The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'joy division'
An interview with Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, in which they talk about, among other things, their reactions to Ian Curtis' suicide, Joy Division's metamorphosis into New Order, the (legendary though financially disastrous) Hacienda, and the origin and meaning of Blue Monday (capsule summary: it was inspired musically by an Italo-disco record and the famously enigmatic lyrics are rooted in the band's annoyance with the press, though is also about whatever the listener wishes to read into it):
James: Like retrospectively, you don’t even remember what they were about?
Bernard: I think I do. They weren’t literally about this but we were getting a lot of shit in the press at the time. The press has turned on us after Joy Division who could do no wrong. They were all against us and I felt a bit beleaguered and it was a kind of fuck you to the press really. That’s kind of what was in my head when I wrote it, it was a kind of a fuck you we can do it without you and we did, with that song.
James: When I was on the NME Len Brown wrote a great piece that is presumably wrong. He read it to be about the Falklands, he wrote a great piece about his brother committing suicide or was it about Blue Monday.
Bernard: Well we also have an attitude that we never explain what a song is about because people have their own interpretations, that’s equally valid. So I wouldn’t say that’s not wrong, it’s how you interpret a song and what it means to you and that’s why we never. Whenever I write lyrics it’s never a literal thing it’s just what’s on my mind at the time.
Recycle: Joy Division & New Order; a record collector by the name of DJ £50 Note and a friend of his who specialises in sound restoration have set out to do what Rob Gretton was planning to do before he died, i.e., put out definitive editions of New Order's entire Factory-period output, sounding exactly as the originals did (and not "remastered", i.e., compressed for extra attention-catching loudness, as is the standard commercial practice now). He is doing this as a MP3 (well, .m4a) blog, with each release accompanied by meticulously restored artwork (with elements redrawn and reset as needed), and comprehensive notes, in which, for example, we learn that the choir sound in Blue Monday was sampled from a Kraftwerk track and comes from an extremely obscure instrument called the Vako Orchestron, and that a number of New Order/Joy Division song titles are film references derived from old posters in a rehearsal space, as well as details of how far back they had to look to find a copy in which the dynamics hadn't been crushed to hell.
First came Joy Division
Oven Gloves trainers and now Microsoft are releasing a Joy Division-branded edition of their Zune MP3 player. It will apparently come engraved with the Unknown Pleasures cover artwork, and possibly some tracks or albums locked to the unit in a DRM-encumbered Windows Media format. If you don't use Windows, you may still find it useful as a paperweight.
Tonight I saw Control, Anton Corbijn's Ian Curtis biopic.
It was quite well done, I thought. As you'd expect from Corbijn, it had its starkly atmospheric shots (entirely in black and white), echoing some of the famous photos he took of Joy Division. The aesthetic of the film was quite sparse, with long shots of rooms and council estates, much said with no words but only expressions, and an equally sparse soundtrack, with the most sparing use of incidental music. (Parts of it had a German expressionist quality; it could have almost been a Fritz Lang film from the 1930s.)
The danger with this film was that it could have easily been just another exercise in style over substance, in capturing the legend of a mythical band in a time-capsule of stylised cool. However, thankfully, it wasn't; it seemed reasonably faithful (albeit from Deborah Curtis' point of view, leavened with an imagined view from Ian's perspective). Watching it, I got the feeling of Ian's predicament, the trap he was drawing into, the terrible forces tearing him (and those around him) apart. He wasn't some darkly romantic, tortured hero, just a lad from Macclesfield ill-equipped for what fate threw at him. And the film really carried across how young and unprepared he was.
The music was pretty good too; the actors playing Joy Division played all the music on stage, and did a bang-up job of it, pulling off intense performances. (I can imagine that the actual gigs would have been just like that.)
Having said that, the Killers' cover of Shadowplay in the closing credits was entirely unnecessary. Who signed off on that one?
The Graun has a piece on Control, Anton Corbijn's soon-to-be-released film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division, along with interviews with the surviving members of the band:
"I couldn't believe how well it goes with the film," [Peter Hook] says. "It captures the Manchester of the 1970s so well. Control doesn't feel like the end of the story; the documentary closes things off perfectly. But Anton's film is more chilling. Towards the end, it felt like someone had ripped out my heart and was stamping on it. To be honest, when Atmosphere came on, I thought I was going to throw up."
"This sounds awful but it was only after Ian died that we sat down and listened to the lyrics," says Morris. "You'd find yourself thinking, 'Oh my God, I missed this one.' Because I'd look at Ian's lyrics and think how clever he was putting himself in the position of someone else. I never believed he was writing about himself. Looking back, how could I have been so bleedin' stupid? Of course he was writing about himself. But I didn't go in and grab him and ask, 'What's up?' I have to live with that. Watching the film, there were moments when I wished I could have stepped into the film. Unfortunately, you can't."
All three members agree, more or less, on Joy Division/New Order's position in the scheme of things. "When I listen to Nirvana, I hear [New Order's] Ceremony bass line on quite a few of those songs. So I'd have to say, yes, we are the missing link between the Beatles and Nirvana," says Hook.The article concludes to say that "enhanced versions" of Joy Division's albums are being released soon. I hope that "enhanced" doesn't mean "remastered with lots of compression for extra loudness".
Control, Anton Corbijn's biographical drama about Ian Curtis and Joy Division, has just premièred at Cannes, and received critical acclaim.
The film is shot in black and white, and has a characteristically 1980s Corbijn look; the production stills look promisingly stark. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of this one.
Alexis Petridis reveals that the Unknown Pleasures trainers are not the only recent piece of Joy Division merchandise, as yesteryear's existential angst becomes today's nostalgia and marketing tie-in:
Yo! Sushi currently offers its takeaway customers the Love Will Tear Us Apart salmon and tuna box set, a selection of sashimi, nigri, maki and salad with tangy sunomono dressing, the latter presumably ideal for ridding yourself of "the taste in your mouth as desperation takes hold", as the song's lyric had it. The box set forms part of a menu on which every item is named after a classic song, including the Relight My Fire prawn yakisoba and the Sexual Healing salmon sashimi.The obvious question to ask is: where will it end?
This year sees the release of Control, photographer Anton Corbijn's long-awaited Ian Curtis biopic. Rumours that it will be accompanied by a tie-in with McDonald's - involving a new jingle based on the lyrics of Decades ("portrayal of the trauma and degeneration, the sorrows we suffered and never were free ... I'm lovin' it"), and the Ian Curtis Happy Meal - remain unconfirmed at time of going to press.I'm half-expecting to see Unknown Pleasures-themed babywear in shop windows on Stoke Newington Church Street any day now. Or, failing that, oven gloves.
Filming has commenced on Control, Anton Corbijn's film about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis:
Control deals with Curtis' romantic conflicts with his wife, Deborah, and his mistress, Annik Honore, his increasingly debilitating epileptic seizures, and his performances with Joy Division. Filming will take place in the English towns of Nottingham and Macclesfield (where Curtis lived and is now buried). The film will be released in the UK by Momentum Pictures sometime in 2007.
Sam Riley, who played Mark E. Smith in 24 Hour Party People, stars as Curtis, Academy Award-nominated actress Samantha Morton plays Deborah Curtis, Alexandra Maria Lara is Honore, James Anthony Pearson is Joy Division/New Order guitarist Bernard Sumner, Joe Anderson is bassist Peter Hook, Harry Treadaway is drummer Stephen Morris, Toby Kebbell is Factory Records partner and Joy Division manager Rob Gretton, and Craig Parkinson is Wilson.Not a bad cast, though Sam Riley will have a hard act to follow in the chap who played Curtis in 24 Hour Party People.
Here you will find an electroclash cover of Joy Division's She's Lost Control, with vocals by Siobhan Fahey. It's credited to "Agent Provocateur", which is not the name of a new Client/Adult-style electrocoolsie duo, but actually refers to the British lingerie chain, who apparently commissioned it as a promotional item or somesuch.
Which takes the idea of corporations as authors and music as a work for hire to a new level. Well, not entirely; apparently, one of the biggest pop groups in Thailand a few years ago was an enterprise owned and operated by PepsiCo., with musicians, songwriters and personnel hired by corporate managers, and then there was the extended mix of that Coca-Cola jingle which was in the charts in the 1990s. Or perhaps it's more like sponsorship; the track has no references to the brand or lingerie (though could perhaps be a suitable soundtrack to BDSM games whilst wearing such), and sounds much like the usual sort of hard-edged electrohouse you'd hear in Prahran or Hoxton or wherever the beautiful people congregate in their punk-themed designer clothes.
The biography of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, Touching From A Distance, is being made into a film, with Anton Corbijn (the Dutch photographer who directed videos for Depeche Mode, and (I think) made the video of Atmosphere as well) directing and Tony Wilson and Curtis' widow (and author of the biography) Deborah as executive producers.
It's good to hear that it has beaten this highly-marketable piece of shite to the punch.
A film about Ian Curtis is being planned. Unfortunately, the producer (Amy Hobby, who did Secretary) is pitching it as the story of Curtis as a "tragic romantic", and, even worse, the musical advisor is that purveyor of bland yuppie dinner-party techno, Moby. (via xrrf)
With credentials such as these, you can't hold out much hope for it. Though wasn't there meant to be another Ian Curtis film, based on his widow's biography of him, Touching From A Distance, and produced with the involvement of the members of New Order?
With the '70s rock revival in full swing, it's not surprising that The New York Dolls are reforming, with members of Guns'n'Roses and The Libertines standing in for dead members. The glam-rock band, formerly managed by Malcolm Maclaren (before he went on to bring us the Sex Pistols and failed experiments in pirate-pop and opera-rap and such) went on to inspire everything from hair-metal to Morrissey; in fact, it was Moz himself who prompted them to get together, for the Meltdown Festival he is curating in London.
Meanwhile, in the same issue of Pitchfork, there's a new New Order Peel Sessions compilation, with two performances from the late 1990s, including reworked versions of old Joy Division numbers. And the Interpol website has a downloadable MP3 remix of Untitled (which apparently was sent to them, quite unsolicited, by the fan who did it).
Something Awful gores indie's sacred cows, i.e., Joy Division, The Smiths, Pavement and My Bloody Valentine. (via Graham)
Everyone who considers themself a hipster should take note: name-dropping Pavement isn't going to win you any merit badges in my scout troop. You'd be a fool not to see that even the bands that everyone loves are just as terrible as the bands that everyone makes fun of. The only difference between Nickelback and The Smiths is that Smiths fans dress slightly better and don't beat their girlfriends as hard.
I hypothesize that if Ian Curtis had continued to live and exert his gothic influence over the band, they would have eventually sounded like Siouxie and the Banshees except with a terrible singer. I also hypothesize that Ian Curtis would now be fat.
They're dead-on about Loveless, btw:
Its one of those rare albums that really sounds like the album cover looks: its an indecipherable blur of noise and distorted guitars. It boggles the mind that so many goofy hipsters are so in love with an album with so little to offer. All of the songs sound basically the same, and you really have to pay attention to figure out where one ends and the next begins. The lyrics are so incomprehensible that they might as well not even be there at all. Although there are certainly noises on this album that have never been made before or since, none of them are particularly interesting noises. In most cases, its the sound of several guitars playing a couple of chords with a few layers of grinding and feedback in the background. Sure, it probably took quite a bit of time and money to make those sounds, but are they particularly interesting? No, not really; when its all put together, it just sounds like a waterfall of sludge running through your speakers.
This is part of the Your Band Sucks section, which also includes articles about bands like Radiohead and Coldplay (though, granted, there's no challenge there).
A good Pitchfork article on Joy Division, looking into their origins, the recording of their various releases, and the inner conflict of Ian Curtis. Worth a read. (via The Fix)
Well, tonight I saw 24 Hour Party People. It was quite good; perhaps a bit too cleverly self-referential for its own good in places (with all of "Tony Wilson"'s asides to the audience, for example, and the scene with the real Howard Devoto in the bathroom), though that's forgivable. Some good scenes there, though not as much Joy Division/New Order as I expected, and a bit too much focus on the Happy Mondays. Still, I'd recommend it to anyone who's into New Order or Joy Division, or who grew up listening to punk, new wave or Madchester baggycore. If that kind of thing means nothing to you, you probably won't get much out of this film though.
Just heard Bis's cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart; it's pretty amusing, in a 80s-retro-kitsch sort of way. They use a speech synthesiser to do part of the vocals.
NME have published a list of the 10 most depressing albums of all time. Not surprisingly, both Joy Division albums are on this list; oddly enough, the Smiths don't feature even once.