30 May 2011

Saville On Saville

Here's a nice piece from The Guardian where Peter Saville talks a bit about his Joy Division and New Order sleeves.

18 May 2011

Joy Division Rehearsal Tapes - Lossless

Over at The Power Of Independent Trucking, Mr. Analog Loyalist has made the Joy Division rehearsal tapes available in a lossless format.

Mr. Loyalist is who originally mastered this material at the band's request, and provided Rhino with the material used for the Record Store Day 12". He's now sharing more of the material than was posted here.

15 May 2011

Artwork from here on out...

Those of you who download the RSD 12" immediately below this entry may be surprised to find it doesn't include any DIY artwork (i.e. jewel case insert, slipcase, CD label). From this point forward the only artwork that will be included is the front of the sleeve - and possibly the back if it's something of interest.

Entries here and over at Extra Track are always delayed by me, because the artwork takes a lot of time. I wanted to take that degree of care when restoring the original Factory singles, because Saville was an integral part of the whole presentation, but it was such a time-consuming process that two years later I still haven't even assembled my own slipcases. It's really just a tremendous headache with very little payoff, so I'm not doing it anymore (once the current run of Smiths singles is finished).

The purpose of Recycle was to create a box set for the original Factory singles, and we've done that. Anything else is just a bonus. :)

In this day and age, 90% or more of you will be listening to these song via your computer, or iPod/iPad, or whatever portable device you use, so you really don't need any more than the cover image for your digital library anyway. I'll continue to provide high-resolution scans taken from the sleeves, and having just tackled the LP/EP sleeves from '81-'89, I'll also be posting the sleeves from Joy Division's four proper albums released on Factory between '79 and '88.

As always, you can follow the artwork progress here.

Recycle: Record Store Day - Ceremony 30th Anniversary Edition

[Link removed 20 November 2012]

New Order/Joy Division
Ceremony - 30th Anniversary Edition/Record Store Day
Rhino Records UK
16 April 2011


New Order
1. Ceremony (1st Version)
2. In A Lonely Place (1st Mix)

Joy Division
3. Ceremony (Rehearsal)
4. In A Lonely Place (RSD 12" Take, Stereo)
5. In A Lonely Place (Heart And Soul Full Take, Stereo)

Sourced from:
1: FAC 33 Italian 45 RPM 12" single
2: FAC 33 45 RPM UK 12" single (green sleeve, 2nd version of Ceremony on A-side)
3-5: Low (1st?) generation copy of 1/4" rehearsal recording reel

Notes from the restorer:

Despite being spread out over the entire side of a 12" single, the Italian pressing of the original New Order recording has loads of compression on it. I suspect this was applied at the mastering stage but I don't know.

Tracks 1 and 2 were transcribed at 33 RPM, de-clicked, and then pitch-shifted to 45 RPM in the digital domain at which point the remaining processing was done (20Hz highpass filter, convert from stereo to mid/side, noise reduction on side channel only, convert back to stereo, EQ and just a touch of limiting).

Tracks 3-5, for the purposes of this post, magically landed in the restorer's lap courtesy of some kind and generous space aliens. It is alleged they were taken from a possibly 1st generation cassette dub from the rehearsal room 1/4" reel master, but this is only supposition. A fair amount of work was needed to goose the recordings into quality listening material; mainly EQ and, surprisingly, mid/side decoding due to the supplied source coming to us mid/side encoded (engineer technobabble, those with further interest are suggested to Google it). A touch of gentle noise reduction, tasteful limiting, and done.

As archivists dispatched to preserve the Joy Division and New Order single release legacy, the ultra-limited 2011 Record Store Day 12" featuring the original New Order "Ceremony" and "In A Lonely Place" recordings, and on the flip the Joy Division rehearsal recordings of the same, could not be ignored.

We've already discussed the original FAC33 here, and have used these same files for the A-side of this re-factored FAC33. The only difference between the 2011 Rhino FAC33 and the original Factory FAC33 green-sleeved 12" (the *very* original that is, with the September 1980 recordings) is that Rhino used the mix of "In A Lonely Place" which featured on the re-released cream-sleeve FAC33 12" and, later, on
Substance - not Martin Hannett's original less-thunderclappy mix originally released in early 1981. We've preserved the original mix here, as it was originally released at the same time as this version of "Ceremony".

On the other hand, the Joy Division half is quite a new one. 1997's
Heart And Soul box set featured two never-released rehearsal recordings (supposedly found on a tape by Peter Hook, whilst rummaging behind his couch or some similar story), those of "Ceremony" and an edited "In A Lonely Place". "Ceremony" is complete, but "In A Lonely Place" - as all serious fans know - abruptly ends at roughly 2:30, or shortly before Ian Curtis would begin singing the third verse. Allegedly this is the only version that existed on Hooky's tape, so it was what got used.

Leaping forward 14 years, new sources were located for both Joy Division tracks, essentially from a rehearsal room recording reel-to-reel tape. "Ceremony" from the reel was the same take as on the box set, but in a bit higher fidelity. Also on the reel was more than one take of "In A Lonely Place" - the full, unedited version of the take used on the box set (which was the last one on the reel, sequentially, and therefore surmised to be the last one they recorded), and the take - the last-but-one on the reel - used by Rhino on this year's Record Store Day 12".

It was discovered that - roughly speaking - the versions on the reel had been (technoweenie talk ahead) "futzed with" by (presumably) the survivors, trying to pull out Ian's lyrics for their own versions of the songs. The box set featured the futzed-with "Ceremony", and a collapsed-to-mono "In A Lonely Place". Without getting too detailed, "Ceremony" on the box set is a modified, compromised stereo that's not true, while on the RSD 12" it has been restored to real, as captured by rehearsal room microphones, stereo. Similarly, "In A Lonely Place" is also full-stereo on the reel, and presented in true stereo on the 12". Fans will be glad to know that were it not for other fans, these restored versions would not have been used on the 12".

This last single in phase one of Recycle is a good one: the Joy Division recordings
are not captured from vinyl, but are the exact sources given to the label for the 12" release (compressed for Recycle, that is - the label was not provided with lossy AAC/MP3 masters!). We've auditioned the actual 12" and determined that the mastering is very faithful to the source given to the label. That said, multiple keen listeners have discovered a mastering flaw - on multiple copies of the 12" - beginning towards the latter third of the Joy Division "In A Lonely Place", whereby it gets a bit distorted in places. The version here, doesn't.

11 May 2011

Factory LPs and EPs 1981-1989: Artwork

Zip File

Several people have asked if we'll be giving the Recycle treatment to the the studio LPs released between 1981-1989. We've decided against it for the time-being, because the albums are all in print (or in the case of 1981-1982 and Substance can be recreated with the work previously posted here), and once Warners/London/Rhino got the 2-disc remasters sorted out the sound is actually not that bad.

We would be sourcing from the Factory CDs manufactured between 1986-1992, so if you have those already, consider them the Recycle masters. The one exception is
Low-Life, which had some questionable pre-emphasis added at the mastering stage. At some point we may decide to transcribe the Low-Life vinyl, but that's not on the horizon.

I've carefully scanned the sleeves of the LPs/EPs released between '81 and '89, and bundled them together so you can tag the albums in your own digital library. The one new addition is a variation on the
Substance sleeve, seen above. I put together my own 2-disc version which encapsulates the Factory singles nicely.

01. Ceremony (second version)
02. Procession
03. Everything's Gone Green (12" version)
04. Temptation (12" version)
05. Blue Monday
06. Confusion
07. Thieves Like Us
08. Murder
09. The Perfect Kiss (12" version)
10. Sub-Culture (12" remix)
11. Shellshock (12" remix)
12. State Of The Nation (12"version)
13. Bizarre Love Triangle (12" remix)
14. True Faith (12" version)
15. Touched By The Hand Of God (7" version)
16. Blue Monday 1988 (12" version)
17. Fine Time (12" version)
18. Round & Round (12" version)
19. Run 2 (7" version)
20. World In Motion (7" version)