Archive for the ‘Side by side’ 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


Side by side: Brian Eno – Music for Films Volume 2 (1983) and More Music For Films (2005)

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

Having already taken a deep dive into the complexities and version craziness of Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Films’, we are by no means done here. There is plenty left in the tank with the variations of the belated follow-up volume – with a particular focus on how you might piece together a digital version. (The answer is, not completely…)

Brian Eno - 'Music For Films Volume 2' 1983 front cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ 1983 front cover


Side by side: René Halkett and David Jay – ‘Nothing’ / ‘Armour’ 7″ (1981) and 20th Anniversary re-issue CD (2001)

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

1982 into 1983 was when I first really got the Bauhaus bug. Summer of 1983 into Autumn of that year in particular it reached fever-pitch, with having been able to see Bauhaus live and with the release of the band’s final album and various solo project releases from Tones On Tail and David J. This would continue for some time as I delved back into the band’s previous releases and other solo project releases.

Amongst them was the release in focus here. It sounded intriguing, from what little I knew about it. René Halkett, original member of The Bauhaus (or Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar’ to be more formal) makes contact with bass player of Bauhaus and a friendship emerges that leads to a collaborative single. Bauhaus were regular pilloried in the music press for their assumed pretentiousness and… oh my…this surely came with a capital P in their eyes!

Rene Halkett and David Jay - 'Nothing' / 'Armour' 7" front cover

^ René Halkett and David Jay – ‘Nothing’ / ‘Armour’ 7″ front cover


Side by side: Wire – ‘Our Swimmer’ and ‘Second Length’ versions, versions

Sunday, March 28th, 2021


Our Swimmer

‘Our Swimmer’ dates from a late 1979 recording session* at Magritte Studios which also witnessed the recording of ‘Go Ahead’ (which would be released on the B side of the ‘Map Ref. 41N 93W’ 7″ single) and ‘Midnight Bahnhoff Cafe’ (which would be released on the B side of the ‘Our Swimmer’ 7″ single). It was after the recording sessions that produced the ‘154’ album and the first time without the involvement of long-term producer, Mike Thorne – self-produced by the band. It was proposed as a single release while the band were still signed to EMI records, but rejected by the company.

* The 2014 re-issue of ‘Document and Eyewitness’ states ‘recorded at Magritte Studio, Harmondsworth Dec 1979’ – but I question that date if indeed it was the same session that also produced ‘Go Ahead’, since it was already released long before December. The ‘Nine Sevens’ singles box set also gets it wrong by stating 1980 as the recording year.

Wire - 'Our Swimmer' and 'Second Length' singles

^ Wire – ‘Our Swimmer’ and ‘Second Length’ singles


Gang Of Four – ‘What We All Want’ UK 7″ and 12″ (EMI, EMI 5416 and 12EMI 5416, 1981)

Sunday, March 7th, 2021

The road to the Gang Of Four’s second album, ‘Solid Gold’, was something of a tentative, stop-start affair, looking back. Although the album itself in its final form was recorded in January 1981 with Jimmy Douglass sharing the producer role along with the band themselves, no fewer than five of its tracks had been released before the album on singles or compilation album appearances*.

‘What We All Want’ would be the track lifted from the album as a single immediately prior to the album’s eventual release however, ramping up the funk side of the band’s muscular rhythm section in particular into a hard-hitting battering ram of a single that stands up well forty years on from its original release.

7″ single

For the single’s A side, ‘What We All Want’ was edited down to 3’23” – losing its scratchy vibrato style opening guitar-only rhythm that the LP/12″ version features), so it jumps right on in.

Gang Of Four – 'What We All Want' UK 7″ front cover

^ Gang Of Four – ‘What We All Want’ UK 7″ front cover