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Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures : 33 1/3 - Chris Ott

Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures

33 1/3

By: Chris Ott

Paperback Published: 1st April 2004
ISBN: 9780826415493
Number Of Pages: 128

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Joy Division's career has often been shrouded by myths. But the truth is surprisingly simple: over a period of several months, Joy Division transformed themselves from run-of-the-mill punk wannabes into the creators of one of the most atmospheric, disturbing, and influential debut albums ever recorded. Chris Ott carefully picks apart fact from fiction to show how Unknown Pleasures came into being, and how it still resonates so strongly today.

The urgent, alien thwack of Stephen Morris' processed snare drum as it bounced from the left to right channel was so arresting in 1979, one could have listened to that opening bar for hours trying to figure how on earth someone made such sounds. Like John Bonham's ludicrous, mansion-backed stomp at the start of "When The Levee Breaks"-only far less expensive-the crisp, trebly snare sound with which Martin Hannett would make his career announced Unknown Pleasures as a finessed, foreboding masterpiece. Peter Hook's compressed bass rides up front as "Disorder" comes together, but it's not until the hugely reverbed, minor note guitar line crashes through that you can understand the need for such a muted, analog treatment to Hook's line. Layering a few tracks together to create a six-string shriek, Hannett's equalization cuts the brunt of Sumner's fuller live sound down to an echoing squeal, revealing a desperation born of longing rather than rage. This is the way, step inside.

"New fans will find it to be a useful introduction to the band as it details their story from the very beginning to the tragic end. Even the more dedicated fan might be interested in reading another person's opinions about the different songs, the importance of JD's music, and why the band still plays an important role in the history of alternative music." -Joy Division website, 5/24/04
Chris Ott writes about the record with a chilly elegance that evokes the austerity of the music itself. The Boston Phoenix, 7/8/04--Mike Miliard
Compelling and so despairing that at one point I had to stop reading it for a bit. Alternative Weekly, 6/10/04
Joy Division s gestation period is competently recounted in the narrative and each important individual is dealt with fairly. Including Hannett and Wilson. Ott s approach and reaction to his subject is commendably unflinching. Well written. Jason Dropor, Record Collector, October 2004--Jason Dropor
"Once Ott forgoes the facts and gives in to his passion, he brings the reader closer to the band's 'unparalleled gravity and grandeur.'" San Francisco Bay Guardian, 5/19/04
"Throwing format to the wind, "Pleasures" goes to town on the ban's entire oeuvre. Ott is admiring, but his love for the group doesn't keep him from letting them look the fool when appropriate and it's his way into the head of bandleader Ian Curtis, who might have survifed his all-great-artists-die-young illusions if some concrete afflictions (epilepsy and the drugs required to tame it, for instance) didn't piggyback onto the ones he invented for himself. A-" Austin American-Statesman, 10/17/04
"Though the recording of the album is naturally the centerpiece of the book, (Ott) delves enough into the evolution of the band and background events leading up to the recording of said album (as well as certain post-album events leading up to Ian's suicide) to properly provide context for said rekkid .you don't have to be a regular gear-rag reader to understand what he's talking about .overall recommended." David Hill, Shredded Paper Magazine, Fall 2004 issue

ISBN: 9780826415493
ISBN-10: 0826415490
Series: 33 1/3
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 128
Published: 1st April 2004
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 17.15 x 12.7  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.14
Edition Number: 1

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