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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little thin on the work in question
As a start point, let me just say that I think that Siriam's review is pretty much on the money and he has expressed much of what I might have written in this review.

This is not so much a book about Unknown Pleasures, more a book about Joy Division that manages to avoid anything much to do with Closer. In this respect, it doesn't do precisely what it says on...
Published on 23 Nov. 2011 by Glidd of Glood

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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much emphasis on the tragic outcome and not the music
"Unknown Pleasures" is a recording that like Jeff Buckley's "Grace", has become near mythical as a memorable initial recording followed by the singer's early death with no time to subsequently disappoint fans by later output. As a result many writers on limited evidence feel able to extrapolate their views and this book is sadly no exception.
Chris Ott is clearly a...
Published on 10 Dec. 2004 by Siriam


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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much emphasis on the tragic outcome and not the music, 10 Dec. 2004
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Siriam (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (33 1/3) (Paperback)
"Unknown Pleasures" is a recording that like Jeff Buckley's "Grace", has become near mythical as a memorable initial recording followed by the singer's early death with no time to subsequently disappoint fans by later output. As a result many writers on limited evidence feel able to extrapolate their views and this book is sadly no exception.
Chris Ott is clearly a long time US based devotee of the group and their output and as an American has done a lot of homework on the Mancunian rock scene of 1976-1980. He covers well how it grew out of copying the London led punk scene and was then left behind by Joy Division as they moved on from their initial incarnations as the Stiff Kittens and Warsaw. His detailed coverage of the early recordings and John Peel "Top Gear"sessions and the growing contact with Rob Gretton and Tony Wilson plus producer Martin Hannett (whose cutting edge if erratic approach to new recording techniques was used so effectively but at the cost of alienating group members by his control freak approach), is the best retelling of the story I have seen to date.
Where the book starts going astray is half way through as we move to the recordings of the songs that made it to the final LP and the remainders that were used on later releases and compilations. That Ian Curtis developed quickly as a great lyricist and singer and that he was a major catalyst with other members of the group in how songs were developed is well covered - however the haliography with which Ott imbues him and the interaction of his private life (relying heavily on his widow's recent biography) lead to an overemphasis on the tragic suicide that occurred shortly after and little evaluation of the LP and its subsequent impact (the small sales of 15,000 in six months being little explanation of why the recording is cited in many "best of" lists). Instead what is provided is a retelling of Curtis's quick and sad decline in health and the tragic interaction of drugs and manic live performances reflecting the growth of intensity in his epilepsy seizures. One sad result is the rest of the group become a mere backdrop, which as New Order subsequently showed they were clearly not.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little thin on the work in question, 23 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (33 1/3) (Paperback)
As a start point, let me just say that I think that Siriam's review is pretty much on the money and he has expressed much of what I might have written in this review.

This is not so much a book about Unknown Pleasures, more a book about Joy Division that manages to avoid anything much to do with Closer. In this respect, it doesn't do precisely what it says on the cover, but having started on the tack it has, you sort of wish that it had kept going and dealt with Closer too.

This is the first book I have read in the series, so I am not sure what to expect. I think what I might have expected was a real in depth analysis of the album in question. In this analysis, I would want to know more about the lyrics and would probably expect to see them reproduced. It wouldn't be much to ask. There is a general discussion of some of Curtis' lines, but nothing that really approaches textual analysis. As a guitar player, I would also really have liked to have known what amps and equipment were used and if possible, how these choices were decided on. Reading around this suggests that Sumner used Vox guitars, which are an unusual choice. Why? How did they contribute to the Joy Division sound, if indeed they did?

The writing is OK but at times typical rock journalist, which has a tendency to be slightly bombastic ,as if it has real literary pretensions. It isn't easy to write about music, though, to get the reader to experience what the author as listener has experienced. There was a passing comment on Proust which just betrayed deep ignorance of his work, but I can't be bothered to leaf through the book to tell you what it was.

In summary, a good and interesting book on Joy Division for the fan, though if you have read around the subject, I am not sure that this work is going to enlighten you over much. It won't tell you a huge amount about the album in question than perhaps you already know.
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Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (33 1/3)
Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (33 1/3) by Chris Ott (Paperback - 30 Oct. 2003)
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