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  • seandodson 2:41 pm on March 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bernard Summer, Donald Johnson, , , Fingers Inc, giorgio moroder, Jon Savage, , , section 25, Soft Cell   

    Jon Savage on Looking from a Hilltop by Section 25 

    Have been enjoying Jon Savage’s occasional column on the Guardian Music Blog. Lately he’s been celebrating the best of early eighties dance music. Here he is on Soft Cell’s Bedsitter and Fingers Inc’s Mystery of Love, here on Cybotron’s Techno City. Today he chose Section 25’s simply wonderful Looking from a Hilltop (megamix) remixed by New Order’s Bernard Summer and A Certain Ratio’s Donald Johnson. He’s right, but the vocal mix was always the one for me.

    “In the end, Looking from a Hilltop (Megamix) is all forward motion. At eight minutes, the track isn’t a second too long: all the elements are subordinate to the irresistible Moroder-esque modulations, which give a framework over which the group and the remixers pour backwards synths, wailing rock guitar, and all manner of ambient noises. With this epic – one of the best tracks from a great year for electro – Section 25 finally achieved the grandeur that they had always sought. Released in June 1984, the 12″ – with a bright orange sleeve – made waves in the UK and was a club hit in New York. It was also picked up by black radio stations in the Chicago area, and consequently fed into the early house scene.”

  • seandodson 8:02 pm on June 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jon Savage, , , martin hannett, , unknown pleasures, unknown pleasures at 30   

    Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures at 30 

    This week see the 30th anniversary of the release of Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures. Somewhat surprisingly, to me at least, the New Musical Express has published an anniversary “special” featuring interviews with the surviving members (sadly not online), which we can probably take as a sign that the nation’s 16/17 year olds still think Joy Division matter an awful lot. Which is amazing for an album that peaked at number 71 in the album charts on its initial release.

    The album was recorded in the winter of 1979 in an unheated studio in Stockport and it captures the mood of imposing decay of Northern Britain with its austere and dark production. Unknown Pleasures is firmly fixed in a time and place: the Manchester of the late seventies, and yet its appeal endures.

    At the time Jon Savage, writing in Melody Maker in 1979, praised, ” Joy Division’s spatial, circular themes and Martin Hannett’s shiny, waking-dream production gloss. …. [a] perfect reflection of Manchester’s dark spaces and empty places: endless sodium lights and hidden semis seen from a speeding car, vacant industrial sites – the endless detritus of the 19th century – seen gaping like rotten teeth from an orange bus.”

    In remains, to my mind, one of the greatest albums of all time. From the deliciously minimalist cover designed by Peter Saville (which was recently parodied as a Pelican Classic, above right) to the equally minimal, and haunting, production by Martin Hannett, to the ten beautifully crafted songs which simply refuse to date. We are still in its axis, musically at least. Think of this way, we are as far away in time from Unknown Pleasures as Joy Division were from the music of Perry Cormo and Frankie Laine and yet still it features on the front cover of the music press.

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  • seandodson 1:59 pm on October 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jon Savage, , , , , rob gretton   

    Remembering Rob Gretton: Manchester’s maverick rock manager 

    rob gretton

    Originally uploaded by Maddie Yervant

    I am looking forward to reading the notebooks of the late Rob Gretton, manager of Joy Division, co-founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda. The notebooks, recovered from a secret lock-up in Manchester are published by by Rob Gretton’s widow, Lesley Gilbert, with a foreword by Jon Savage, the book condenses over 20 working notebooks into a single volume, and contains posters, letters, diaries, band manifestos and studio notes, dating from August 1978 to late 1980.

    “These notebooks aren’t diaries – they are not a record of Rob’s emotional life during the Joy Division years – but his personality and thought processes are on show throughout. His notes on the band’s image and aesthetic at the beginning of ’79, for example, read like a kind of Joy Division manifesto, and underline his role as ‘fifth member’ of the band … It paints a picture of post-punk Manchester and its community of like-minded musicians, promoters and journalists; and, perhaps most importantly of all, it allows us a glimpse of a one of Manchester music’s most influential yet elusive characters: it is the real Rob Gretton.”

    • ‘1 Top Class Manager’ is strictly limited to 1500 copies and is available to pre-order now exclusively through 1 Top Class Manager

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  • seandodson 12:52 pm on September 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jon Savage, , , , the Killers   

    Getting closer … 


    I am very excited about the forthcoming release of the new Joy Division biopic, Control. The film marks the directorial debut of the former rock photographer Anton Corbijn and it portrays the life and times of troubled musical genius Ian Curtis. The film follows Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People and will be followed later this year with a feature-length documentary directed by Grant Gee and written by Jon Savage.

    The film is due to be released on October 05, but bits have been leaked on to the net already. You can see the trailer on YouTube; while the The Killers controversial cover of Shadowplay is available as a stream over at Prefix Media.

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