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People, Places, Products and Praxis

James Brook 2009

“And you, forgotten, your memories ravaged by all the consternations of two hemispheres, stranded in the Red Cellars of Pali-Kao, without music and without geography, no longer setting out for the hacienda where the roots think of the child and where the wine is finished off with fables from an old almanac. Now that’s finished. You’ll never see the hacienda. It doesn’t exist.”
Christopher Gray Leaving the 20th Century (with text appropriated from the Formulary for a New Urbanism by Ivan Chtcheglov)

Founded in 1978, factory records was a seminal independent record label, based in manchester in the north of england. Formed in the wake of punk, it released records by bands such as Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, and Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark. Like the label 4AD Records, Factory used a creative team – most notably record producer Martin Hannett and graphic designer Peter Saville – which gave the label, and the artists recording for it, a particular sound and image. The label employed a unique cataloguing system that gave a number not just to its musical releases, but to artwork and other objects and projects. Factory Records began not with a record, but with a poster: when recently-graduated graphic designer Peter Saville approached Granada TV presenter Tony Wilson to discuss sleeve designs for the nascent Factory Records in 1978, Saville presented an idea for a poster for the first four nights of the Factory club that appropriated diverse sources including Jan Tschichold’s ‘New Typography’, the colour scheme of black and yellow of the UK’s National Car Parks and a warning sign stolen from Manchester Polytechnic’s workshop. He suggested the poster be given Factory’s first catalogue number, fac 1. The poster was delivered late, with several spelling mistakes; Wilson paid him twenty Pounds, and a new approach to pop music design was born. Over the next fourteen years, Factory created and sustained a visual profile that was admired and

emulated worldwide, this programme, an archetype of the succesful marriage of music and design, was a product of Saville’s vision: “Factory became the platform for me to propose how I thought popular culture should be” he says. “It was a fantastic idea to differentiate our little cottage-industry record label by having sleeves that were glossier, more expensive and more beautiful than those of the multinationals” said Wilson in 2007, the year of his untimely death, “Great idea, only we never had it. We just did what we wanted to do. And then post-rationalised it.” This appropriation of the Marxist idea of praxis was central to Factory’s often idiosyncratic working methods. Essentially, Factory was more than just a label – it was a cultural institution. Not only did it produce some of the most acclaimed records of the period it also gave rise to some of the most stimulating artwork and design of the late twentieth century. With built projects such as The Haçienda it pushed design further than any record label, offering the public an opportunity to engage with design as never before. For many of the post-punk generation Factory became an aesthetic education; not only were Factory followers introduced to the nuances of design language but to cultural ideas such as Situationism and praxis. Factory’s legacy still resonates today, influencing a generation with a blueprint to create, and to aspire for more out of life.

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INTRODUCTION

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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This page, clockwise from top: A Certain Ratio, detail from Fac 22, 1980: Jeremy Kerr, Simon Topping, Peter Terrell, Donald Johnstone and Martin Moscrop

A certain ratio are a post-punk band formed in 1977, in manchester. The band’s name is taken from the lyrics of Brian Eno’s song The True Wheel from the album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). Originally inspired by Eno, Wire, The Velvet Underground and punk, they soon added funk and dance elements to their sound as they developed a parallel enthusiasm for Parliament. The group’s longest serving members have been Martin Moscrop and Jeremy Kerr. Their sound was given propulsive funk form by the arrival of drummer Donald Johnson, who replaced a drum machine. Johnson recalls “That was the thing that attracted me. The whole point was that they were using the wrong instruments to make the right rhythms. I wanted to free them up, to start doing other things.” The band began their career on Factory Records and were managed by Tony Wilson. Their first release on Factory was a 7-inch single All Night Party, fac 5, which featured a sleeve designed by Peter Saville. For the single, A Certain Ratio gave Saville a selection of images to use, including the 1966 photograph of the controversial American comedian and satirist Lenny Bruce found dead from a drug overdose. The band, who were fans of Bruce, thought that the image was suitable for the sleeve, given Bruce’s lifestyle and the violent subtext of the song. The subject matter led Saville to design a sleeve based on Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, in which horrific images are used to comment on the desensitizing effects of violence in the media. The other side of the sleeve, as well as the record label itself, featured another image chosen by the band: a still

of the actor Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film, Psycho. A Certain Ratio’s most well-known single is Shack Up, facbn 1, which was the first release, in 1980, on Factory Benelux, a collaboration between Factory and Les Disques du Crépuscule – an independent label based in Brussels. An underground hit in New York, the success of Shack Up led to A Certain Ratio’s first gigs at legendary New York clubs such as the Danceteria and The Roxy. Shack Up had originally been recorded in the 1970s by the group Banbarra and was a Northern Soul/Funk favourite in the UK. In Shack Up, A Certain Ratio melded the two traditions – Punk and Northern Soul – of their collective Manchester upbringing. One of punk’s more funky products, Shack Up combines a dancefloor groove, sly humour, and Northern postindustrial alienation all in one go. Continuing the USA connection, A Certain Ratio went on to record their first studio album, To Each..., fact 35, with Martin Hannett at Ears, New Jersey, the album mixed funk, dub, percussion and electronics and was instantly hailed as a classic. Whilst at Factory, the band released five studio albums and twelve singles; their last album, Force fact 166, was released in November 1986 to positive reviews but soon after, the band left Factory, and eventually signed to the major label A&M.

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A IS FOR A CERTAIN RATIO

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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At nearly seven-and-a-half minutes, blue monday, fac 73, is one of the longest tracks ever to chart in the uk. It is recognised as the biggest selling 12-inch only single of all time, but as Factory Records were not members of the British Phonographic Industry association, it was not eligible for an official gold disc. The roots of this timeless electro classic lay in the purchase of a brand new Emulator 1 sampling keyboard costing £4,000 and a cache of favourite records. According to Bernard Sumner “The arrangement came from Dirty Talk by Klein & MBO, the beat came from a track, Our Love off a Donna Summer LP, there was a sample from Radioactivity by Kraftwerk, and the general influence on the style of the song was Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” The song begins with a distinctive kick drum intro. Eventually, Gillian Gilbert, fades in a sequencer melody. According to band interviews in the video NewOrderStory, she did so at the wrong time, so the melody is out of sync with the beat; however, the band considered it to be a happy accident that contributed to the track’s charm. The verse section features the song’s signature throbbing synth bass line overlaid with Peter Hook’s bass guitar leads. Blue Monday is an atypical hit song in that it does not feature a standard verse-chorus structure: after a lengthy introduction, the first and second verses are contiguous and are separated from the third verse only by a brief series of sound effects. A short breakdown section follows the third verse, which

leads to an extended outro. The b-side, The Beach, is an instrumental version of the a-side with added studio effects. It could be argued that Blue Monday is one of the most important crossover tracks of the 1980s pop music scene. Synthpop had been a major force in British popular music for several years, but Blue Monday is arguably the first British dance record to exhibit an obvious influence from the New York club scene, particularly the work of producers like Arthur Baker (who collaborated on New Order’s follow-up single Confusion, fac 93 and again on the single Thieves Like Us, fac 103). The single’s complicated die-cut sleeve (with silver inner sleeve) was based on the Emulator’s 5-inch floppy disk, epitomising its metronomic, prototechno feel. It was designed by Peter Saville and allegedly cost so much to produce that Factory Records actually lost money on each copy sold. The sleeve was soon changed to a similar non-die-cut design that would cost no more than a regular sleeve. The sleeve does not display either the group name nor song title. Instead the sleeve’s spine simply reads ‘fac seventy three’ and, on the front and back cover, the legend ‘fac 73 blue monday and the beach new order’ is represented in code by a series of coloured blocks, the code is also employed on Confusion, another New Order release from this time period. The key enabling this to be deciphered was printed on the back sleeve of the album, Power, Corruption & Lies, fact 75.

Clockwise from top: Fac 73 New Order Blue Monday, 1983 Fact 75 New Order Power Corruption and Lies, 1983 Fac 93 New Order Confusion, 1983

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B IS FOR BlUE MONDAY

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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In 1979, factory released a certain ratio’s debut album, the graveyard and the ballroom, fact 16c. The PVC packaging that housed the cassette was designed by Peter Saville and is designed as a clutch bag or strapless purse, in reference to the word ‘ballroom’ in the title. The cases were made by an importer of thermoplastic bags, an acquaintance of Saville’s, and came in several different colours, including green and orange. From 1984, always keen to offer something new and interesting for the record-buying public, Factory launched a series of boxed cassettes, designed by Peter Saville Associates, for a limited section of its roster. Individual board boxes housed a cassette tape that sat within a black plastic tray accompanied by miniature replicas of the original artwork. The first of these releases was for New Order’s Low-life, fact 100c; it contained a set of four postcards of photographic portraits of the band, held in a semi-transparent paper folder, with the information for the album over-printed, in two colours. Twenty-two cassettes were released in the series before Factory discontinued them in 1987. These were originally designed to work as a set, with each colour coded for the particular band or artist: white for New Order, purple for Joy Division, green for Section 25 etc. They instantaneously became essential items for collectors; the rarest boxes are Substance , fact 200c, by New Order (which strangely seemed to be mainly available through Woolworths), Educes Me, fact 190c, by Wim Mertens and both releases by Section 25.

These objects are another example of Factory’s willingness to produce unique items that went beyond normal expectations, and is also a reflection of Factory’s interests in new formats: in 1985, The Durutti Column released the first CD-only popular music album with their Domo Arigato, fact 144, live album; later, when the Factory back catalogue was released on CD, a cardboard ‘car carry case’ was included so that the owner could take the CD without the bulky plastic ‘jewel’ case. Factory Records pioneered the use of Digital Audio Tape as a commercial medium: in 1987, The Durutti Column’s The Guitar and Other Machines fact 204, became the first commercially released pre-recorded Digital Audio Tape.

This page: A selection from Factory’s series of boxed cassettes, released between 1984-1987 Opposite page: Fact 16c A Certain Ratio The Graveyard and The Ballroom, 1979

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C IS FOR CASSET TES

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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John dowie was one of the inaugural acts on factory records. Dowie was born in 1950 in Birmingham and is a comedian, musician, and writer. He began performing stand-up comedy in 1969. In 1978 he contributed three comedic songs to the very first Factory music release, A Factory Sample, fac 2, along with Joy Division, The Durutti Column, and Cabaret Voltaire. In 1981, a 7-inch single followed, It’s Hard to be an Egg, fac 19, which Dowie described as “a flop.” The single was announced eighteen months before it appeared, and was recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport with Martin Hannett and Steve Hopkins (aka The Invisible Girls). “The mix and most of the music was recorded after I’d gone back to London, as if I were dead” joked Dowie, “What’s the obverse of a tribute?” The release has unusual packaging, even by Factory standards: the disc is white vinyl with a ‘yolk’ printed on the label, and is packaged in a clear plastic sleeve with a real white feather. The feathers were sourced from a local market by Alan Erasmus and were glued on by hand. This novel package transformed surreal comedy into an art object. Reviews were positive, but Factory’s ‘first major assault on Radio Two’ failed to ignite and sales were modest. Dowie’s final Factory contribution was a VHS video, fact 89, released in 1983 and entitled simply Dowie, a recording of a live performance at the Edinburgh fringe festival. The cover featured an illustration by Ralph Steadman.

This page: Fac 19 John Dowie It’s Hard to be an Egg, 1981 Opposite page: Fact 89 John Dowie Dowie, 1983

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D IS FOR JOHN DOWIE

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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Electronic were a ‘supergroup’ formed by new order singer and guitarist bernard sumner and ex-smiths guitarist johnny marr. They co-wrote the majority of their output between 1989 and 1998, collaborating with Neil Tennant on three tracks in their early years, and former Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos on nine songs in 1995. The two first met in 1984 when the Smiths guitarist contributed to a Quando Quango track that Sumner was producing. However, despite achieving mainstream success with the singles This Charming Man and What Difference Does It Make? Sumner didn’t initially recognise Marr, and both were surprised to discover that they had several musical touchstones in common, including New York dance music, early Rolling Stones singles and Neil Young album tracks. Electronic finally materialised in 1988, when the New Order frontman suggested Marr add guitar to a solo album he was planning – this was quickly abandoned when the idea of joining forces for a full-time group emerged. The band were inspired by contemporary dance music like Italo house and acts such as Technotronic (Sumner remixed Technotronic’s Rockin’ Over the Beat single in 1990), their initial concept was to release white label records on Factory and remain an anonymous entity, in contrast to their considerable reputations with The Smiths and New Order. The track Lucky Bag and the name Electronic itself are two vestiges of this initial approach.

Clockwise from top: Fac 257 Electronic Getting Away With It, 1989 Fact 290 Electronic Electronic, 1991 Fac 328 Electronic Feel Every Beat, 1991

In 1989, when Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant heard of their budding partnership through sleeve designer Mark Farrow he suggested a collaboration. The fruits of this union became Getting Away with It, fac 257, Electronic’s debut single which was released in December 1989 and sold around a quarter of a million copies. It was a Top 40 hit in America the following spring, and after a support slot for Depeche Mode in August 1990 their chances of anonymity soon vanished. Instead, Sumner and Marr took a more commercial direction, blending synthesizers, guitars and analogue technology whilst retaining the template of modern alternative rock. As well as its fusion with rock and pop, Electronic continued their interest in dance music by inviting DJs to remix their singles and album tracks; this was a trend that continued throughout their career. The sleeve for Getting Away With It was designed by Peter Saville Associates and is notable for the fact that this was the first time Saville had used stock photography for a sleeve, in this case, an image of a tumbler of whiskey. The cover employs the visual language of modern print advertising with the title and name of the band positioned as a caption would appear. This ironic selling of a ‘supergroup’ as a product or commodity is interesting in the context of Factory, given that when the label was established, overblown 1970s supergroups such as Emerson Lake and Palmer, were a prevailing trend that the label – and punk in general – were reacting against.

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E IS FOR ElECTRONIC

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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Reading about Music Digital print, 2009 Writing about Music Digital print, 2009

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INTERPRETATIONS

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Mark farrow is a graphic designer, known for his designs for sleeves of the pet shop boys, spiritualized, 808 state, orbital, liza minnelli, manic street preachers and others. Like many designers servicing the post-punk Manchester music scene, he began his career as a music fan who got to know musicians – in his case the Stockholm Monsters: in 1982, he was commissioned to design the 7-inch single for this new Factory signing. He made an exuberant statement using mock-leather paper and foil stamp printing, emulating the binding of an antiquarian book. The single, Fairy Tales, fac 41, was available in two colours, green and burgundy and established his reputation at Factory and beyond. Farrow went on to design several sleeves for Factory including I Need Someone Tonight, fac 72, by A Certain Ratio; The Durutti Column’s Another Setting, fact 74; and Bad News Week, fac 157 by Section 25. The fold-out sleeve with five spotcolour printing for Happy Ever After, fac 58, by Stockholm Monsters was the most expensive to that date and Farrow recalls that he got a “bollocking” from Tony Wilson about the cost.
Clockwise from top left: Pet Shop Boys Actually, 1987 Pet Shop Boys Introspective, 1988 Fac 58 Stockholm Monsters Happy Ever After, 1982 DeConstruction logo, 1990 Haçienda fifteenth birthday poster, 1997

Farrow found a corporate rationale, partly born out of low budgets – to the problem of packaging ‘faceless’, technology-led dance acts, using wittilysourced stock photography to create a collect-the-set, brightly-coloured family of highly hip designs. But it is for his work with the Pet Shop Boys that Farrow is most associated, having defined the graphic identity of the group for almost all of their releases in a period of over twenty years. The first Pet Shop Boys sleeve to be designed by Mark Farrow was for the 12-inch remix of West End Girls. Farrow says “I hated the original sleeve – the fact that there were two different typefaces, one of the typefaces had three different sizes in it, just everything about it I loathed and detested. I had the whole Factory ethic in my head. So the first thing I did was strip all the type off it, and we just had the coloured blocks and the background.” In 1991, in an echo of Farrow’s initial collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys, Farrow was commissioned to design a sleeve for the 12-inch remix of Electronic’s Get the Message, fac 287r. Farrow’s sleeve bears no relationship to the original sleeve, designed by Johnson/Panas, instead , Farrow appropriates the style and iconography of contemporary motor-cross bike racing graphics.

Farrow’s long-term aim had been to design a corporate identity for a record label. His chance came through DeConstruction records set up by Pete Hadfield and Haçienda DJ Mike Pickering. At DeConstruction Farrow’s minimalist treatments echoed the contemporaneously evolving house music sound, which was defined by its deconstruction of disco music. In his work for DeConstruction,

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F IS FOR MARK FARROW

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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Rob gretton was born in 1953 and grew up on the post-war satellite estate of wythenshawe, south of the city of manchester and one of the largest council housing estates in europe. Gretton was one of a generation who found a way out through either pop music or football and was best-known as the eccentric manager of the bands Joy Division and New Order. He was also a partner in Factory Records, proprietor of the Rob’s Records label and a co-founder, along with Tony Wilson, of The Haçienda in Manchester. He was portrayed by Paddy Considine in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, which documented the rise and fall of Factory Records, and by Toby Kebbell in the 2007 film Control, a biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. Gretton’s involvement with the Manchester scene began when he contributed £200 to co-finance Slaughter and the Dogs’ first single, the punk classic Cranked Up Really High. Between 1996 and 1999, Rob Gretton managed his last Manchester fledglings Gabrielles Wish, signing them to his own label, Rob’s Records. The dance-tinged label had scored a hit in 1993 with Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use) by Sub Sub featuring vocalist Melanie Williams. A loyal supporter of Manchester City FC, he died in May 1999 at age 46 as the result of a heart attack. And you forgotten A Memorial Event for Rob Gretton was held in the Ritz, Manchester on May 23 2004, the event was given the Factory catalogue number, fac 511 by Tony Wilson because “Rob would have been 51 this year...”

This page, clockwise from top Fac 511 And you forgotten Memorial event poster, 2004 Slaughter and the Dogs Cranked Up Really High, 1977 Gretton at the Factory Club Opposite page: Rob Gretton

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G IS FOR ROB GRET TON

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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Martin hannett was born in north manchester in 1948. He first came to musical attention when, as Martin Zero, he produced the first independent punk record, the Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch EP. Under the same moniker he produced early records by punk poet John Cooper Clarke, whose Salford monotone was complemented by drum machines, simple synthesiser motifs and Hannett’s own bass playing. As Martin Zero, Hannett appeared on Top of the Pops playing bass on Jilted John’s eponymous single, which he also produced. Hannett was an original partner in Factory Records with Tony Wilson and is best-known as the producer who helped develop Joy Division’s recorded sound. Hannett’s trademark production, which is most apparent on Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures, fact 10, and its follow-up, Closer, fact 25, is sparse and eerie, complementing frontman Ian Curtis’ baritone vocals. Hannett’s meticulous production, heavily influenced by dub, created a space at the heart of Joy Division’s sound, pitting the band’s spartan, jagged instrumentation against a spacey void, the latter being created by adept studio manipulation. For these purposes, Hannett often utilised looping technology to treat musical notes with an array of digital filters – in particular, delay units. His techniques are especially prominent in regard to the band’s drum and synth sounds, which use the echo and digital reverb effects, the notes echoing and reverberating through a spare sonic backdrop. Also

evident from his dub influences was the mixing of the bass and drums higher in the mix than usual, and placing the other instruments further back. As a producer, Hannett obsessed over drum sounds, never being content until they completely coincided with the sounds that he heard in his head. He demanded clean and clear sound separation not only for individual instruments, but even for individual pieces of Joy Division and New Order drummer Stephen Morris’s drumkit. Morris recalls “Typically on tracks he considered to be potential singles, he’d get me to play each drum on its own to avoid any bleed-through of sound.” He also reputedly had Morris set up his kit on a first floor flat roof outside the fire escape at Cargo Recording Studios, Rochdale. Hannett worked with U2, Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark, Jilted John, World of Twist and others. He worked briefly with New Order, and fellow-Factory Records bands Stockholm Monsters and Happy Mondays. A rift formed with Factory and he sued them in 1982 over a financial dispute; the matter was eventually settled out of court. At this point, Hannett’s career had spiralled into decline due to his heavy drinking and drug use, especially his use of heroin. His weight doubled and he died of heart failure in 1991 at the age of 42. Hannett is survived by a wife, daughter and a son.

Opposite page: Martin Hannett in the studio

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H IS FOR MARTIN HANNET T

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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I fagiolini is a british solo-voice ensemble specialising in renaissance and contemporary music. They released one album on the Factory Classical label in 1990, The Art of Monteverdi, fact 316, which was reviewed by Stewart Maconie in the NME in January of the following year: “Few Northside fans will be set alight by I Fagiolini’s rendition of Monteverdi’s secular works which is a pity, since its clean, elegant lines are infinitely preferable for chilling out to than Ambient House or that crap Enigma single. I wouldn’t know a good Monteverdi from a Swans b-side but it sounds terrific to me.” The Factory Classical label was launched in 1989 with five albums by composer Steve Martland, the Kreisler String Orchestra, the Duke String Quartet, oboe player Robin Williams and pianist Rolf Hind. Composers included Martland, Benjamin Britten, Paul Hindemith, Francis Poulenc, Dmitri Shostakovich, Michael Tippett, György Ligeti and Elliott Carter. Releases continued until 1992 and included albums by Graham Fitkin, vocal duo Red Byrd, a recording of Erik Satie’s Socrate, Piers Adams playing Handel’s Recorder Sonatas, Walter Hus and further recordings both of Martland’s compositions and of the composer playing Mozart.
Clockwise from top left: Fact 316 I Fagiolini The Art of Monteverdi, 1991 Fact 236 Robin Williams, 1989 Fact 266 Steve Martland, 1989 I Fagiolini

wanted to record etc and to do the more pop thing of getting the audience to identify more closely with the performer. I spoke to Bruce about it, he mentioned it to Tony who said that Alan Erasmus had had a similar idea a while ago but no one to implement it. Wilson gave me carte blanche to do the whole thing. I was a kid in a sweet shop. I chose the artists and with them organised the recordings, editing etc. It was important for the music to be twentieth century with at least one British piece on each CD – the point being that you didn’t have to have a world cup or a shit disco beat over the top or another bollocks version of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to make excuses for classical music to an already patronised and assumed dumbed-down audience. Beyond that the musicians could do what they liked. I was proud of it – it was one of the first attempts at getting more control into the hands of the musicians and saying any one who wants to do it can.” Designed by Peter Saville Associates, the series was to have its own distinctive house style within the Factory catalogue. Saville looked at classical labels Deutsche Grammophon and ECM for the visual codes and packaging of this genre. There was a conscious desire to package the artists in a contemporary manner that placed the emphasis on the performers. Factory had previously packaged pop records in the fashion of classical records, they were now doing the inverse: presenting classical music as pop.

John Metcalfe (the viola player for the Durutti Column) was the project co-ordinator on the first wave of releases on the Factory Classical label. He says “My job title was misleading. I’d always had an idea to do a classical label run by and for artists to have a say in their repertoire, design, the way they

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I IS FOR I FAGIOlINI

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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Joy division formed in 1976 in salford, greater manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band consisted of Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Stephen Morris (drums and percussion). Producer Martin Hannett contributed significantly to the band’s sound on record – though the band initially disliked the ‘spacious, atmospheric sound’ of Hannett’s production which did not reflect their more aggressive live sound. Although inspired by the energy of punk, Joy Division rapidly evolved from their initial punk rock influences, to develop a sound and style that pioneered the post-punk movement of the late seventies. Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures, fact 10, was released in 1979 on Factory Records, drawing critical acclaim from the British press. Reviewing the album for Melody Maker, writer Jon Savage called Unknown Pleasures an “opaque manifesto” and declared “(leaving) the twentieth century is difficult; most people prefer to go back and nostalgize, Oh boy. Joy Division at least set a course in the present with contrails for the future—perhaps you can’t ask for much more. Indeed, Unknown Pleasures may very well be one of the best, white, English, debut LPs of the year” Joy Division performed on Granada TV in July 1979, and made their only nationwide TV appearance in September on BBC2’s Something Else. They supported the Buzzcocks in a 24-venue UK tour that began that October, which allowed

the band to quit their regular jobs. The nonalbum single Transmission, fac 13, was released in November. Despite the band’s growing success, vocalist Ian Curtis was beset with depression and personal difficulties, including a dissolving marriage and his diagnosis with epilepsy. Curtis found it increasingly difficult to perform at live concerts, and often had seizures during performances. Words and images such as ‘coldness, pressure, darkness, crisis, failure, collapse, loss of control’ re-occur in Curtis’s lyrics. In 1979, NME journalist Paul Rambali wrote “The themes of Joy Division’s music are sorrowful, painful, and sometimes deeply sad.” In May 1980, on the eve of the band’s first US tour, Curtis, overwhelmed with depression, committed suicide. In 1980, Joy Division’s posthumously released second album, Closer, fact 25, and the single Love Will Tear Us Apart, fac 23, became the band’s highest charting releases. In 1982 Factory released a compilation of previously unreleased Joy Division material, Still, fact 40. The hessiancovered sleeve, designed by Peter Saville/Grafica Industria, with its austere, block-printed lettering in Copperplate Gothic, had a simplicity that aims at longevity – the eternal. The release of Still was seen as a fitting conclusion – and memorial – to Joy Division, whose remaining members went on to form New Order.
Opposite page, clockwise from top: Fact 40 Joy Division Still, 1982 Fac 23 Joy Division Love Will Tear Us Apart, 1980 Fact 25 Closer, 1980

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J IS FOR JOY DIVISION

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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Ben kelly is an interior designer based in london, initially working within the fields of retail and leisure. He established his reputation producing innovative spaces including three seminal buildings for Factory Records: the legendary night-club The Haçienda, fac 51; a continental-style bar Dry, fac 201; and the Factory headquarters, fac 251, in Charles Street. For The Haçienda, his first project for Factory, opened in May 1982, Kelly created a stark threedimensional version of Factory Records’ visual aesthetic. The cavernous space was painted in blue and grey tones with an emphasis on the diagonal and vertical, with ‘hazard’ stripes painted on columns. The space was both flexible and dynamic with visual compositions of colour and texture everywhere. Directional and warning markings created an inside/outside tension – bollards and cats-eyes demarcated the dance-floor. A set of enigmatic codes allowed patrons to engage in design as never before: neon bar signs referenced notorious British spies and from outside, the only clue to what lay within was the granite nameplate with the hand-carved legend ‘fac 51 the haçienda’, inlaid with silver leaf and red enamel paint. After the success of The Haçienda, Factory Communications became unofficial figureheads for the regeneration of Manchester’s city centre. A frequent request from fans and patrons was for a place to go prior to clubbing, and so Dry 201 was conceived, opening in July 1989. Sited in a vast, steel-framed building on Oldham Street and

occupying the entire ground floor, Dry 201 boasted a 24 metres bar of slate and steel – the longest in Manchester. The design contrasted old and new with ‘found objects’, including a red plaster curtain – a hint of the bar’s previous life as a furniture warehouse – playing a theatrical part in an otherwise functional scheme. The Factory headquarters, fac 251, opened in 1990, were located in a disused textile warehouse on another run-down site in central Manchester. Despite the structure being virtually rebuilt, the original brickwork was retained and was boldly featured in the design. A full-height entrance with raised lintel, a bespoke metal gate and Kelly’s trademark glazed bricks visually connected the dedicated functions of each floor: warehouse, office, boardroom. Original features were juxtaposed with contemporary and appropriated materials: floorboards were recycled as wall panelling, I-beams were saturated with paint, while glazed, industrial bricks and blue glass added planes of intense colour. Most dramatic of all, the zinc-clad staircase bulkhead emerged into the top-floor boardroom like an oversized industrial conveyor belt. The building was awarded first place in the 1990 Pantone European Colour Awards for use of colour in architectural/interior design.

Opposite page Top: Fac 51 The Haçienda Centre: Dry 201 Bottom: Fac 251 The Factory Headquarters

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K IS FOR BEN KEllY

A FACTORY ALPHABET

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In may 1985, new order released their third studio album, low-life, fact 100. One of the most acclaimed records of the post-punk era, it marked the point where the band’s fusion of rock and electronics became virtually seamless. As the band became more accessible – even chart-friendly – New Order’s sound and stark image continued to evolve, setting a template that the band would follow for the rest of their career. The most obvious progression in Low-life is the songs. In previous releases, New Order had weaved instrumental experiments amongst the more conventional tracks: Low-life is more flowing, more continual, and makes a broader statement. When boiled down to its essence, that statement is that electronic-based dance music doesn’t have to be cold, distant, or robotic. With Low-life, New Order began to stake out two emotive territories – the crowded dancefloor and the lonely, isolated bedroom. Songs written from these disparate points of view seamlessly meld together, reinventing the band as a newly-complex creature, and pushing Low-life into territories only hinted at in the first two New Order albums. The album’s sleeve, designed by Peter Saville, is the only New Order release to feature photographs of the band members on its sleeve. After some nudging by the band’s new US record company (they had recently signed to Warner Bros) to make themselves more accessible and give the band a ‘face’, New Order responded with a cover that consists of nothing but faces. A photographic portrait – by

long-time Saville collaborator Trevor Key – of the drummer/keyboardist Stephen Morris is on the front cover and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert is on the back; the inside sleeve featured two more close-ups – of vocalist Bernard Sumner and bassist Peter Hook – and no information. Information such as the band name, song titles, catalogue number and album title is contained on an almost disposable semitransparent tracing paper sleeve that wraps around the main sleeve with typography that is a direct quotation of Josef-Müller Brockmann’s Der Film poster of 1960. For the typography, Saville used the 1928 font Neuzeit. He says: “I used Neuzeit because I felt ‘new time’.” At that particular moment, Saville’s use of Neuzeit on Low-life was shocking – and groundbreaking – it also represented the beginning of Saville’s move away from the appropriation that had informed his previous work. The album was preceded by the release of the full-length version of The Perfect Kiss, fac 123, as a 12-inch single. Atypically for New Order, who had never included a single on an album before, an edited version of The Perfect Kiss also appears on Low-life. The track is said to be about the death of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, and the words seem to bear this out – ‘pretending not to see his gun / I said let’s go out and have some fun’. Yet instead of a funeral dirge, The Perfect Kiss is a full-on, handsin-the-air dance track, complete with burping frog sound effects, cowbells and handclaps. This meshing of disparate emotions, which was once described as ‘tears on the dancefloor’, is one of the factors that makes Low-life such a compelling record.

Clockwise from top left: Fact 100 New Order Low-life, 1985 Front cover: Steven Morris Inner sleeve: Bernard Sumner Inner sleeve: Peter Hook Back cover: Gillian Gilbert

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l IS FOR lOW-lIFE

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Asperger’s Lullaby Digital print, 2009 Colours Digital print, 2009

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INTERPRETATIONS

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Clockwise from top left: Halluçienda poster, Julian Morey, 1991 Fac 232 Happy Mondays Wrote for Luck, 1989 The Haçienda Fac 242 Happy Mondays Madchester Rave On, 1989

Madchester was an alternative rock genre that developed in manchester towards the end of the 1980s and into the early 1990s. The music that emerged from the scene mixed indie rock, psychedelic rock and dance music. Artists associated with the scene included The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, the Inspiral Carpets, 808 State, James, The Charlatans, A Guy Called Gerald and others. At that time, The Haçienda was a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos in the city that was called the ‘Second Summer of Love’. The Haçienda opened in May 1982, for the first few years of its life it played predominantly indie music – and was mainly empty – but gradually began featuring more disco, hip-hop and electro; in this respect, the club enjoyed a relationship of mutual influence with its part-owners New Order as the band became immersed in the New York club scene. In 1986, The Haçienda became the first club in the UK to take house music seriously with the opening of Nude night on Fridays. The night quickly became legendary, and helped to turn around the reputation and fortunes of the club, which went from making a consistent loss to being full every night of the week by early 1987. The Happy Mondays were formed in Salford in 1985 and were signed to Factory Records. In October 1988 they released the single Wrote for Luck, fac 212, which, although commercially not a hit, was recognised as a significant record nationally within the indie and dance communities respectively. By the following November, Madchester seemed to have

conquered the consciousness of the country, with four of the defining singles of the movement being released: Move by the Inspiral Carpets, Pacific by 808 State, the Madchester Rave On EP, fac 242, by the Happy Mondays and Fools Gold/What the World is Waiting For by The Stone Roses. The Happy Mondays record, featuring the lead track Hallelujah!, featured the term ‘Madchester’ on its sleeve, which was designed by Central Station Design. The Madchester scene was groundbreaking in the way it brought together dance music and alternative rock. In the 1990s, this became a commonplace formula, found frequently in even the most commercial music. Although not totally a Factory phenomena, the roots of the scene in The Haçienda, the dominance of the scene by Factory band the Happy Mondays, and the visual identity created by Factory designers Central Station – which became ubiquitous on t-shirts the UK over – put Factory at the centre of this brief-lived scene that re-invigorated the fortunes of both the city of Manchester and of Factory Records.

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M IS FOR MADCHESTER

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Clockwise from top left: Fact 200 New Order Substance, 1987 Fact 275 New Order Technique, 1989 Fac 183 New Order True Faith, 1987 Fac 193 New Order Touched by the Hand of God, 1987 Inner sleeve and front cover

New order melded post-punk and electronic dance music to become one of the most critically-acclaimed bands of the 1980s. Although shadowed by the legacy of Joy Division in their first years, their immersion in the New York City club scene of the early 1980s introduced them to dance music. New Order was Factory’s flagship band, and their minimalist album sleeves and non-image reflected the label’s aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including New Order not wanting to put singles onto the albums. New Order’s music treads a fine line between rock and dance, which can be seen on key tracks such as Temptation, fac 63 and True Faith, fac 93. They have heavily influenced techno, and were themselves influenced by the likes of Kraftwerk, Cabaret Voltaire and Giorgio Moroder, and they have also significantly influenced electro, freestyle and house. Bassist Peter Hook contributed to New Order’s sound by developing an idiosyncratic bass guitar technique. He often used the bass as a lead instrument, playing melodies on the high strings with a signature heavy chorus effect, leaving the ‘actual’ basslines to keyboards or sequencers – this tension between ‘natural’ instruments and electronics being a defining characteristic of the New Order sound. New Order album covers were all designed by Peter Saville, rarely showing the band members or even providing basic information such as the band name or the title of the release. Song names were often

hidden within the shrink wrapped package, either on the disc itself or on an inconspicuous part of an inner sleeve, or in a cryptic colour code. Saville said his intention was to sell the band as a “massproduced secret” of sorts, and that the minimalist style was enough to allow fans to identify the band’s products without explicit labeling. Also adding to this air of mystery is the fact that many New Order song titles have nothing to do with the lyrics. In some cases, songs with normal titles appear to have had their titles swapped with other songs. Other song titles such as Thieves Like Us, and Cries and Whispers were taken from the titles of old movies. From 1981 to 1989 New Order recorded five studio albums for Factory, these albums were supplemented by non-album singles, 12-inch remixes, b-sides and a career-spanning compilation album, Substance, fact 200. New Order’s output was not marketed in a conventional manner: releases would appear in the stores with little announcements or advertising and limited press coverage (Factory, famously, never answered their phone). This changed with the release of Technique, fact 275, which, untypically, had a marketing campaign, that featured, for the first time, billboard advertising. The campaign was given its own catalogue number, fac 271. A final album for Factory was scheduled for release as fact 300, but in 1992 Factory declared bankruptcy and the album was eventually released as Republic on New Order’s new label, the paradoxically-named London Records.

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N IS FOR NEW ORDER

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Octavo/8vo were a british graphic design company founded in 1984 by mark holt, simon johnston and hamish muir. During their time working together they designed and produced some of the UK’s most exciting graphic design. They also published a series of typographic journals called Octavo, in which Michael Burke was invited to be co-editor and an associate of the studio. Preferring the term ‘visual engineers’ to designers, 8vo largely practiced a typographicled form of communication; much of their work was produced using pre-digital tools and often utilised techniques of rendering the typographic content in camera, offering a multi-layered reading experience and enabling them to keep a tighter control over the finished product. A good example of this working process is the collaged artwork for The Durutti Column’s Circuses and Bread, fbn 36, which was shot on 8 x 10-inch transparency and supplied directly to the printer in Belgium.
Clockwise from top left: Octavo Issue 4, 1987 Octavo Issue 5, 1988 Fact 274 The Durutti Column Obey the Time, 1990 Haçienda seventh birthday poster, 1989

Talking about their experience of working for Factory, Mark Holt and Hamish Muir have said “A remarkable thing about Factory was the complete creative freedom they gave their designers. Throughout the period of our working relationship, they never interfered with design (except once rejecting a complete job at the final proof stage – The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, fact 244). Something along the lines of ‘music is our bag, graphics is yours’. They were happy to see designs for the first time when they were delivered, printed and finished. Scary indeed – the weight of expectation was immense. But this working relationship brought about some of our best work. We designed each job knowing there could be no excuses, striving to make the next job better than the one before.” Years later, Wilson referred to 8vo as The Durutti Column’s “Graphic Magicians.”

8vo produced the artwork for many Factory sleeves and promotional material and were an integral part of the Factory design family. Principally designing for label stalwart The Durutti Column, 8vo produced sleeves for releases including Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, fac 114; Domo Arigato, fact 144; The Guitar and Other Machines, fact 204; and Obey the Time, fact 274. 8vo also created some of the legendary Haçienda birthday posters, whilst still finding time to set the tone for late 1980s design in the United Kingdom before they disbanded in 2001.

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O IS FOR OCTAVO

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Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted or practiced. In Ancient Greek the word praxis referred to activity engaged in by free men. Aristotle held that there were three basic activities of man: theoria, poiesis and praxis. Three types of knowledge corresponded to these three kinds of activity: theoretical, to which the end goal was truth; poietical, to which the end goal was production; and practical, to which the end goal was action. Aristotle further divided practical knowledge into ethics, economics and politics. He also distinguished between eupraxia (good praxis) and dyspraxia (bad praxis or misfortune). The concept of praxis is important in Marxist thought. In fact, philosophy of praxis was the name given to Marxism by nineteenth century socialist Antonio Labriola. Marx himself stated in his Theses on Feuerbach that “philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Simply put, Marx felt that philosophy’s validity was in how it informed action. Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic Georg (or György) Lukács held that the task of political organisation is to establish professional discipline over everyday political praxis, consciously designing the form of mediation best suited to clear interactions between theory and practice.

As used by Brazilian educator and theorist of critical pedagogy Paulo Freire, praxis is a synthesis of theory and practice in which each informs the other. Praxis is also a dominant theme in the political philosophy of Helmut Fleisher. In the Channel Four television documentary New Order: Play At Home, Factory Records owner Tony Wilson describes praxis as “Doing something because you have the urge to do it, inventing the reasons later.” Elsewhere, Wilson has been quoted as saying “You learn why you do something by doing it. The Theory of Independence was discovered in the act of putting out your own records, doing very well, being friends with your artists and not ripping them off. And by 1981, we were all doing it.” Which perfectly sums up the Factory ethos.

Clockwise from top left: Karl Marx Antonio Labriola Tony Wilson Aristotle György Lukács Paulo Freire

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P IS FOR PRA XIS

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Released by factory records in december 1980, a factory quartet, fact 24, was a double lp with a cover price of ‘five guineas’. Each of the four sides was devoted to a Factory artist. Disc one featured three tracks by The Durutti Column and seven tracks by Kevin Hewick whilst disc two featured four tracks by Blurt and three tracks by Royal Family and The Poor. The sleeve was designed by Peter Saville. The runout grooves on each of the four sides read: side a: ‘for who it says’, side b: ‘yip yip yip’, side c: ‘n.a.r.g’., side d: ‘the mode of production etc.’ The sleeve was designed by Tony Wilson, based around a set of Polaroid photographs, also taken by Tony Wilson. The sleeve was embossed to represent the borders of the Polaroid images. Factory’s first recorded release was A Factory Sample, fac 2, a double 7-inch EP featuring tracks by Joy Division, The Durutti Column, John Dowie and Cabaret Voltaire. The cover was designed by Peter Saville who used a motif that had been sourced from a leaflet on industrial standards, it was printed in silver and black in an edition of 5,000. Tony Wilson suggested the plastic-sealed gatefold format, which was inspired by record packaging from the Far East. The single came with a set of four stickers that represented each of the bands. A Factory Sample and the later A Factory Quartet announced a standard of detail for Factory releases that went beyond normal expectations and would set the foundations for the development of the visual language that would come to define Factory products.

A hand-typed press release, for A Factory Quartet, from the year of release, reads: ‘As yet untitled. Basically, it’s another Factory Sample, only this time a double 10" featuring 4 bands / 15 minutes each. 1. The Royal Family. A remarkable S.I. influenced outfit from Liverpool who, with sing along numbers like “Vanneigem Mix,” rose such comments as; ‘They show The Gang of Four to be the bubble gum band we always thought they were.’ – R. Boone. 2. Blurt. Sax based dance band from Stroud – Jesus Christ Stroud! Fronted by former anarcho beat poet – reformed. 3. The Durutti Column. An extended piece being prepared by Vinny Reilly, Stephen Hopkins and Mr. Hannett. 4. Kevin Hewick. Kid comes from Leicester. Writes singles about hay-stacks and finding needles, and apart from the fact that he likes Sylvia Plath and Clem Burke, he has a lot going for him. Interested in frail specifics, yip, yip, yip’.

Opposite page: Fact 24 A Factory Quartet, 1980

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Q IS FOR A FACTORY QUARTET

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The durutti column took their name from spanish revolutionary buenaventura durruti. Another inspiration for the name of the group was Le Retour de la Colonne Durutti, which was a 4-page Situationist comic by Andre Bertrand, given away at Strasbourg University in October 1966. The image of the two Situationist cowboys from Le Retour de la Colonne Durutti was also used, in a slightly modified version, on a poster, fac 3.11, given away to members of the now defunct ‘Durutti Database’. Centred around Vini Reilly, a classically-trained pianist and virtuoso guitarist, the then five-piece band recorded two tracks for A Factory Sample, fac 2, the first music release on Factory Records. The band’s debut album, released in 1980, The Return of the Durutti Column, fact 14, featured a sleeve made of sandpaper; this, like the title of the record, was inspired by a Situationist joke: an artist’s book made by the French artist and theorist Guy Debord in collaboration with the Danish artist Asger Jorn, Mémoires – which had a sandpaper cover, designed to destroy other books on the shelf (The sandpaper sheets, glued by hand – by a strapped-for-cash Joy Division – to the cover of fact 14, dried in warped peaks and troughs and were potentially even more damaging to other records). Always at the forefront of technology thanks to Factory’s innovative – but sometimes misguided – policies: in 1985, The Durutti Column released the first CD-only popular music album with their album Domo Arigato, fact 144, recorded live in Tokyo.

Later, in 1987, The Guitar and Other Machines, fact 204, was the first ever commercially available album to be released on Digital Audio Tape. Perversely it was also promoted with a 7-inch flexi-disc – a relic of a bygone age. In 1995, the Factory Too album Sex and Death, facd 2.01 also appeared in interactive CD-Rom format. Musical experimentation, too, has always been the keynote of The Durutti Column’s music. Able to flit from classical on Without Mercy, fact 84, to house on Obey The Time, fact 274, via opera on Vini Reilly, fact 244, it has never been possible to pin Vini Reilly down. Tony Wilson recalls trying to discourage Vini from singing on Durutti Column releases (his voice is, famously, an acquired taste) by getting him an Akai S500 sampler: “It’s expression and you can’t forbid it; it’s his dance. And there are even Durutti fans who like Vini’s singing. But they’re off their heads. and there are things you can do, like get him a sampler and stand back. Which is what we did, and we stood back in amazement.”

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Vini Reilly Fact 144 The Durutti Column Domo Arigato, 1985 CD front and back

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R IS FOR VINI REIllY

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Information Digital print, 2009 Always Now Digital print, 2009

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Peter saville is perhaps the most wellknown graphic designer of his generation. He was part of a triumvirate of designers that emerged in the early eighties that had roots within the post-punk music scene: Malcolm Garrett with the Buzzcocks, Magazine and Duran Duran; Neville Brody with Cabaret Voltaire and Fetish Records; and Peter Saville with Factory Records. Saville and Garrett both studied at Manchester Polytechnic, whilst there, Saville was inspired by the work of typographer Jan Tschichold. According to Saville “Malcolm had a copy of Herbert Spencer’s Pioneers of Modern Typography. The one chapter that he hadn’t reinterpreted in his own work was the cool, disciplined ‘New Typography’ of Tschichold and its subtlety appealed to me. I found a paralled in it for the new wave that was evolving out of punk.” Saville first met Tony Wilson at a Patti Smith concert in 1978. This meeting resulted in Wilson commissioning the first Factory poster, fac 1. Having long admired the ‘found’ motorway sign on the cover of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, the first album he bought for himself, Saville based the Factory poster on a found object of his own – an industrial warning sign he had stolen from a door at Manchester Polytechnic. Saville became a partner of Factory Records along with Wilson, Rob Gretton and Alan Erasmus. As a co-founder of the label, he was given an unusual, if not unprecedented level of freedom to design whatever he wanted, just as the bands were with their music: free from the constraints of budgets and deadlines which were routinely imposed on designers elsewhere. Saville

treated his artwork for Factory acts such as Joy Division and Orchestral Manœuvres In The Dark as form of self-expression to articulate whatever happened to obsess or interest him at the time. In the early 1980s, Saville turned to classical art historical references, juxtaposing them with complex coding systems. For the cover of New Order’s 1983 album Power Corruption And Lies, fact 75, he combined a nineteenth century Fantin-Latour flower painting with a coded colour alphabet. Having seen a floppy disk for the first time, he conceived the sleeve of Blue Monday, fac 73, as a replica. Notoriously, Factory had to pay more to print the record’s sleeve than it could sell the single for. Time and again, Saville’s work has intuitively touched a nerve: the headstone-like rusted metal sheet for Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, fac 23, and the funereal image used on Closer, fact 25, were both designed before the tragedy of Ian Curtis’s suicide. Saville’s experimental collaborations with photographer Trevor Key using the Diachromatic photographic silk-screening process on New Order’s 1989 album Technique, fact 275, and the singles Fine Time, fac 223, and Round & Round, fac 263, captured the spirit of the drug-fuelled club nights of 1988, the hey-day of acid house, which had influenced these tracks, prompting Saville to reflect that this was “the first time that a New Order cover reflected something that was actually going on in youth culture.”

Clockwise from top left: Fact 223R New Order Fine Time Remix, 1988 Fac 223 New Order Fine Time, 1988 Fac 3 The Factory club poster, 1978 Peter Saville

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S IS FOR PETER SAVIllE

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Thick pigeon was perhaps one of the more mysterious artists to record for factory. The group was essentially a vehicle for songwriter Stanton Miranda and arranger Carter Burwell plus a rotating roster of guest musicians. Based in New York, the duo recorded a handful of oblique, minimalist singles for Les Disques du Crépuscule (a label, based in Brussels, that had strong links with Factory) in 1981-82 before moving sideways to Factory for their first album Too Crazy Cowboys, fact 85, in 1984. The second Thick Pigeon album, Miranda Dali, appeared on Crépuscule in 1991. Operating on the fringes of synth music and art rock, Thick Pigeon’s use of studio-generated effects, treated vocals and techno rhythms are like a precursor of today’s electronica scene. The two founding members have worked in various careers since the demise of the band: multi-instrumentalist Carter Burwell has gone on to provide soundtracks for around 50 films including Being John Malkovich, and more recently Burn After Reading and In Bruges, whilst New York-based singer Stanton Miranda has played in the band CKM, put together by the visual artist Dan Graham, with Christine Hahn (ex-Malaria) and Kim Gordon (later of Sonic Youth); she has worked with The Durutti Column and Sonic Youth; and is also an actress and performance artist.

Too Crazy Cowboys was recorded with Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order. The album was originally to be called ‘Two Crazy Cowboys’ as announced on a promotional poster, fac 131. The cover was designed by American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, who was commissioned by Michael Shamberg, head of Factory’s transatlantic operation, Of Factory NY. Shamberg also commissioned work for Factory from a range of contemporary American artists and filmmakers including John Baldessari, Robert Breer, Jonathon Demme, Robert Frank, Barbara Kruger, Robert Longo and William Wegman. The cover features a wedge-shaped die-cut in the top corner and is typical of Weiner’s stark angular text and graphic work. Lawrence Weiner was also commissioned to design two posters for Factory: one for a New Order concert at the Paradise Garage, New York in July 1983, the other for a Section 25 concert at the Ritz in New York in February 1985.

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Fact 85 Thick Pigeon Too Crazy Cowboys, 1984 Front and back cover New Order poster, lawrence Weiner, 1983

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T IS FOR THICK PIGEON

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Joy division’s debut album was released in 1979 on factory records. Unknown Pleasures, fact 10, was produced by Martin Hannett at Strawberry Studios, Stockport. The album sold poorly on release, but due to the subsequent success of the 1980 single Love Will Tear Us Apart, fac 23, Unknown Pleasures became much more well-known and is now considered to be one of the strongest debut albums ever, capturing not just a city, but a moment in time. Factory boss Tony Wilson had so much faith in the band that he contributed his £8,500 life savings toward the cost of producing the initial run of 10,000 copies of the album. There was no contract at Factory but as Peter Hook says “We had a sheet of paper saying that the masters would revert to us after six months if either of us decided not to work with each other. That was it. It was amazing the agreement lasted so well.” The album was Joy Divison’s first breakthrough, on the opening track, Disorder, Ian Curtis sings ‘I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand’, the following nine tracks are a definitive northern Gothic statement: guilt-ridden, romantic and claustrophobic. Martin Hannett’s production for the album is a reflection of Manchester’s dark rainy spaces of the late 1970s: vacant industrial buildings, cars speeding along urban clearways and the glow of orange streetlights. The album cover is one of the most iconic cover images of the post-punk era. The cover image comes from an edition of the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy, and was originally drawn with black

lines on a white background. It presents exactly 100 successive pulses from the first pulsar discovered (a pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation). The image was suggested by Bernard Sumner and the cover design is credited to Joy Division, Peter Saville and Chris Mathan. The back cover of the album contains no track listings, leaving a blank table where one would expect this information to be. The initial release came in a textured sleeve. The original LP release contained no track information on the labels, nor the traditional ‘side one’ and ‘side two’ designations. The ostensible ‘side one’ was labeled ‘Outside’ and displayed a reproduction of the image on the album cover, while the other side was labeled ‘Inside’ and displayed the same image with the colors reversed. Track information and album credits appeared on the inner sleeve only which also includes an uncredited photograph; the image is by an American photographer, Ralph Gibson, it is untitled and comes from the photo series The Somnambulist and is taken from the book with the same name. The sleeve was printed by Garrod and Lofthouse who also printed many early Factory albums, singles and other items. They were responsible for the printing and construction of various classic sleeves – for Factory and others – often bearing the enigmatic inscription ‘G+L’. Like Factory, the company went into liquidation in the mid-1990s.
Opposite page: Fact 10 Joy Division Unknown Pleasures, 1979

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This page: Fac 198 Vermorel Stereo/Porno, 1988 Front and back cover Opposite page: Fact 30 The Sex Pistols The Heyday, 1980

Fred and judy vermorel were writers and music journalists. Together, they waged a tactical campaign at Britain’s national publishers association, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the policing mechanism that seeks to control pop music in Britain. Factory (who were not members of the BPI) released Vermorel’s Stereo/ Porno single, fac 198, ‘specially commissioned for the BPI Awards 1988’. A poster, Bums For BPI, bearing the Factory number fac 199 also appeared. The single is a great piece of electro/orchestral melodrama and has a brilliant lyric with vocals from Ginny Clee, who also became to the cover star of fac 198. She recalls “My publishing company of the time Warner/Chappell put me together with a writing duo called The Vermorels. They were a husband/wife team who had made their name as pop commentators having written a book on the Sex Pistols. I could talk for hours about this partnership as it was almost the end of me but this page isn’t long enough. The good that came out of it was a single on Factory Records called Stereo/Porno. It wasn’t a hit but it did end up in The Victoria and Albert Museum in their Best Record Covers of all Time exhibition. The designer was Peter Saville, the photographer Fred Vermorel and the naked ass... mine!” The Sex Pistols – The Heyday, fact 30, is billed as ‘A Factory Records Documentary Cassette’, it contains interviews by Fred and Judy Vermorel with Sid Vicious, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, Johnny Rotten and Malcolm McLaren’s Grandmother. The cassette comes in a black vinyl pouch with either golden,

black or grey cassette. The label on the cassette reads: ‘Would everybody wash their hands before...’ A card came with the release: ‘From the city that brought you Strangeways. Seasonal Greetings and a seasoned cassette. Love, Factory.’

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V IS FOR VERMOREl

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Clockwise from top left: Peter Saville, Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus outside The Factory, 1978 Tony Wilson with beard, 2007 Tony Wilson at The Haçienda, 1985

Anthony howard wilson, best known as tony wilson, was born in 1950 in salford, lancashire. He was a record label owner, radio presenter, TV show host, nightclub manager, impresario and journalist for Granada Television and the BBC. Wilson was the founder and manager of The Haçienda nightclub, and was one of the five co-founders of Factory Records. Wilson was sometimes called ‘Mr. Manchester’ because of his work in promoting the greater cultural status of Manchester throughout his career. He was also known as ‘Wilson ya wanker!’ – a statement that was bandied around Manchester for almost thirty years and one that he seemed to relish – but a mixture of self-deprecation and super-confidence was always a major part of the Wilson brand. Wilson’s involvement in popular music stemmed from hosting Granada’s culture and music programme So It Goes. Wilson saw the Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, in June 1976, an experience which he described as “nothing short of an epiphany.” He booked them for the last episode of the first series, probably the first television showing of the then-revolutionary British strand of punk rock. Wilson had an interest in Situationism, the ideas of The Situationist International, a small group of international political and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism, Lettrism and the early twentieth century European artistic and political avant-gardes. Situationist references around Factory Records range from the obvious (The Haçienda) to the tenuous

(The Stockholm Monsters, named after Swedish youth riots of 1956). Wilson recalled in 2001 “We all wanted to to destroy the system but didn’t know how. We knew about Strasbourg and the Situationist tactics of creative plagiarism and basing change on desire. The Situationists offered, I thought then and I still think now, the only future revolution I could imagine or want.” Factory sponsored the ICA’s Situationist International exhibition catalogue in 1989 and in 1996 hosted the Situationist International conference at The Haçienda. He never made a fortune from Factory Records or The Haçienda, despite the enormous popularity and cultural significance of both endeavours. Both Factory Records and The Haçienda came to an abrupt end in the late 1990s. Wilson made several attempts to start new versions of Factory – none were as successful as the original. In 2007, Wilson developed renal cancer and had one kidney removed. Despite the surgery, the cancer progressed, and a course of chemotherapy was not effective. Wilson died of a heart attack, a consequence of his condition, in Manchester’s Christie Hospital on Friday, 10 August 2007 aged 57. Following the news of his death, the Union Jack on Manchester Town Hall was lowered to half mast as a mark of respect. As with everything else in the Factory empire, Tony Wilson’s coffin was given a Factory catalogue number – fac 501.

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Clockwise from top left: X-O-Dus press shot, 1975 Flyer for The Factory featuring X-O-Dus, 1979 Fac 11 X-O-Dus English Black Boys, 1980 Front and back cover

Hailing from hulme and moss side, x-o-dus were regulars at the russell club, the original home of the factory club night. Initially formed in mid-1975, the founder members were Honey, Leddy, Trevor Bell, and shortly after, Dave Reid. The aim of the band was to play the kind of music which they themselves wanted to hear and that was not being played by others at the time: a progressive reggae, a new, young sound which could be understood and enjoyed by black and white alike. In early 1979 the band changed their management and in June, recorded their ‘rainy city reggae’ at Cargo Studios in Rochdale. Tony Wilson heard the resulting tape and the song English Black Boys made such an impression on him that the band were offered a deal for a single almost immediately, making X-O-Dus the first reggae band to sign to a leading independent label. It was decided that the single should be a 12-inch, comprising English Black Boys – which clocked in at just over ten minutes – as the a-side, and a new song, See Them A’ Come as the b-side. Factory engaged the dub producer Dennis Bovell to mix the single. Bovell, who had previously worked with The Pop Group and also with Janet Kay on the hit single Silly Games, was busy with other projects, including the album Cut by the Slits, and the release was delayed until the following year. X-O-Dus performed at the Leigh Festival, Zoo Meets Factory Halfway and at the Moonlight Club showcase but fac 11 was their only record on Factory, and is the label’s sole reggae release. When the single eventually

hit the shops at the end of April 1980, it received favourable reviews in Sounds, Melody Maker and the NME. X-O-Dus were also favourably reviewed in the Manchester listings magazine City Fun (date unknown): ‘First on are X-O-Dus, possibly the most underrated Reggae band in the country, not, as I’ve said before, I don’t claim to know a great deal about the subject, the sooner someone who does takes the time to write in, the sooner we’ll be able to give bands like X-O-Dus the coverage they deserve. Manager Mr Dunlop’s movement of Ja People seemed very impressive, if the size of the supporters’ entourage is anything to go by, X-O-Dus must be highly regarded in reggae circles. Now with a single out on Factory, which I have listened too and did appreciate, and getting radio play, apparently the lout (John) Peel thinks it’s great as well, so there ye go. Come on all you Lee Perry impersonators, let’s have a full-size X-O-Dus feature/interview.’ The sleeve for English Black Boys, was designed by Peter Saville and, typically for a Factory release, was available in two different versions: a dark grey textured card sleeve, and a light grey regular card sleeve. The single had ‘for j anderton’ scratched in the run-out groove – a reference to James Anderton, the disputed head of Manchester Police.

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Clockwise from top left: Fac 82 Cabaret Voltaire Yashar, 1983 Cabaret Voltaire, 1980

Cabaret voltaire was an experimental electronic group from sheffield. Initially composed of Stephen Mallinder, Richard H Kirk and Chris Watson, the group was named after the Cabaret Voltaire, a nightclub in Zurich, Switzerland that was a centre for the early Dada movement. The band formed in 1973 and experimented widely with sound creation and processing. Their earliest performances were dada-influenced performance art; in one incident, Mallinder was hospitalised after the band had objects thrown at them. However, the arrival of punk brought a more accepting audience for their industrial, electronic sound. The group performed at the Factory on 2 June 1978 during the opening run at the Russell Club, before releasing their debut EP Extended Play on the Rough Trade label in November. The fourth side of A Factory Sample, fac 2, was their second vinyl release and was recorded at their own studio, Western Works, in Sheffield. Stephen Mallinder says: “We had already done Baader Meinhof and wanted to get it out, but it didn’t really fit in on Extended Play, so it was a good opportunity. Sex in Secret was done specially for fac 2. I think both tracks, and specifically the titles, which were intended to provoke a response, seemed to fit with Factory’s sensibilities. I think Tony wore his Situationist heart on his sleeve.” Although they had contributed two tracks to A Factory Sample, and would have co-headlined the cancelled American tour with Joy Division in May 1980, Rough Trade were the first to offer to finance

an album and the group signed to and remained with the label until 1982. With Rough Trade they released several acclaimed musically experimental singles and EPs, including Nag Nag Nag, Silent Command, and Sluggin’ fer Jesus, and albums such as The Voice of America, 1980, and Red Mecca, 1981. Yashar was among their last recordings with founder member Chris Watson in October 1981, and appeared on the transitional album 2 x 45. Yashar, fac 82, was labelled as a ‘(re)production of john robie overdubs/mix’. Remixer John Robie was a New York-based musician and keyboard programmer whose previous credits – with Arthur Baker – included the seminal electro singles Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force and Play At Your Own Risk by Planet Patrol. He remixed New Order’s Sub-culture, fac 113, and later co-wrote and co-produced New Order’s Shellshock, fac 143. The reworked Yashar 12-inch was released by Factory US and Factory Benelux in July 1983. The cover was a generic ‘factory records giant single’ sleeve which was designed by Anthony Wilson with record labels designed by Mark Holt. The next Cabaret Voltaire releases apeared on Virgin, and saw the band stripped down to a duo of Kirk and Mallinder who released progressively more commercial music. Yashar, their final release on Factory can be viewed as a transition between the band’s earlier more cut-up experimental sound and their embracing of new technologies and a move towards dancefloor-orientated tracks.

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Released by factory in august 1990, zimba is a 12-inch single, fac 278, by indambinigi. The single is a one-off collaboration between guitarist and DJ Steve Lima and Karl Denver. The cover erroneously reads ‘indambinig’, Lima recalls “We were actually meant to be called ‘indambinigi’ but someone at Factory mispelt it.” Denver, a champion of World music had had a hit record with his 1961 version of Wimoweh with the Karl Denver Trio which showed off his falsetto yodelling register; Denver claimed to have discovered the song in South Africa during his days as a seaman but it had already been a hit, in 1951, in the hands of American folk group The Weavers, and in 1961, The Tokens had re-recorded it, with new lyrics, as The Lion Sleeps Tonight. The Karl Denver Trio version displayed Denver’s vocal gymnastics to full effect and its success propelled the group into the upper reaches of British show business. During the early 1960s Denver was a familiar figure on both radio and the concert stage, performing in what one reviewer called his “eardrum piercing, multi-octave range.” There were further small hits for the Trio in 1964, but their music sounded decidedly old-fashioned compared with that of the Fab Four and the numerous beat groups who now dominated the pop scene. Although The Karl Denver Trio faded from the media limelight, they continued to perform in cabaret at home and overseas. There was a brief, unexpected return to the charts in 1989 when the Happy Mondays had Denver

guesting on their track Lazyitis (One Armed Boxer), fac 222. The single made the Top 50 but Denver contracted pneumonia whilst filming the video. He subsequently released a dance version of Wimoweh, fac 228, on Factory which was produced by Mike Pickering and Graeme Park. Zimba with its b-side Shengali is a mixture of beats and ethnic vocals, it was produced by Steve Lima and written by Karl Denver and Steve Lima. The artwork for Zimba, which was released on vinyl only, was by Central Station; the designers abandoned their trademark neo-psychedelic work that epitomised their ‘Madchester’ phase and adopted a more restrained style. The cover design has a muted colour scheme with a typeface (Gill Shadow) that is almost – but not quite – an echo of the early Factory sleeves.

Clockwise from top left: Fac 278 Indambinigi Zimba, 1990 Karl Denver yodelling Fac 228 Karl Denver Wimoweh 89, 1989

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“The hacienda must be built.”

Compiled, edited and designed by James Brook www.jamesbrook.net www.factoryalphabet.info 102432

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