Monday, February 15, 2010

JD Recycle 3: Transmission


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (43 MB)

Factory Records FAC 13/FAC 13.12
Produced by Martin Hannett
Atrocity Exhibition (Piccadilly Radio Sessions) produced by Stuart James
October 1979/December 1980


01 Transmission
02 Novelty
03 Transmission (Central Sound Rough Mix)
04 Novelty (Central Sound Rough Mix)
05 Atrocity Exhibition (Piccadilly Radio Sessions)

1, 2 sourced from Nippon Columbia Japan CD Substance COCY-9332
3, 4 sourced from a recently-surfaced extremely low generation "rough mix" tape, from an unnamed band associate or member
5 sourced from the private collection of a longtime fan and associate of the band

Here are the notes from
Mr. A.L., who is doing the mastering:

Only a band on Factory would release the lead single AFTER the album.

The first true kickass JD track, Transmission and its sibling Novelty were recorded twice by Martin Hannett. The first attempt is captured on tracks 3 and 4, here in never-before-heard quality. These were recorded in July 1979 at Manchester's Central Sound Studios, and as the title implies, are presented here as "rough mix" versions. As far as we know these are the only versions that ever made it out from the masters. Two other tracks recorded at the same session, Dead Souls and Something Must Break, are on the
Heart And Soul box set - though in lesser fidelity.

Having decided to give the single tracks another go, the band re-recorded Transmission / Novelty with Hannett at old home Strawberry Studios, Stockport in late July/early August 1979. Far better than the Central Sound versions, these tracks - Transmission in particular - showcase the driving, rocky postpunk side of the band far more than the debut LP did (bar Shadowplay).

Track 5 was recorded on 3 June 1979 at Pennine Sound Studios, Oldham for Piccadilly Radio, produced by Stuart James. It is unknown if this session was ever actually broadcast. Four other tracks from this session (These Days / Candidate / The Only Mistake / Chance (Atmosphere)) were released on the
Heart And Soul box set, but this track was held off. Available on noisy bootleg releases, this particular version was sourced from the private collection of a longtime friend of the band, who received it from an unnamed band member in the early 1980s.

Tracks 1 and 2 had just slight EQ and level adjustments only. Tracks 3 and 4, sourced from cassette, underwent slight cleaning and EQ / level adjustments. Track 5, also from cassette, was heavily de-screeched via EQ, and again had level adjustments. Tracks 3 through 5 are easily best ever versions and are far, FAR cleaner sounding than any previous bootleg release.

I don't know for certain why Factory decided to re-release Transmission seven months after Curtis' suicide, but I have a theory. When Rob Gretton stepped in as the band's manager, one of his first tasks was to have
An Ideal For Living repressed in 12" format, which allows for a better signal-to-noise ratio (meaning an overall louder mastering), better dynamics, and better bass. As one of the band's signature tunes, this was a chance to put a better sounding version in the marketplace...and - let's be honest here - it gave Factory a chance to do a little cashing in. New Order wasn't releasing material yet, OMD had jumped ship to Dindisc, and it's not like Section 25, Durutti Column, or A Certain Ratio sold loads of records, yet they were always packaged in extravagant ways. A sort of Joy Division "memorial" 12" single packaged in a new (yet modest) Peter Saville sleeve was a guaranteed seller, and could help Factory recoup some money.

I really love Saville's design for this one - both 7" and 12" formats.

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