05 September 2009

Recycle 13: Bizarre Love Triangle



[Link removed 20 November 2012] (77 MB)

Bizarre Love Triangle
Factory Records FAC 163
Produced by New Order, remixed by Shep Pettibone
November 1986

Tracklisting:

1. Bizarre Love Triangle (12" version)
2. Bizarre Dub Triangle
3. Bizarre Love Triangle (7" version)
4. Bizarre Dub Triangle (7" edit)
5. Bizarre Love Triangle (7" version re-edit, AKA "unique Canadian edit")

1 and 2 sourced from Factory UK 45 RPM 12" single FAC 163
3 and 4 sourced from Factory UK 7" single FAC 163-7
5 sourced from Factory/PolyGram Canada 7" single FAC 26, revised version, EQ'd to match UK 7". Thank you very much, Clive!

Notes from the restorer:

Bizarre Love Triangle is truly a classic, right up there with Blue Monday. It's gone on to become one of those seminal tracks that is ubiquitous at any 80s retro dance event. Unlike the much-criticized and overcooked Sub-culture remix, here Shep Pettibone brilliantly shows how to adapt an album track to the dance floor. The breaks and effects are perfectly timed to keep people on their toes, without being so overboard or excessive as to wreck the flow of the song. Meanwhile, the 7" version is not an edit of this or the LP mix, but a unique creation which balances elements of both.

Now, it's been over a month since we posted State of the Nation… so what happened, you ask?

Well, presenting this track here turned out to be much more difficult than initially expected. While the dub version was not included on Substance, it was issued on a US CD single - inexplicably retitled "I Don't Care" [supposedly manager Rob Gretton's flippant answer to a rep from the US label who phoned up to ask what the dub mix was named. - 50poundnote] - in 1994, some 8 years after its initial release - a testament to the song's enduring popularity! We had planned to use that as a source. Likewise, there was a unique edit of the 7" version which was issued only in Canada, and in a lovely gatefold sleeve (FYI, custom 7" sleeves were quite rare in Canada, as most 7" singles were sold with blank or company sleeves). Since both 50poundnote and I had copies of these singles, we figured we were set.

Problem number one: the US CD single turned out to have surprisingly crushed dynamics, a sign of the loudness wars to come. EAC might show peak values of only 80%, but beneath that it was fairly crushed. Also, the EQ was pretty wonky. Sourcing one track from Substance and the other from this single would've led to inevitable inconsistencies. I tried to find a used copy of the vinyl 12" single locally, but came up empty-handed. Eventually 50poundnote mailed me his copy, which took about two weeks to arrive.

Problem number two: while waiting for that, I started working on the UK 7" version, which is not an edit of the album mix (though it initially sounds like it is), and then the unique Canadian version. However, both our copies of the Canadian version simply played the UK 7" mix. I figured that the "unique Canadian mix" was simply one of those mix-ups or misunderstandings that got perpetuated over the internet, and gave an update to the New Order Online forum that it was a myth.

Only it wasn't. NOOL member Old Blue mentioned that he had the record, and it was unmistakably different, right from the very start. A check of the deadwax inscriptions confirmed that the record was initially released with the UK 7" version, then subsequently done with the new edit. Both 50poundnote and I had original pressings. Trying to order this online would be risky, since aside from a tiny deadwax number (FAC-26-A for original, FAC-26-A2 for the re-edit) the two different editions look nearly identical. Same sleeve, label, time listed, etc. Fortunately, Old Blue was willing to loan his copy to me. Despite Old Blue sending his all the way from the UK, his copy arrived first, but that wasn't so surprising. I long ago discovered that something mailed from across the Atlantic ocean will arrive sooner than something mailed from across Lake Ontario.

Problem number three: when I compared similar sections on the dub version to the A-side, I could hear major differences in EQ. After painstakingly matching the EQ on dub to get it consistent with the A-side, I discovered that other portions of the song sounded completely messed up. I debated breaking it down into chunks and EQing each section individually, but thought better of it. So I've left it as-is. The only other thing I did was fix the click that happens right on the 5th kick on the 12" version. This is on both Substance and the 12", but not the 1994 CD single, so I'm guessing it's a flaw on the master tape which was later fixed. It's always bothered me, so I've copied-and-pasted an adjacent kick to patch it.

Problem number four: the artwork. I figured with the sleeve looking like one big blur, it would be easy to assemble the artwork. Not so, for there are several distinct lines and forms, and 50poundnote struggled to weld both sides together while reconstructing the small portion that runs across the spine. Also, we wanted to include the shot of the band from the Canadian gatefold. The fold from the spine runs right through Bernard's face, making it difficult to photochop out. 50poundnote has a large poster of this photo hanging in his home, but when he went to photograph it, he discovered the seam was there too. Seems they simply copied the single for the poster as well. Truly LULZ-worthy.

So, after many trials and tribulations, we finally have this done and out of the way. Hopefully the rest of this project should go much more quickly.
My first experience with New Order was hearing the 12" version of The Perfect Kiss. It was April 1985 and I was 14. A friend who worked at an indie record shop played it for me, and while I liked it, I didn't buy it. It stayed in the back of my mind, though (and would go on to become my all-time favorite song). Jump ahead 18 months to November 1986. I'm a Junior in high school and watching MTV one evening before dinner, when this colorful, energetic video comes on with this great hook "every time I see you falling..." It was Bizarre Love Triangle. The next day I rode my bike to the record store near the University of Kentucky's campus and bought Brotherhood on cassette. It didn't leave my Walkman for months. I bought the import 7" because it was closer to the mix used in the video, but I don't recall owning the 12" version until I got Substance a year later.

Incidentally, the video (which was directed by artist Robert Longo) went on to define the look of MTV with it's quick editing style.

To this day, Bizarre Love Triangle remains my 2nd favorite New Order track, as well as one of my all-time favorites. It's such a wonderfully uplifting song that, no matter what my mood, it will make me smile.

16 comments:

  1. I have a question for the owner of this blog - not really about this post, but didn't know how else to contact you. I have been looking for a long time for an mp3 (or other audio file) of the live version of the song "Twenty Four Hours" which is on the vinyl version of "Still" bit not the CD. Even the 2 disk version of Still doesn't have it! I have the record but no way to get it onto my PC. Thought if anyone could help you could, although if anyone else reading this message could help, that would be fine as well. Great blog by the way!

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  2. Hi Rob, it'll be forthcoming. The Joy Division Factory singles are rounded out with bonus tracks, Twenty Four Hours being one of them. Stay tuned!

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  3. Brilliant. Obviously lots of hard work by more than two dedicated people. Posts, work, text etc are truly appreciated. Thank you.

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  4. These files sound great! What hardware and software are you guys using to do the vinyl transfers? I don't hear any clicking or popping, not do I hear any aliasing or over-noise-gating (and those are two of my biggest complaints about "cleaned-up" vinyl).

    Thank you for this awesome blog - so nice to hear BLT the way I remember it. The Canadian 7" version was one of the first records that I bought with my own money! I couldn't have been older than 12, and the edited dub on the flip was one of the first tracks to get me interested in remixing and production.

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  5. Great works guys! Just brilliant!

    And Ian, regarding the software: "never ask a cook his recipe", just be very happy they did ALL this great work, which £50 and Bruce are sharing with us...

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  6. Thanks. I still the Canadian 7in somewhere in my boxes of stuff.

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  7. just found your blog today. i just can't believe how good these sound. listening to BLT on good headphones almost brought tears to my eyes.
    Thanks for all of your obviously hard work.

    i would have never guessed that these came from vinyl sources. stunning.......

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  8. It seems the Canadian 7" edit is the same as the edit to be found on a US promo 7".

    It's good to know this mystery has been solved...

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  9. Thanks for all the past few singles...

    The link to BLT is dead. Re-up?

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  10. Wait...ignore my previous comment. Link is working again. Weird...

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  11. Just a note to say thank you so much for doing this. It's fantastic.

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  12. You at least used to trade gigs on NOOL, right? Sam?

    Regardless, thanks so much for doing this.

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  13. I'm not Sam, although I know him and he's had input on this project.

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  14. is the version on the married to the mob soundtrack different than the edits here?
    dgraysn@mac.com

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  15. Yes, the Married To The Mob version is a unique mix. Bernard and Stephen Hague went into the studio in March 1988 to re-record the vocal and remix the track.

    It will be appearing later on the expanded listening discs.

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  16. Great job guys that i've followed since the beginning. Speaking of expanded discs, do you still intend to proceed with Recycle post-Factory?Cheers and thanks for the great work

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