Monday, 19 January 2015
In chapter three of his autobiography (Chapter And Verse) Bernard Sumner describes the destruction of the street he grew up on in Lower Broughton and the displacement and resettlement of family, friends and neighbours to tower blocks and flats.
'Everything had gone, even the school had been pulled down. It was as if someone was actively trying to erase my memories. All the parts you could feel, touch, even smell, they were all gone and would never come back.... I don't think it's a coincidence that this is when I got even more into music, because what happened around that time has really influenced the music I've made. I think that you can hear the death of a community and the death of my adolescence in my contribution to the music of Joy Division'.
With Joy Division the focus is often on Ian Curtis' lyrics (and what they say about his state of mind) but clearly for Bernard the chord progressions and guitar lines had an actual content too, the guitar playing was about something.
This recording of Transmission at Les Bains Douche, from December 1979, is astonishingly good- full of power and energy, Bernard's guitar distorted and furious, Hooky's bass pushing and pulling. Stephen Morris' drumming has to be heard to be believed.
Transmission (Live at Les Bains Douche)