joy division – new order – skalpel

new music Friday.

Just got these in the post from rough trade:-

I’ve been into New Order for years, I was introduced to them by my friend Adrian, I think, who was one of those people who formed my musical taste at a particular time of my life (18 in this case). (Subject for another post).

This was at the time of the release of True Faith and the Substance compilation (1987). I knew and had loved Blue Monday, one of only a few tracks that would energise me into dancing at parties as soon as the hyper-distinctive intro beat kicked in. And on listening to Substance I realised that there were a number of other singles that I had liked over the years but hadn’t realised were by New Order, so Substance was something of a revelation for me.

A Summer job working as a data cruncher and trainee drafter for a local architect – left alone, one-finger-typing local authority data into a DOS prompt – the radio playing what I now know to be Bizarre Love Triangle (1986).

Later Adrian lent me a tape of Joy Division material which didn’t strike the same chord with me but I quite liked the driving bass and drums of some of the songs (oh yes, Warsaw!).

I’ve been through two copies of Substance now and was hoping to get it on CD with it’s recent re-release but I missed it before it went out of print (apparently). But with New Order winning the godlike genius award they’ve released Singles to add to their list of compilations, so I’m happy to listen to that.

However, Substance wasn’t just about being a compilation of New Order’s singles. It was a) the twelve-inche versions mostly, which physically are lovely objects, so substantial compared to singles, and b) the concept of one tape holding a-sides and a second holding the b-sides was a great concept. It brought the b-side into parity with the a-side; from what seemed to be an after-thought in most bands minds, to a special track in it’s own right; given that many of New Order’s b-sides were alternate mixes of the a-side, gave the track a whole new meaning.

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