Posts Tagged ‘Rob Gretton’

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“There’s life and there’s death. We were still alive, so we thought we’d carry on,” said drummer Stephen Morris, explaining Joy Division’s response to Ian Curtis’ suicide on May 19th, 1980. The still nameless three-piece (The Khmer Rouge? The Witch Doctors Of Zimbabwe? Temple Of Venus?) visited Cabaret Voltaire’s Sheffield studio, Western Works, on September 7th, 1980, where they recorded six tracks. These circulated in murky lo-fi until 2009 when a 1/4” reel of tape reportedly appeared for auction on eBay containing a copy of the studio sessions – in pristine clarity.

Early runs through “Dreams Never End”, “Truth” and “Ceremony” (with Morris on vocals) are accompanied by “Are You Ready Are You Ready Are You Ready For This?” a New Order-Cabs jam fronted by NO manager Rob Gretton. However, it is “Homage” that dazzles. Curtis’ absence is everywhere in Bernard Albrecht-cum-Sumner’s bleak reflection on death and suffering (“A life that is so scared”). Such intimacy may explain why it remains unreleased. “I will never be able to cope,” the usually summery Sumner said in 1981. “Ian’s death will affect me for now, and forever.”

These are the very first New Order demos recorded less than 2 months after the death of both their front man Ian Curtis, and their previous group Joy Division. The intensity on these tracks is unparalleled. Included are two mixes of “Dreams Never End”, “Truth”, “Ceremony”, and two never before released tracks – “Homage” and “Are You Ready”(a great collaboration track with label mates Cabaret Voltaire). The quality of these demos is remarkable(tracked at Western Works Studios in Sheffield) and the feel of the songs is quite different from their famous 12″ versions. A landmark session in the history of post punk that is finally available on vinyl. Limited pressing.

Sound quality: Unnervingly good; a bootleg or a strategic leak?

Recorded September 7th, 1980, Sheffield