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The Return of The Durutti Column
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It would be hard to think of an album less in line with the majority of Factory's output in the late 70s than The Return Of The Durutti Column. The Column, were originally put together as a 'proper' band by Factory founders, Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus. But by the time this album became fact (hoho) Wilson's wilful disposition had seen to it that it was just guitarist Vini Reilly who held onto the name. Oh, and a producer by the name of Martin Hannett.
Hannett's idiosyncracies are well documented. His bullying and cajoling of Joy Division to invest in electronics was the tip of the iceberg. The deeply personal vision of this troubled man only found voice when he sat behind a mixing desk. Having mined the possibilities of digital delay on Unknown Pleasures, he saw, in Reilly, a fellow traveller who could indulge his passions for more abstract fare.
Reilly himself was a devoted student of the six stringed kind of ambience that had more to do with the krautrock stylings of Ashra's Manuel Gottsching than anything that emerged from a Detroit garage. This was (originally) an album of singularly pretty instrumentals, drenched in reverb and chiming in some kind of delicate, yet still somewhat chilly imaginary space.
The two men worked as co-musicians on this project, and it was hannett's synth washes underpinning Reilly's arpeggios that anchored the work which in future years become more ethereal and less rooted in grim Noerthern reality.
The Return a bloody-minded contradiction of everything Factory stood for at that time. As if to underline its refusal to sit happily with its playmates, initial copies came housed in a sandpaper sleeve that would rub horribly against its neighbours: A situationist trick that, while as arch as the band's name (appropriated from the Spanish civil war), still signalled Hannett and Reilly's extreme faith in their vision. Hannett's wayward nature would prove his undoing, while Vini merely kept on spiralling into some crystaline alternative universe. The Return is a perfect meeting of minds! --Chris Jones
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Top Customer Reviews
I still get the shivers when I put this on the deck.
The opening guitar note played on The Return of the Durutti Column is not unlike that of the first piano chord from Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. It has, in it's complex brevity, all the beauty, sadness, sense of loss, and yet all the passion and hope, of the history and future of the world. Sketch for Summer is more than timeless. This tune HAS been around before. We have all heard it, and we hear it still: when we look at a sunset, when we lay in the tall grass, when we put our bare feet on the cool sands by the ocean and hold the hand of a loved one.
I dream of this sweet sound, and no other record comes close.
When it was released it sounded very different to everything else in the punk / new wave era and it is still out there on it's own. The Factory advertising at the time said that this record would 'streamline your record collection' - this was in part an ironic comment as the early copies were in a 12" sandpaper sleeve but also a comment on how it (still) stands out from other parts of your music collection.
File under 'Essential'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Durutti Column is the work of guitar virtuoso Vini Reilly, aided by legendary Joy Division producer Martin Hannett. Read morePublished on 24 April 2010 by klaher
On my God, 1979 - It seems a lifetime ago - I hadn't even gone to college & certainly wouldn't have been interested in any Factory Band - I was off to Knebworth to see Led... Read morePublished on 11 Jan. 2005 by Mr. Jeremy Carter