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on 19 January 2004
Joy Division are widely regarded as one of,if not the most influential british bands since the beatles.A band that in a time of thrashy,anarchist 3 chord tracks managed to push back the boundaries of music by intertwining the downbeat,atmospheric percussion of bassist peter hook and drummer Stephen morris with the tortured baritone vocals of genius lead singer Ian Curtis.A band that intensified mood and expression to create some of the best music of all time,hugely influential to the post-punk/new-wave scenes of the early 1980's and leaving a huge mark in indie music to bands as diverse as the smashing pumpkins,interpol...and modern day bands such as british sea power.ian curtis' vocals constantly create an uneasy mood with the listener,but the songs still remain if not catchy,but accessable.
this 4 Cd box-set is a very comprehensive view of the band,as it contains both their studio albums,all their singles and b-sides and many other cuts from the john peel sessions,licht and blindheit,earcom 2 and the factory flexidisc.Also thrown in is the earlier,thrashier,more punk-orientated Warsaw material.The set also follows a logical sequence,with the studio albums on seperate discs with their accompanied singles,b-sides and tracks associated with them.Disc 3 has the earler Warsaw material with some material from their 2 john peel sessions and other selected tracks from their short lived sessionography,some of which is previously unreleased(most notably ceremony and In a lonely place,both of which became new order hits-but sound so much diferent with Curtis on vocals).Disc 4 is comprised of previously unreleased live material,and dispels the myth that Joy Division were not a particularly effective live band.
All in all,this is a great box-set,as it has all the fan could want.It simply provides brilliant music by certainly my favourite band,and one of the best bands of all time.the only disapointment is that the John Peel sessions-although available on a seperate Cd-is edited to 3 tracks,i personally would have liked to have seen all 8 tracks in their entirity.But that aside, a great purchase.Joy Division still sound fresh to this day and are still in my opinion,although it sounds ridiculous,a band of the future.This is because there has been no successful attempt to emulate them or take over their amazing Martin Hannett(genius)produced sound,and they still continue to amaze me and challenge what a band can actually do.Its amazing that in just 2 years,a band constantly produced excellence and changed music.
Stand out tracks:
Transmission,Disorder,day of the lords,24 hours,colony,she's lost control,shadowplay,novelty,atmosphere,heart and soul and of course,love will tear us apart
Ian Curtis RIP(1956-1980)
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on 22 March 2003
To put all have Joy Division's work on one box set is excellent. All the tracks are amazing quality. Joy Division must be the only band never to have wrote a bad song. Even the weaker and rare songs such as glass are in a different league to most other bands. The first two discs are brillantly assembled. The first disc is Unknown Pleasures and other songs from that era. The second disc is Closer and songs from that era. This gives a good overview of the development of the band. The third disc is made up of rarities, demos and alternative versions. Just how many alternative versions are needed is always problem with these kind of box sets. Whilst the edgier and punkier Shadowplay is essential some of the others maybe are not. I would like to have seen a couple of the alternative version removed of their first demos as Warsaw which included the excellent punk songs Gutz and At A later Date sadly these are missing as is their live cover of Sister Ray but these are the only real omissions.
Overal The box set does the job of collecting all Joy Divisions work and putting it one fantastic box set very well. The box set is surprisingly probably the best introduction to Joy Division. Although their are some good "best of's" out there they miss out some of Joy Divisions best songs such as The Eternal and I Remember Nothing. Just buy this now there is no need for a sampler.
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on 12 January 2001
Anyone who is unfamiliar with the lads from Manchester should contemplate how much they actually like music. To have a fondness for music is one thing, but to like Joy Division is to love them. Almost everything that Joy Division recorded is contained in this sumptuously packaged 4 cd box set. There's the albums Unknown Pleasures and Closer in their entirety and live album Still. There's a scrupulous attention to detail here, there's early versions of songs such as Chance, which was a blueprint for the exquisite beauty of Atmosphere. There's songs from 12" records, flexi-discs and Peel Sessions. Previously unreleased live and studio takes reside in this lush package too, some sound quality is a little ropey in spite of being touched up, but it's still exciting to hear the familar tunes thrashing into life. What's surprising is how much there is, to say that Joy Division were only recording from 1977 to 1980 highlights how prolific a writer Curtis was. The sound created by producer Hannet - crisp and haunting - adds so much impact to Joy Division's music and there's an obvious sense of progression here too. The use of synthesiser on Closer adds a new depth and direction to the earlier rock influenced sound. Some tracks are a little over-represented though, there's 3 versions of Candidate, Insight, She's Lost Control, Interzone and The Only Mistake, but this is a minor grumble when balanced against the excellently researched sleeve notes. There's various contributors adding their own view on Joy Division and why they're special, there's also a discography, sessionography, a biography, song lyrics and details of TV and Film credits. This should be an essential part of any serious music lovers' collection, from one of popular music's greatest bands.
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VINE VOICEon 22 August 2003
This is an object lesson in how to compile a box set. Compared to the (only slightly) disappointing New Order box set, Retro, this is utterly, utterly perfect.Both albums, all the singles, all the songs from label samplers, some radio sessions, demos and wonderful live renditions (Novelty, which i was not a massive fan of before, sounds AMAZING on the live disc). Add to this wonderful packaging, great artwork (as always) and some fascinating writing (thank you Paul Morley) in the booklet and you have a box set that is as essential as similar sets from the likes of Miles Davis, Yes, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. Only better.
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on 18 December 1999
This 4 CD wonderfully packaged collection includes nearly everything that Joy Divsion ever recorded.
Joy Divisions music was often bleak but always atmospheric and moving - the best and the worst of JD are here. Everything from poor early live recordings to the best single ever recorded by any group - "Love Will Tear Us Apart". A song that 20 years on still raises the hair on the back of my neck. A song that Ian Curtis wrote during the breakup of his marriage and remains the greatest love song ever written. Sadly Ian Curtis did not live to enjoy its success - he took his own life shortly after its release.
Heart & Soul contains both the proper JD albums - Unknown Pleasures & Closer.
Joy Divisions music is not to everyones taste but anyone who takes their music seriously will not regret adding Heart & Soul to their collection. Not every track listed here is indispensible but the overall quality is enough to make it a "must have".
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on 22 September 2001
If your existing Joy Division recordings need replacing (other than the Preston and Les Bains Douches live sets), look no further than this. Everything that matters is here, and some are in many forms, clearly showing the development of the obscure punk outfit Warsaw into the incredible and impossible to categorise Joy Division. All of the studio tracks are present and correct although the order is slightly altered for reasons of space, but a complete listing of session dates has been provided. Some of the early demos and live stuff suffer slightly from a ropey sound, but no-one can deny the sheer quality of what's here - "Chance" in particular sounds particularly good, and is easily recognisable as an early incarnation of the mighty "Atmosphere". Curtis also seems to lose it towards the end of the live "Atrocity Exhibition", but by then who cares? The sleeve notes are marred a little by Paul Morley's usual verbal diarhhoea, but the reprint of the article from issue 8 of Mojo almost makes up for it. If you get this, the studio albums, the Peel Sessions and Still recordings are redundant, but it's still a "must-buy" for discs 3 & 4 alone.
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on 14 January 2000
This brings all Joy Divisions work together and classics such as 'Atmosphere' and 'Love Wil Tear Us Apart' are achingly beautiful. The 4th CD, the live recordings disappoint for some reason, but who cares? There was, and only will be one Ian Curtis. Hear Hooky's basslines and Morris' drums and imagine a frantic windmill dancing. Also contains a book with all the lyrics and biographies.
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on 9 March 2003
This box contains all that is essential JD, and a bit more besides. It has a booklet that is actually worth reading. You get the lyrics as well! It's a lot for someone not familiar with the band, but still worth considering even then. The live CD is excellent. The rarities CD is inevitably variable in quality, but none of it is less than good. The first two CDs, each an expanded version of one of their two studio albums, are simply excellent. JD fans haven't got any choice but to buy this set. Those wanting a sampler should try "Permanence" (NOT "Substance" which is patchy).
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on 1 January 2002
This has everything for those that really want to get beneath the whole Joy Div thing. It's maybe too much for the uninitiated (4 whole discs!) but for the initiated it has some real gems. Despite seeing the band and having many tapes / records, I was amazed to find the Ian Curtis versions of ICB and Ceremony sounding just as I had thought they might.
I bought this a few years back and while jd are nowadays (after 21 years!) a thing to be enjoyed now and again I'd rate this as indispensible.
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on 18 December 2005
The first two discs, in particular, of this box set are filled with some of the most important music ever recorded. It is absolutely incredible that these songs were recorded in the late seventies - they sound much, much later. The reason for this is that Joy Division were one of the few bands in history who literally invented a whole new sound. And it is a sound that has, ever since, remained as one of the basic foundations of rock music.
The music is powerful, dark, raw, emotional, passionate, at times bleak, but most of all it is revolutionary.
This box set is essential to own for any serious rock music collection. The excellence and power of the music itself aside, it is also one of the few box sets that actually does what in my opinion a box set should do, that is represent the complete, or as-complete-as-you-need-it recordings by a single band, rendering other purchases unnecessary.
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