Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recycle: Record Store Day - Ceremony 30th Anniversary Edition


[Link removed 20 November 2012]

New Order/Joy Division
Ceremony - 30th Anniversary Edition/Record Store Day
Rhino Records UK
16 April 2011


New Order
1. Ceremony (1st Version)
2. In A Lonely Place (1st Mix)

Joy Division
3. Ceremony (Rehearsal)
4. In A Lonely Place (RSD 12" Take, Stereo)
5. In A Lonely Place (Heart And Soul Full Take, Stereo)

Sourced from:
1: FAC 33 Italian 45 RPM 12" single
2: FAC 33 45 RPM UK 12" single (green sleeve, 2nd version of Ceremony on A-side)
3-5: Low (1st?) generation copy of 1/4" rehearsal recording reel

Notes from the restorer:

Despite being spread out over the entire side of a 12" single, the Italian pressing of the original New Order recording has loads of compression on it. I suspect this was applied at the mastering stage but I don't know.

Tracks 1 and 2 were transcribed at 33 RPM, de-clicked, and then pitch-shifted to 45 RPM in the digital domain at which point the remaining processing was done (20Hz highpass filter, convert from stereo to mid/side, noise reduction on side channel only, convert back to stereo, EQ and just a touch of limiting).

Tracks 3-5, for the purposes of this post, magically landed in the restorer's lap courtesy of some kind and generous space aliens. It is alleged they were taken from a possibly 1st generation cassette dub from the rehearsal room 1/4" reel master, but this is only supposition. A fair amount of work was needed to goose the recordings into quality listening material; mainly EQ and, surprisingly, mid/side decoding due to the supplied source coming to us mid/side encoded (engineer technobabble, those with further interest are suggested to Google it). A touch of gentle noise reduction, tasteful limiting, and done.

As archivists dispatched to preserve the Joy Division and New Order single release legacy, the ultra-limited 2011 Record Store Day 12" featuring the original New Order "Ceremony" and "In A Lonely Place" recordings, and on the flip the Joy Division rehearsal recordings of the same, could not be ignored.

We've already discussed the original FAC33 here, and have used these same files for the A-side of this re-factored FAC33. The only difference between the 2011 Rhino FAC33 and the original Factory FAC33 green-sleeved 12" (the *very* original that is, with the September 1980 recordings) is that Rhino used the mix of "In A Lonely Place" which featured on the re-released cream-sleeve FAC33 12" and, later, on
Substance - not Martin Hannett's original less-thunderclappy mix originally released in early 1981. We've preserved the original mix here, as it was originally released at the same time as this version of "Ceremony".

On the other hand, the Joy Division half is quite a new one. 1997's
Heart And Soul box set featured two never-released rehearsal recordings (supposedly found on a tape by Peter Hook, whilst rummaging behind his couch or some similar story), those of "Ceremony" and an edited "In A Lonely Place". "Ceremony" is complete, but "In A Lonely Place" - as all serious fans know - abruptly ends at roughly 2:30, or shortly before Ian Curtis would begin singing the third verse. Allegedly this is the only version that existed on Hooky's tape, so it was what got used.

Leaping forward 14 years, new sources were located for both Joy Division tracks, essentially from a rehearsal room recording reel-to-reel tape. "Ceremony" from the reel was the same take as on the box set, but in a bit higher fidelity. Also on the reel was more than one take of "In A Lonely Place" - the full, unedited version of the take used on the box set (which was the last one on the reel, sequentially, and therefore surmised to be the last one they recorded), and the take - the last-but-one on the reel - used by Rhino on this year's Record Store Day 12".

It was discovered that - roughly speaking - the versions on the reel had been (technoweenie talk ahead) "futzed with" by (presumably) the survivors, trying to pull out Ian's lyrics for their own versions of the songs. The box set featured the futzed-with "Ceremony", and a collapsed-to-mono "In A Lonely Place". Without getting too detailed, "Ceremony" on the box set is a modified, compromised stereo that's not true, while on the RSD 12" it has been restored to real, as captured by rehearsal room microphones, stereo. Similarly, "In A Lonely Place" is also full-stereo on the reel, and presented in true stereo on the 12". Fans will be glad to know that were it not for other fans, these restored versions would not have been used on the 12".

This last single in phase one of Recycle is a good one: the Joy Division recordings
are not captured from vinyl, but are the exact sources given to the label for the 12" release (compressed for Recycle, that is - the label was not provided with lossy AAC/MP3 masters!). We've auditioned the actual 12" and determined that the mastering is very faithful to the source given to the label. That said, multiple keen listeners have discovered a mastering flaw - on multiple copies of the 12" - beginning towards the latter third of the Joy Division "In A Lonely Place", whereby it gets a bit distorted in places. The version here, doesn't.

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