Friday, May 8, 2009

New Order - Western Works demos followup

Now that the dust has settled a bit from this blog's freeing of the Western Works demos taken from the master reel, I thought it appropriate to discuss this a bit further.

There were quite a few fans who made this possible - I can't thank them all, because of course everybody wishes to remain anonymous, but were it not for the generosity of many, this would likely have ended up in the hands of a notorious bootlegger who would not have seen to it's proper care and feeding.

It's been quite apparent from my logs that this post has been shared worldwide. While I'm grateful for the exposure, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

The band is aware of this material's existence in the wild.

Those who doubted about New Order's involvement in the NO/Cabs jam "Are You Ready Are You Ready Are You Ready For This?" - doubt no further. A member of New Order - who was of course there at the time, he was in the band! - was the direct, to me, source of this information, not secondhand or thirdhand.

When this bunch of fans obtained the reel, this track was completely unknown and it was just pure speculation at the time that it was a Cabs/NO jam. I had this New Order member identify it for me - it was he who revealed its title to me - and this same member also confirmed the instrumentation:

Hooky - bass
Bernard - guitar (and "whooping" in the background)
Steve - Simmons drums, and the same Dr Rhythm drum machine used on Truth
Rob Gretton - vocals
various Cabs - sonic alterations

This member also stated there was another collaboration recorded at the time, which was a bit more classic New Order-y in sound, but alas this appears to have been lost in the mists of time. It was not on the reel as purchased off eBay.

You may be of course asking how the auction win came about.

The reel was advertised as being rescued in a Chorlton charity shop, and was described as containing "unreleased" Joy Division mixes, specifically "She's Lost Control" and "Atmosphere". Alas, neither are unreleased mixes - the reel contained test pressing vinyl captures of the FACUS2 "She's Lost Control" b/w "Atmosphere" 12" single, and a transfer of the Sordide Sentimental 7" "Atmosphere", presumably for comparison sake. Nothing JD on the reel was unreleased, and in fact both were of fairly poor quality for a vinyl transfer to reel. Not listed on the reel, and not mentioned in the auction description, was the New Order material.

On the reverse side of the reel - labeled "!SBAC" - are 4 Cabaret Voltaire tracks that eventually saw release in the early 1980s. You would have needed a 4-track reel-to-reel machine to play these properly, it's obvious that neither New Order nor the eBay seller didn't have such a machine, at least at the time.

Here are photos of the reel itself...

Side 1


and Side 2


Note how Side 1 starts with "Cabaret Volt. Demos" - I'm wondering if this was New Order's shorthand for the Western Works session.

And here's some detail on the Cabs material on Side 2, the "!SBAC"-labeled side:
I have identified the 4 Cabs tracks on the reel.

They are:
1. Doubled Delivery
2. Venusian Animals
3. The Outer Limits
4. She Loved You

These are the B side of the Industrial Records cassette, IRC-35 Cabaret Voltaire 1974-1976. There is also a later Mute Grey Area CD release.

The original cassette was released by Industrial in early 1981, so this fits into the time frame and seems to point to Chris Watson as the original source.
Please be advised we've no info if Watson was indeed the source or not, that was just pure speculation.

If you only had a 2-track reel machine and attempted to play Side 2, it would play backwards - hence the label being backwards. The labeler knew it was Cabs material but couldn't play it back properly.

So please discuss!


  1. all of this is awesome news. Thanks a lot for the effort and link :-)

  2. Bonza!! Great work sir, thank you.

  3. Thanks for sharing this and in flac no less. Thanks for the information too.
    Makes you wonder what else is available apart from the Warsaw concerts and rehearsels that Peter Hook has in his possesion - please release them soon! We should start a petition (it might have an adverse effect 'thou').
    Imagine what's been lost too (sigh) at least we've got what we have.
    Carry on,


  4. hello,
    here an word from The Netherlands interesting stuff.
    Iam still wondering where you ? buy the reels.
    Was this in an recycleshop Emmaus in shefield or so ?
    And was there only 1 reel ?
    Do you putting the CABS material on internet too ?

    Thanks anyway this is good stuff

  5. Brilliant, though what kind of track would the "more New Order-ry" track be? Well oneday we may find it

  6. Absolutely stunning! Thanks so much.

  7. Sorry I'm two years late to the party, but just read the new uncut 50 best bootlegs issue and had to track this down. Spectacular stuff and an amazing job from the PIT. Respect is due.