Monday, 28 May 2012

'Unknown Pleasures' - Joy Division (1979)

"I’ve walked on water,
Run through fire.
Can’t seem to feel it anymore."

You’re Factory Records. Design maestro Peter Saville is creating the most wonderfully enigmatic record sleeves for you. May as well have a go at redesigning the traditional cassette case. By basically super-sizing it. And making it much more purple-y.

The vinyl junkies all bemoaned the loss of great sleeve art with the advent of CDs, and now again with downloads, but it was always cassette artwork that niggled me. The completely different dimensions always meant the sleeves were simply shrunk or poorly cropped. Few labels went to the trouble of producing specially designed cassette sleeves that truly celebrated the songs within.  

When Factory came to reissue the Joy Division and New Order albums in 1985, they addressed this issue. Entirely for my sake, I’m sure. The results were, as befits Factory, completely unworkable. A case too large and fragile for the cassette sections of most stores – they were always wedged in to the shelves of Our Price and took a mighty battering from folk yanking them in and out. The three I have all sit awkwardly in my collection to this day – waiting for colleagues that will never join them. But ‘Unknown Pleasures’ does come with two lovely textured postcards – with the classic cover image now replicated as silver on white. So every cloud has a … "No, no Michael – let’s leave it there, before you embarrass yourself."      

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