

The impossibly stylish sleeve design to the debut single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, ‘Electricity’, was an opening statement of intent by Factory Records, one so unusual to produce that it set the production presses on fire, with the result that the intended press run was left incomplete, apparently. It’s thermographed print was at one time de rigueur for stylish business cards – though black-on-black print as found here was perhaps a little more unusual. Whatever, this release in its original form has been a much sought after item and one you wouldn’t have imagined seeing again in its original form. However, 2019 saw the release of a boxed set of facsimile recreations of the first ten Factory Records artefacts to commemorate 40 years of the label, ‘Use Hearing Protection – Factory Records 1978-1979’ by Rhino Records. Let’s look at the original and recreation side by side…

The 1979 original

The beautifully minimal original cover – it has survived 42 years in good shape now. My copy of the vinyl is OK, hardly blemish free – also, it is a mis-press as it has the side A label on the B side too. Ooops! As for the music… famously, despite having re-recorded both songs at Cargo Studios with Martin ‘Zero’ Hannett as producer, the band insisted that their original somewhat low-fi and wonky version (recorded on the Winston 4-track recorder and produced by the band and then manager Paul Collister (aka Chester Valentino) in the latter’s garage, christened ‘Henry’s’),  was used for the A side. But Tony Wilson insisted that the lush re-recording of ‘Almost’ was used on the B side.

This original ‘Electricity’ as released on Factory FAC 6 can be found on CD in the unlikely source of the ‘Peel Sessions 1979-1983’ CD released back in 2000. Meanwhile, ‘Almost (Hannett/Cargo Studios Version)’ can be found on the 2003 CD re-issue of the band’s debut album.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Electricity (FAC 6) 1979 original - front cover

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Electricity (FAC 6) 1979 original – front cover


Year by Year: The Durutti Column – 1979

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

The first post in a long-running arc that will look in some depth across one of my long-standing, enduring favourites, The Durutti Column. A fascinating discography to dig into – as well as the prime album releases there is a rich variety of quality work that first saw light of day on obscure compilations, one-off releases with a variety of friendly labels and the like. Unlike the Cocteau Twins, I wasn’t there from the off and it wasn’t until 1982 that I started to buy Durutti Column records – but been collecting from then forward, on and off. So, I am no expert – along the way I’ll likely learn much, so if the band is one you’ve never quite known, but you are curious, this may be a good beginners guide – I’m sure I’ll learn a lot of new things too as I delve back into researching some more of the weird and wonderful releases.

I expect to dip in and out and feature whichever versions of the release I may have – over the years, along the way, some of my original copies have parted company, including a lovely copy of the original sandpaper cover debut album pressing, when it could still be had for a decent price second-hand… (sighs)… But The Durutti Column have been a well loved musical obsession and there have been many re-issue programmes over the years which have brought previously difficult to find works back to the light.

An assemblage of Durutti Column releases from over the years

^ An assemblage of Durutti Column releases from over the years

Lets start then with where it began, a release that in its original format is near impossible to find in mint quality and, even if you did find it, the price would doubtless be eye-watering… (more…)

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: ‘Music 1977-80’ book (UK, Dinsong Ltd, 1980)

Monday, December 28th, 2020

How far Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark progressed from the time they released that first limited edition 7” pressing on Factory records in the summer of 1979 so swiftly. A re-release of the single on the new Virgin-backed label DinDisc by September alongside a high-profile support act slot for Gary Numan on his first solo live tour. The Gramophone Suite studio and release of their second single and debut album in the early months of 1980. And then by Spring, the big breakthrough with the lush re-recording of ‘Messages’ and first singles chart success. Hardly time to take breath before Autumn and even bigger, international success with ‘Enola Gay’ and, on its way, their second album, ‘Organisation’. Whew!

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book cover

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book cover


Button badge goodness: Assorted record company logo pins

Saturday, November 14th, 2020

For no reason other than on my travels over the years I have come across these and I do love a nice little enamel lapel pin, here are a few record company logo badges. The most unusual is probably the Genetic Records badge – Martin Rushent’s label back in the day. The Capitol and Parlophone ones came via an early Record Store Day goodie bag courtesy of London’s fine Sister Ray records on Berwick Street.

Various record company logo badges

^ Various record company logo badges


‘Peter Saville Estate 1-127’ book

Monday, September 14th, 2020

It’s not a great surprise I imagine, given my musical tastes as documented on VersionCrazy, to realise that I like much of the design work by Peter Saville. ‘Estate 1-127’ is the second book solely dedicated to his work that I  bought, the first being ‘Designed by Peter Saville’. That had coincided with a retrospective exhibition at London’s Design Museum in 2003, ‘The Peter Saville Show’.

Peter Saville 'Estate 1-127' exhibition catalogue front cover

^ Peter Saville ‘Estate 1-127’ exhibition catalogue front cover