Saturday, February 27, 2010

JD Recycle 4: Licht Und Blindheit


[Link removed 20 November 2012] (60 MB)

Joy Division
Licht Und Blindheit
Sordide Sentimental SS33002
Produced by Martin Hannett
March 1980


01 Atmosphere
02 Dead Souls
03 Ice Age (pitch corrected)
04 Dead Souls (pitch corrected)

1 sourced from Nippon Columbia Japan CD
Substance COCY-9332
2-4 sourced from Nippon Columbia Japan CD
Still COCY-9331

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

And then we have the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Sordide Sentimental limited edition 7".

Which, of course, contained two of the most beautiful Joy Division tracks committed to tape. Any record company not named Factory would never have let Atmosphere - or Dead Souls, for that matter- be released first by a bloke in France in such a bizarre package.

Only being 8 years old at the time this was recorded (in October 1979) and released the following spring, I can't imagine the impact this single had to listeners just getting used to the Transmission 7" or the Peel tracks broadcast in December 1979. Atmosphere is probably the most desolate, inspiring, ugly and beautiful track the band has ever recorded and released. Bernard says this was the best job Martin Hannett ever did with a Joy Division recording and I wholeheartedly agree - it's just one giant spot of awe. And apparently, according to an interview given to Paul Morley for the 2007
Closer reissue liner notes, there's confusion to this day as to whether Martin, or Cargo Studios owner John Brierly, is ultimately responsible for the sound, as both were involved in the production.

Dead Souls was Rob Gretton's favorite JD track and its propulsive musical element, with the bitter, intelligent and forlorn nature of the lyrics, can be seen as a capsule of the band in its entirety. They indeed keep on calling me.

When the 2007 expanded reissues were being put together, it was discovered that Ice Age - recorded at the same October 1979 Cargo Studios session as Atmosphere and Dead Souls, but not released until 1981 on the catch-all
Still - was released from the word go at the incorrect speed. Apparently, when Martin recorded Ian's vocal lines for Atmosphere (and presumably Dead Souls and Ice Age), in order for Ian to sing in a more appropriate range for his voice the musical bed was sped up (what Ian would hear in his headphones, and sing along to). So Ian would sing at this increased pitch and tempo, in a more comfortable range for him. When Atmosphere was mastered for release, it was brought back down to a more appropriate speed and pitch - which is what we have today.

However, when Dead Souls and Ice Age were mastered for release - remember, they were recorded at the same session and presumably mixed down at the sped-up tempo to the same master reel of 1/4" tape as Atmosphere - apparently the "downpitching" applied to Atmosphere, as described above, was not also done so for the other two tracks. Therefore, Dead Souls and Ice Age have always been released at the incorrect, too-fast, speed and pitch. This has been corrected for Dead Souls and Ice Age, to pitch-accurate concert pitch, for this special release. It's amazing how much more power both songs gain just from a speed and pitch adjustment, just compare #2 and #4 here. Ian sounds much less helium-inflected, and the tracks just get back that sonorous "oomph" that previously seemed oddly lacking.

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