Monday, November 24, 2008

My '80s Remastered - New Order

Factory Records' flagship band New Order have finally gotten the remastered reissue treatment. The two disc Collector's Edition sets of the first five records ('Movement,' 'Power, Corruption & Lies,' 'Low-Life,' 'Brotherhood' and 'Technique') arrived in the UK in September & October and were released in the US on November 11th. Hardcore fans the world over rejoiced, myself included - some of these early records I've only ever owned on vinyl. These same fans soon started to complain about the sound quality of the tracks on the bonus discs. Turns out they had good reason to, because it has since been disclosed that the bonus disc material (remixes, instrumentals, 7" & 12" versions) on these reissues were sourced from commercially available vinyl recordings instead of the original master tapes.

Wow. It is amazing to me that the catalog of a band as big a New Order would get such shoddy treatment. You would think that quality control would be an important issue here, and Rhino is usually pretty good with these deluxe editions. It is also surprising than nobody in the music press picked up on it in their reviews.

Peter Hook had this to say on his Myspace;

This is a very difficult one , we are aware of the problems and because we did not have finished product to listen to? It has, shall we say……. slipped through the net?? My great friend claude flowers has taken it on himself to sort this mess out personally, but please be aware , that after the fact it is going to be very difficult, unfortunately because many of you have purchased them already ( a great compliment in itself) we are doing all we can to try and get fresh masters made and available , somehow ? to try and remedy the situation, so please bear with us.
I have said before how difficult it is compiling this stuff, the masters steve and I listened to, were all basically from people's collections, so it was then left to someone? In the library department to compile, as much as possible from original masters, this is where it seems to have gone wrong , unfortunately it is industry standard these days to not have production masters of the cd's or the sleeves, much to pete saville's amazement, but that's just the way it is , hopefully they might resurrect the process after this. Here's hoping, hooky."

On November 20th, 2008 Rhino Records announced that they plan to reissue the reissues and will allow fans to exchange their dodgy CDs for good ones. They issued this statement;

"Warner Bros. UK, Rhino and New Order regret that the initial pressings of the Collector Editions of 'Movement,' 'Power, Corruption & Lies,' 'Low-Life,' 'Brotherhood' and 'Technique' contain some minor audio problems on the bonus discs."

"We are now in the process of correcting the problems, but it should be noted that due to the age and condition of some of the original source tapes, the sound quality may vary. A further statement will be issued once the corrected product is available. At that time, the procedure for exchanging CD's will be announced. Thank you for your patience while we resolve this situation."

Wow again. A costly and somewhat embarrassing mistake for the labels. Thankfully it will end up working out for us fans - I've got 5 of them that will need to be exchanged!

Today's selections come from the band's last live gig in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November of 2006. The show was taped from a radio broadcast so there are a few radio station IDs included.

Ceremony (Live)
Your Silent Face (Live)
Blue Monday (Live)


Alex said...

Classic live version of Blue Monday, shame about the reissues though.

Patrick said...

I ordered all five reissues weeks before they came out- I never dreamed they would screw them up. And although I am not an audiophile, even I can hear some of the problems. There are even mis-labeled songs. Also, there is room for more music on all the second discs. Aren't the second discs in these types of reissues supposed to contain all that will fit on them? And finally, there are even mistakes on some of the first discs, which is truly inexcusable. Such a disappointment.

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