Posted 20 hours ago

Unknown Pleasures

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The second and final album by Joy Division, released on July 18, 1980 on Factory, two months after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. A compilation that is as pleasantly confusing an "album" - and despite the adorable hessian sleeve, it is a mixed bag.

The LP features a photograph taken by Bernard Pierre Wolff (1978) which was captured at the Staglieno Cemetery located in Genova, Italy. It is a large emotional work created & sculpted by Demetrio Paernio in 1910 for the Appiani family tomb.

Credits (5)

Among Tranco / PRT pressings, there is no correlation between vinyl colour and paper part variants. The embryonic version of "Ceremony" is an interesting moment in this, although it sadly starts almost half way down the song - but regardless of the sound engineer messing up the first part of it (thus the reasons for its exclusion on record), this live opener carries a promise of a live performance. "Shadowplay" continues with vibrant energy, the audience nicely adds to the atmosphere, greeting Peter Hook's bass introduction to the song. But then along comes the utter mess - which, considering the circumstances surrounding this particular concert (reportedly being the group's last) isn't something that should be blamed directly on the group; however, the point they reached at that stage, playing as clumsy as they were is, with all due respect, sad - Ian Curtis audibly exhausted and struggling to sing - which, however, does give this particular live material an aura of a brutally honest, stripped-to-the-bone, tortured soul that absolutely triumphs on "Twenty Four Hours" which is a stand out moment in an otherwise technically troubled performance ("Decades" is probably the greatest victim here, sounding weirdly enough like a warped-sounding tape, with synths so especially out of tune). This can only be differentiated when held against a strong light source. The translucency was a hallmark of Tranco / PRT.

July 1993: LP, MC, CD (cat# 520 015-1 / 2 / 4), with repressings in 1994, 1996 and 1998. The LP edition was only released in Greece (1993).A2 / B2 Townhouse / GG matrix (MVS or Carlton Productions (some brown translucent) or Linguaphone (with 25mm pressing ring) pressings). RCA was the home of Bowie and Iggy, 2 big heroes to this band, especially Ian, hence the determination to get on the label.

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