Wednesday, January 27, 2010

RECYCLE: Joy Division 01 An Ideal For Living

The Power of Independent Trucking is proud to link up with the folks at the Recycle blog (well, £50 Note at least) to present the Joy Division chapter of RECYCLE - £50 Note's yeoman effort at doing the box set that should have happened all along.

The mind behind the PoIT curtain - your own Analog Loyalist - is overseeing and handling the mastering work of the raw audio tracks. £50 Note is managing the general presentation and the artwork. Occasionally I will host over here differences, or oddities, I've come across while restoring the audio.

Today we feature the premier release of the nascent Joy Division, the EP recorded in December 1977 that became the highly-sought-after An Ideal For Living 7"/12". While the tracks themselves ultimately saw wide release on 1988's Substance, and then 1997's box set Heart and Soul, the quality of both issues was just so-so. Furthermore, the box set versions sounded *worse* than the 1988 release! Why, I have no idea. It's almost as if the box set used a cassette dub of the tracks as its source, while 1988's Substance went back to the masters.

Anyhow, oddly enough, the original vinyl pressings themselves, and all subsequent digital reissues (which I have confirmed by comparing to raw transfers from the actual original 7" and 12" releases) were mastered a bit fast, perhaps to be more punk? I don't know, and all I do know is that the recordings were not in concert pitch. It could simply have been a mastering error, or perhaps the band themselves didn't own any tuning equipment.

So of course I corrected it, for this post at least. £50 Note is posting the pitch-accurate-to-original-release version, as he should. If you want the pitch-accurate-to-a-tuning-fork, however, you're at the right place.

Lossless FLAC
, remastered from the original Japanese CD pressing of Substance - the best digital source I've been able to locate. Grab them here!

RECYCLE 01: An Ideal For Living
7" debut release, Enigma PSS139 (June 1978)
12" reissue, Anonymous ANON1 (October 1978)

01 Warsaw
02 No Love Lost
03 Leaders Of Men
04 Failures
05 At A Later Date (bonus, from the Virgin CD issue of Short Circuit)

See the post over at the Recycle blog for more details, and my original mastering notes.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wilco: 2 Nov 02 Tampa FL *mastered soundboard*

Unlike New Order or Joy Division, I don't have nearly as much to say about Wilco. Which is a bit odd seeing as how I believe they're the best band in America today, a position they've held since R.E.M. lost drummer Bill Berry in 1997.

Part of this was the amazing guitar firepower the band had in the late Jay Bennett, responsible for much of the guitar "crunch" Wilco had from 1995-2001. Yet Bennett also caused the supremely talented guitarwork of founder/frontman Jeff Tweedy to become subsumed in the mix - an outcome Tweedy perhaps encouraged for a time, but at the eventual detriment to the growth of the band.

Tweedy, already extremely talented, began taking guitar lessons in the early part of the decade from Television maestro Richard Lloyd. So it was no surprise that after the trainwreck that was the making of their 2002 record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot had ended, Tweedy took the chance to start afresh. Re-establishing himself as frontman and taking control of the Wilco reins, Tweedy fired Bennett in late-summer 2001, then shortly after the tragedies of 9/11/01 took the band on the road as a 4-piece.

It's this arrangement of Wilco that we find ourselves enjoying in this latest installment on the blog. With ultradrummer Glenn Kotche on drums and percussion, John Stirratt on bass and harmonies, Leroy Bach on keyboards and additional guitar, and Jeff Tweedy on lead guitars and vocals, this incarnation of Wilco is neither the bombastic all-guitar-assault of the Jay Bennett era, and nor the studied technical brilliance of the band post-2004 (with the admittedly-brilliant Nels Cline taking over on lead guitar).

Rather, this period of Wilco I find fascinating for its frailty. Tweedy is obviously finding his place in the mix, there's no bombast to hide behind, and nobody in the band wants to step out and take control. The performances are obvious exercises in dynamics, with simple man-with-an-acoustic-guitar songs coalescing out of chaos and noise.

The roots of modern Wilco are in these performances. Tweedy's Television-esque guitar skronk (ref: the latter third of "Not For The Season") plays out here, a sound carried to fruition on Wilco's 2004 LP A Ghost Is Born - a confidence on his instrument that only emerged with Jay Bennett's dismissal. Furthermore, Tweedy's ongoing involvement with confidante Jim O'Rourke - in their collaboration Loose Fur (Tweedy/O'Rourke/Kotche), as well as O'Rourke's production efforts on the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Ghost LPs - is very much on display in the loose experimentation, weirdness and clarity of these performances.

I've chosen to feature the band's November 2, 2002 performance - in stunning, crystalline soundboard clarity, mastered for this presentation by your humble blogger - because of all the 2002-era Wilco soundboard recordings available (and there are many), very few are mixed well. Which is understandable - these recordings often take PA mixes meant for the hall, as evidenced by many with Stirratt's bass mixed so low as to be inconsequential (hall PA mixes for small-to-midsize venues often rely on the onstage bass amp to provide all the bass needed for the audience, therefore there is often little-to-no bass in the resulting hall PA mix used for a lot of soundboard recordings).

This performance is well-mixed (including Stirratt's bass), features a GREAT setlist, and it's perhaps my favorite recording of this band from this era. My only niggling complaint is that this was one of the nights they didn't perform "Spiders (kidsmoke)" - the song was in a continuous metamorphosis during this period, and it was performed completely different to that which features on the Ghost LP.

Lossless FLAC files here - split across multiple RAR files.

2 November 2002
Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida

01 intro ("Animals of Africa")
02 Hesitating Beauty
03 One By One
04 Sunken Treasure
05 Less Than You Think
06 I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
07 War On War
08 Kamera
09 A Shot In The Arm
10 How To Fight Loneliness
11 Not For The Season
12 Jesus, etc.
13 (audience instructions for the next song)
14 Heavy Metal Drummer
15 I'm The Man Who Loves You
16 Poor Places
17 Reservations
18 Misunderstood
19 Far, Far Away
20 Monday
21 Outtasight (Outta Mind)
22 Red-Eyed and Blue
23 I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
24 California Stars (with Damon & Naomi from the opening act)


Monday, January 11, 2010

paradiso: Joy Division 11 Jan. 1980 *best ever version*

It was 30 years ago today that Joy Division performed one of their most famous gigs.

Famous in that it's probably spawned the most bootlegs of any Joy Division gig, that is.

At least this post isn't contributing to the glut. Or perhaps it is.

Featured today is the band's 11 January 1980 Paradiso, Amsterdam gig, in best-ever quality (though it has to be said that the high end on the meat of the gig could use some touchups, but that's a post/project for another day). Assembled with care from a multitude of sources (bootleg, private CD-R from an uncirculated low-if-not-master copy of the soundboard recording, FM broadcast, etc), this version pretty much is the last word on this gig. All tracks pitch-accurate to boot! (Common bootleg versions were often at the incorrect speed.)

Supposedly this gig was actually two sets because the support band didn't play, but some have their doubts because the majority of gigs on this winter 1980 European tour are about this long. Why, nobody knows...

So enjoy!

Lossless FLAC as is our custom on the PoIT...

11 January 1980
The Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands

01 Passover
02 Wilderness
03 Digital
04 Day Of The Lords
05 Insight
06 New Dawn Fades
07 Disorder
08 Transmission
09 Love Will Tear Us Apart
10 These Days
11 A Means To An End
12 24 Hours
13 Shadowplay
14 She's Lost Control
15 Atrocity Exhibition
16 Atmosphere
17 Interzone
18 Atmosphere (again) ("Black Rain" FM broadcast)

Get it here!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

dub: New Order 22 June 1982 Milan (2010 remaster)

And the gravy train continues.

As I clean up my hard drives, and poke through the big pile of CD/DVD-R's, I come across stuff. Sometimes I refile it, sometimes I put it in the "interesting, needs further thought" pile, and sometimes it goes straight into the blogpile, occasionally after some further audio mastering work.

Of late New Order soundboards keep edgeing their way into the blogpile. I push them out but you know, they're persistent little fuckers.

Perhaps it's to counterbalance Steve Albini. Hey! Albini's first real band recorded a session with legendary Joy Division and early New Order producer Martin Hannett, so the connection's not that far removed (although it has to be said that Hannett recorded Stations, Albini's band before Big Black, shortly after Albini left the band....).

Like an earworm, this particular gig featured today can't get out of my head.

One of the band's most legendary bootlegs, this June 22, 1982 soundboard recording from the Rolling Stone in Milan, Italy finds the band at perhaps their dubbiest (if that's a word, if not, I'm inventing it!). The dub effects are all over the map here, as if their sound guy had Lee "Scratch" Perry in one ear and the band's output in another - while on a load of draw on top of it all. About the only thing missing is Jah Wobble's throbbing deep lowfield bass. It's simply incredible. Not to mention the song selection is nothing short of stellar as well.

The highlight is their only known take on Sparks' "When I'm With You", featuring sequencers going haywire at the end (and more dub!) and Bernard moaning about their choice of encores.

Lyrical highlights: 2:04 "Thought this was in C!"; 2:20 "Never feel like feedback when I'm with you" to the sounds of howling feedback in the mix; 3:37 "This is why we don't do encores"; 3:55 "This is a bad idea". Then we get sequenced snippets of "The Village" and, at 10:45 as things drunkenly stumble to a close, a blast of Hooky playing the "Ceremony" bassline.

This also features one of the band's rare three-song segues, a stunning electroacoustic workout through 586->Temptation->Everything's Gone Green lasting nearly 18:35, all nonstop. Amazing.

Punters out there who have this gig may recall that "Everything's Gone Green" has a dropout at around 2:30 or thereabouts, losing nearly an entire vocal line (which would be about where the tape flip would be if it were recorded on a C-90 cassette). That has been fixed on this version. Punters may also recall that "When I'm With You" was missing the first couple seconds at the intro, which has also been fixed here.

This is the definitive version of this gig, so I highly suggest everyone - even if you only remotely care for New Order - download it. It's probably my favorite gig of this era as it's so transitional and clearly the band is struggling with their direction (do we continue the Joy Division sound, or branch out even further into this 586/Temptation/Everything's Gone Green electro motif, or scratch it all and listen to PiL's Metal Box for inspiration?). Of course we know how it would resolve, but it's a fascinating document of a band clearly struggling with their identity.

And as is becoming our trademark, it's featured in lossless FLAC for her pleasure ;)

22 June 1982
The Rolling Stone, Milan, Italy

special to

01 Truth (fades in)
02 Dreams Never End
03 Chosen Time
04 ICB
05 Leave Me Alone
06 Denial
07 Procession
08 586 ->
09 <- Temptation ->
10 <- Everything's Gone Green
11 When I'm With You

Grab it here!

credit for artwork: Species