Whilst I wasn’t the first out of my friends to develop a healthy interest in Factory Records, (probably because I was still prancing around wearing eyeliner and scarves and promoting the virtues of synthesizers), I was always intrigued by the fantastic album covers and generally brilliant sounds coming out of them. Many a night spent listneing to Joy Division, New Order, Section 25 and The Durutti Column around friends bedrooms. Lusting over Peter Saville artwork.and new sounds.
Since the early noughties there have been many Blogs and countless articles about Factory Records….. all good and totally relevant… you don’t have to google far and because of that, I don’t intend for this post to be an in depth Factory critique.
It’s a mix, which you should be listening to right now, of my personal favourite Factory tracks.
Anyone that knows me, will expect there to be electronic leanings…ofcourse, but there’s a lot more in here inbetween tracks, mutated funk and iconic post punk anthems.
I’ve always wanted to put on a Factory records orientated night, I got the chance in 2002 at a Bar in Brighton to coincide with the publishing of Tony Wilsons 24 Hour Party People biography. It was mid week, the guys in the bar were enthusiastic (as long as I plalyed some ACR) and I also invited Steve Coogan who had played Tony Wilson in the film of the same name. Steve lived down the road and his offices were round the corner.
Except that Brighton is up it’s own arse really…it thinks it’s up everyone elses, but in reality everything is false. Steve didn’t turn up, infact he didn’t even reply to the invite. Infact, the bar remained more or less empty except for someone who turned up for their 50th Birthday with a couple of friends (they knew me as a DJ and asked if I could play some suitable party stuff)… Hmmmm, it wasn’t going to be an all night party with the atmosphere they were hoping.
Retrospectively, it’s a bit of a selfish indulgence with a massive amount of predictabillty. I recall going to a Section 25 gig at tThe Water Rats where the support Dj was playing the Factory Hits…..it just wasn’t needed all night long. Having said that, A Factory Night at Plan K in 2009 was a lot better, mainly due to a brilliant lineup and that with interlude support from Tom Moderne (James Nice) curator of Les Temps Moderne, Factory Benelux and Les Disques Du Crepescule. A brilliantly put together eclectic mix of music to for the night.
A lot of the more electronic based music on Factory has links to New Order, usually produced by individual members, therefore known as a BeMusic production and if Donald Johnson from ACR was involved, then it became a DoJoBemusic Production.
Check out FBN60 - New Order Present BE Music, a compilation of their releases, fantastically compiled with a great booklet…. a beautifully lush package if ever there was one………
Further great Factory compilations are as follows:
Palatine - The Factory Story 79-90
So instead, go for Factory Records Communications 78-92 on Warners
Ofcourse, if you really want to keep it independent, support James Nice in keeping Factory Benelux, Les Disques Du Crepuscule going by getting hold of a copy of these ……
Ofcourse,Factory and it’s offshoots is not just about music, it’s the fantastic artwork too. there’s also a great couple of books I recommend
There’s Factory Records by Matthew Robertson
And Designed by Peter Saville
My Playlist is in a highly personal order, not chronological….more a mix up but not shuffled without thought, if you hit play when you started reading this, you might be on track 2 now, if not….carry on listening without hearing protection and reading my reasoning for these FACTS.
FACTORY IKONS Pt
Section 25 - Looking from a Hilltop
FACT90 From The Hip - When From The Hip was released I got a call from my Local Our Price. “Adam, we’ve got a new Factory album in. We can’t work out who it’s by, but you’re going to wet yourself. This is so up your street.” Indeed ….from Savilles Iconic artwork utilising the coloured alphabet on Power, Corruption and Lies, to a Roland Technology Fest. I got the chance to see them twice around this time (once at FAC121 Riverside Studios) and can confirm that the experience of loud TR808,s , triggered sequences and synths pounding through a sound system is an aural experience never to forget. From The Hip is an Electro Classic all before House and Techno. Looking From a Hilltop…you can see forever………
Joy Division - Heart and Soul
Less than a year from Unknown Pleasure and out comes Closer FACT 25 1980. More synth, more Hannett and with tracks like The Eternal that take you down…so far down, never to come back up again, a bit like the way Ian went. Heart and Soul being more uptempo to the point of pop, but those sounds are ethereal…compelling.
New Order - Cries and Whispers
FBN 8 1981 One of two tracks from the B side of the Benelux 12” of Everythings Gone Green. New Orders Dr Rhythm and sequencer experimentation period, just before it all becomes clean. Not quite pop, not quite minimal, but definitely drivingly catchy. The last work that Hannett produced for them
Section 25 - Dirty Disco
FACT 45 1981 - The lushest artwork by Peter Saville. Another Hannett produced album, so bass heavy it’s more post punk than Pil and more motorik than Can. Get on the floor and get dirty.
The Wake - Something Outside
FBN 24 1983. From Glasgow, The Wake epitomise everything Factory in my opinion. Caesar’s melancholic vocals, driving bass and those lush Juno pads. Their first album Harmony sits before this single only release. Then we have Something Outside. It’s anthemic and totally Factory. A Dub bass line, militaristic percussion, pure pop….. this is heaven…pure heaven and probably one of my greatest all time singles. The next album Here Comes Everybody FACT 88 takes it a subtle step further and washes it all in those Juno pads.
New Order - Your Silent Face
From Power, Corruption and Lies FACT 75 1983. What about Blue Monday I hear you ask, listen to the mix, it’s in bits at points throughout this selection otherwise it’s too predictable despite it being an all time favourite of mine. YSF is New Order’s nod to Kraftwerk obviously, but those strings just break your heart don’t they?
Nyam Nyam - Fate
FBN 28 1984 From Hull. One off single for Benelux produced by Peter Hook. Moroderesque sequencers, Emulator strings, TR808 and is that Hooky on bass???
Red Turns Too - Deep Sleep
FAC116 - 1985. More OMD than OMD, produced by Stephen Morris. It’s as though Bexhill/Brighton band Mirrors were complete emulations of Nyam Nyam and Red Turns Too.
The Stockholm Monsters - Terror
FACT 80 1984 From the album Alma Mater. I could play any track from this album. Such an underated classic. From Burnage and produced by Peter Hook. Great fun live too. Artwork Trevor Johnson.
Miaow - When it all comes down
FAC179 1986. Pure indie pop, infectious fun. Cath Carroll returns again twice later on. I like Cath in more ways in quite a few ways. I have a copy of “Priceless Innuendo”, the Miaow album that never got released on Factory. It’s bliss and it’s special. Indie, drum machine, Latin, Pop.
Thick Pigeon - Sudan
From the album Too Crazy Cowboys FACT 85 1984 New Yorks, Stanton Miranda and Carter Burwell team up with Steve & gillian and Gillians sister. Barking mad album, but full of some of the most lushest string pads you’ll ever hear in your life
Durutti Column - Catos Con Guantes
FAC184 1987 From The City of our Lady.
Vini Reilly at his most flamboyant. Breathtaking….enough to make you cry……
Take a deep breath in and………let’s start again…….
A Certain Ratio - Lucinda
From Sextet FACT 55 1982. Shifting away from Hannets Marshall Time Modulated productions on their 1st album To Each, the Latin Percussion infused Sextet, kept the funk and created something bliss. Lucinda needs two bass players. Double funk unhinged heat on the horizon getting you heady with the smell of petrichor. I could do a whole playlist of ACR,…..the best funk band ever.
The Swamp Children - Softly Saying Goodbye
From Taste What’s Rhythm FBN16 1982. Manchester Jazz band with members of ACR (obviously). Funk in Manchester is an incestuous affair. It’s the funkiness of this one.
Antena - Camino Del Sol
TWI 114 1982 - The mini album Camino Del Sol is a gem of Electolatino infused with TR808 and TB303. Still ahead of it’s time and still rightly revered by all that want to sit with a chilled Marguerita and pretend they’re not in belgium in 1982!!
Kalima - Shine (Concret Mix)
FAC 269 1990. The Swamp children became Kalima and became more Jazz. Someone took this track and did something special with it
Cath Carroll - Beast (on the streets) remix
FAC255 1990 - The gorgeous Cath returns with the help of Mark Brydon. The album is rumoured to have cost a fortune. Quite rightly so. It’s stunning and grossly underrated. Beast is an 808 bass frenzy smelling of Puerto-rican boys and Cath……
52nd Street - Cool As Ice
FBN20 - 1983 - Cool as Ice???? it’s a Bemusic Barney production Yeah, I salivated about this at the time. I dreamt of playing it on a dancefloor….and when I did. ….. the floor was empty. It’s weird…. a stone cold classic electro track, neither black or white. It just wipes the floor to this very day.
Shark Vegas - You Hurt Me
FAC111 1985. Another Bernard production. Mark Reeder was Factory’s Berlin representative. It’s another 808 fat bass frenzy.
Revenge - I’m not your Slave
FAC 279. Peter Hook’s solo project. I’m not a big fan (I prefer Monaco). But this remix is great. I must give the album another go.
Happy Mondays - Wrote For Luck
FAC212 - I wasn’t a big fan of the Mondays. With age I can see the allure and agree the direction was necessary. Are the good tracks their own doing? Or are they completely reliant on someone who isn’t smashed off their tits to do the work for them. As to whether you can blame them totally for, the demise of Factory……. well there were numerous things weren’t there. But I’m sure Shaun and Bez didn’t help.
Streetlife - Act On Instinct
FAC97. Wally Van Middendorp from Minny Pop’s Solo venture. A Hard Bass, Electro Beast with Obi Waan Kenobi.
Paul Haig - The Only Truth
12TWI390 - A DoJo Bemusic production with a Benoit Hennebert cover. Paul was way ahead of his time. Previous album was an Alex Sadkin iconic production. The Warp of Pure Fun was sheer genius to get Donald and Bernard in.
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle
FAC163 1987 - New Orders finest moment. The best pop song in the world? Say no more. From the album Brotherhood.
Blaine L Reininger - Mystery and Confusion
SIDE8412 1984 - From the album Night Air LTMCD 2339
Blaine is Tuxedomoons front man, this is so European it’s unbelievable, conjuring a journey through the backstreets of Brussels, intrigue, espionage and broken fingers!!
Anna Domino - Take That
TWI586 1985 - More Trans Atlantic yet typically European pop conjuring a more sunny view of Europa. Anna gets in Marc Moulin from Telex to produce and program. Try getting that riff out your head. Yes, there was even a compilation on Factory FACT 165.
Cath Carroll - Moves like you remix
FAC307 1991 - This still melts me to this day. Seductive….I’ll take you home. Honestly, I do have a bit of a crush on Cath. I’m sure Santiago Durango won’t mind……..
Marcel King - Reach For Love
FAC92 1984 - An electrosoul classic produced by DoJo Bemusic…. just how this got forgotten is beyond me
New Order - Temptation
FAC63 1982 - I don’t need to say anything…. the ultimate love song and why should there be anything anymore after this
I hope you enjoyed this journey……..