on 2 May 2015
This has always been my favourite New Order album, particularly for 'Sub-Culture' and 'Elegia'. The extra CD is a great bonus, both sides of the 12" of 'Sub-Culture' plus an epic version of 'Elegia'. Ultimately the original edit is preferable but still - I never knew such a thing existed and it's great to have. The highlight of the extras though is the 12" of 'The Perfect Kiss' - it's wonderful and shame on me for not buying it on its first release. If you bought 'Low-Life' back in the day (i.e. on vinyl) then this extras CD makes it worth buying again.
on 23 September 2008
New Order- low-life (remaster)
Although this album is not as good as their previous effort
in 'power corruption and lies', it is still probably their
2nd best album to me......
'Low-life' has amazing artwork, a good track selection,
and contains what i consider their best song ever,
'the perfect kiss'..
So lets talk about specifics: for the album
1) The album is not overly loud, or 'over mastered', i'm
still comparing all the individual tracks...
2) The soft parts are clear, with no noise or artifacts
that i've noticed..listen to 'elegia' and you will hear
how well done it is.
I'm listening through altec-lansing speakers, and also through
3) The loud parts are not distorted, crank up 'the perfect kiss'
4) Tracks are complete and not missing parts, no glitches,
The bonus disc:
1) Well after all these years of waiting, since 'substance'
came out on CD, back in 1987, we've waited and waited in
vain for the full 12" mix of 'the perfect kiss' to be released.
21 years later WE NOW FINALLY HAVE IT....
Honestly if this was the only new song on the bonus disc,
i would have been ecstatic..... so now it's here, and with
nothing missing, and in great sound quality....
2) We know have both full versions of subculture.... now i
know that most people don't like it, but i thought it was
a very cool remix for the time, especially with all the
stutter-editting that is even being used now..... the dub
version is actually kind of dark and industrial sounding...
3) If you didn't get the bonus disc of retro, you will enjoy
the full 17 minute version of elegia, if you have not heard it,
4) Sadly only two tracks from salvation are represented here, and
not really worth mentioning...
Overall, low-life has held up after all these years,
the song quality, and standard are still very high, and worth getting...
The bonus disc is very very good, and the sound quality is very good too..
once again they could have put more tracks on there as,
but i cannot state how great it is to finally have the full 12" mix
of 'the perfect kiss' on there.... everything else is just extra to
on 2 October 2008
The criticisms above may have valid points about missing rarities but I have some good things to say about these re-issues.
1. I liked the 80s 12" re-mixes as much as the LP versions. The last time there was a comprehensive collection of the New Order 12" singles and their b sides was the Substance double cassette. The 2CD version failed miserably to include many good tracks (due to space). This omission has never been adequately addressed. Although I would like all the tracks from that cassette re-mastered in a 4 CD set these re-issues do make many of them available which is good.
2. I am listening to this Low-life CD package now. I have never heard these tracks sound so good (and I do have many of the 12" singles). I often prefer vinyl to CD but the mastering on these disks is transparent, detailed, dynamic and fluid.
3. Rhino have to be congratulated on sticking to the format of one disk for the original Lp and one disk for the extra tracks, preserving the form of the original intact. I wish more re-issues did the same.
"Low Life" sees the band strike out into a slightly different territory. Opening with a quirky disco country and western number, the album sees a harder edge to their work, a more effective song writing partnership that moves away from sheer experimentalism into a welding of technology and sound to melody, and sees the first consistently good New Order LP with no obvious stinkers on it. Mid-placed "Elegia" is a brilliant mood piece designed to soundtrack a thousand BBC documentaries, whilst the rest of the record assuredly powers along as a hybrid of rock and electronic soul that creates a meaty, powerful sound that the bands lesser imitators never approached. "The Perfect Kiss" is possibly the most perfect single New Order song of all time, starting with a quiet drum machine workout, before effortlessly, and ridiculously exploding into a Storm-Und-Drang epic of sound that is the sonic equivalent of all the Star Wars films at once, complete with a burping frog chorus and a cowbell solo. Sadly, the additional passage from the instrumental 12" (a selection of phased gasps that push the song beyond the 10 minute barrier), are not here.
The rest of Low Life is equally effective : the band confidently stride into a distinct unique territory, where euphoric synth sweeps are replaced by a precise single picked keyboard sound based upon arpeggios, giving the music a less majestic, more intimate sound. This is matched with odd imperfections : an out-of-tune vocal here, a cough there. It's not a flawless LP performance or production wise, but an accurate reflection of the groups enthusiasm and energy at the time with a consistent set of solid and interesting material. For the first time in their career, there is not a note of it that sounds like the work of a group trying to fill space because they'd put the best songs on a 12" single.
The bonus disc is again a disappointment for the knowledgable. Several songs are missing from the "Salvation" soundtrack album. Not only that, but alternate versions of "Sunrise" and "Subculture" that appeared on magazine EP's, as well as a much-circulated vocal version of "Let's Go", are missing for no apparent reason. In the middle of two, fairly upbeat tracks, we get a 17 minute, mogadon instrumental which really should bookend any collection. Again, its assembled with no apparent thought for what this record will actually sound like in one go. Not only that, but the pretty awful - albeit experimental - John Robie remixes of "Subculture" are here : these two tracks are, not to be polite about it, exercises in post-modern minimalist boredom. Passages are repeated ad nauseum, the song sliced and diced into shards and endlessly repeated like a scratched vinyl record, and barely listenable. Quite why the band chose not create `master' versions of these songs, taking all the different passages that were recorded and placed over endless 12" remixes, into one coherent, long version of the song I do not know. It sells the epic vision and experimentalism the band were working on short in favour of tedious repetition. Not only that, but it appears that the band have chosen to duplicate the John Robie remix of "State Of The Nation" - which is also on "Brotherhood" - in a largely unforgivable act of lazy duplication. In the meantime, the alternate recording of the song ("Shame Of The Nation") is absent. Lets not even mention the complete absence of any previously unheard music throughout these releases. It's a poor bonus disc made of 12" versions that have been frequently reissued and available across the years, assembled in a way that defines any conventional sequencing or common sense.