31 Mar 2004
Our friends electric 
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's Fac 6 'Electricity' was originally released on Factory before being licensed to Dindisc ['the best example of this to date' (NME)] so that they might forge worldwide chart success. The official OMD website features the lyrics to 'Electricity' and the b-side 'Almost'. There is also a 1978-1980 photo gallery including several moody black and white shots of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys and Winston (the tape machine) and a detail of Peter Saville and Ben Kelly's staging for their live set.

The following extract from an interview which appeared in The Face back in the very early Eighties explains more about how OMD and Saville came to work together, their artistic direction and contains the now infamous story of how Factory were banned from using a certain printworks:

"In another direction, Saville began another a close association with another early Factory coup, Orchestral Manoeuvres, the first of the label's signings he'd enjoyed musically, meeting in a Rochdale pub, they exchanged ideas. Saville told them about a book of avante-garde musical scores which he'd come across in Llandudno public library. Andy McCluskey said that he sometimes wrote down the tunes he composed in a similar shorthand.

"I also knew from college," Saville explains, "that shiny black ink on black paper worked, so I decided to suggest that. Tony didn't believe it, the band didn't believe it and the printer said it couldn't be done." The Manchester printer who Saville persuaded otherwise regretted his acquiescence; the printing - by a special heat process called thermography - was a success, but the place set on fire three times. The printer's insistence - "Don't come back!" - meant that the edition of 5000 was strictly limited."

Bringing everything OMD slightly more up to date there's an exclusive Q&A with Paul Humphreys. He is currently working with Claudia Brücken (ex-Propaganda) on new material.

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Peter Saville colour wheel
Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

Factory Records

The Durutti Column