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
A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

The Durutti Column